This program will amaze you with a week rich in traditions in Kyrgyzstan. Come celebrate the Persian New Year Nowruz with us on March 21st. Elmira will welcome you in her home to show you the wealth of the Kyrgyz culture. Together, we will learn about local cuisine, games and hunting. After spending the holiday in Bishkek, we’ll take the road in direction of Issyk Kul Lake to explore the beauty of its southern shore.
This is an authentic trip for those who wish to discover the Central Asian...
Day 1Meet Elmira and her family
Manas airport - Bishkek
Your driver will pick you up at the airport upon arrival, and transfer you to your hotel.
After a short rest, we leave to meet our host family. Together, we’ll prepare for the holiday. We’ll help Elmira cook traditional Kyrgyz meals for the celebration, including the boorsok, small fried breads given at important events. This is a great opportunity to discover the local cuisine and bring home a few recipes.
Day 2Let's celebrate Nowruz, the Kyrgyz New Year!
__March 21st __ marks the new year around Central Asia, Nowruz. With our family, we’ll attend an event at the hippodrome, and get to watch many competitions with the best sportsmen of the country. These include traditional horse games, like Kok Boru.
On the main square of the Kyrgyz Capital, __Ala-Too __, locals come to celebrate Nowruz.
We spend the evening with Elmira’s family, and enjoy a great Kyrgyz meal. The dinner will be accompanied by a concert of Komuz, the traditional instrument, to complete your immersion in local culture.
Day 3The Chon Kemin National Park
Bishkek - Burana's minaret
On the way, we stop to visit the Burana Tower, a mosque that was destroyed in the 13th century during invasions. We’ll be able to climb up on the roof of this Unesco world heritage site, from which you’ll have a splendid view on the mountains. We’ll also visit a small museum, which shows the history of this sight and archeological treasures found nearby.
Burana's minaret - Chon-Kemin National Park
We arrive in the green Chon Kemin Valley, a natural reserve park that offers a splendid diversity of landscapes, with its large forests, its rivers, its gorges and glaciers.
You’ll be able to explore this wilderness on horseback from the guest house where we’ll spend the night.
Day 4On the shores of Issyk Kul Lake
Chon-Kemin National Park - Bokonbayevo
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.
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 5Ancient traditions
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.
This morning, we attend an eagle hunting demonstration. The Kyrgyz hunter, on his horse, will show you the impressive agility of his eagle, who will have to catch small preys like a rabbit.
We’ll also have the chance to see traditional archery.
Day 6Visit Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital
Kyzyl-Tuu - 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.