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+41 44 585 29 61

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Kyrgyzstan is a fascinating country with a strong nomadic heritage in the heart of Central Asia. This is your opportunity to experience the itinerant way of life, witnessing how people live hand in hand with nature and continue customs that have been passed down through many generations.


This trip will lead you on a 9-day tour of Kyrgyzstan. You will discover the country’s highlights, from the rural lakeshore of Issyk Kul, to the sublime alpine pastures of Song Kul, and Kyrgyzstan’s green capital, Bishkek. You will be immersed in the ancient nomadic culture of the Kyrgyz, including their equestrian traditions.

Book With Confidence

We fully appreciate that we all need to be flexible in the world of travel right now. You can book with us with complete confidence that you have the flexibility to change your plans if needed.

All bookings made this year can be changed or postponed free of charge. If you cancel your trip up to 16 days before the departure, we will hold your deposit as a credit towards an alternative trip in the future with Kalpak Travel.

Good to know

  • Tour rural lakeshores and alpine pastures
  • Fully escorted multi-lingual guide
  • Small groups (max 12)
  • Flexible rebookings: change dates at no cost

What's included

  • Included Accommodation
  • Included Guided excursions
  • Included Ground transfers
  • Included All meals
  • Included Internal flights
Days

9

Starting from

€1,780 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Speak to Luca for expert travel advice
Talk to us
Destinations
Bishkek, Song Kul, Karakol, Chon-Kemin
Activity
Adventure, Hiking & Trekking, Active, Walking, Overlanding, Nature & Wildlife, Culture, Museums & Galleries, Solo Travel
Tour Type
Custom itinerary, Small group tour

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

This is a customisable trip

Use the following itinerary for inspiration. Remember: all days, hotels and activities can be altered to suit your requirements. A Kalpak Travel travel specialist will be happy to advise.

Arrival in Bishkek and city tour

Welcome to Kyrgyzstan! Most flights arrive very early in the morning. You will transfer to the hotel and check-in at the hotel with time to rest after your long flight, take a shower, and have breakfast.

Bishkek, the charming capital of Kyrgyzstan, is relatively young. It started as a Russian garrison named “Pishpek” in the late 19th century, and it was only during the Soviet period that it grew into a city. It is a very green place, with tree-lined boulevards and many parks.

In the late morning, we will start the city tour with a visit to an important memorial Ata-Beiyt located near the village of Chong-Tash, 25km south of Bishkek, commemorating two tragic events in Kyrgyz history. Ata Beyit is the resting place of 138 Kyrgyzstanis killed in the purges of 1938. Also a memorial to the 1916 Kyrgyz uprising against Russian rule and fleeing to China. Have lunch at the beautiful ethno yurt complex Supara. Afternoon city tour of Bishkek. During the city tour, we will learn the history of both Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan, as part of the Great Silk Road, more recent Soviet Union and get a glimpse of how it is shaping today. We will explore main sights such as the Ala-Too square, White House, old square, as well as Osh Bazaar, the city’s main market.

Welcome dinner will be in a tasty local restaurant.

B-Hotel 3* or similar

Included meals: Lunch, Dinner

Bishkek – Burana – Chon Kemin (160km, 3h)

After breakfast, we will depart from Bishkek. Our first stop will be Burana Tower near the town of Tokmok, 60km east of Bishkek. Burana’s 11th-century minaret is the only remaining building from the ancient city of Balasagun, once the capital of the mighty Karakhanid Empire. You can walk up the winding staircase and enjoy a wide view of the scenic Chuy Valley. There is also a small open-air museum of balbals, carved stone figures often found around ancient burial mounds.

We will then continue driving further into the mountains to a guesthouse in the beautiful Chon-Kemin Valley. Upon arrival, we will have lunch, and in the afternoon you can walk in the village, observe the life of the local people, or opt for a short horse riding tour into the surrounding hills. Before dinner, we will learn how boorsok (deep fried bread, a Kyrgyz specialty) is made, and you will be able to taste it during dinner. Dinner will be at the guesthouse, where we will spend the night.

Chon Kemin Guesthouse (single/ twin room with private bathroom)

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Chon Kemin – Karakol (340km, 5-6h)

This morning we will transfer to Karakol, the largest town and administrative center of the Issyk Kul region. Issyk Kul is the second-largest mountain lake in the world, after Titicaca in South America. Located at an altitude of 1,600m, Issyk-Kul is a slightly saline lake with no outlet, surrounded completely by the Tien Shan Mountains. We will drive the entire length of the lake’s northern shore but make a stop half way, near Cholpon Ata, to visit an open-air site with many ancient petroglyphs (artworks carved into the rock). We will have lunch in Cholpon Ata. On the way to Karakol we will make a detour from the main road to visit the beautiful Grigoriev gorge.

By late afternoon we will reach Karakol, where we check-in at the hotel. Dinner in Uighur Family.

Green Yard Hotel (single/ twin room with private bathroom)

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Karakol and Jety Oguz

Every Sunday a cattle market takes place in Karakol. If you like, you can visit the market early in the morning, before the city tour.

Karakol was founded as a Russian military outpost in 1869. It 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.

After breakfast, we will tour the town’s most interesting sights. The tour includes the Dungan Mosque, built in 1904; and the wooden Russian Orthodox Church, which has been standing since 1869. We will also visit the museum of Russian explorer Przhevalsk, and the local market of Karakol.

After the short city tour, we will drive about half an hour to Yrdyk village visit the small Dungan Museum, and learn about Dungan ethnicity. Lunch at Dungan family house. Afternoon excursion to Jety-Oguz gorge, which is a lush valley with some striking red sandstone rock formations (the “seven Bulls” from which the valley takes its name). Easy hike in the gorge. Later drive back to Karakol and meet with a representative of the “One Village One Product” cooperative, learning to produce one of their products. Optionally, visit Aksu-Kench hot springs in the evening. Dinner in restaurant Dastorkon.

Green Yard Hotel (single/ twin room with private bathroom)

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Karakol – Barskoon – Tamga (170km, c. 4h)

Breakfast. Transfer along the southern shore of lake Issyk Kul to the village of Tamga. En route, we will visit Barksoon Gorge. You can see a nice mixture of fir trees and different colored bushes of barberry, mountain ash, sea-buckthorn, currant, raspberry, dog rose, and honeysuckle. In addition, you will enjoy a wonderful view of Issyk-Kul lake as well as different peaks. There are two interesting monuments along the road - a bust of Yuri Gagarin, who holidayed on the South shore of Issyk Kul after his historic first manned space flight. From Barskoon we will drive further up toward Kumtor Gold mine, to the beautiful Arabel plateau at almost 4000m altitudes. BBQ lunch in the forestry. After, we drive back down to the main road and continue to Tamga, where we spend the night in a yurt camp near the shore of Issyk Kul lake. Those who like can go swimming at the beach nearby. Before dinner, together with the chef of the yurt camp, you will cook a local dish called «Manty». During dinner, we will watch a folklore show with traditional Kyrgyz music.

Overnight in yurt camp – 2 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet and shower)

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tamga – Kochkor (190 km, c. 4h)

After breakfast, we drive further along the southern shore of lake Issyk Kul to the village of Kochkor. Our first stop after just about half an hour is at Skazka Canyon. Skazka means “fairytale” and it’s a reference to the bizarre rocky landscape, which has been formed by wind and rain into fabulous sculptures and formations. We will go for a short hike here. Not far from Skazka we will also meet an eagle hunter, who will his eagle and make a demonstration for us. Later, we stop in the village of Kyzyl Tuu, where we will meet a yurt maker and learn more about this traditional nomadic dwelling. Many people in this village are involved in yurt making business. Upon arrival in Kochkor, we will visit a workshop where local women produce traditional shyrdak carpets from felt. The workshop is a women’s cooperative. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Hotel Nomad Lodge 3*

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kochkor – Song Kul Lake (150km, 3-4h)

from Kochkor, but due to the bad road conditions, it will still be quite a long and bumpy ascent. Song Kul is at an altitude of 3,016m above sea level. The nomads pass their summer on the jailoo (summer pasture) with their animals. You will see herds of horses and sheep grazing on meadows full of Edelweiss. If you like, you can go for a short horse ride. Accommodation and dinner will be in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt. You can taste kymyz (mare’s milk) and watch the shepherd’s wife preparing bread and cheese. We will also get a chance to watch Ulak Tartysh, a traditional spectacle of horsemanship.

Overnight in yurt – 2 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water)

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Song Kul – Bishkek (290km, 7h)

After breakfast, we must return to Bishkek. We will arrive in the late afternoon. Upon arrival, you can have some free time for rest or shopping. Farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

B-Hotel 3* or similar


Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Depart from Bishkek

Transfer to Bishkek Airport for your flight back home. We hope you will have enjoyed your trip to Kyrgyzstan and will return soon to discover more places in this beautiful part of the world!

Included meals: Breakfast

  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...
  • Chon-Kemin

    ...
  • Karakol

    Karakol

    Karakol, on the eastern side of Lake Issyk-Kul, is a traveler’s favourite...
  • Karakol

    Karakol

    Karakol, on the eastern side of Lake Issyk-Kul, is a traveler’s favourite...
  • Tamga

    Tamga

    ...
  • Kochkor

    Kochkor

    ...
  • Song Kul

    Song Kul

    Located in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Song Kul is a high-altitude, alpine lake perfect for hiking and horseback riding, although the area is covered in snow for the majority of the year...
  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...
  • Bishkek

    Bishkek

    ...

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning      
1 Jun 2023 9 Jun 2023 €1,780 Enquire
10 Jun 2023 18 Jun 2023 Full €1,780 Enquire
24 Aug 2023 1 Sep 2023 €1,780 Enquire
14 Sep 2023 22 Sep 2023 €1,780 Enquire
More dates available     Enquire

Looking for a different date?

Not sure when you're travelling yet? Looking for a different date? Contact Kalpak Travel for more information.

Enquire

Good to know

Speak to a Kyrgyzstan specialist about this trip

Kalpak Travel

Call one of our travel experts for ideas and trip planning advice.

Talk to us

Where to stay

Some of our sample accommodation.

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The Plaza Hotel Bishkek

The Plaza Hotel Bishkek

The Plaza Hotel Bishkek is the embodiment of aristocratic elegance and modern multi-functionality...

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Chon Kemin Guesthouse
Classic

Chon Kemin Guesthouse

This comfortable guesthouse is located within the scenic chon-kemin valley, surrounded with the valley's mountain ranges and alpine forests...

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Green Yard Hotel
Classic

Green Yard Hotel

Situated in Karakol, this cosy accommodation offers a local and authentic feel with all the attributes of a modern hotel...

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Hotel Nomad Lodge
Classic

Hotel Nomad Lodge

Nomad Lodge is ideally located in the centre of Kochkor town, only 60km from Balykchy town...

Reviews

What people are saying about Kalpak Travel

P
Pat H
11/05/2022

We loved our tour of Uzbekistan! From the start of the process Luca was very helpful and provided lots of information, then when we had to reschedule twice because of the pandemic he moved the booking on and kept the price the same. As we got closer to actually going we had lots of questions which Luca answered very comprehensively. The organisation of the tour was excellent and our guide Umid was exceptional. Uzbekistan was a long time coming because of the pandemic but it fully lived up to our expectations and Kalpak was a big part of that. Would recommend highly.

L
Lydia D
19/10/2022

We booked an 8 day Best of Uzbekistan trip and added 3 nights so we could fly direct from the UK. Luca was absolutely brilliant with suggestions for places to go and sites to visit to make best use of the time, he arranged drivers, guides, meals and hotels and they were all excellent. We visited Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shakrisabz and Tashkent, each very different from one another but all really interesting, welcoming and as photographers offered great shots. In Samarkand we had dinner in a local property and a plov cooking demonstration, great fun and as the lone vegetarian, I can put my hand on my heart and say I had an excellent meal!

D
Dirk W
12/10/2022

Nothing is ever too much for Luca to make sure your trip runs like clockwork. He prepares the itinerary meticulously and adjusts to your specific preferences. He will answer emails or whatsapp immediately, no matter the day or time (does the man ever sleep ?!). I covered Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in 33 days and saw the very best of Central Asia. Luca organized the complex logistics of this trip, with comfortable rides (cars, trains, planes) and local guides at every location. Luca and his team are not only super professional, they are also easy and friendly to work with. Simply could not be better ! There's only 1 option when you visit "The Stans" : talk to KALPAK.

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Wally C
08/11/2022

My trip with Kalpak to Central was phenomenal. It far exceeded my expectations. Everything was top quality including the accommodations, food, sights, itinerary and outstanding guides in each country. It was an excellent quality tour for the money. Great quality value. I would highly recommend the trip to anyone considering going. Central Asia is the best kept secret that one doesn’t hear much about.

S
Sten-Enok, Norway
01/11/2018

I got a tip to visit the webpage for Kalpak and have not regretted since. They arrange trips to Central Asia and do it really well. They are professional, respond to inquiries instantly, are very flexible and know the region well. I was in contact with Luca for a combination of mountain biking and trekking in the Fann mountains in Tajikistan. My experience is solely positive; truly professional and passionate about the region.

Mind you, Kalpak uses local resources and is responsible tourism. I really recommend Kalpak Travel! They make astonishing trips to Central Asia and are professional, serious and responsible.

S
Spencer, Australia
01/07/2018

We had a fabulous 13-day tour of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - in May/June. Luca, the owner of Kalpak Travel, has been very reliable and committed to giving excellent service. He was constantly keeping in touch during our trip to ensure that everything was running smoothly.

The guides in each city spoke excellent English and were extremely informative on all aspects of Central Asia. In Almaty, we were invited to have dinner at our tour guide's home. The food was fabulous and we had a wonderful evening….

We were very lucky to have Kalpak Travel as our tour company which exceeded our expectations with flying colours. We highly recommend Kalpak Travel if you are planning a hassle-free tour of Central Asia.

R
Rebecca, USA
01/07/2018

We had a wonderful 3.5 week trip through the 5 Stans. I feel like I've seen the highlights in case I don't get the opportunity to return, but I most certainly DO want to return and see more. These are the warmest and most welcoming people I have every encountered.

My regret is that Kalpak does not arrange trips for other parts of the world, as I truly enjoyed every minute of working with them, and would love to do so again. SUPERLATIVE service.

How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from €1,780 pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

What's included

Included Accommodation

Kalpak trips visit a combination of quality hotels, traditional Yurt camps, and local guesthouses.

Included Guided excursions

Expert, English-speaking guides accompany you throughout the entire trip, giving you unique insights into the local culture and history.

Included Ground transfers

All airport collections, hotel transfers and rail journeys are included.

Included All meals

All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included in the price. You're not obliged to eat every meal with the group, and your guide will happily direct you to recommended local restaurants and markets if you prefer.

Included Internal flights

Domestic/internal flights are included where applicable.

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