Travel Kyrgyzstan

Unseen Kyrgyzstan

Dates: 21st July – 4th August 2018

Kyrgyzstan, an offbeat destination renowned for its trekking and horse riding, is an ideal place to discover nomadic culture at a grassroots level. There are plenty of rarely-visited locales to explore throughout this centuries-old Central Asian nation, and our two-part trek between Naryn and Osh is one such place. Over fifteen days you’ll traverse your way across the southern corner of the country, through remote valleys, and verdant pasturelands frequented only by the herdsman who dwell there in yurt camps during the summer. Along with passing by small and remote traditional Kyrgyz villages, and visiting Uzgen (an ancient capital city), another remarkable section of your journey will be paddling across Kel Suu lake located at over 3300m and hemmed in by towering rock walls overlooking the placid alpine blue waters.

Highlights:

  • Visit the ancient Silk Road caravanserai of Tash Rabat, which was originally built as a Christian monastery in the 10th Century.
  • Paddle across and explore Kel Suu Lake, one of Kyrgyzstan’s largest and highest natural dam lakes, and also a little-seen corner of the country.
  • Experience traditional Kyrgyz hospitality and ways of life staying in yurts and venturing out on horseback.

Start Point: Bishkek
End Point: Bishkek

Maximum number of people: 8

Number of days: 15

Day 1 – Arrive in Bishkek
Saturday 21st July 2018
You will be met by your driver on arrival in Bishkek. If you arrive in the morning there will be time to go on a tour of Bishkek with your guide and to acquaint yourself with the capital city of Kyrgyzstan taking in locations such as the Osh or Dordoi Bazaar, the Central Mosque, Panfilov Park and Ala-Too Square.
Overnight in hotel.

Driving: 35km
Driving time: 30 mins
Altitude: 850m

Day 2 – Bishkek – Naryn City
Sunday 22nd July 2018
Your guide will meet you at the hotel in the morning. The first stop of the day will be Konorchek Canyon where you will be able to stretch your legs and enjoy a short hike for two hours within striking red sandstone canyons which start out very narrow and then open out to a wide valley. After lunch, you will continue to Naryn City which is the regional capital of the Naryn region. Once you arrive in Naryn you will be able to go for a short walk and see the Naryn River that cuts across the whole of the country.
Overnight in hotel.

Driving: 301 km
Driving time: 4 hours
Altitude: 2040m

Day 3 – Naryn – Kok Kyia Valley
Monday 23rd July 2018
Departing Naryn in the morning you’ll drive through the unspoilt pasturelands of the Bosogo Valley and then cross over the Kaingdy Pass which takes you into the wild Ak-Say Valley. Shortly after entering the valley you’ll cross into the border zone region between Kyrgyzstan and China via a military checkpoint. After lunch you’ll arrive in Kok Kyia Valley where you will meet Meder and his lovely family whom will accommodate you in their yurts for the evening.
Overnight in yurts.

Driving: 145 km
Driving time: 4-5 hours
Altitude: 3300 m
Trekking time: 2 hours

Day 4 – Kok Kyia Valley – Kel Suu Lake
Tuesday 24th July 2018
After breakfast, you will be able to jump on the back of your horse and head to the stunning Kel Suu Lake. The lake is a natural dam lying between vertiginous sharp cliffs and is a picturesque location to have lunch. Make sure to keep your eyes open because there are many birds of prey in this area, as well as ibex, foxes and marmots. In the early afternoon we’ll inflate the rafts and begin our journey by paddle along the lake. At 15km long and only 40m wide at its narrowest point, we’ll drift along its shores which are overshadowed by 800m high cliffs. These valleys are still unexplored and it’s possible to spend a bit of time to explore this area.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3610 m
Altitude Gain: +310 m
Attitude Loss: -0m
Horseback riding: 2 hours
Paddling time: 3-4 hours
Hiking time: 2 hours

Day 5 – Kel Suu Lake
Wednesday 25th July 2018
After an early start, you will paddle towards the Tuyuk Boto Valley very close to the Chinese border. It’s possible to see countless ibex, Marco Polo Sheep and wolves in this region. After lunch, you will build your camp on the eastern side of the Kel Suu Lake and have time to explore the area near the Chinese border in an area that few people have ever visited.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3650 m
Altitude Gain: +400 m
Attitude Loss: -3500m
Trekking time: 4 hours
Paddling time: 2-3 hours

Day 6 – Kel Suu Lake – Kok Kyia Valley
Thursday 26th July 2018
After breakfast, you’ll venture over the Eshegart Pass (3933m) and descend into the Tuyuk Boto Valley. You will be able to see active wildlife in this very remote and wild region. From the Eshegart Pass you will be able to see amazing panoramic views and, if you’re lucky, some wild animals like ibex gallivanting their way across ridges and hillsides. In the late afternoon, you will arrive back at the Meder’s yurt camp from day 3, where you will be greeted with cups of warm tea and great local dishes.
Overnight in yurts.

Altitude: 3933 m
Altitude Gain: +300 m
Attitude Loss: -650 m
Trekking time: 7 hours

Day 7 – Kok Kyia Valley
Friday 27th July 2018
As a rest day, you’ll have many options available to you, such as trekking towards the Kok Kyia Range, and even the Sumsari Pass which will afford you with open views with a 6-7 hour walk. Alternatively, horseback riding through the Kok Kyia Range towards Uruu Ash Tash Pass over 5 hours is possible. If you’re wanting to rest and recover more, then it will also be possible to hang out with Meder’s family and learn more about nomadic culture and all the tasks that come with it, such as animal husbandry and cooking. This day is built into the itinerary in case there is bad weather on the previous days and it’s not possible to cross Kel Suu Lake or Eshegart Pass.
Overnight in yurts.

Altitude: 3615 m
Altitude Gain: +400 m
Attitude Loss: -400 m
Trekking time: 6 hours
Horse riding time: 5 hours

Day 8 – Kel Suu Lake to Tash Rabat
Saturday 28th July 2018
Today we’ll leave behind Meder’s family and depart for Tash Rabat by road via At-Bashi. This will be the last time you see houses and shops for the next few days. After lunch, you will head to a 15th Century caravanserai where you will be greeted at Nazira’s yurt camp.
Overnight in yurts.

Driving: 265 km
Driving time: 6 hours
Altitude: 3250 m
Trekking time: 1-2 hours


Day 9 – Tash Rabat – Söök Valley
Sunday 29th July 2018
Before leaving Tash Rabat in the morning, you will be able to visit the caravanserai which was originally built as a Nestorian monastery in the 10th Century and contains thirty-one rooms you can explore. Afterwards, you will take a short drive to the Arpa Valley where you will meet your horses and the herdsmen who will take you to the Söök Valley.
Overnight in tents.

Driving: 73km
Driving time: 3 hours
Altitude: 3450m
Altitude Gain: +150m
Attitude Loss: -0m
Trekking time: 3 hours


Day 10 – Söök Valley – Karakol Valley
Monday 30th July 2018
Following a rugged path normally taken by Marco Polo sheep you will cross over the Kok Bel Pass (3915m). Once over the top you will be able to see virgin land where only a few shepherds live next to the Karakol River below. After lunch, you will descend into the Karakol Valley and build camp where the valley meets the Arpa Plain.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3100m
Altitude Gain: +465m
Attitude Loss: -815m
Trekking time: 7 hours

Day 11 – Karakol Valley
Tuesday 31st July 2018
Today will be easier as you hike alongside the Ferghana Range. You will be able to see snow-capped peaks in the distance and a few yurts dotted in the horizon. It’s quite a contrast from the last few days of trekking where you will be able meet shepherds living a subsistence lifestyle off the land. It’s possible that you will be invited to have a tea and bread at the yurt camp along the way. It’s quite likely that the shepherds here will be surprised to see you in this area, given that very few visitors come here.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 3150 m
Altitude Gain: +250m
Altitude Loss: -200m
Trekking time: 7 hours

Day 12 – Karakol Valley – Jylangash Valley
Wednesday 1st August 2018
After packing your bags you will descend into a lush wooded area rich in pastureland fed by lakes and small rivers. The Kyrgyz believe that Japaiy Adam, a wild man related to the Yeti, uses this area to migrate between the Pamirs and the Tien Shan mountain range. Later in the day you will build camp in the Jylangash Valley with great views all around.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 2750m
Altitude Gain: +600m
Altitude Loss: -1050m
Trekking time: 7 hours

Day 13 – Jylangash Valley – Chitti Valley
Thursday 2nd August 2018
After breakfast, you will start the difficult ascent to Chitti Pass (3720m). The small path will climb gradually where you will have a view of both sides of the Fergana Range. The climate and people will change after this pass because you are entering a different region in Kyrgyzstan – one which has more of a Mediterranean climate. The final resting place for the night will be beside the Chitti River.
Overnight in tents.

Altitude: 2450m
Altitude Gain: +1000m
Altitude Loss: -1300m
Trekking time: 7 hours


Day 14 – Chitti Valley – Osh
Friday 3rd August 2018
Today you will say goodbye to your horses and herders and leave the Chitti Valley. On the way, it’s possible to meet beekeepers and have a sample of the local honey. Once your driver meets you at the end of the trail you will leave the Fergana Range to discover some of the most ancient regions of Central Asia. You will be able to visit the historical complex in Uzgen with its three mausoleums and large minarets from the 11th Century. The final destination for the day is Osh where you will be able to have a famous plov dinner in a chaykhana (café).
Overnight in guesthouse.

Driving: 125km
Driving time: 4 hours
Altitude: 1950m
Altitude Loss: 500m
Trekking time: 3 hours

Day 15 – Osh to Bishkek
Saturday 4th August 2018
Today we will be able to visit the city of Osh and summit the mountain of Solomon, as well as see the 3000 year old bazaar of Osh. Unless you are traveling elsewhere independently, you will then board your flight from Osh to Bishkek and have a farewell dinner in the city.
Overnight in guesthouse.

You will be accompanied by an international trekking guide from Untamed Borders for the entire length of this trip.

The trip includes:
All accommodation as described above
All meals during trip (3 per day)
All transportation in 4WD vehicle 
Drinking water and tea 
Local English speaking guide
Experienced international trekking guide 
Horses and herdsmen
All activities as described above 
All entrance fees for monuments and permits
Camping equipment (tents, mats, kitchen utensils, gas) 
Boats & lifejackets
Flight from Osh to Bishkek

The trip does not include:
International flights
Visas
Insurance
Alcoholic beverages
Tips
Additional rental of personal camping equipment (if required)
Return transport to Bishkek at end of trip (if required)

Cost – US$2700 per person

To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400
If you have any questions about this trip or about Kyrgyzstan in general please contact us.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Kyrgyzstan. However, we can suggest routes and operators. You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
Visas for Kyrgyzstan can be obtained on arrival for most foreign visitors. If you are based in the UK and require visa advice for other countries, then we recommend Travcour as an agent for your visa requirements. They are UK’s oldest leading travel visa specialist and able to provide full visa support and consultancy for Untamed Border’s destinations. Click here to obtain our specialist visa packages and support from Travcour. They are the people we use when we need visa support for our staff.

Food:
In Kyrgyzstan three meals are provided each day and this is included in the cost of the trip.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards in Bishkek cannot be compared to a homestay in an isolated valley in Kyrgyzstan. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay. The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room when that is available. When we are in the mountains we will be staying in tents and in local homestays that sometimes only offer central communal areas to sleep in.

Transport:
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. We will only be travelling by four-wheel drive vehicles. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
On this trip you will be accompanied by an experienced international trekking guide plus an English speaking local guide from Untamed Borders. This allows for greater flexibility and means that there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you even if the other team leader is busy making arrangements.

Security:
Kyrgyzstan is a safe and stable Central Asian country. Nevertheless, we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas which are stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of this trip at short notice.