Arrival day in Bishkek. There is no planned activities and the travelers can join the group at any time. Those who arrived at the morning or afternoon we will meet at the airport to transfer to the Hotel in Bishkek (according your flight schedule). At this day you will take your rest after flight. And at the evening we will have welcome meeting dinner. Accommodation Hotel in Bishkek.
City tour: Bishkek is modern capital city of Kyrgyz Republic and industrial center, and we’ll have a guided tour to explore its wide avenues and Soviet heritage (Ala Too Square, Historical Museum, Government House, Oak Park, Opera and Ballet Theater, Victory Square, Mosque). Accommodation Hotel in Bishkek.
We begin our journey towards UNESCO World Heritage site – Burana Tower an important point along the Great Silk Road in northern Kyrgyz Republic. It is located about 80 km east of the country’s capital Bishkek, near the town of Tokmok. The tower, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. An external staircase and steep, winding stairway inside the tower enables you to climb to the top. The entire site, including the mausoleums, castle foundations and grave markers, now functions as museum and there is a small building on the site containing historical information as well as artifacts found at the site and in the surrounding region. Accommodation at the guest house/yurt camp and lunch. Acquaintance with local people, mini trekking to Chon-Kemin National Park. Dinner at the guest house.
Moving in the direction of the pearl of Tien Shan to the Issyk-Kul lake, namely to the city of Cholpon-Ata, along the path of the photo stop in Boom gorge. Cholpon-Ata is a resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul this district occupies most of the lake’s north shore. The town contains numerous large and small sanatoria, hotels and guesthouses to visitors. During the Soviet era it was much frequented by vacationers brought here in organized mass tours from other parts of the USSR. The view of the imposing alpine ranges of the Tian Shan across the lake is impressive. There is a local museum and an open-air site with about 2000 petroglyphs dating from 800 BC to 1200AD. Accommodation at the hotel on the pearl shore. Lunch at a local cafe. After lunch, sailing on a yacht, and visiting the KC “Ruch Ordo”. Free time. Dinner at a local cafe.
Drive to the city of Karakol. Karakol formerly Przhevalsk, is the fourth largest city, about 150 kilometres (93 mi) from the Kyrgyzstan-China border. A Russian military outpost founded on 1 July 1869, Karakol grew in the 19th century after explorers came to map the peaks and valleys separating Kyrgyzstan from China. In the 1880s Karakol’s population surged with an influx of Dungans, Chinese Muslims fleeing warfare in China. Arrival in the city we’ll have a short sightseeing tour of the town, visiting Dungan Mosque, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Prjevalskii Memorial Complex. After lunch departure to the highland gorge Altyn-Arashan, Altyn Arashan is a valley and mountain resort near Karakol. It lies along the trekking route from Ak Suu. It is a hot spring development set in an alpine valley, containing the 5020 metre Pik Palatka in its southern part. It is said to “include three groups of nitric thermals springs on the right side of the Arashan River, 20 km southeast of Karakol mountain, situated in a picturesque forest landscape at an altitude of 2350-2435 metres. In Altyn Arashan we will pass by the resort, which has numerous wooden sheds which contain hot sulfurous pools to cure various ailments. The resort is set in a botanical research area called the Arashan State Nature Reserve which has about 20 snow leopards and several bears. In Altyn Arashan there is the option to relax in the hot springs (there are thermal baths of up to +50degC). Accommodation in Karakol, dinner and lunch at a local café.
Early at the morning we will drive to Kochkor. On the way we will visit village of Jeti- Oguz about 25 km west of Karakol, at the mouth of the Jeti-Oguz canyon is an extraordinary formation of red sandstone cliffs. It was established in 1975 with a purpose of conservation of a unique geological formation – sheer cliffs composed of Tertiary red conglomerates. The name derives from the rock formation’s resemblance to seven bulls and a legend about a khan’s unfaithful wife. Another near-by formation is called the ‘broken heart’. The rock formation is a well-known landmark in Kyrgyzstan and is seen as a national or regional symbol, and hence is the subject of paintings, songs, and even music videos. The surrounding area is known for its natural environment. The next destination is the village of Bokonbaevo, where we see an ancient species of falconry and eagle hunting, Salbuurun. In the same place we will have a lunch at a local family. After we stop in the village of Kyzyl-Tuu, where local residents are focused on making Kyrgyz yurt – ‘BOZ-UY’. Arrival in Kochkor, showing the production of felt carpets, accommodation in the guest house and dinner.
Next departure to the high-mountainous Son-Kul Lake. Song Kul is an alpine lake in northern Naryn province of Kyrgyz Republic. It lies at an altitude of 3016 m, and has an area of about 270 km2 and volume of 2.64 km3. The lake’s maximum length is 29 km, breadth about 18 km, and the deepest point is 13.2 m. It is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan after Issyk Kul Lake, and the largest fresh water lake in Kyrgyzstan. Its name, meaning “following lake”, is popularly considered to refer to this relation. It is surrounded by a broad summer pasture and then mountains. Its beauty is greatly praised and cultural heritage of nomads in the form of their small ancient settlement will be presented in all its glory. Arrival, accommodation in the yurt camp, lunch. Dinner around the campfire, along with famous representatives of the country’s culture, who will share with you interesting knowledge about the traditions and games of nomads.
Free morning in Son-Kul. It boasts beautiful mountains, alpine pastures and Son-Kul Lake which during summer months attracts large herds of sheep and horses with their herders and their yurts. The lake sits in the central part of Song Kul Valley surrounded by Songkul Too ridge from the north, and Borbor Alabas and Moldo Too Mountains from the south, where you can enjoy of walking and meeting with local Kyrgyz families. Lunch at the yurt camp. After lunch departure to the city of Naryn, the administrative center of the same name area. Naryn is located in the east of the country and borders with Chuy Region in the north, Issyk Kul Region in the northeast, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China in the southeast, Osh Region in the southwest, and Jalal-Abad Region in the west. Its area is 84 square kilometres (32 sq mi). It is situated on both banks of the Naryn River (one of the main head waters of the Syr Darya), which cuts a picturesque gorge through the town. From Naryn, the main road (one of the branches of the ancient Silk Road) runs south through the sparsely settled central Kyrgyz highlands to the Torugart Pass and China. At present, this is the main transport link from Kyrgyzstan to China. Naryn hosts one of three campuses of the University of Central Asia (UCA). It is the world’s first internationally chartered institution of higher education. The region was established on 21 November 1939 as Tien-Shan Region. It is known as the location of Son Kol Lake which you visited previous day and Chatyr-Kul Lake and Tash Rabat the our next destination. Today the oblast is considered to be the poorest region in the country, but also the most typically Kyrgyz. Accommodation in the guest house and dinner.
Today we will move to Tash Rabat is a well-preserved 15th century stone caravanserai in At Bashy district, Naryn Province located at an altitude of 3,200 meters. Tash-Rabat was built in the 15th century on the site of an ancient monastery from the 9th to the 10th century. There are two versions of its foundation: the first is that the fortress was founded by a khan who wanted to protect commercial caravans from thieves while contributing to the development of the country. The second is that it was founded by a local rich man, but the construction of this castle did not end for unknown reasons. Over time, Islam finally settled in Central Asia and the monastery began to decline. However, the proximity of the Silk Road did not allow the temple to become a desert. It was used as a caravanserai. It is thought that Tash-Rabat was a key point when crossing the Tien Shan, as it provided not only a shelter for the merchants, but also a fortification during the robber raids. Through Tash-Rabat, commercial caravans were sent to the towns of the Fergana Valley. The structure consists of 31 rooms, including chambers in the central hall. The rooms are dome-shaped; transition from a quadrangular frame to a dome is done using a squinch. Tash Rabat is completely made of crushed stone on clay mortar with gypsum mortar sealing joints. The area is a center for hiking and horse-trekking. Lunch at a camp nearby. Return to Naryn, on the way visit the ruins of the ancient Koshoi-Korgon fortress. Arrival at the guest house and dinner.
Breakfast in the guest house. Moving to the highland village of Kazarman, which stands as a keeper to the sacred petroglyphs of Saimaluu Tash. The accommodation in the guest house, lunch. And we will meet with the locals to discover their live style. Dinner at the guest house.
At the morning we will go to one of the main highlights, to the gallery of petroglyphs – Saimaluu-Tash. Saimaluu Tash petroglyphs site is located on the Ferghana Range at about 3,200 metres (10,500 ft) in two high valleys, separated by a low mountain ridge. The site is 30 kilometres (19 mi) away to the south of Kazarman and listed under UNESCO’s Tentative List as “Saimaly-Tash Petroglyphs”. Over 10,000 carved pictures—and perhaps as many as 11,000 – which are black-and-white rock paintings, have so far been identified, making the site a globally important collection of rock art. They are a sacred display of offerings of the ancient people of this territory. Saimaluu-Tash is an inaccessible mountainous area on the eastern slope of the Fergana Range and it is impossible to reach there by car and will take about a day’s walk to both sides. Lunch box. Arrival in the village of Kazarman. Dinner at the guest house.
Moving to the “southern capital” of Osh city. On the way visit Jalal-Abad, one of the main branches of the Silk Road passed through Jalalabat and renowned for setting up Caravanserais to serve travelers and many pilgrims who came to the holy mountain. Jalal-Abad is situated at the north-eastern end of the Fergana valley along the Kogart River valley, in the foothills of the Babash Ata mountains, very close to Uzbekistan border and known for its mineral springs (in Several Soviet era sanatoriums offer mineral water treatment programs for people) in its surroundings, and the water from the nearby Azreti-Ayup-Paygambar spa was long believed to cure lepers. The Jalal-Abad Region also is known for its walnuts called the Arslanbob Waterfalls and Sary-Chelek Nature Reserve, which one we will visit later. In the city itself, sites include the town square and the culture park, which contains various sculptures and Jalalabad’s theater. After visiting the city we will have lunch and we move to the historic complex of Uzgen. Uzgen is located 54 km northeast of the town of Osh and one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, with more than two thousand years. Published in the II – I centuries. BC e. as a trading center on the way from Fergana Valley to Kashgar. In the Middle Ages, the city was an important center on the Central Asian trade route to Kashgar. In the twelfth century, it was the second capital of the state Karakhanid. Its monuments constitute a unique historical and cultural heritage. There is a minaret height of 44 m, built in the early twelfth century, while the city was the capital of the Karakhanid dynasty. Nearby are a mosque and madrasas, as well as a mausoleum. Representatives of the Karakhanid dynasty are buried in the mausoleum. After visiting historical place at the evening we will arrive in Osh city, check-in at the hotel, dinner at a local cafe.
Breakfast at the hotel and we will start our journey by visiting Osh city. Osh is the second largest city which is located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the “capital of the south”. It is the oldest city in the country (estimated to be more than 3000 years old). The city has an ethnically mixed population comprising Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Russians, Tajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups. It is about 5 km away from the Uzbekistan border. Osh has an important outdoor bazaar which has been taking place on the same spot for the past 2000 years, and was a major market along the Silk Road. In the city tour we will visit several monuments, including one to the southern Kyrgyz “queen” Kurmanjan Datka and one of the few remaining statues of Lenin. A Russian Orthodox church, reopened after the demise of the Soviet Union, the second largest mosque in the country (situated beside the bazaar) and the 16th-century Rabat Abdul Khan Mosque can be found here. The World Heritage Site of Sulayman Mountain, offers a splendid view of Osh city. It marked the midpoint on the ancient Silk Road, the overland trade route taken by caravans between Europe and Asia. The National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman is carved in the mountain, containing a collection of archaeological, geological and historical finds and information about local flora and fauna. After visit of museum we will have lunch at a local café, then we move in the direction of the west. A visit to the amazing phenomenon of nature – Abshir Sai waterfall and we will arrive to Batken, where we will stay in a guest house and dinner.
Today’s journey will start by visiting the endemic flower Aigul by it myster. It is interesting to note that the flower grows on the steep slopes of a single rocky mountain near the village of Kara-Bulak, called Aigul-Tash. The scientific name of the plant is Fritillaria eduardii Regel and is listed in the Red Book. This rocky mountain is located about 15-18 km from Batken. Aigul is a plant with a height of 1-1.5 meters with long green leaves that grow all over the stem. Experts note that the sprouts at the “moon flower” peck only after seven years, and after seven more, the first flower appears. And so each year one bright orange bud is added. Therefore, seeing Aigul, you can count how old flower is. In Persian, this flower is called “Tears of Maryam”, and in Europe, “The tears of Mary” or “The tears of the Virgin”. In legends, tales, myths and local fairy tales, it is called the symbol of the mountainous region, the flower of love, happiness and courage. During our visit we will have lunch at a local cafe or lunch box and departure to the city of Osh, check-in at the hotel, dinner at a local cafe.
Today we will go to the east to the valley of the Arslanbop walnut forests. Arslanbob is reached from Jalal-Abad via Bazar-Korgon. Kyzylunkyur is 15 kilometres away, reachable via Oogon-Talaa, which is situated in the Kara-Unkur valley. The walnut forest is within the 60,000 hectares forest situated between the Fergana and Chatkal Mountains. The walnut forest is located at altitudes varying between 1,500 metres and 2,000 metres above sea level on the Fergana range’s south-facing slopes. At 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres), the Arslanbob woodland is the largest walnut grove on Earth. Arslanbob’s grove produces 1500 tonnes of walnuts per year and is the largest single natural source of walnuts on Earth. It is considered a treasure of the southern forests of Kyrgyzstan as the trees have a life span of about 1000 years and yield large amount of fruits known for its medicinal qualities as it contains “vitamins, microelements and other nutrients”. It is a popular wood for making furniture and other crafts. The walnut Juglans regia is native to a wide region in Central Asia. By the time of Alexander the Great, the walnut forest was locally known for hunting. He took the walnuts from Sogdiana, and these formed the European plantations. It is also said that he exported the walnut plants to Greece during his campaigns in Central Asia. This is inferred from the usage of the word “Gretski”, meaning “Greek” nuts for walnuts in Russian. Hence, it is nicknamed as the ″Greek nut″. After discovering this unique place on the earth we will continue our trip to waterfalls. Behind the town of Arslanbob are the Khrebet Babash-Ata Mountains. There are two waterfalls nearby. One measures 80 metres high and has a slippery scree slope; it is situated in a cliff face north of the village. Another, to the east, is 23 metres in height and has two prayer caves, one of which is known as the Cave of the 40 Angels.Within walking distance is the Dashman Forest Reserve, another walnut forest. For today evening the accommodation at the guest house and lunch. Dinner at the guest house.
Breakfast in the guest house. Departure to the next item – Lake Sary-Chelek, which literally translates as “yellow bowl”, there is some truth in this as a form of bowl. Sary-Chelek is a freshwater lake and located on the territory of the Sary-Chelek State Biosphere Reserve, near the junction of the Chatkal and At-Oinok ridges, in the Western Tien Shan. It belongs to the Kara-Suu river basin, the right tributary of the Naryn. It is one of the largest lakes of Kyrgyzstan. The length is 7.5 km and height above sea level – 1878 m. The reservoir was formed about 10 thousand years ago as a result of a mountain collapse. Around the lake we will do trekking, and during trekking we will have lunch (lunch boxes) after transfer to the guest house and dinner.
Breakfast at the guest house. Departure to the city of Talas and located in the Talas River valley between two mountain ranges. To the south is the Besh-Tash (five rocks) valley with the Besh-Tash National Park. Its economy has traditionally been oriented towards the ancient city of Taraz (once named Talas and Dzhambul) in present day Kazakhstan. Talas is noun also by Manas, the mythical Kyrgyz national hero, is said to have been born in the Ala Too mountains in Talas oblast. Before arriving in the city, we will visit the Manas Ordo Cultural Center, which contains the main concepts of the epos, a mausoleum called the Kümböz Manas. However, the inscription on its richly decorated facade dedicates it to “…the most glorious of women Kenizek-Khatun, the daughter of the Emir Abuka”. Legend explains that Manas’ wife Kanikey ordered a deliberately false inscription in order to mislead her husband’s enemies and prevent the desecration of his body. The building, known as Manastin Khumbuzu or The Ghumbez of Manas, is thought to have been built in 1334. It now contains a museum dedicated to the epic. A ceremonial mound also lies nearby. On the way, the photo stop in the Chichkan gorge, is a long and picturesque gorge through the Bishkek-Osh road passes. A wooded canyon, the slopes of which are covered with Tien Shan spruce, Chychkan in Kyrgyz means “mouse.” This specific name was given to the gorge because of the abundance of field mice that live in numerous burrows on its slopes. The average height of the gorge is 2200 meters. This is a great place for recreation, and we will organize a picnic and a small walk through the wooded mountain slopes. Such amount of vegetation is impossible without a large amount of water. In Chychkan it is really a lot. A stormy river flows through the bottom of the gorge, which flows into the Toktogul reservoir, and its numerous streams fill the slopes of the mountains after melting mountain snow. There are also several small lakes in the gorge, which are located at an altitude of 3000 meters. Chychkan is famous for its honey. The gorge is rich in flowers and herbs, and therefore honey is unusually fragrant and tasty. And we continue our journey in the Suusamyr valley, it is located between the Talas Ala Too and the Kyrgyz Range in the north, the Susamyrtoo and Jumgal Too ranges in the south. The valley itself is located at an altitude of 2,200 meters and is surrounded by mountain peaks up to 4,500 meters, located at a distance of 160 km from the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek. In the valley is the ski complex Too-Ashuu – a great place for lovers of trail skiing. Also Suusamyr valley is known among lovers of paragliding and paratourism. The height of starts is 3000 meters. In the valley there are no wires and trees, solid fields. Therefore, landing quite safe. Arrival in the city of Talas, accommodation in a guest house, dinner.
Last day before depature we are closing the circle, we return to the capital Bishkek, filled with special impressions. Hotel accommodation, lunch. Free time. Closing dinner.
Breakfast at the hotel. Airport transfer
This tour is a unique opportunity to see almost the entire territory of the country, all seven areas, the main attractions. 18 days of exciting days that truly will give you a lot of emotions, the atmosphere of nomadism and colorfulness, the highlight of which will be the Saimaluu Tash petroglyphs, to which the path opens only in these months below.
Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan, located at the foot of the Tien Shan mountains in Central Asia. From here you can reach the Ala-Too mountain ranges and the Ala-Archa National Park, famous for its glaciers and wildlife. Cultural centers of the city – the monumental National Museum of Art and the Opera and Ballet Theater, housed in a building with columns. On the central square of Ala-Too, there is a monument to the hero of the Kyrgyz epic, Manas the Noble.
Issyk-Kul (Kirg. Issyk-Kul – “hot lake”) is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, without drainage, is among the 30 largest lakes in the world and is in seventh place in the list of the deepest lakes. Located in the northeastern part of the republic, between the ranges of the Northern Tien Shan: Küngöy-Ala-Too and Terskey Ala-Too at an altitude of 1609 m above sea level. The lake is drainless, up to 80 relatively small tributaries flow into it.
The Saimaluu-Tash petroglyphs date back to 2000 and 3000 BC, but there are newer images from the 8th century, or even more recent ones, in this open-air museum. In the Bronze Age, the local settlers decided to cut them on stones, and in the Middle Ages the place became sacred and was used for religious rites. On stones you can see images of ibexes, horses and wolves, as well as hunting scenes in which hunters pursue deer with arrows and spears. In addition, there are drawings depicting the cultivation of the earth, the moon, the sun, dancing demons. The Saimaluu-Tash petroglyphs are still not fully understood because the valley is located in a remote area, and access is open only in the summer months when there is no of snow.
Uzgen is interesting primarily for its rich history. The first settlements on the site of modern Uzgen formed in the I-II centuries BC. The city is located on the banks of the large river Kara-Darya, in the eastern part of the Fergana Valley. Such a good location made this city a very significant center of commerce and culture in ancient times. For a long time, the city played an important role, being the most important trading point between China and Central Asia.
In the 12th century AD, the city became the capital of the Karakhanid Kaganate, which was transferred here from the Balasagun captured by Mongolian tribes, located in the Chui valley and now known as the Burana tower. During this period, the main sights of Uzgen were built – three Uzgen mausoleums and the Uzgen minaret. Then the city was part of the Kokand khanate, right up to the arrival of the Russian Empire in this region, and later the Soviet Union.
Wonderful experience! I’ve been astonished by the landscapes and amazing nature, especially in Issykkul lake. Kyrgyzstan is a must!
I have spent 18 days in Kyrgyzstan, maybe the best of all travels I have made! The Kyrgyz are so kind. Even I’m 64 years old, Berdibek, my guide took good care of me, especially in the hiking.