Follow the footsteps of Marco Polo along the Silk Road's most beautiful passes
This new adventure will take you to a country located in the highlands of Tien Shan, forms the great barrier between China and the West.With the agility of Kyrgyz horses, you will cross mountains and rivers to meet Kyrgyz nomadic peoples with their two thousand years of culture.
On the footprints by the caravan trails
12 days with 9 days of horseback riding on high plateau of Tien Shan.
In the morning, we leave Bishkek. On the way, visit of the Burana Museum, a site of a medieval city of Balasagun, the capital of the Karahanid Kaganate, a Turkic dynasty of the 11 century. Drive along the southern shore of the lake. Lunch in Bokonbaevo village in Sagynbai’s House, an old hunter with golden eagles. Hunting with golden eagle is very popular in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia and Sagynbai's son will tell us about this kind of hunting and how he trains his birds of prey. Overnight in guesthouse.
After breakfast we will leave the village for Djoukkou valley. We will get to the kingdom of green mountains, red rocks, steep cliffs. Stop en route for picnic. Horseback riding to Djoukkou valley, where we will camp. Overnight in a tent. Transfer: 60km, Riding: 6h
After leaving the camp we will ride over Juku pass (alt. 3633m). We will enjoy a wonderful view of the Arabel Suu Syrty and small glaciers of the Soek Too range. Overnight in a tent near the Chokoli lakes
Descending to Kumtor valley. We will see a goldmine and as well as big Ak-Shirak mountnain ridge. Overnight in a tent.
Crossing Ak-Shirak (white banks) Ridge and Ak-Bel (white back) Pass. Among the traces of hunters and gold diggers we find the traces of caravans. Overnight in a tent.
We continue our way to the ancient caravanserai of Ishtik. We will ride over a small Ishtik (3689 m.) pass and come back to our camp. Free time in the afternoon. Sauna in the evening. Overnight in a tent.
In the morning we will ride in the direction of the Chinese border. We will s have a wonderful view on the ridge on the border with China. Comming back to the Ishtik river and enter Tez Canyon to get to a small farm. Overnight in a tent. Riding: 5/6h
We will ride along the bank of Ak-Shirak canal and get to the canyon of Utsh Koshkon. Overnight in a tent.
We will arrive in Ak-Shirak, a small village lost in the heart of the Tien-Shan. Visiting a yurt camp, see herdsman and yaks. Overnight in a tent. Riding: 4h
We leave our horses and set off for a place amidst the Syrty-Taragaï. Overnight in tent. Transfer: 70 km dirty road.
Transfer to the Issyk-Kul Lake. Coming over Soeyeuk Pass (4021m), Barskoon Pass 3980 m.. We will stay for a night in a guesthouse. Transfer: 280km on dirty road and asphalt road.
After breakfast you will hit the road again. On the way, a stop will be at the house of an Eagle hunter. You wil be able to get to know him and his long traditions of hunting with eagles. You will have lunch on the way. Arrival in 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. City tour. Walk around the city. Visiting Ala-Too Square, the main square of Kyrgyzstan. Overnight in our guesthouse.
Dear Nomad's Land - especially Alex Johnson. You have helped us during preparation of our trip, arranging border zone permits, transportation to mountains, advise in arranging maps and also being a contact person in case of emergency. We had arranged most stuff over internet beforehand. It was generally very helpful and I would recommend to our friends Nomad's Land for tracking in Kyrgistan. And there is so much to see in that country yet. It would be great to visit Kyrgistan again. Thank you.
We spent this summer three weeks with family (parents and adult children) in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, with a trip to the city of Kashgar in Sinkiang (China) .Nomads' Land organized all the Kyrgyzstan and China part as well as the trips to Uzbekistan. You can work with them with your eyes closed: impeccable organization, enthusiastic and passionate guide (also speaking perfectly French), good choice of accommodation and activities. Very pleasant preparation with Fabien, who is attentive and has concocted a trip to us. All for good value for money. Allow at least 10 days for Kyrgyzstan to really enjoy it. The change of scenery is total and the way of life is authentic. Expect "average" comfort but the superb landscapes and the amazing welcome of the Kyrgyz people will give you unforgettable memories. To fully enjoy it, nothing like walking: you will go on beautiful hikes: Altyn Arashan, Song Kul, Lenin peak ... They are all doable but still require good condition, especially that of Lenin peak (base camp to camp 1), which is quite long and demanding (allow 10-12 hours round trip), but it is the most impressive. To reach the south of Kyrgyzstan, you have the choice between a few hundred km of tiring tracks or to make a detour through China and the city of Kashgar. The road is excellent and the city itself is worth the effort (with the added bonus of "Western-style" comfort which feels good). However, it was necessary to endure two days of painful police checks between Kashgar and the border, with an occupying army (Han Chinese, from the east) omnipresent. So it's up to you to decide (knowing that this "detour" is quite expensive considering the short season and the few tourists). After Kyrgyzstan, we visited the cities of the Silk Road in Uzbekistan: Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Impressive and superb monuments, a very rich history, few tourists and a very pleasant atmosphere. The historic centers are not very extensive and can easily be visited on foot. Do not forget Khiva: it is the smallest of the three but the atmosphere is peaceful and timeless, you sometimes have the impression of going back 100 years. This trip was really exceptional, thank you again to Fabien, Murat and the whole team.
On your way
Ishtik ancient caravanserail site KG
This site is situated at the foot of the ancient border post of Bedel. There are traces of settlement and tombs of different centuries. There is still a dirty road to China, but it closed and guarded by Kyrgyz border patrol. In II-IV centuries AD the track through Bedel pass and southern Issyk Kul was already in regular use by caravans. Commercial use of this road stop in 1975.
Border zone permit is necessary.
Tez canyon KG
It is a small canyon in Ak-Shirak region, between the Ishtik caravanserai camp and Baralbas canyon.
Paterbashik lakes KG
The 2 endoheric Paterbashik lakes are located on a high plain north of the Borkoldoy range, where the Tez river originates. The larger one, which stretches for 2.3 km, is to the west of the road leading to Uch-Kochkon, and the other smaller 670m. is on the east side of the road.
Kumtor valley KG
The waters of the river Kumtor come from melting glaciers in the northwest of the mountain range Ak-Shirak. It loses its name as soon as it meets the river Arabel Suu and takes the new name Taragay.
Ishtik pass KG
A road pass that allows you to reach the Karasay valley to that of Baralbas. Formerly a Silk Road passed there to join the Bedel Pass on the Chinese border, and the Chinese city of Aksu.
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.
Juku pass KG
The pass permiting to cross the Terskey Alatoo for the caravans riding from Kyzyl-Suu to Kashgar.
Ak-Shyyrak range KG
Range situated in the Central Tien Shan part.
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
Horses with local saddles
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.