Kyrgyzstan & China Tour

Kyrgyzstan & Xinjiang, China Tour

Experience the nomad lifestyles in mountain pastures of Kyrgyzstan and then travel on to vibrant Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road city next to Taklamakan Desert.

Days

16

Price

€2090

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Kyrgyzstan, China

Route:

  • Bishkek
  • Kashgar
  • Osh
  • Bishkek

Themes: Active Adventures, Cultural Tours

This tour follows the famous Ancient Silk Road, from the Tian Shan Mountains to Kashgar through the region of Xinjiang in China and back to Osh in Kyrgyzstan. Explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of two countries. Enjoy the shores of mountain Issyk-Kul and the surrounding snow-capped mountains. Travel to the wild pastures of serene alpine lake Son Kul and visit the caravanserai or ancient hotel for traders called Tash Rabat.

We continue our journey to North Western China and towards the famousTaklamakan desert and mesmerizing city of Kashgar in Xinjiang province. We go further towards the Himalayas to take in the majestic Mustagh Ata and Kongur Tash Mountains. Finally, we end our journey in 3000 years old city Osh in Fergana Valley. Throughout this Kyrgyzstan-China tour, you will be impressed by the contrasts of Central Asia, its ancient nomadic culture and its equestrian tradition, their ethnic diversity and stunning scenery.

highlights

  • Visit highlights of Bishkek during city tour
  • Climb up Burana Tower, the only ruins that survive in ancient Karakhanid’s capital, Balasagun
  • Visit 2nd largest mountain lake in the world – Issyk-Kul
  • Sleep in a yurt at an altitude of around 300 meters on the shore of Son Kul
  • Discover an ancient inn for foreign merchants traveling on the Silk Road (alt. 3500 m)
  • Discover the history of Silk Road on Kyrgyzstan-China tour
  • See the Taklamakan desert
  • Enjoy breathtaking views of snowcapped Muztagh Ata (alt. 7546 m) and Kongur Tagh (alt. 7649 m) from Karakul Lake (alt. 3600 m)
  • Walk to the foothills of majestic Lenin’s Peak (alt. 7134 m)
  • Visit the ancient city – Osh, Kyrgyzstan

ITINERARY & MAP

Day1- Bishkek

Our driver will welcome you at the airport for your hotel transfer for early check-in. You can have a rest, shower and eat breakfast. for lunch we gather with our group and spend the afternoon on a city tour of Bishkek. On a clear day, the mountain peaks of the form the perfect backdrop to urban parks. We will see the statue of a hero Manas, protagonist in the national epic tale. His statue takes pride place in central Ala-Too Square. We will see major sightseeing highlights that Bishkek has to offer through our tour. Over dinner, you can get to know your guide and group closer and discuss the upcoming tour in detail.

We’ll depart Bishkek after breakfast.  Our first stop is the Burana Tower. It’s possible to climb the winding staircase inside the tower to reach the top. Originally, however, it was over 40 meters, the top part fell after the 15th century earthquake.

Moving on, our next stop is at the Konorchek Canyon.  There, we’ll take a short walk to admire the red rock formations. Our destination is Issyk Kul lake, which sits at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level.

 

Day3-Skazka Canyon

In the morning we’ll drive to the summer pasture, from where we start hiking to the wonderful mountain viewpoint overlooking Issyk Kul Lake.

After a picnic fairytale Canyon, the deep red and orange sedimentary rocks are stunning and seem almost alien. Back at our yurt camp, as night falls, we’ll dine under the stars and enjoy a traditional folklore music show.

Walking: 3.5 hours on 2500m altitude

Kyrgyz eagle hunter holding his eagle in Best of Central Asia Tour

This morning, we will meet an Eagle hunter and watch him in action. Later, we will visit a village of yurt makers and see them making a real yurt. In the afternoon, we will drive to yurt camp for the next two nights which is situated at an altitude of 3000m.

Walking: 1 hour at 3000m altitude

Day5 horses song kol

Today is an optional horse riding at the alpine pasture. Even if you’re a novice rider, you’ll enjoy horse riding among scattered yurts, and nomadic herders. Later, we will watch traditional nomad horse games such as Kok-Boru, in which two teams attempt to place a goat carcass in the goal of their opponents.

trek canyon Kyrgyzstan

Glimpsing Song Kul for the last time, we start walking and discover the Naryn River valley. After a walk, we continue driving across the Tien Shan Mountains and visit some 18th and 19th century mausoleums before enjoying lunch. In the late afternoon we’ll arrive at yurt camp next to the Tash Rabat caravanserai.

Tash Rabat ancient Caravan Sarai in Central Asia kyrgyzstan

Today we will have time to visit the Tash Rabat Caravanserai. For the rest of the day you can choose to relax near the yurts or go on a hike in the nearby mountains.

Hiking time (optional): 5-6h, max. altitude 3900m

Kashgar city tour and houses

Our destination today is Kashgar, at the gateway to the Taklamakan Desert. After international border crossing, and administrative formalities we will soon be able to hit the road again. We will enter the ancient city in Xinjiang and discover the fascinating blend of culture.

We leave Kashgar early in the morning and drive to another oasis on the Silk Road, Yarkant. Browse at the typical Uyghur market, where you’ll find local produce and visit Amannisakhan’s mausoleum. We drive further into the vast Taklamakan desert to scale the huge sand dunes. Finally, we will go back to Kashgar.

sheep in kashgar animal market. historicaly city looks like the rest of central Asia even though it is part of china.

Early in the morning we will start our city tour with famous Sunday animal market. Following the animal market we will learn more about Kashgar’s numerous historical sights.

 

karakul lake on the border of kyrgyzstan

Today, we’ll drive along the famous Karakoram Highway, which connects Kashgar to Islamabad in Pakistan via the Karakoram Mountain Pass. As we gain altitude, the landscape is nothing short of spectacular. Yaks and camels graze on mountainous pastures. The road is long but the journey is one that can be found on many a bucket list.

Later, we’ll arrive at the shore of Karakol Lake, meaning “black lake” in the Uyghur language. We take the time to discover this magical place, with its breathtaking scenery and snowy summits of “Mountain’s Father” Mustag Ata which rises to a height of 7509 metres and Kongur Tagh, slightly higher at 7649 metres. Eventually, though, the time will come for us to drive back to Kashgar, arriving at the hotel in the late evening.

towards irkeshtam pass

We leave the oasis of Kashgar this morning and drive up to Irkeshtam Pass at the Kyrgyz border.  We’ll drive on the Chon-Alay high plain to Sary Mogol. We cross the Pamir Highway and discover the high summits of this border region. Tonight, we will spend the night in a guesthouse in village of Sary Mogol.

In the morning, we have a short drive to the foothills of Peak Lenin (7134 m). We start walking from Tulpar Kul Lake (alt. 3500 m) and head towards the Peak. The walk is easy and the scenery impressive. We will have a picnic on the foothills of the mountain.

Our return walk takes us back along Tulpar Kul Lake to home of a yak farmer. Tonight we will sleep in a traditional yurt.

Walking: 4-5 hours, max. altitude 3800 m

Osh Bishkek Tour

On the way to Osh, we will make several stops to admire the beautiful landscape and take little detours. Osh has history stretching over more than three millennia. We will be staying for the night in guesthouse.

Walking: ca. 2 hours

Climbing Osh sulaiman too, Kyrgyzstan, solomon mount

There’s much to see in Osh: Sulaiman Too, the mountain which pops-up in the city center, its museum, the old bazaar, parks and city monuments. We’ll make time to have a tasty lunch in a traditional tea house, where we will taste the famous plov. In the evening, we will fly back to Bishkek and enjoy farewell dinner.

Flying time: 45 minutes

departure manas airport

Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to marvellous Central Asia.  Our driver will provide your transfer to Manas International Airport.

Inclusions

Transport
Airplane, Horse, Foot, Minivan
Meals
16 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 15 dinners – some times in form of picnic
Accommodation
Hotel (6 nights), guesthouse (2 nights), yurt (7 nights)
Included Activities

Bishkek – city tour

Climbing up ancient Burana Tower

Hiking at Issyk Kul

Visiting medieval Tash Rabat caravanserai

Kashgar – city tour

Osh – city tour

dates & price

Total trip price

€2090

Euro

16

Days

Single supplement available for €350

Deposit: €250

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
21 Jul 2017
5 Aug 2017
Available
11 Aug 2017
26 Aug 2017
+ Available
20 Jul 2018
4 Aug 2018
Available
10 Aug 2018
31 Aug 2018
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers in vehicle 4WD (max 6 tourists/car) incl. from/ to airport
  • Еnglish speaking tour guide
  • Full board incl. drinking water and tea
  • Horses
  • Accommodation described in the program
  • Border permits in Kyrgyzstan
  • All activities mentioned in the program
  • Entrance fees
  • Local flights if applicable (15kg allowance)
Price does not include
  • International air fares and taxes
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, e.g. souvenirs
  • Alcohol or sweetened beverage

Important notes

  • For China it is likely that you need visa, please let us know if you need letter of invitation to get your visa, we will provide to you free of charge. You can check your visa requirements here: https://www.thevisamachine.com/.
  • You are required to take out travel insurance. We recommend using World Nomads, but feel free to choose any other insurance company you like.
  • This tour takes place in remote areas with limited comfort and limited accessibly to medical facilities. It’s recommended to be in good physical health to fully enjoy this tour.
  • Minimum group size is 3 people, we recommend waiting for our confirmation before purchasing non-refundable travel services like air ticket.

KYRGYZSTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Kyrgyz currency is called the Som (KGS). In the capital Bishkek there are many ATMs that you can find in shopping centers, supermarkets or on the main streets. All of them accept Visa cards and some, like Kyrgyz Kommerts Bank, Demir Bank and Uni Credit accept other cards such as MasterCard or Maestro card. Outside of Bishkek, we don’t recommend relying on ATMs as there are so few of them. We also recommend that you bring some cash in new USD banknotes of denominations of at least 20 USD. There are many exchange offices, some working 24/7. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with a credit card is still not possible at most places, except for high-end restaurants, hotels and a small number of international stores. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Kyrgyzstan is the most liberal and democratic country in the Central Asian region. For the last seven years, the political situation in the country has been calm and there is nothing to suggest that this situation might change. Guests and locals are treated with respect and the whole country can be regarded as very safe destination for travelers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only use official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Kyrgyz partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of most Western countries do not need a visa for a stay of up to 60 days in Kyrgyzstan. To be sure whether you need a visa or not you can check on www.thevisamachine.com. Any special permits that you might need for access to places that will be visited during your tour, we will provide to you free of charge.
As soon as we receive your deposit payment, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Kyrgyzstan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Kyrgyzstan is continental and dry in the majority of the country, including the largest cities. In the Ferghana Valley in the south and in capital Bishkek, summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius. However, most of the country is situated more than 1500 meters above the sea level, where temperatures are in the mid-20s during summer. At high altitudes of 3000 meters or more it may even snow overnight during the summer, so make sure you bring some warm clothes. The best season to visit for activity or jeep tours would be in summer and winter for skiing tours. Please note, weather in some mountain areas may be very changeable.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Kyrgyzstan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Kyrgyzstan are basic at best.

CHINA TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Chinese currency is called Rembini (RMB) and also known as Yuan. In the main cities of east and central China there are numerous ATMs that you can find in shopping centres, supermarkets or on the main streets. All of them accept Visa or Mastercard. In the west of China though - where our tours are going to - things are a little different as the pace of development is a little slower and ATMs are not often seen. We recommend you bring new USD/EURO/GBP bank notes in denominations of at least 20 USD/EURO/GBP to exchange in China. There are exchange offices and banks to help you change currency. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with credit card is still not possible at most places, except for high-end restaurants, hotels and a few international stores. An emergency fund of around 500 USD/EURO/GBP in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Xinjiang is a very safe region in world terms, although the political situation can change. Guests and locals are treated with respect and China is regarded as very safe destination for travellers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and only take official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Chinese partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Travellers from most Western countries need a visa to enter China. You can check the current situation on the website of The Visa Machine. Any special permits you might need for access to places that will be visited during your tour, we will provide to you free of charge.
As soon as we receive your deposit payment, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains vital information on customs regulations for China.

BEST TIME TO GO:

Xinjiang province of China has a harsh continental steppe climate. There is little rainfall throughout the year and hot summers are followed by cold winters.
At high altitudes of 3000 metres or more it may even snow during summer at night, so make sure to bring some warm clothes. The best season to visit is summer for activity or jeep tours. Please note, weather in some mountain areas is likely to be very changeable.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing your teeth or making ice. Do not eat ice-cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveller’s diarrhoea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for China. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Xinjiang province of China are basic at best.

Related articles

Travellers' Impressions of the trip