Join us for a magical trip in the heart of Kyrgyz nature. Discover the Issyk Kul Lake, Central Asia’s blue pearl, before continuing into the isolated mountains of Kyrgyzstan until Lake Son Kul.
Discover Kyrgyz traditions and take on horseback riding while exploring the best of Kyrgyzstan in 10 days.
Day 1Welcome and enjoy a barbecue in Chunkurchak
Manas airport - Bishkek
Your driver will pick you up at your arrival at the Manas airport. Transfer to your hotel.
Your guide will pick you up at 11H30 at the hotel lobby, to start exploring Kyrgyzstan’s beautiful nature. After a small one-hour hike in the valley of Chunkurchak, we settle for a delicious barbecue. You can enjoy your afternoon, relax in this calm environment, or continue your hike up to a waterfall.
Day 2Towards Central Asia’s blue pearl
Bishkek - Burana's minaret
We stop to visit the ruins of the Burana Minaret, a Jami mosque destroyed in the 13th century during invasions. The monument is rich in history, archeological findings and legends, and belongs to the Unesco world heritage. We can climb at the top of the tower to get a beautiful view on the valley and the mountains. We’ll also visit the museum on site.
Burana's minaret - Konorchek
Then we’ll go for a short hike in the Konorchek Canyons, a gorge with towering red, orange and yellow rocks similar to the Grand Canyon. You’ll be impressed and intimidated by the heights of the rock formations.
Konorchek - Tamchy
Finally, we make it to the shores of the Issyk-Kul Lake (1609m or 5979ft above sea level), the second largest alpine lake in the world. This is what we call the pearl of Kyrgyzstan. It is surrounded by the Celestial Mountains, with snow-capped summits that climb above 5000m, and are reflected in the crystal clear water. Several dozen rivers drop from the mountains into the lake via stunning valleys.
Day 3Hiking in the Grigorievka Valley
Tamchy - Tcholpon-Ata
In the morning, we visit the cultural center Ruh-Ordo in Cholpon-Ata. This center, nestled in a peaceful environment, is dedicated to the harmony between the four main religions, Islam, Judaism, Christianism and Buddhism. There are also spaces dedicated to art exhibits, and to main figures of Greek culture and of Kyrgyzstan.
Tcholpon-Ata - Grigorievka
North of Grigorievka, we take a small mountain trail to the Chong Ak-Suu Valley during approximately 40 minutes. We settle in a family’s house and leave for a hike in the green valley. We follow the "great white river", a strong mountain torrent.
Day 4Visiting Karakol
Grigorievka - Oi-Tal
We visit a family near Oi-Tal, and leave for a horse trek in the surrounding mountains. We follow the river of Chon Suu. We enjoy the view on this wild alpine landscape.
Oi-Tal - Karakol
We arrive at Karakol, a small town that borders Issky-Kul. We take the time to visit itsSaint Trinity Cathedral, an orthodox from the 19th century; and its Chinese mosque which looks like a Mongol Buddhist temple, built by the Dungan population. Finally, we visit the Przewalsky museum, where you will learn about local history.
Day 5The colorful Skazka canyons
Karakol - Jeti-öghüz
We continue our trip around the Issyk Kul Lake on the circular road. We arrive on the south shore, a wilder region than the north shore, where we’ll be able to enjoy breath-taking landscapes.
We then drive to the Jety Orguz Valley. Covered with fertile vegetation, this gorge is probably one of the prettiest in the country. It stretches over 37 km (23 miles), between the Issyk Kul Lake and the Tian Shan Mountains. Strange rock formations, nicknamed the “seven bulls” and the “broken heart”, fill the place with mystical legends. We hike in the valley.
Jeti-öghüz - Skaska canyon
Before heading towards our guest house, we visit the superb Skazka Canyons, whose name translates as Fairy Tale Canyons in Kyrgyz language. Formed from erosion, the rocks tower over the Issyk Kul Lake and offer a great contrast in color. Let your imagination work to make out the shapes of the rocks.
Day 6 - 7Discovering nomad life in Son Kul
Kyzyl-Tuu - Kochkor
We get back on the main road in direction of Kochkor, a village known for its local development initiatives. We visit a felt fabric held by an association of women, who make traditional felt rugs, the shyrdak, and other handicrafts.
Kochkor - Son Kul lake
We arrive on the shores of Son Kul Lake. This huge alpine lake is an important water reserve in Kyrgyzstan. Nestled in the celestial mountains, it is located at 3016 m (9895 ft) above sea level. Its crystal clear water changes colors depending on the weather, which can change every hour. The lake takes on blue, turquoise and sometimes even orange colors. It hosts nomadic shepherds and their herds in the warm months of summer.
We leave after breakfast to discover the lake on a horse.
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Day 8The Kekemeren River
Son Kul lake - Kyzyl-Oi
We continue our trip to Kyzyl Oi, which translates as "the red bowl".
This little village, located at 1800m altitude (5905ft), gets its name from the surrounding red mountains. The road is a little harsh, but this new landscape will astonish you.
We go for a short hike to discover this unexpected environment.
Day 9Visit Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital
Kyzyl-Oi - Bishkek
This is our last day before getting back to the capital. We leave the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, where we met a generous culture, and go back to Bishkek. Drop-off at your hotel, where you’ll be able to relax.
We visit the Osh Bazar, one of the most fascinating markets in Kyrgyzstan. Enjoy the colors and the smells coming from stands of dry fruits and spices. You can also buy a few traditional souvenirs to bring home.
Walk on the Ala Too Square in the center of Bishkek. Meeting place for Bishkek’s youth, it comes alive every evening with families and friends who come here to relax. It’s also an important historical place, since it hosted several revolutions.
We visit the National history museum near the main square.