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Kyrgyzstan

Mountain lakes, eagles and nomads - Trip for singles

Book From   € 999,-
GROUP SIZE: 6-22 | 15 DAYS

Kyrgyzstan

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Kyrgyzstan

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Bishkek

Kyzyl Oy

Naryn

Bokonbayevo

Karakol

Tamchy

Tash Rabat

Son Kul

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Bishkek Bishkek
2 Bus Bishkek - Kyzyl Oy Kyzyl Oy
3 Bus Kyzyl Oy - Son Kul Son Kul
4 Bus Son Kul - Tash Rabat Tash Rabat
5 Bus Tash Rabat - Naryn Naryn
6 Bus Naryn - Bokonbaevo Bokonbaevo
7 Bokonbaevo Bokonbaevo
8 Bokonbaevo Bokonbaevo
9 Bus Bokonbaevo - Karakol Karakol
10 Karakol Karakol
11 Karakol Karakol
12 Bus Karakol - Tamchy Tamchy
13 Bus Tamchy - Bishkek Bishkek
14 Bishkek Bishkek
15 Bishkek End of tour

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9

Day 1: Bishkek

Welcome to Kyrgyzstan!

Today you are free to explore Bishkek. Most of your travel companions will arrive this morning. Your hotel room will be available from 12 midday and you can meet with your local English speaking tour leader.

Bishkek has an ancient Russian city centre, with large squares where the giant statue of the former leader of the Soviet Union, Comrade Lenin, still stands proudly on his pedestal. There are many other monuments and parks with outdoor cafes.

You will find nice, cosy restaurants, large daily markets and activities for young people in the parks. A 'must' is a fragrant cup of green tea on a terrace, your first day can have no better introduction!

Day 2: Bishkek - Kyzyl Oy

You leave from Bishkek to continue this group trip of Kyrgyzstan, travelling into the heart of the country. Your first high mountain transition is the Too Ashuu Pass, where you can enjoy the view over the wide Suusamyr valley from the top. Stop along the way to breathe the fresh air or take a photo and meet the laid-back Kyrgyz living in simple tents and often having a café or a restaurant. Snowy peaks are visible in the background and amongst the beautiful things you will see along the way is the Kekemerin, a wild river that cuts through the landscape. Beautiful red rocks can be seen along the river that appear to change in colour!

In the afternoon you arrive in Kyzyl Oy. You can take a stroll and experience for the first time an overnight stay in a ' homestay ' in the village. A national network of homestays at various tourist locations makes it possible to visit a country where hotels or other accommodation options are often unavailable.

Day 3: Kyzyl Oy - Son Kul

From Kyzyl Oy you travel further to the Son Kul plateau, a vast plain at an altitude of 3000 meters where only cattle farmers resist the hot Kyrgyz summer. It is an inhospitable place, covered in snow during the other months of the year.

During your stay in Son Kul you can walk by the lake or experience the daily life of the Kyrgyz from the back of a horse. Tonight you will sleep in a real yurt.

Day 4: Son Kul - Tash Rabat

Today you will really sample the history of the Silk Road. The remote border region of Kyrgyzstan is rugged; there are many mountain ridges and deep valleys. You will soon gain admiration for the people who live here. They watch their cattle, count them every day and do not let them out of their sight!

You will visit the ancient citadel of Koshoi Korgon. The structure is in the shape of a square and the clay walls are 5 meters high and 1000 meters long. Legend has it that local hero Manas buried his friend Koshoi here. There is also a nice new museum. Then you go to the wonderfully restored caravanserai in the deep Tash Rabat valley, located at an altitude of 3200 meters and dating from the 15th century. It is still not clear whether it was a Buddhist monastery or perhaps a Nestorian church. The caravanserai has a beautiful hall with several rooms around it.

You spend the night in a yurt camp near the caravanserai.

Day 5: Tash Rabat - Naryn

Continue along the asphalt road to the south of Kyrgyzstan. Along the way you'll be amazed by more high mountains and more passes of 3000 meters in height. You see shepherds with their horses, goats and sheep (and sometimes camels). In certain months of the year, you will be offered the Kyrgyz 'kümüz'. This is fermented mare's milk and the Kyrgyz peoples number one drink. Out of courtesy, of course, you'll at least try a sip. The Kygryz adore this drink and it can even make them drunk!

After a wonderful day travelling you arrive in Naryn , the main city of the south, where you will overnight in another 'homestay'.

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Day 6: Naryn - Bokonbaevo

You continue your Kyrgyzstan trip to the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kul. Along the way there is often the chance to stop for a drink of 'kümüz' and to see camels grazing upon the high passes. You eat on the way at a typical Kyrgyz restaurant or you take along a packed lunch and eat your picnic together on a mountaintop.

Would you like a nice Kyrgyz carpet? Women produce these carpets in Kochkor where they proudly display their rugs in their showrooms. During winter, these ladies make the carpets at home and appreciate your arrival. Once back home, the carpet serves as good reminder of your visit to Kyrgyzstan! You stay in a 'homestay' in Bokonbaevo, near Lake Issyk Kul.

Day 7: Bokonbaevo

Free day. The small village of Bokonbaevo lies not only on Lake Issyk Kul but also near the high Terskey Ala Too mountain range. It is also a perfect base for hiking and horseback riding in the valleys. Let your tour leader know in advance and there will be a horse waiting for you!

If you travel during summer then Bokonbaevo also hosts a number of festivals where the harvest is celebrated or perhaps even a wedding. Kyrgyz families are fond of big parties and you should definitely take a drink (or more)!

It is sometimes possible to attend an optional eagle, hunting exhibition (traditional in Kyrgyzstan) where you will also receive information from an "eagle expert" about this large bird of prey. The tradition of hunting with eagles is something that is often passed down from father to son.

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Day 8: Bokonbaevo

Free day. In the summer you can spend a day at the beach or take a long walk along the coast. There are also opportunities to swim (if the water is warm enough). The huge Lake Issyk Kul is one of the largest mountain lakes in the world (second to Lake Titicaca on the border of Bolivia and Peru). The blue water is completely surrounded by snow-capped mountains, a beautiful sight.

Enjoy the evening with the sun setting over the lake and taking in the beautiful surroundings. You can see right to the other side of the lake, where there is still snow on the peaks! Fortunately, you have several evenings to behold this beautiful sight!

Day 9: Bokonbaevo - Karakol

Today you travel along the south side of Lake Issyk Kul to Karakol, a picturesque town with wooden houses, birch trees and horse carts. You can walk the streets with their wooden "bungalows" or visit the Russian Orthodox church, built completely from wood. A wooden mosque was also built, this by the Dungan, an Islamic group originating from China.

In Karakol you can sit on a terrace and plan your optional excursion(s) for the next few days ahead. Want to go hiking or better still to take a day trip by jeep to a high mountain? Decide in advance and a 4WD can be waiting for you.

Day 10: Karakol

Free day. The city of Karakol itself has many attractions including the museum of Prezjevalski, the Russian explorer whom the Russian military even decided to name a horse after!

Karakol is the starting point for summer hikes to the high mountains within the region. The area is dotted with high mountains, large parks, red rocks, wild mountain rivers and vast fields of flowers. You can opt to visit Jeti Oguz, a short drive out of town for an hour. Jeti Oguz means "seven oxen" and this name refers to the seven colossal pink-red jagged rocks at the edge of the village. Jeti Oguz offers some beautiful hiking!

Day 11: Karakol

Free day, where the area is calling you to properly stretch your legs! You can go to the Karakol National Park, 10 km outside the city, where you can walk for hours. Other options? Just sit quietly along the river or take a horse out for a ride.

Want to go 'off-road' and rough up the mountain? then go with a 4WD Russian jeep to Altyn Arashan, where you can see even higher mountains. There are also hot springs there. Alternatively take a bus to Lake Issyk Kul to swim, hike and enjoy the sunset.

Day 12: Karakol - Tamchy

You continue your journey along the north shore of Lake Issyk Kul to Tamchy. Here there are small villages, with much to see. You drive along the coast and can stop frequently to take photos of the views of the other side of the lake. We also have time for a drink on a terrace on the banks of the lake.

The village of Tamchy is small but unique. You stay with a host family and they are happy to see foreign visitors. You can practice using some newly learnt Kyrgyz words here! You stay in a 'homestay' where the hostess can prepare a delicious Kyrgyz meal for you if you choose.

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Day 13: Tamchy - Bishkek

You return to Bishkek but not without seeing the beautiful Burana minaret on the way. This restored tower is a remnant of the ancient citadel of Balasagun. Around the minaret you will find historic gravestones, 'balbals' positioned. It is curious to imagine how these stones came to be here seeing as they are hundreds of kilos in weight. You will also find the remains of a castle and mausoleums.

Along the way you will have a look at the only train line in the country. The smooth new asphalt indicates you are getting closer to the "civilization" of the big city - Bishkek. Once in the capital you stay in a hotel and will have time to go out into the lively city centre.

Day 14: Bishkek

The last full day of your tour. Pay a final visit to Bishkek's grand Osh bazaar or you can join the optional excursion to Ala Archa National Park. It is the pride of the capital and a must for any visitor to Kyrgyzstan. Ala Archa is situated 40 km from Bishkek and has some imposing peaks of up to 5000 meters in height. It is a great place to take a walk, with routes ranging from the short stroll to more lengthy hikes. In the evening you can enjoy your last Kyrgyz meal.

Day 15: Bishkek

Your tour has reached its conclusion. Most of your companions will depart this morning but your hotel room can be used until check out time (normally 12 noon).

We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Kyrgyzstan.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 15) is not included.

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