From the Celestial Mountains to the throne of the King Solomon (13 days/12 nights)
Bishkek – Tamchi – Kochkor – Son Kul Lake – At Bashy – Tash Rabat - Arslan-Bob – Osh - Bishkek
Period: mid-June – end-September
Day 1 Europe - Bishkek: Meeting at “Manas” International Airport. Transfer to Bishkek. Sight-seeing tour of Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic. From 1926 to 1991 the city was known as Frunze named after the Bolshevik military leader Mihail Frunze. After the independence it was renamed Bishkek. Visiting Ala-Too Square, the main square of Kyrgyzstan, The State Historical Museum, providing different founds and exhibits relating to the Kyrgyz history, Old Square, Manas Square called after Kyrgyz legendary hero Manas, “ZUM” shopping center where you can buy different souvenirs. Lunch at a local restaurant. Visiting colorful Osh Bazaar, the main open-air market in Bishkek. Dinner and overnight in a local family.
Day 2 Bishkek – Tamchi (200km): Leaving Bishkek. On the way visiting the Burana Museum, a site of a medieval city of Balasagun, the capital of the Karahanid Kaganate, a Turkic dynasty of the 11 century. Setting off for the Issyk-Kul Lake. On the way visiting Konorchek Canyon. Hiking about 3 hours amidst impressive beauty of the canyon that resembles the Grand Canyon in the United States. In the afternoon arrival in Tamchi village at the Issyk-Kul Lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world. Situated at the altitude of more than 1600 meters above the sea level the lake keeps a very pleasant temperature of about 25°C.
Day 3 Tamchi – Kochkor : In the morning going swimming in the lake, then continuing the way in the direction of the Son-Kul Lake. Arrival in Kochkor village, where we can explore national traditions and customs, watch the process of making traditional Kyrgyz carpets and see a folklore concert. Overnight in a local family.
Day 4 Kochkor – Son Kul : Getting up early in the morning for a visit of a local animal bazaar and a small museum of handicraft. Then setting off for Sary-Bulak, where we can try fried fish from the Son-Kul Lake. In the afternoon drive to a small valley of Toeloek, then to the Kalmak-Ashu Pass. Then walk (2h) from one yurt to another to the Son-Kul Lake (“Last Lake”), situated at the height of 3016. We can see the life of nomadic people, traditions and customs of Kyrgyz ancestors. We meet a Kyrgyz family that hosts us in their yurt for a night.
Day 5 Son-Kul: In the morning an excursion to the mystical stones of Manas. Then drive along the coast of the lake towards the jailoo (summer pasture) of our nomads. We will try Kumyz, a traditional Kyrgyz drink (fermented mare’s milk) and other dishes made of milk. In the afternoon we will watch national horse riding games and participate in the process of assembling a yurt, national house of nomadic people. Overnight in a yurt.
Day 6 Son-Kul – Kurtka : In the morning walk toward petroglyphs (rock drawings). Drive to the Naryn River, the longest river in Kyrgyzstan, come down to the Kurtka valley and then to Ak-Taala (white fields). Drive to the bank of the river. Camping, making a fire. Overnight in a tent.
Day 7 Kurtka - At-Bashy: Morning and breakfast in Kurtka. Drive to Naryn city (2h), the administrative center of the Naryn region, the last city on the road to Torugart Pass, Kyrgyz-Chinese border. Visit of the city, its bazaar, the Art Gallery. Drive to At-Bashy village, visit of the ruins of an old fortress Kosho-Korgon. In the evening dinner with local people who will tell us about the famous Kyrgyz Epic « Manas», the biggest oral epic in the world, telling about the life of a legendary hero of the Kyrgyz. Homestay in a family.
Day 8 At-Bashy - Tash-Rabat 3200m : In the morning we continue to follow the way of ancient traders, the route to Kashgar. On the way visit to Tash-Rabat, a Karavan Sarai of the 15th century and a unique stone building in Central Asia of that time. It served as an inn for travelers and traders. Enjoy the nature, opportunity to see yaks that are very popular animals in the Naryn region. Overnight in a yurt.
Day 9 Tash-Rabat – Kosh-Debe : Setting off for the most unexplored corners of Kyrgyzstan. Drive over MELS Pass (Marks, Engels, Lenin, Stalin). Coming down to the basin of the Naryn River. Opportunity to watch wild nature, see different birds and animals such as griffins, eagles, falcons, ibex, Marco Polo rams. Overnight in tent.
Day 10 Kosh-Debe – Arslanbob : Drive through Kazarman village, then one of the highest passes of the Great Silk Road. Immersion into the green kingdom of the Pamir-Alai, one of the two mountain chains on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. Overnight in guesthouse.
Day 11 Arslanbob : Walking in Arslanbob walnut forests covering 11 000 hectares and sometimes called “the Royal Woods of Kyrgyzstan”. It is known that nuts from this area were exported along the Great Silk Road in the Middle Ages. Here we can enjoy the wonderful nature and have a hike to a small waterfall. Overnight in tent.
Day 12 Arslanbob walnut forests: Crossing the pass and spending the whole day amidst these walnut forests, that were famous from ancient times and liked by Alexander the Great who had a campaign to Central Asia (329-327 BC). They say that he took the seeds of walnut trees to Greece and they became very popular in Europe. In many languages “walnut” means “Greek nut”. Overnight in a local family.
Day 13 Arslanbob- Osh : Coming down to the Fergana valley towards Osh city, the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan . On the way visit to a town of Uzgen that once was an important city of the Karakhanid Kaghanate (a Turkic dynasty) and a major trading point on the Great Silk Road. The architecture complex consisting of 11th century minaret and three mausoleums dating from the 11th and 12th centuries makes Uzgen one of the unique architectural sites of medieval Central Asia.
Arrival in Osh city. sightseeing tour of Osh. We will have an opportunity to see famous Sulaiman Too (Solomon’s Mountain), that is situated in the city center and has four slopes and that is considered to be a pilgrimage place for local Muslims, because, according to the legend, biblical prophet Solomon (Suleiman in the Koran) was buried at the foot of it. At the top of the mountain (about 30 minutes climb) there is a flagpole and a mosque built by Babur, the founder of the Mogul Dynasty in India, who was a king of the Fergana Valley in the 15th century.
In one of the caves of Suleiman Too there is the Suleiman Mountain Museum, where we can see different things that were found in the immediate vicinity of the mountain, photos of the mountain’s petroglyphs, that date back to different centuries.
In the afternoon visit of a traditional chaihana (tea-house), where you can try traditional Kyrgyz and Asian dishes, including plov, lagman, samsy- baked meat dumplings that are very popular in Central Asia.
After lunch a walk around the city , opportunity to see ordinary people’s life. Visit the famous Osh Bazaar, a classical example of an eastern market, situated on the bank of the Ak-Bura River and a three-storey yurt. In the evening dinner and overnight in guesthouse.
Day 14 Osh-Bishkek: Early in the morning setting off for the Kyrgyz capital. We will come back to Djalal-Abad and then to the Naryn River. We will see Toktogul reservoir, the biggest reservoir in Kyrgyzstan. After picnic we will round the reservoir and ascend to Chichkan Canyon and to Ala-Bel Pass (3184m). Then we will come down to a wide valley used as a huge pasture land called by Kyrgyz nomads “jailoo”. We will stop at yurts to try Kyrgyz drink Kumyz (fermented mare’s milk) once more. After that the road will lead us to Toe-Ashuu Tunnel (Camel’s Pass) at the altitude of more than 3100m and enjoy a wonderful scenery from the top. Then we will descend to Kara-Balta Canyon to get to the Chui Valley. Arrival in Bishkek. Overnight in guesthouse.
FOLLOWING SERVICES ARE INCLUDED:
- Meeting at airport
- Guide service
- Admission to museums
- Admission to national parks
FOLLOWINGS ARE NOT INCLUDED:
- Travel insurance
- Air tickets and taxes
- Visa support
- Alcohol and water
- Additional services
Quote for the tour will be provide upon request and will depend on number of people in the group, hotel preferences (2,3,4,5 *), room types (single, twin…) and other factors.
For detailed itinerary you can refer to this large Map of Kyrgyzstan
NOTES:Kyrgyz visa can be obtained in the permanent representation of Kyrgyzstan in Europe or at Manas International Airport in Bishkek (2 passport’s photos and 35$ per pax, passport with a validity of minimum 6 months.)This is a draft program. It can be revised in line with your request and your personal circumstances such as changes in flights, bad weather conditions and other unforeseen events.