ITINERARY & MAP
Meet your guide and trekking group at 10:00 in the hotel lobby. After a short introduction have a quick city tour of Bishkek, including the main Ala-To Square, and walk along the Oak Park to the open art gallery of Sculptures. After lunch, transfer to the National park of the valley of Chon-Kemin (200 km, about 3 hours). On the way stop at Burana Tower. The minaret was built in the 11th century in the medieval town of Balasagun, capital of the mighty Karakhanid empire. You can climb up the winding staircase to enjoy a nice view of the Chuy Valley. There is also an open-air museum featuring a collection of ancient balbals, carved stone figures used as monuments. Dinner and overnight stay in the family-run guesthouse.
Simple Guesthouse, ca. 1800m altitude
After breakfast short transfer to the starting point of the trek to the gorge Tory-Aigyr. Meet with support staff, including horses for luggage. Start the trekking up to the gorge Tory-Aigyr about 5-6 hours from altitude 1750m up to the gorge to 2520 m. Here you can see a unique spectacle – meadows, full of Edelweiss.
Overnight in tents, ca. 2500m altitude
The walk takes you about 2 hours up to the pass Tory-Aigyr (2790 m). Descend down to the valley to cross the river at an altitude of around 2500m, and after another trek up for about 2 hours we cross the second small pass (2780m). Have a packed lunch at the pass with the nice view to the lake from the top of the pass. Trekking towards the mountain Lake Kol-Kogur (Kol-Tor) about 1 hour. The lake is a magnificent spectacle in the bright sunshine. It looks like a sapphire set amongst a vast array of silver, snow-covered mountains. Stay overnight in tents by the lake.
Overnight in tents, ca. 2500m altitude
Breakfast. Trekking up to the pass and over the pass Kol-Kogur (3350 m) about 4 hours. The path passes through alpine meadows where, in summer, local people live with their families and livestock. Picnic. Trekking down for 790m. Stay overnight in tents by the river.
Overnight in tents, ca. 2560m altitude
Breakfast. Trekking up to the gravel road about 2 km to altitude 2650 m and after a trek down to the mouth of Kol-Tor valley about 3 hours to an altitude of 2100 m. Picnic for lunch. Meeting with car at the end of the valley Kol Tor about 5 km before the main road. Transfer to the town of Cholpon-Ata on the northern shore of Issyk-Kul lake (40 km). Free time for swimming on the lake. Optionally, it is possible to do a motorboat excursion for 1 hour in Issyk-Kul lake. It is the second largest mountain lake after Titicaca and called “pearl of Kyrgyzstan”. Accommodation in the hotel on the shore of the lake.
Hotel Raduga 3* or similar, 1600m altitude
Free time in the morning. After lunch transfer to Jergalan village in the mountains to the East of lake Issyk Kul. On the way we visit an open-air museum of ancient petroglyphs. Upon arrival to Jergalan village we have dinner and overnight in the family guesthouse.
Simple family guesthouse (single room not guaranteed, shared western toilet and shower), ca. 2300m altitude
Breakfast. Drive to Ak Suu forestry. Excursion in Dendra park. Delightful hike over the Kara Beltek pass to Karakol for about 4-5 hours. Lunch boxes. Meet the driver and transfer to the hotel. Dinner in the Uighur family.
Hotel Amir 3* (ca. 1600m altitude)
Breakfast. City tour in Karakol. Visiting regional history museum, Russian Orthodox Church, Muslim mosque in Dungan style. Lunch. Departure to Jety Oguz Yurt valley (40 km). The area is well known for its red rock formations Seven Bulls and Broken Heart. Walking to the waterfall.
Yurt Camp (ca. 2250m altitude)
Transfer from Jety Oguz to National Park Karakol. Meet the trekking personal (no horses available for this trek, only porters – you will need to leave some of your luggage behind in the car). Start the trek up to Karakol Gorge. You will walk around 12 km on a path which leads to a tent camp near a nomads’ stopping place. Here you can see cows being milked and acquaint yourself with the natural way of life of the shepherd-nomads. Spend the night in fixed tent camp.
Fixed Tent Camp (ca. 2550m altitude)
Breakfast. Cross the Karakol river on a narrow bridge. Hike about 8 km (2.5 – 3 hours), from Karakol Gorge to the “Orphan” Mountaineer Shelter. Stop in the “Orphan” Shelter, for a rest and lunch. Continue hiking up towards mountain lake Ala-Kul (3550 m), about 6 km (2.5 – 3 hours). The trails are narrow and in some parts steep with loose stones. Ala Kul mountain lake is more than 70 meters deep and of incomparable beauty. From the shore of the lake, you can see a beautiful glacier, which is the source of the lake. You will be setting up your tent camp in this wonderful place which is surrounded by magnificent rocks.
Tents (ca. 3550m altitude)
Hike to Ala Kul pass (3860m) (about 4 km, 2-2.5 hours). Hike over the pass to the Keldyke Gorge about 1 hour. From the Pass, you will have an excellent view of the five thousand mountain peaks of Terskey Ala-Too – including Karakol peak, Djigit peak, and Tashtanbek peak. Picnic for lunch at Keldyke gorge.
Four-hours walk to the Altyn-Arashan resort, which is situated 2450 m above sea level. Lunch. Optionally you can visit the hot spring pools. Meet the military Russian truck and transfer to Karakol. Dinner in the family. Total distance during the day is 16 km.
Hotel Amir 3* (ca. 1600m altitude)
Breakfast. Transfer to Kochkor village (260 km). The road goes along the southern shore of Issyk Kul lake. On the way visit Skazka canyon for short walk. Also, you will stop in Bokonbaevo to see an eagle hunter. Picnic for lunch on the shore of the lake. Continue driving to Kochkor . Visiting woman group in the village who is producing traditional nomad’s carpets from the felt which are called “Shiyrdak’” and “Ala Kiiz”. You can see the processing the carpet production. Dinner and accommodation in the Family Guesthouse.
Accommodation: Family Village Guesthouse (ca. 1750m altitude)
After breakfast transfer to Kyz Art village 70 km (ca. 2 hours due to bad road condition). The road goes along the Jumgal valley over the Kyz Art pass. Meet the local guide with the horses for luggage. Start hiking to Kilemche about 16km (ca. 6 hours). Lunch in form of picnic along the way. Within sight of the road, cross Kyzyl-Kiya jailoo, an enormous, relatively flat sea of grass. Continue into the Chaar-Archa valley cross the river and follow the trail over verdant hills to Kilemche Jailoo (“jailoo” = summer pastures). Dinner and overnight in the yurt camp.
Accommodation: Simple Yurt Camp (ca. 2800m altitude)
After breakfast at Kilemche, spend the morning hiking to Jaldyz Karagai pass (3400 m), over the Song-Kul Mountains and into the lake’s basin. The morning climb offers wonderful views of Kilemche jailoo, and the pass itself is rocky. From the pass, Song-Kol is still distant, but as you hike down the slopes, it gets larger and larger; the mountains on the other side get higher and higher. Son-Kul is a mountain lake in the Central Tian Shan range, virtually in the center of Kyrgyzstan. One translation of the name is “The Last Lake”. At an altitude of 3016m above sea level it is 29km long and 18km wide and a maximum depth of 13.2m – it is Kyrgyzstan ‘s second largest lake. It is frozen for more than half of the year – between October and May. It is situated on a treeless, high mountain plateau, and is surrounded by lush mountain meadows, where shephers stay during Summer with their families and cattle. Dinner and overnight in the yurt ca. 3 kilometers from the lake. Upon arrival at the yurt camp, you have some free time to walk on foot or ride on horseback to the lake.
Simple Yurt Camp (ca. 3030m altitude)
Breakfast. Transfer to Bishkek (380 km). Have lunch on the way. Upon arrival in Bishkek free time or time to go shopping. Farewell dinner with small folklore demonstration.
Hotel Plaza 4* or similar
Today it is time to say a fond farewell to Kyrgyzstan. Early morning transfer to Bishkek International Airport. We sincerely hope you have enjoyed your trip and will return soon to explore more of Central Asia.