Did you know we offer tours to Kyrgyzstan? Come with us and discover the amazing and unique country that is often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Asia’ due to its natural beauty and clean air. From unspoilt mountains and their stark craggy ridges, to rolling pastures and vast lakes, all rich in flora and fauna, Kyrgyzstan is really the place to “get away from it all” and it is very easy to see why it is the gateway of choice for many travellers in Central Asia.
On our tours we explore the fascinating culture and history of the people, many of whom are still semi-nomadic and travel on the famous “Silk Road”. We offer you first-hand experience of life in a “Yurt Camp” and give you the opportunity to spend a couple of nights staying in these remarkable homes, complete with decorated felt carpets and ample hospitality.
Discover Kyrgyzstan with Our Classic Kyrgyzstan tour.
We explore the country’s capital Bishkek, nestled amongst the snow-clad ring of the Tian Shan mountains. It is a mixture of brutalist Soviet buildings, nomadic culture, and urban appreciation. We dig deeper into this wonderful city on our sightseeing tour which includes the Monument of Kyrgyz National hero, which was unveiled in 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of Kyrgyzstan independence, the nine metres-long bronze figures on horseback are called “Manas the Magnanimous”. We will also watch the changing of the Guards, marking the anniversary of Kyrgyzstan’s independence, visit the statues of Kurmanjan Datka and Lenin, Ala Too Square, Government buildings, Oak park, Bishkek Art gallery and Victory Square.
Head out to the beautiful countryside where you will discover the fascinating Burana Tower. It is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun. The city was infiltrated by the Mongols in 1218, and by the 14th century the city was left in ruins. The tower was originally 44m tall but due to the destruction from both war and the elements it has been worn down to 25m tall. Whilst you are here you will learn more about the famous Silk Road, why this area was strategically important and the artefacts on display give an insight into a time gone by.
You will then be taken to Issyk Kul Lake, which is the second largest alpine lake in the world. It is 182 km long, nearly a kilometre deep and during the summer period the water becomes very warm – perfect for swimming! Upon arriving at the lake shore resort in Cholpon Ata, you will be taken to visit the famous local petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings) site before having dinner in a local restaurant. In the morning, the tour continues along the north shore of Issyk Kul lake to Karakol, a small, but very interesting 19th century town. It was originally an important Russian military outpost in days gone and still features the remarkably interesting original architecture.
The tour of Karakol will include the Dungan mosque, famous for its Chinese Pagoda design, and built without using a single nail. It also features a well-known wall of icons and religious paintings. In the 1800s, a group of Chinese Muslims, known as Dungans, fled to Karakol to escape political unrest in China. Their arrival diversified the Karakol community and proceeded to introduce elements of Chinese tradition and architecture to the city.
As well as this we will take you to explore the Memorial Museum of N.M. Przhevalsky, the eminent Russian explorer, the wooden Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church. Then to the stunning Djety Oguz (Seven Bulls) Canyon for a guided short hike. The iconic Seven Bulls are ridges of deep red rock rearing from the alpine forests and lush countryside, and one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous natural landmarks. We will also learn about the nearby Soviet sanatorium, celebrated for its therapeutic waters and known for treating cosmonauts, including Yuri Gagarin. You will then spend the night in Tamga, a village on the south shore of Issyk Kul Lake, known for its Russian style ‘gingerbread’ cottages.
We visit Skazka canyon, one of the most beautiful attractions on the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kul. Also known as Fairy-tale Canyon, the colourful red rock formations are a complete contrast to the green alpine meadows and the snow-capped peaks that Kyrgyzstan is known for. At Kochkor village you will have an opportunity to see how the local people make Shydraks (an unusually coloured, stitched felt floor-covering) and how they keep this ancient tradition alive. We will then take you to explore the alpine Son Kul Lake, which lies at an altitude of 3016m in the Tien Shan mountain range. It is the second largest in Kyrgystan and although being 30km across, it is very shallow.
During the summer, the Son Kul meadowland is considered one of the best Kyrgyz jailoo’s (a traditional summer pasture). You may see nomadic herders watching over flocks of goats and sheep and herds of horses. Marvel at stunning views of this unique place and take time to explore the surrounding area. You will spend the night in a yurt camp, near the lake for a truly authentic experience. Yurts are traditional circular tents covered with skins or felt, used for shelter by nomadic people. Inside the yurt you will find beds with warm blankets and sleeping bags, a chest for your luggage, and a traditional stove to make the yurt warm and cosy. The yurt floor is covered with traditional colourful felt rugs called “shyrdaks”. You will spend the night at a local comfortable yurt camp, where you can feel like a real nomad and learn about the culture of Kyrgyzstan.
Next you will embark on a scenic drive, with photography stops, through the most mountainous province in Kyrgyzstan and the spectacular Moldo Ashuu pass. The area is widely known for having the best meat and delicious traditional food. You will see for yourself when we stop for lunch in the town of Naryn, which was once a small fortress and an important stop on the ancient Silk Road.
After a city tour of the Blue Mosque, Central Square and the History museum, we will drive you to our overnight stop in Tash Rabat yurt camp near the famous 10th century Tash Caravanserai (3000m above sea level). On the way, you can soak in the vivid scenery of this mountainous region and on arrival we can explore the Kara Koun gorge. Our stay at the yurt camp will give us another chance to experience daily nomadic life and taste a traditional home-cooked dinner.
Visit Tash Rabat, the famous ancient Silk Road Caravanserai. It is situated at an altitude of 3,200 meters in a scenic gorge, not far from the Chinese border. This rectangular building made of layered rock consists of 31 dome-shaped rooms and a central hall. Its origin is a mystery; however, some researchers consider it to be a Nestorian monastery, some suggest that it served as an overnight stop for the trade caravans during the Silk Road period, while others insist on its defensive function. During the various epochs, Tash Rabat Caravanserai performed different roles and made for a fascinating stop.
We then start our journey back in the direction of Bishkek city via Chon Kemin valley visiting the Orto Tokoi water reservoir and Boom canyon on route. The Chon Kemin valley, which is a unique natural area and home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, has many picturesque landscapes, including semi-deserts and glaciers and is famous for its historical battle grounds. Before you dine there will be time to relax, swim in the pool or have a walk in the closest canyon. Our tours offer plenty of free time as well as planned excursions.
On your final day we will head to Bishkek city where you will once again be free to explore and shop. You might want to visit the Osh Bazaar which is teeming with life and an abundance of produce or the local shops or the department store, ZUM.
On the last evening you will enjoy a farewell dinner and folk show at a local restaurant where musicians will play and sing traditional Kyrgyzstani songs. The perfect end to a week full of exploring a beautiful country!
To learn more about this tour, the cost, and any other information head over to our website.
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