ITINERARY & MAP
Transfer to the hostel.
Tip: Most flights arrive early in the morning, so take a shower and have a short rest before meeting with your group and your tour coordinator.
Your guide and driver will greet you at your hotel after breakfast. After a fifty-minute drive you will arrive at your first destination for the day: Ala-Archa National Park. This alpine wilderness attracts visitors with its breathtaking mountain vistas and scenic hiking trails. The raging Ala-Archa River runs through the alpine gorge, surrounded by snow-covered mountain peaks and steep, forested slopes. Enjoy your morning either resting or hiking in the park before returning to Bishkek for an afternoon tour. Sightseeing in Bishkek includes stops by the museum, Oak Park (the oldest park in Bishkek), Central Square, and Philharmonic Hall. Later, amble through more of the city’s charming parks and listen to the stories behind its most beloved landmarks and monuments.
By dinner, at one of the top national restaurants in Bishkek, you will be given an opportunity to discuss goals and expectations for the upcoming volunteering project with your coordinator. She will give brief introduction to Kyrgyzstan and make a presentation during dinner. You will get a chance to ask all your burning questions and fuel over that excitement.
Transport: Minibus with A/C for city tour
Accommodation: Hostel in city center
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours
Got to rise and shine early to catch the Soviet train by 6:30 AM to Orlovka (the location of the Center for children from disadvantaged families). The gradual train ride highlights captivating landscapes that will take advantage of your breakfast while witnessing the sunrise. The train stop is at a nearby town where we briefly need to gather products and ice cream (who doesn’t love it?) for the kids before continuing our venture to mainland Orlovka.
Touchdown at the Children’s Center, NURMEEAISA. The excited faces of children will await you upon arrival, we will share the ice cream that we brought with us and have a brief tour of the facility so you get to know the territory. Right after, a short ice-breaker for a fun introduction followed by a great lunch gathering. As lunch ends, the rooms shall be assigned so you can test your bed for a quick recharge. Once Siesta’s done, there’ll be a speedy walk to the town alongside the coordinator.
Before dusk settles, there’ll be more to know about Kyrgyzstan, its history and culture through a presentation prepared by Kalpak-Travel. A run-through of tasks and responsibilities, the teaching materials, and devising a learning schedule, as well as the chores list for the whole volunteering duration would be set. There will be more getting-to-know at supper so keep your excitement pants on!
Transport: Soviet train + minibus with A/C for transfer to and from the train
Accommodation: Children center NURMEEAISA, western toilets and shower
Duration of sightseeing tour: 1 hour
Every day begins at the same time, we do morning exercises and eat breakfast together.
Tip: You can demonstrate ideas for morning warm up exercises and show kids some of your favorite sport exercises.
After breakfast, it is normal to help with cleaning the dishes and daily chores.
Don’t fret, here comes the best part. English Lessons! We will have 5-6 groups of kids and each group will be assigned 2 volunteers wherein introducing your plan for two weeks and work out goals that you want to achieve as a group comes into place. The lesson will last for one hour and then off we go to lunch.
The time to get to know ancient board games like Toguz Korgool & Besh Tash comes into picture after lunch. Initially, these games were played using stones. You can also bring some board games with you and teach kids how to play. This will be followed by a recreation activity around the house and gardens.
Every day, after our 4PM tea/ coffee break, every volunteer will get an opportunity to present his homeland to kidsand the new presentation. The night is all yours to enjoy right after dinner.
Once done with daily chores and fun English classes, we will learn how to make national felt decorations. Materials will be provided. The children will instruct how to make Kyrgyz ornaments and will create souvenirs together that you may take home. The national ornaments and handicraft has long history of its development and played an important role in the lives of nomads. By making decorations you will get an opportunity to get to know children better and learn something from them.
Tea time by 4PM comes with enjoying another interesting presentation prepared by volunteers. Movie night follows dinner as we get the popcorns out for the film Kurmanjan-Datka, which tells the story of the Alai Queen in the XIXth century and how Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian Empire.
Learn to go hiking with the children all the way to the skiing base right after English classes and chores. It’s a very popular place for skiing at winter for locals. In summer, it offers beautiful landscape for hiking. A picnic would happen at the mountains where there would be opportunity to ride horses. It doesn’t stop there, playing some national outdoor games and enjoying nature can be done before heading back to the center for dinner and all the time you need to recover by evening.
As the daily chores and English lessons are covered, we’d be venturing to the next village- Bordu. Here, you’ll observe how townsmen live and get to help with herding their animals and bring back cow’s milk that you’ve milked yourself!
A deeper understanding for Kyrgyzstan hospitality by having dinner with the locals while enjoying the melodies of the national instrument Komuz awaits by nighttime. Late arrival at the center is expected but would be compensated with free time before hitting the hay.
As our morning rituals end, we will make a clean-up action in Orlovka town. The goal is to organize mass clean up, so local engagement will be present. This would give way to socialize and maximize meeting most in this small town. After the afternoon tea, a presentation. This is followed by dinner, then reading hour. Starting off with a novel by Chingiz Aitmatov, “The First Teacher”, which is a touching and interesting story of a teacher in the rural area, who tried to open school in the transition time of nomadism to settle on Soviet life. A discussion will precede, exchanging opinions and impressions with the children.
The neighboring town Tokmok is the next stop right after our daily routine. Once a flourishing city, nowadays, an animal bazaar where locals trade their livestock and pets. The atmosphere of an oriental bazaar, quite too similar back when nomads brought their stock to markets during the golden Age of the Silk Road. Lunch will stay in the mood as the group ventures to a local café and visit a chicken farm-factory afterwards. Arrival would just in time for afternoon tea and have some free time before dinner where another cultural show awaits.
A culinary duel awaits as the daily chores and English lessons are wrapped up. We will exchange recipes for making national dishes and try to cook it. For this you need to bring your favorite (but not too complex) recipe which you would like to share with kids. In this way children, will get to acquire new recipes and traditions and you will get a chance to learn how to cook Kyrgyz dishes. Clean-up and minor repairs will be done afterwards. After the dinner, we will have a karaoke evening, singing songs from all over the world and have fun!
After the breakfast, daily chores and teaching English, we will help the center with various repair works. Another Manaschi, or a person who narrates in a very special manner, the national epic of Manas. The epic was orally taught from generation to generation and in 1995, Kyrgyzstan celebrated the 1000th anniversary of Manas. The epic tells about hero Manas and his descendants, their victories and hardships in their attempts to unite and protect Kyrgyz nation. It is a very important part of cultural and national identity of Kyrgyz people, in which they are very proud of.
After dinner, we will have a final country presentation by the volunteers and start get ready for the day trip tomorrow.
We will get up early today, eat breakfast and transfer to our daytrip destination. Issyk-Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world after the Lake Titicaca. Its name means hot lake, referring to the fact that it never freezes. There are many beautiful legends about the lake that you can hear from children on the road. There are several sunken cities under the lake and occasionally, some archaeological items are found in the lake. Issyk-Kul is favorite place of locals to go swimming and spend time on the beach. We will go together with the children, sacrifice sheep, make shashlik-marinated meat pieces on stick and put up a yurt.
A trip back to the accommodation won’t be till late in the evening and could have more dinner if we will be still hungry after eating one sheep or just go to sleep.
As usual, we will start with our morning exercises, breakfast and doing chores. The last English lesson takes place and it will be time to look back and evaluate your stay. Discuss with kids if they achieved their goals and expectations that were set in the beginning, if our volunteering program was a positive experience to each of us and what we could do better in future. After the lunch, we will help with some repair work. In the afternoon and in the evening, you will have time to get ready for final evening performance with kids (you do not have to perform yourself, rather just help the children). Final performance will sum up your work as a volunteer at the center, for example, you can set up some theatre with kids in English, sing songs, dance and just celebrate the talents of kids and your hard work during this two weeks.
It’s a special as the volunteering work will come to an end, two weeks of work and fun are coming to a halt. A final morning exercise followed by breakfast together. Followed by a final clean up and assistance around the house. After lunch, you can start doing final rehearsals with your groups and will have the performance started. A tasty meal with some cake will be served by dinner before the giving of certificates to all participants.
An early wake up call for packing and breakfast, as there will be stop to the archeological site Burana that contains petroglyphs and ancient stone carvings (Balbals). Burana Tower was originally 45 meters high, but an earthquake in the 15th century destroyed the upper layers of the tower, reducing its height to 25 meters, the present height. It was built in the 11th century in ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanid empire in the 9th century. It doesn’t end there, there’ll be a visit to a small museum where you can see remnants of Buddhist religious relics, Nestorian crosses and ancient burial ossuary. You will see that different religions have parallelly existed on this territory before Islam domination.
There will be still free time by the time of arrival at Bishkek, so souvenir shopping is still possible at the Osh Bazaar, or even go for a walk or just relax in your free time!
A farewell dinner awaits by evening, where we can discuss our achievements during the past two weeks and share with each other the best and fun moments of the trip.
Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to beautiful Kyrgyzstan. Our driver will provide your transfer to Bishkek International Airport. We hope you’ve enjoyed your stay and will return soon to explore other Central Asian countries.