Join us in July 2019 on

a unique adventure trek in Kyrgyzstan!

 

There aren’t that many places left so book your spot soon!

 

 

(If you’re from Belgium or the Netherlands, click here for the Dutch version)

 

Last year we spent nearly 12 months in a little Central Asian country called Kyrgyzstan and we’ve fallen in love with its beauty! Not only are the mountainous landscapes breathtaking, Kyrgyzstan is also one of the few off-the-beaten-path countries where you can still get a taste of the authentic nomadic culture.

 

After the big success of our Adventure Trek in July 2018 (watch the videos here), we want to give travelers a new opportunity to join us for some amazing adventures in Kyrgyzstan! That’s why we’re organizing 4 new adventure tours in the summer of 2019!

 

This is what our participants said about the Adventure Trek in July 2018:

 

“Adventurous, informal, great guides and group leaders, stunningly beautiful scapes” (Bart, the Netherlands)

 

“It is a tour you will never forget because of nature, the semi-nomads you will meet and the authentic spontaneous flexible guiding of Cynthia, Niko, and Aleksei. You could ask anything and they would always try their best to meet with your needs! Also, they would choose to play on safe for the whole group which I really appreciated. Thanks!” (Ceciel, Belgium)

 

” I had a really great time on the adventure tour and felt it was very well put together. The range of activities made the trip a lot of fun, and Cynthia, Niko, and Aleksei were always positive and enthusiastic.” Lauren (Lauren, United Kingdom)

 

 

The group of adventurers who joined us in July 2018

 

Do you love adventure and the outdoors? Have you always dreamed of traveling on horseback and spending some nights in a yurt like the Central Asian nomads? Does the idea of trekking through remote mountains and camping on the shores of crystal-clear mountain lakes make your heart beat faster? Then we invite you to join us on our 10-day trekking tour in Kyrgyzstan!

 

Available dates:

* July 2nd – July 11th, 2019 (fully booked!)

* July 15th – July 24th, 2019 (only 4 places left!)

 

Are you planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan in June or August 2019? Join us on our Overland Expedition!

Click here for more info and details.

 

 

Table of Contents:

 


 

 

What can you expect on this Adventure Trek?

 

During this Adventure Trek, we’re going on a 3-day horseback trek through the amazing mountain pass of Terskye Alatau (Central Tian Shan mountains) towards the beautiful Son Kul Lake. Along the way, we’ll meet nomadic shepherds, taste some of the Kyrgyz national dishes and sleep in yurts of nomadic Kyrgyz families.

 

Adventure Trek Kyrgyzstan - yurt camp

 

Once we get back from this horseback trek, we’ll do some hiking in the “Fairy Tale” Canyon, visit a beautiful waterfall in the forest and go for a swim in Issyk-Kul Lake.

 

Adventure Trekking Tour Kyrgyzstan July 2019 - Fairytale Canyon

“Fairy Tale” Canyon

 

Then we’ll start with the second part of the trek:  a 4-day hike across the Ala-Kul mountain pass (60km in total), during which we’ll hike along the Karakol river, through the forested oasis Sirota and across breathtaking valleys, meadows, and canyons until we reach the gorgeous mountain lake of Ala-Kul, known for its ever-changing watercolors. During this trek, we’ll be camping in a tent in the most beautiful settings and you’ll be able to bath in hot springs under the open sky in of the Altyn-Arashan valley.

 

Ala Kul Lake

 

We’re organizing this tour in collaboration with our friend and local tour guide Aleksei from Kyrgyz Nomad. During our time in Kyrgyzstan, Aleksei has been an indispensable resource for showing us the most beautiful places in the country and giving us some great insights into the culture. During both treks, we’ll also be accompanied by local mountain guides who will make sure we smoothly find our way through the mountains.

 

We can’t wait to take you on this trip with us! It’ll be an incredible adventure and a unique opportunity for you to discover the beauty of a truly magnificent country (which is one of our favorite destinations in the world!) and to experience the lifestyle of the Kyrgyz nomads!

 

BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE

 


 

Overview of the trip

 

  • When:   2 –11 July 2019. 10 days/ 9 nights     or    15 – 24 July 2019.  10 days/ 9 nights

 

  • Start & Finish: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

 

  • Level of difficulty of the 4-day hike: medium – hard  (the 2nd and 3rd day is a very steep hike up, do some endurance training in advance!)

 

  • Transport: Van with AC and/or 4×4 SUV

 

  • Housing and lodging: Homestay with local family, guest house, yurt, tent

 

  • Maximum group size: 15 people

 

  • Who can join: This Adventure Trek is suitable for adventurous travelers aged 18 and above. The average age of the travelers who are joining us so far is between 25 and 40 years. The participants are solo travelers, friends, and couples. The Adventure Trek isn’t suitable for families with children who are younger than 16 years. 

 

Itinerary

 

 

 

Day 1: Bishkek –Tokmok – Kochkor – KyzArt

 

We meet up in Bishkek in the morning. We get in our private transport and drive for one hour to Tokmok where we visit the Burana Tower. This tower is all that remains of a once flourishing city of the ancient Silk Road. After a small tour of this historical site, we make a lunch stop. Then we continue our journey towards the village of KyzArt (4-hour drive). Along the way, we’ll make a stop at the Orto Tokoi Lake and the small town of Kochkor. We arrive in KyzArt in the evening. This village is the start point for the horseback trek. We spend the night in the homestay of a local horseman where we enjoy a homemade dinner.

 

Meals included: Lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Shared room in the homestay of a local family
Facilities: The facilities in the homestay are simple so don’t expect any luxury. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the local lifestyle. No wifi, toilet is outside, hot shower only available if there’s electricity. Shared room.

 

 

 

Day 2: Start of the 3-day horseback trek: KyzArt – Kilemche Valley

 

We start the day with a typical Kyrgyz breakfast. Then we climb on our horses and ride to the Kilemche Valley (4-hour ride). We have lunch at the valley and spend the afternoon walking or riding around the area, experiencing the life of the local nomads and their culture. We spend the night in a shared yurt where we also enjoy a locally made dinner.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Shared yurt.
Facilities: No electricity, no cell phone connection & wi-fi, no hot shower. Toilet is outside.

 

 

 

Day 3: Kilemche valley – Son Kul Lake

 

We start the day with breakfast in the yurt. Then we ride our horses along an amazing mountain pass towards the beautiful lake of Son Kul (3000m). We arrive at the lake around lunchtime. You’ll have the whole afternoon to walk or ride along the lake, meet nomadic shepherds and visit their dwellings, and taste some lovely Kyrgyz dishes. The local people live and keep their livestock in the meadows (jailoo) around the lake from June till September. You’ll get a taste of the wilderness and freedom of the Kyrgyz nomadic life. It will also be possible to taste the Kyrgyz traditional drink ‘kymyz’ (fermented horse milk). We spend the night in a shared yurt on the shores of Son Kul Lake.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Shared yurt.
Facilities: No electricity, no cell phone connection & wi-fi, no hot shower. Toilet is outside.

 

 

 

Day 4: Son Kul – KyzArt – Issyk-Kul lake

After having breakfast in the yurt, we return with our horses through another mountain pass to the village of KyzArt. We have lunch in the village before we get in the car and drive to Ton. This is a village on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake. Issyk-Kul means “warm lake” in the Kyrgyz language because it never freezes, despite the cold temperatures in the region during winter. In the evening we stay in the Bel Tam Yurt camp on the shores of Issyk-Kul lake and get treated to the musical performance of a Kyrgyz folk band.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Shared yurt in Bel Tam yurt camp
Facilities: Hot shower, western style toilets.

 

Watch this to see what you can expect from the horseback trek to Son Kul:

 

 

 

Day 5: Kaji Say – Barskoon gorge – Karakol town.

 

After breakfast, we drive to the “Fairy Tale Canyon” for a short hike. The Canyon is famous for its unique red “Mars” colors and its strange shapes and is a paradise for photographers. After taking plenty of photos, we continue our little road trip and stop at the beach of Issyk Kul for a refreshing swim in the lake. Then we continue driving to the Barskoon Gorge where we visit a beautiful waterfall in the forest. We get back in the car and finish our trip in the town of Karakol, where we spend the night in a guest house.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.
Accommodation: Shared room in Karakol guesthouse
Facilities: Hot shower, western style toilets, wifi.

 

 

 

Day 6: Start of the 4-day hiking trek. Karakol Valley – Sirota

 

We have breakfast in the guesthouse. Then we get in the car and drive to the Karakol gorge. This is the starting point of our 4-day trek. Today we hike along the fast raging Karakol river to the Karakol Valley where we continue the trek towards the forested oasis named Sirota (2900m). We take a break near a little alpine hut that was built several years ago by mountaineer enthusiasts. We continue our hike through the area where we get treated to some amazing views of the distinct landscapes. We set up camp on one of the river banks and enjoy a good dinner before we sleep for the first night under the stars.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.
Accommodation: Tent
Facilities: none. You can refresh yourself in the river.

 

 

 

Day 7:  Hiking towards Ala Kul lake

 

We start the day with a good breakfast before taking down our tents. Today we hike to the Ala-Kul lake (3500m) and we pass a beautiful waterfall along the way. This day will be physically challenging as we’re hiking along a steep path for hours. Once we reach the lake that locals refer to as the ‘pristine diamond of the Karakol Canyon’, we set up camp, have a well-deserved rest and enjoy the ever-changing colors of water. The water changes hourly from azure to violet, depending on the weather conditions.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.
Accommodation: Tent
Facilities: none.

 

 

 

Day 8: Ala Kul pass –  Altyn-Arashan Valley

 

After breakfast and packing up, we continue our hike towards the Ala-Kul pass (3850m). It’s a short but very steep climb up but once we reach the summit, we get treated to a panorama of the highest peaks of the Terskey Alatau mountain range: Karakol Peak, Djigit, and the Oguz Bachi Peaks. Those peaks create a ridge that goes across the horizon from East to West. We take a break here to enjoy the magnificent views before we start our descent towards the Keldeke Gorge and the Altyn-Arashan valley (2600m). Altyn-Arashan means ‘Golden Spa’ and is famous for its hot sulfur springs. The mineral water has a temperature of 40-50°C. Once we arrive, we take a well-deserved therapeutic bath in the indoor hot springs before having dinner at a guest house. Then we set up camp to sleep one last time in our tents.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.
Accommodation: Tent
Facilities: Bathing in indoor hot springs!

 

 

 

Day 9: Last day of the trek. Altyn-Arashan – Ak-Suu – Karakol

 

After our breakfast, we take time to explore more of the Altyn-Arashan valley and go for a bath in the outdoor hot springs. In the afternoon we hike along the Arashan river toward the village of Ak-Suu, the end point of this trek. In the village, we hop in the car and drive back to Karakol. To celebrate the end of the trek, we have dinner at a local restaurant. That night we stay at the same guesthouse as we did on day 5.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.
Accommodation: Shared room in Karakol guesthouse
Facilities: Hot shower, western style toilets, wi-fi.

 

 

 

Day 10:  Return to Bishkek.

 

We enjoy one last breakfast together before we head back to Bishkek. Today will be a long day of driving (6 hours)! Along the way, we have a quick stop to visit the Jeti Oguz Gorge. We drop you off at your hotel/ hostel once we arrive in Bishkek. This is the moment where the tour is finished! There’s an optional dinner to say goodbye to our amazing group of friends!

 

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Top Things to do in Kyrgyzstan - jeti oguz - Journal of Nomads

Jeti Oguz

 

Note: This itinerary can be modified in case of weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances.

 

Watch the video of the trek towards Ala Kul:

 


 

Costs of the trip

 

Price for the 10-day tour: 900 euro per person (max. 15 people)

 

 

What’s included in this price?

  • Transportation: Van with AC and/or 4×4 SUV with an experienced local driver
  • Accommodation: shared rooms in homestay and guesthouses, shared space in yurts
  • All meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entry tickets to Burana Tower, Fairy Tale Canyon, National Park areas in Karakol, hot springs
  • 1 horse per person during the 3-day horseback trek
  • Certified local guides who accompany us during the two trekkings

 

 

What’s not included in this price?

  • Airfares to and from Bishkek
  • Lodging in Bishkek (you can ask us for assistance with booking lodging in Bishkek and airport transport on your arrival and departure dates in Bishkek)
  • Visa application fee (however, Kyrgyzstan is visa-free for most EU and other countries. Check this link to see if you can visit the country without having to obtain a visa)
  • Medical or travel insurance (mandatory to join our trip). We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance (worldwide) if you want a good insurance provider (in case you don’t have one yet).
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary (there will be opportunities before the two treks to buy snacks and food in a local supermarket)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses and souvenirs
  • Private room in guest house (we stay in a shared room in the guesthouses, if you want to have your own private room, please mention beforehand as there will be an additional cost)
  • Camping material: tent, sleeping bag, camping mattress (we offer you the possibility to rent these before the tour for the additional price of max.€10 per day)
  • Additional services: f.eg. you can request a personal porter to carry your luggage (up to 15kg) during the 4-day hike to Ala-Kul lake. A porter costs an additional €100 for the 4 days.

 

 

BOOK NOW

 

 


 

What you need to know before joining this tour

 

Visa for Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan has a visa-free policy for citizens of 61 countries, including citizens of most EU countries, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Check here to see whether or not you need to obtain a visa or if you’re granted a free visa on arrival.

 

Housing and lodging during the tour
We put together this tour with the intention of providing you with an authentic Kyrgyz experience. Therefore we organized lodging in homestays, guesthouses, and yurts with local families so you can get a real taste of the Kyrgyz culture. We will sleep in shared spaces, exactly like the Kyrgyz families do. In the guesthouses you’ll have your own bed, in the homestay and yurt we sleep on thick blankets on the floor. Those blankets are very comfortable and soft so we can ensure that you’ll sleep very well!

 

Kyrgyzstan summer tour - Journal of Nomads - hiking in Kyrgyzstan - sleeping in a yurt

 

 

Bathroom facilities in Kyrgyzstan
Along the road and in remote areas, there are no western-style toilets. Even at the gas stations or road restaurants, you’ll have to feel comfortable with a squat toilet. With the exception of the guesthouses where you’ll have a hot shower and western-style toilet, most toilets will be outside in the form of a separate small building with a hole in the ground. Sometimes there’s toilet paper but it’s better to bring a roll (or two) of toilet paper with you on this tour.

 

Food in Kyrgyzstan
The food in Kyrgyzstan is hearty and delicious. Most meals consist of mutton, beef and chicken meat, served with dumplings, on top of noodles or rice or alongside potatoes. Mention if you’re vegetarian so we can arrange meals without meat for you!

 

Weather in Kyrgyzstan
July is the best month during the summer for horseback riding and trekking in the mountains. The average temperature in the mountains is between 15 and 25 ºC during the day, nights can be chilly (between 0 to 10 ºC). However, the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable so we might experience rain, snow, and sun in one day. Bring warm and waterproof clothes, suitable for any weather condition.

 

Gear/ equipment needed for this tour
As this is an adventurous tour, you’ll need to bring a backpack in which you can carry your clothes, personal items, tent, sleeping bag and camping mattress. During the hiking trek you have to carry your own backpack with all your gear and personal food supplies so try to take light equipment with you! Trekking equipment such as hiking poles, tent, sleeping bags, and camping mats can be rented on a daily basis (not more than €10/day). You can also request a personal porter (€100 for 4 days) during the 4-day hiking trek. It’s also a good idea to bring sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen lotion and a pair of long pants for the horseback trek.

Read our Packing List for Trekking in Kyrgyzstan!

 

Charging electronics
There are electrical outlets in the guesthouses but it will be hard to charge your electronic devices during the treks. Bring enough batteries for your camera and a USB power bank to keep your electronic accessories charged.

 

Will this tour be dangerous?
We want to give you an adventurous experience, not a dangerous one! The biggest danger is that you might not want to leave Kyrgyzstan (that’s why we stayed almost 1 year in the country…).
Kyrgyzstan is one of the safest countries in Asia. To ensure your safety in the mountains, we’ll be accompanied by experienced mountain guides who know all the paths. Safety is our priority and we wouldn’t organize anything that would put you in danger!

 

Do I need to have camping/ hiking/horseback riding experience?
Active mountain trekking is teamwork, so we’ll help each other with setting the camp, building a cover for the rain and motivate each other during the steeper parts of the hike. It’s also not a problem if you’ve never ridden a horse before. The horses are used to carrying people and they walk very slowly so all you have to do is sit and enjoy the ride! We’ll have some experienced horsemen with us that will guide and help you if needed.

 

The only thing that you have to keep in mind is that the 4-day hike can be quite difficult during the climbing parts. If you’re not used to physical activity, build up your endurance by doing some cardio exercises before starting this trek. Don’t underestimate this hike, it’s not a walk in the park!

 

Altitude levels
On this trip, we’ll be reaching altitudes around 3850 meters above sea level. During the horseback trek to Son Kul (3000m), you’ll get the time to acclimatize to the altitude. The same counts for the hiking trek. We won’t hike at a fast pace so you’ll have the time to get used to the altitude. The highest place we reach will be the Ala-Kul pass at 3850 meters. In case you ever had issues with altitude sickness, please seek medical advice before booking this tour.

 

In case you have more questions about this tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 


 

Booking

 

Cost of tour: €900 per person.

Reserve your place before the 31st of May 2019.

The earlier you do it, the earlier your spot in the group will be reserved (max. 15 people)

 

Confirm your participation with a deposit of €200 per person.

The remainder of the tour cost has to be paid cash on the day before the tour.

Deposits can be made via PayPal, Payoneer or Bank Transfer (only for countries within the EU).

 

As soon as we receive your booking, we’ll send out the payment details. You have 48 hours to pay the deposit. If not, we have to cancel your participation and reserve the place for the next person who books.

 

BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE

 

If you have any more questions or want more info, please contact us here!

 

Cancellation policy

If for any reason you have to cancel your place on this tour, we’ll give you a full refund of your deposit if you cancel before the 1st of May 2019.

If we have to cancel this tour for any reason, you will receive a 100% refund of your deposit.

 


We’re so excited to share this adventure with you!!
We hope to see you in Kyrgyzstan!

 

Cynthia, Niko & Aleksei

 

Adventure Tours Kyrgyzstan - Journal of Nomads

 

 

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