Kyrgyzstan in-Depth Tour

Kyrgyzstan in 2 weeks

Overland journey from the North to the South of the country including the country's cultural and natural highlights.

Days

13

Price

€2180

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Kyrgyzstan

Route:

  • Bishkek
  • Issyk Kul
  • Song Kul
  • Arslanbob
  • Osh
  • Bishkek

Themes: Cultural Tours

Kyrgyzstan – a fascinating country that has a mix of nomadic and sedentary cultural heritage. Explore the nomadic way of life in yurts at the Song Kul lake and hear the ancient legends about cities like Osh, Uzgen, and Balasagyn.  

This trip will lead you in 2 weeks on a roundtrip through the country. You will discover the main natural highlights of Kyrgyzstan: the shore of Issyk Kul lake, the alpine pastures of stupendous Song Kul lake, and the green walnut forest of Arslanbob. Throughout this trip, you will be immersed into the ancient nomadic culture and hear stories of the Silk Road that involved both the settled and nomadic cultures.

highlights

  • Enjoy the quaint charm and hospitality of Kyrgyzstan.
  • Visit the ‘Pearl of Kyrgyzstan’ – Issyk Kul Lake
  • Experience nomadic life at the alpine lake Song Kul, and sleep in a yurt
  • Explore the largest wild walnut forest Arslanbob
  • Get to know ancient cities like Uzgen and Osh

 

 

ITINERARY & MAP

Bishkek main square

Welcome to Kyrgyzstan! Most flights arrive very early in the morning. Transfer to the hotel and early check in at the hotel. You can have a rest after your long flight, take a shower and have breakfast.

In the afternoon we will have a city tour in Bishkek. The tour includes Osh Bazaar, Oak Park, Ala-Too Square and monument to the national hero Manas. Dinner in a nice local restaurant.

Hotel Asia or similar (ca. 800 m altitude)

After breakfast, transfer to the National park of the valley of Chon-Kemin. 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. After lunch at the local guesthouse, hike to the Kalmak Ashuu gorge for about 2 hours (optional). Enjoy the panoramic views and go horse riding if you like. Dinner and overnight stay in the family-run guesthouse.

Ashu Guesthouse, ca. 1800m altitude (single/ twin room with private bathroom)

After breakfast transfer to Tepke village along the northern shore of Issyk-Kul lake. Lake Issyk Kul is the second-largest mountain lake in the world, after Titicaca. Located at an altitude of 1600m, it is a slightly saline lake with no outlet, surrounded completely by the Tien Shan Mountains. Some evidence suggests that ruins of an old trade center from 2nd century BC can be found under the water. We drive along the entire northern shore of the lake and make a stop halfway, near Cholpon Ata, to visit an open-air site with many ancient petroglyphs, i.e. stone drawings.

By late afternoon we arrive in the village of Tepke, where we stay for the night in the guesthouse of farmers who breed Kyrgyz horses.

Reina Kench Guesthouse (single/ twin room with private bathroom)

Karakol in Central Asia Tour

After breakfast, we will set out to explore the local Sunday animal market in Karakol. After, we visit the city, making sure we allow plenty of time for its wooden Dungan mosque, built in 1904, and the Orthodox wooden church dating from 1855, proof of the ethnic and spiritual diversity of the Issyk Kul region. We will have lunch in Uighur family (small Muslim nationality migrated from China).

After lunch transfer to Tamga village (120 km). On the way visit the famous Jety Oguz valley. The road goes along the southern shore of the lake Issyk Kul to Tamga village.

Overnight in yurt – 2 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water), 1600m altitude

fairytale skazka canyon in Kyrgyzstan holidays near Issyk kul

Today, we will continue our drive along the southern shore of lake Issyk Kul to our next destination – Kochkor, we will break the journey at Skazka Canyon. Translating from the Russian word for a fairy tale, the burnished reds, ochres and yellows of the canyon’s sedimentary rocks seem almost other-worldly. We will go for a short walk and continue to Bokonbaevo village to meet Eagle Hunters. Our next stop is Kyzyl Tuu village, where we meet yurt makers and will get to know how the wooden carcass of the yurts are made. After our exploratory stops, we continue driving to Kochkor village.

Overnight in a simple guesthouse. (ca 1750 m altitude)

Kyrgyzstan yurt camp in nature

After breakfast, we visit a workshop where local women produce carpets from felt. You can even try to make your own. After this felt carpet making demonstration, we depart towards another mountain lake – Song Kul. The lake is not very far from Kochkor, but due to bad road conditions, it will still be a quite long and bumpy ascent to the lake. Lake Song Kul is a mountainous lake on the altitude of 3016 meters above the sea level. The nomads pass their summer on the “jailoo” (summer pasture) with their animals. You can see herds of horses and sheep grazing on meadows full of Edelweiss. If you like, you may go for a short horse ride. Accommodation and dinner will be in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt.

Overnight in yurt – 2 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water)

Tash Rabat or ancient inn of Kyrgyzstan

After breakfast in a yurt, we move on to Tash Rabat. The road goes over Kalmak Ashu Pass – 3440 meters altitude and over the Dolon Pass we reach Naryn. We will have lunch in this mountainous town and continue driving to Tash Rabat for another 120 km. On the way we will have a short stop at Koshoi Korgon fortress.

Tash Rabat is a historic stone caravanserai. These were a kind of hotel places used by merchants and their caravans on the ancient Silk Road.  It is one of the best preserved of such inns in Central Asia.

Dinner and Overnight in a Yurt Camp (ca. 3300 meters altitude)

We will leave this caravansarai after breakfast and drive along Naryn river. The road from Naryn to Kazarman is not paved, gravel road, so get ready with your favorite music or audiobooks for a long shaky ride. We will arrive to Kazarman village to enjoy the local dinner.

Overnight in a simple guesthouse (ca. 1360 m. altitude)

Arslanbob tour

Drive through scenic Kog Art Pass which is located at around 3300 meters above sea level. On the way, we will choose a beautiful place for a picnic and have lunch there. We arrive in Arslanbob village in the late afternoon.

Dinner and Overnight in a simple guesthouse (1600 m. altitude)

Today you can enjoy the full day at Arslanbob. Arslanbob is also the name of the largest walnut trees forest in the world. We can go hiking in the forest and walk up to the waterfall. In the afternoon we can walk around the village and take part in a cooking master class. You can help with preparing traditional dumplings called, manty.

Dinner and Overnight in a simple guesthouse.

Kyrgyzstan Tour osh

We leave Arslanbob in the morning and drive along the Uzbek border to Uzgen. Uzgen was one of the capitals of the Karakhanid Empire during the 11th and 12th centuries. We will visit there three mausoleums and a minaret. This medieval architectural complex is unique in Kyrgyzstan and one of the few remnants of the old Silk Road.

After lunch, we drive to Osh, the 3000 years old city with UNESCO World Heritage site. We visit Suleiman mountain as well as the museum built in a natural cave. We will see the local market with its dried fruits and fresh produce.

Overnight in Sun Rise hotel 3*. 

Ala Archa national park entrance in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia Tour

Early in the morning, we have a flight to Bishkek and it takes just around 1 hour. In Bishkek, we transfer to Ala Archa National Park, in the mountains, just 30km outside the capital city. We will have a walk in the park, enjoying the nice views and fresh air. Transfer back to Bishkek for the farewell dinner and a folklore show.

Overnight in hotel Asia mountains 3* or similar.

departure kyrgyzstan

Transfer to Airport for departure flight back home. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Kyrgyzstan!

Inclusions

Transport
Minibus, Horse, Foot
Meals
13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 12 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nights), Family Homestay (6 nights), Yurt (3 nights)
Included Activities
  • Bishkek – City Tour
  • Felt workshop
  • Hike at Skazka Canyon
  • Karakol – City Tour
  • Sleeping in a Yurt
  • Meeting an eagle hunter
  • Folklore show
  • Go to sacred Sulaiman Too
  • Visit the walnut forest Arslanbob

dates & price

You can choose to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or book a private tour on the date of your choice
*
*
*
Total trip price

€2180

Euro

13

Days

Single supplement available for €250

Deposit: €500

Currently there are no planned trips. Please contact us if you would like to know about the availability of this tour in the future.

Price includes
  • All transfers by minibus according to the itinerary, from/to airport
  • English speaking guide accompanying the group for the whole time
  • Accommodation based on double / twin room sharing
  • All entrances fees according to the itinerary
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch, dinners)
Price does not include
  • International airfares
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Travel insurance required
  • Personal expenses, e.g. souvenirs
  • Horse riding (optional)
  • Tips for guide and driver

Important notes

  • Travel insurance is required for this tour.  You are free to choose any insurance company of your choice. We recommend for example using World Nomads.
  • Departure for this tour is guaranteed.

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.

Related articles

Travellers' Impressions of Kyrgyzstan