Kyrgyzstan's highlights in an active way!
This trip will lead you through the Tien Shan Mountains on the tracks of the Kyrgyz nomads. You will discover the natural and cultural treasures of Kyrgyzstan: the wild shore of Issyk Kul lake, Tash Rabat caravanserai and the alpine pastures of stupendous Son Kul Lake.
Discover the nomadic life
Throughout this trip, you will be immersed into the ancient nomadic culture and its equestrian tradition.
Arrival in Bishkek. Meeting with the local guide in the airport. Transfer to the center of city. Having a rest. Lunch. Afternoon, visit of the capital. Dinner and return to the guest house. Overnight in guesthouse.
The road takes up the valley of Chuy, to arrive at the lake Issyk Kul, the 2nd biggest mountain's lake to the world after Titicaca. The road passes by the south bank of the lake Issyk Kul, very authentic and surprising landscapes between forests and desert. Installation at the inhabitant in Bokonbaeva or under yurt by the lake.
On the way, visit of Burana tower site, on the ruins of the ancient Karakhanid’s capital, Balasagyn. Lunch in Boom gorge and then short walk (2h) in Konorchek canyon to admire the red rocks structures.
Other options: rafting in the river of Chuy or Chong Kemin, visit of the ancient cities: Ak-Beshim, Navekat ; meeting with a hunter provided with an eagle; visit of the producers of yurts of the village of Kyzyl Tuu.
Day active or day of rest, relaxation, swimming in the waters of Lake Issyk Kul. Overnight in yurts the all year-around on the shore of the lake.
Options included : hiking on the Boz Alkyn pasture, hiking Skazka canyon "fairy tale",
Options non included : eagle training, visit of holy springs of Manjili Ata, visit of Ak-Say canyon, visit of Kyzyl Tuu village and yurt makers,
Depending on your wishes, the options can be combined in advance with your trip designer or with your guide once there.
Last moments on the shore of Issyk Kul, we meet Kurmanbek, with his family that makes yurts in the small village of Kyzyl Tuu for several generations. He will teach us the secrets of making yurts, symbols of the nomadic peoples of Central Asia.
We continue our discovery of Kyrgyz handicrafts at the Kochkor Altyn Kol Felt Cooperative. We will have a lunch here in a cozy café or guesthouse in Kochkor.
After lunch, we take the road to Song Kul Lake via Kalmak-Ashuu at 3447m., the view is amazing, make sure that you grab your camera.
Arrival to the yurt camp at 3016m, at the foot of the mountains. Now is a great time to discover the surroundings, gather and milk the cows, gaze at the fascinating lake, this time is designed to be flexible.
Overnight in the yurt.
One-day walking on the horses in the Son-Kul. We will discover nomad’s life. We will walk around the yurts and go up high mountains with shepherd... Coming back to the yurts camp. We will spend the night and have a dinner in the yurt.
We leave at 8 am to Moldo-Ashuu pass. Glimpsing Song Kul for the last time, we start driving and discover the Naryn river valley. It is still the beginning of the mighty Syr-Daria, known as Iaxartes by the ancient Greeks, irrigating Central Asia with his sibling Amu-Daria.
We continue driving across Tien Shan Mountains. Visit of 18th and 19th centuries mausoleums. Lunch in Baetov’s oasis. We cross the mountains thanks to MELS pass.
Arrival in the valley of At Bashy at Jackshylyk, a farmer from the region who welcomes us to his house in the last Kyrgyz village before China, on the ancient Silk Road.
Overnight in the homestay.
We begin a horse ride that will lead us from Chatyr-Kul to Tash-Rabat through a 4104 m high pass along the trails of caravans from the times of the Great Silk Road. From the pass you will see neighboring China!
We spend the night in a yurt with a local shepherd near the caravanserai.
NOTE. If you wish, you can go for a walk instead of horse riding.
We start a horseback ride that will take us from Chatyr Kul to Tash Rabat crossing a high mountain pass 4104 m high on the caravan tracks of the Silk Road period. From the pass, you can see China!
We spent the night in the family yurt of a nomadic shepherd near the caravanserai.
NOTE: Instead of riding, it is possible to walk if you prefer
Before leaving, we will have time to inspect the caravanserai from the inside
Long road to Bishkek. Arrival in Bishkek in the afternoon, time for the last shopping.
Depending on your flight time, your guide will join you to the airport and help you check in for your flight. If your flight is later in the day your guide will show you more places in Bishkek before your flight.We hope you enjoyed your trip to Kyrgyzstan and we hope you come back again to explore other counties in Central Asia with us.
Very reliable and good organization! Have helped us all around to plan our road trip, big plus: very flexible people, adapt their trips to your personal requirements and works with local partners (cool if you want to learn the local culture and inhabitants). Also renting camping/trekking equipment and possible to stay the night/eat in their guesthouse (Bishkek). Highly recommend this for travelers! FYI: the guide Shamil is amazing and very funny (we did a Song Kol Horse trip with him)
Alex Johnson is a tour guide par excellence, especially for English-speaking visitors. He is very knowledable about Kyrgyzstan, considerate, flexible, and a born problem-solver. Combined with his detailed knowledge of off-the-beaten-path sights and wonders plus his many friendships with locals everywhere, a traveler cannot go wrong picking Alex as a companion. I know because we toured the mountains together for two weeks of glorious fun
On your way
Tash Rabat KG
The historic-cultural area, which includes the most ancient memorial Tash-Rabat (the 14th century) is situated 110 km to the South from Naryn and not far from the border with China on the height of 3120 m in the canyon Kara-Koyun. Tash-Rabat (Caravan-Sarai) was the inn for merchants and travelers on the ancient Silk Road from Central Asia to China and was the place for rest protecting sellers from bandits in those ancient times.
Tash-Rabat is a comfortable and attractive place for a stop between Bishkek and Kashgar. Today the caravanserai is a square, rather squat-looking building that is much bigger than it appears from the outside because it digs deep into the hillside behind. Inside there is a domed central chamber leading to the remains of 30 dank rooms including, opposite the entrance, the khan’s own quarters. One chamber contains two underground dungeons, one of which has been filled in and another, which is apparently 10 meters deep.
There is also a well and supposedly an old tunnel, possibly leading to a look-out point. The chambers on either side of the entrance each have a broad, raised ledge, which is said to be a communal bed used by the caravanserai’s soldiers, who were garrisoned here to protect against bandits.
Song Kul lake KG
The scenary Song Kul (or Song Kul) lake is the main pasture of nomads. Hundreds yurts are built during summer. The beautiful lake large of about 25-35 km is a natural reserve. Many species of birds are stopping during their long migration. Some tombs from Sakh times and petroglyphs are most ancient traces of live. Different trekking or horseback riding roads are joining the place.
Issyk Kul lake KG
The Issyk-Kul lake has a length of 182 km, a maximum width of 60 km and covers an area of 6,236 km². This makes it the second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca. Located at an altitude of 1,606 m, it reaches 668 m deep. About 118 rivers and streams flow into the lake. The largest are the Djyrgalan (Jergalan) and Tyup. It is fed by springs, including many hot springs and snowmelt, and it has no outlet. Its south side is dominated by the Tian Shan mountain range of wild beauty. The lake water is slightly saline and level down about 5 cm per year.
The Issyk-Kul lake is an important step on the Silk Road, a dirt road for travelers from the Far East to Europe. Many historians believe that the lake was the point of origin of the plague that hit Europe and Asia in the early and mid 14th. The status of the lake as a place of passage for travelers allowed the plague spread across the continents through the medieval merchants who unknowingly took away the vermin infested with them. Armenian monastery from the 14th century was found on the northeast coast of Lake retracing the steps of a medieval map used by Venetian merchants on the Silk Road.
Burana Tower KG
Burana Tower is seven km. far from the city of Tokmok. It is an 11th century minaret, and one of the first buildings of such type in Central Asia. The original height of minaret was 45 meters. Today the tower is 24.6 meters high, the remaining part came down during an earthquake in the 15th century. In the 10th to 12th centuries, Karakhanids khanate was a great feudal state of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.
The founders, "karakhans", chigil tribes by birth, lived in the Tien-Shan and for a short time of the second half of the 10th century they conquered a large territory. One of the capitals of this state was Balasagun. In Karakhanids' time new towns and settlements were developing, the centers of big cities were improved and Moslem religious buildings were built in the town of Balasagun. Burana tower, mausoleums and other buildings found after archeological excavations are the witnesses of that build up. The town's life declined slowly, people left it, the buildings fell apart and finally in the 15th century it ceased to exit.
What is included
All transportation in a private vehicle
All airport transfers
Accommodation as described in the program
Meals (3 per day)
Bottled water (when possible) & tea
English-speaking trekking guide
Pack horses with saddle bags & horsemen
Camping & cooking equipment (tents, mats, gas, stove, etc)
All the activities listed in the program
Entry fees at national parks and/or border zones listed in the program
Entry fees at museums and historical sites listed in the program
Domestic flights mentioned in the program
A contribution to our sustainable development projects
Organisation of the trip & local taxes
What is not included
International banking fees (PayPal, ...)
Travel & repatriation insurance
Visas / LOI (if applicable)
Alcoholic and soft drinks
Personal equipment (sleeping bag, headlight, personal medication, etc)
Additional costs due to unexpected personal events (health, loss of luggage, ...)
Tips for guide & driver (always optional, always appreciated)
Through various ecotourism projects and initiatives, Nomad's Land aims to increase awareness of ecotourism and responsible travel, for a sustainable development of the tourism sector.
Rural development in Nepal
The Nepalko Sathi association leads its actions in favor of the Sherpas of Khembalung in the Arun valley (Province of Koshi). Nepalko Sathi
From Tumlingtar airport we reach by jeep the small town of Kahandbari where we are greeted by Kibutie and his family. From there, we climb to the small village of Gontala, in the heart of the actions of Nepalko Sathi (three days of walking), then we go up to Saissima, where Tendi Sherpa is rehabilitating the hamlet of his childhood. From Saissima it is possible to continue and make a loop towards Makalu and the impressive surrounding peaks (under tent).
Beyond the Glacier, a short film over the water in Central Asia
Conflicts over water in Central Asia are at the heart of the short film Beyond the Glacier, directed by David Rodríguez Muñiz in 2019. An interesting documentary that takes the form of a journey, from the glaciers of Kyrgyzstan to the sea of Kyrgyzstan. Aral.
Silk Road Yurt Camp
Another yurt camp that Nomad's Land is supporting so that shepherds of Song Kul Lake can get extra income from tourists. With the family of Sagyn and Jumabek, we have prepared this camp in order to keep all the nomadic authenticity. You can participate in the daily activities of nomads. Not far from the camp, you can access the shores of the lake but also the petroglyphs hidden in the nearby mountains.