Kyrgyzstan Travel Tour


Join us in the summer of 2020 on an Overland Expedition

through Kyrgyzstan!


Book before the 31st of December 2019 and get a 10% discount on the tour price!


Overland Expedition Kyrgyzstan - Journal of Nomads


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


In 2018 I spent nearly 12 months in a little Central Asian country called Kyrgyzstan and I”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 Overland Expeditions in 2018 and 2019 (watch the video here), we want to give travelers a new opportunity to join us for some amazing adventures during our Kyrgyzstan Travel Tour! That’s why we’re organizing 5 new Adventure Tours in the summer of 2020!


This is what our participants said about the Overland Expeditions in the past 2 years:  


“The tour was just amazing! I am quite used to travel on my own, but joining you guys was definitely the right choice! Otherwise, it couldn’t be possible to reach such beautiful places. Thank you so much for sharing with us your time and your experience as travelers.” – Ignacio, participant of the Overland Expedition 2018


” Cynthia and Niko made it possible for me to visit places that I would not have been willing…or able, to reach on my own! Their local knowledge was great and their enthusiasm for life and travel was contagious. The expedition was amazing value for money. I was taken care of very well and I have amazing memories and experiences to look back on. I hope they will be organizing more of these budget expeditions in the future…I would love to travel with them again.” – Ruth, participant of the Overland Expedition 2018


“This trip is perfect for those who want the benefits of group travel – getting to hard-to-reach places and meeting other travellers, but none of the downsides. There is plenty of room for flexibility and independence – participants are often free to choose whether to spend the day taking on the highest peak or just reading in the shade. Covering a wide range of activities, landscapes and places – some well-known, others further off the beaten path – this trip is a great way to experience Kyrgyzstan.”  – Anita, participant of the Overland Expedition 2019



“It’s a real adventure, you get to wonderful places where it would be very difficult to come on your own, you just must be prepared not to have the comfort of hot showers, electricity, and internet everywhere, but it’s really worth this “sacrifice”!” – Wilfried, participant of the Overland Expedition 2019



The Overland Expeditioners who joined us in August 2018


Do you like the sound of an off-road adventure across wild and untouched mountainous landscapes to explore one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful alpine lakes? Would you love to spend some nights in a yurt like the real Kyrgyz nomads and camp in the middle of nowhere near a river in a stunning valley surrounded by majestic mountains? Then we invite you to join us on our 8-day Overland Expedition in Kyrgyzstan!


Available dates:

* June 20th – June 27th 2020 

* August 28th  – September 4th 2020


Are you planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan in July or are you interested in a longer adventure?

Join our 10-day Adventure Trek or our 14-day Best of Kyrgyzstan Adventure Tour (more information on this tour will be available by the end of August 2019)!



Table of Contents:



What can you expect on this Overland Expedition? 


During this road trip, we’ll visit remote places that are hard to reach without an experienced local driver and a 4×4 vehicle. 


We’ll spend a few days exploring the remote area around Kel Suu Lake, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful and spectacular mountain lakes in the Kyrgyz Republic. It’s located next to the western side of the Kolshaal-Too mountains, not far from the Chinese border.


You’ll have the chance to go on a few hikes, meet and interact with the local shepherds to learn more about their daily lives, go on a horseback trip around the area, row a small boat on the lake or just relax and connect with nature.


Overland expedition in Kyrgyzstan - Journal of Nomads

Kel Suu Lake 


We’ll also come across a 600-year-old caravanserai where travelers used to take a break during their journey along the old Silk Road.


Overland Expedition Kyrgyzstan - Tash Rabat

Tash Rabat, a 600-year-old caravanserai


During the last days of the trip, we’ll be going on a 2-day horseback trek on which we’ll cross a couple of stunning mountain passes near Son Kul Lake


Over the course of the Expedition, we’ll spend some nights in the yurt camp of local nomadic shepherds and the rest of the time we’ll camp in the great and untouched wilderness of Kyrgyzstan.


Adventure Tour Kyrgyzstan, Overland ExpeditionHorseback riding in the mountains near Son Kul Lake


I’m organizing this Overland Expedition in collaboration with my good friend and local guide Aleksei from Kyrgyz Nomad. During my time in Kyrgyzstan, Aleksei has been an indispensable resource for showing Niko and I the most beautiful places in the country and giving us some great insights into the culture.


During the horseback trek, we’ll also be accompanied by experienced guides who will make sure we smoothly find our way through the mountains.


We’re looking forward to taking you on this trip with us! It’ll be a unique adventure and a great opportunity for you to discover the wild beauty of a truly magnificent country (which is one of our favorite destinations in the world!) and get a taste of the Kyrgyz nomadic culture!





Overview of the trip


  • When: 20th – 27th ofJune, 2020. 8 days/ 7 nights   or   24th – 31st August, 2020.  8 days/ 7 nights.


  • Start & Finish: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


  • Transport: 4×4 off-road vehicle


  • Housing and lodging: yurt & tent


  • Maximum group size: 15 people


  • Who can join: This off-road adventure is suitable for adventurous travelers aged 18 and above. The average age of the travelers who have been joining us so far is between 20 and 45 years. The participants are solo travelers, friends, and couples. Families are also welcome provided that the children are at least 12 years old and already have experience with camping.






Day 1: Bishkek –Orto Tokoi reservoir – Kochkor – Naryn – Kok-Kiya Valley (Kel Suu area)


We meet up in Bishkek in the early morning and leave at 6 am in the 4×4 vehicles as we have about 10 hours of driving ahead. We make a few stops along the way so we can stretch our legs and enjoy the wonderful views. One of those stops will be at the Orto Tokoi water reservoir.


We have a lunch break at a local café in Naryn so you can taste some of the traditional Kyrgyz dishes. After we’ve filled our bellies, we hit the road again and drive to the Kok-Kiya Valley, an area near the border with China.


Along the way, we get treated to some spectacular views over the At-Bashi range and the Eki-Naryn Canyon.


We arrive in the valley in the early evening where we set up camp near the river. At night we cook our dinner together in the kitchen tent and enjoy the meal while we watch the spectacular sunset in the valley.


Meals included: Lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Tent

Facilities: None. You can refresh yourself in the lake or in the river.




Day 2 & 3: Exploring Kel Suu Lake


After having breakfast in our camp, we go on a hike (about 1.5 km) to explore the stunning Kel Suu Lake. This lake is one of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful and unique alpine lakes. It looks like a winding canyon and was formed thousands of years ago by a strong earthquake.


The lake is surrounded by hundreds of meters high cliffs that have numerous caves and alcoves. There’s a small island in the center of the lake that you can reach by boat.


You can explore the area on foot, on horseback or by boat. You can rent a boat from local people and/or you can rent a horse from the local shepherds. You could also go for a swim, however, the water is very cold (around 6ºC) and the lake is 5 to 10 meters deep so it can be dangerous. At the end of the day, we return back to our camp.


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





Day4: Kel Suu – Tash Rabat

After having breakfast, we pack up our camp and leave the Kok Kiya Valley to drive towards Tash Rabat. We drive off-road along the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. We arrive in Tash Rabat in the late afternoon where we spend the night in a yurt camp and enjoy a lovely dinner from the Kyrgyz cuisine.


Meals included: Breakfast, dinner
Accommodation: Shared Yurt
Facilities: no wi-fi, no hot shower. Toilet is outside.




Day 5: Tash Rabat – Son Kul lake


We start the day with a nice breakfast at the yurt camp. Then we visit the historical complex of Tash Rabat, a 15th century stone caravanserai that used to function as a ‘roadside inn’ for the people and their animals who used to travel along the ancient Silk Road.


After this visit, we get back in the car and continue our road trip to Son Kul Lake.  We drive inland, across some stunning mountain passes before we reach the lake in the late afternoon. After arriving at the lake, we have dinner and spend the night in a yurt camp.


Meals included: Breakfast, dinner
Accommodation: Shared yurt
Facilities: no wi-fi, no hot shower. Toilet is outside.




Day 6:  Horseback trek from Son Kul to Kilemche 


We start the day with a typical Kyrgyz breakfast in the yurt. Then we climb on our horses and ride to the Kilemche Valley across a stunning mountain pass.


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 7: Horseback trek from Kimeche Valley to Son Kul Lake


We start our day with breakfast in the yurt. Then we jump back on our horses. Today we take a different route and ride along a stunning mountain pass back to Son Kul Lake.


We arrive in the early afternoon so there will be time for a swim in the lake, go for a walk or just enjoy the beauty of the area. You’ll get a taste of the wilderness and freedom of the Kyrgyz nomadic life.


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




Day 8: Son Kul – Bishkek


We start our last day with a good breakfast and some relaxing time before hitting the road back to Bishkek where we’ll arrive in the late evening. 


Once we arrive, we’ll drop off everyone at a central location in the city center where we can easily park the cars and unload the luggage. If needed, we’ll call a taxi for you so you can easily get to your hostel or hotel.


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


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


Watch the video of our Overland Expedition 2018 to get an idea of what to expect:





Costs of the trip


Price for the 8-day trip: 900 euro per person (max. 15 people)

Book before December 31st 2019 and get a 10% discount!


What’s included in this price?

  • Transportation: 4×4 offroad vehicle with an experienced local driver
  • Accommodation: yurt stay
  • Rent of one big tent to use as a kitchen for the group
  • All meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • 1 horse per person during the 2-day horseback trek
  • Guide and experienced horseman during the 2-day horseback trek
  • Entry fee for Tash Rabat
  • Border permits for the Kel Suu lake area


Kel Suu is located near the Chinese border and there are military checkpoints on the road to the lake. Anyone who wants to go there needs a border permit. To arrange these border permits for you, we’ll ask a copy of your passport when you finalize your booking.


What’s not included in this price?

  • Airfares to and from 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).
  • Lodging in Bishkek
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary (there will be an opportunity to buy snacks before we go off-road)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses and souvenirs
  • 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)




What you need to know before joining this trip


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.


Lodging during the tour
We’ll spend about 4 nights in a shared yurt where we’ll sleep on thick blankets on the floor as the Kyrgyz nomads do. Those blankets are very comfortable and soft so we can ensure that you’ll sleep very well!


The remaining nights you will camp in your own tent so definitely bring a good camping mattress and a warm sleeping bag as the nights in the mountains might get cold.


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 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 trip.


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


Weather in Kyrgyzstan
June, July and August are great months for hiking and exploring the mountains. However, we’ll be staying at an altitude of more than 3000 m above sea level and the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable. If it’s sunny, it’s hot (between 20ºC – 25 ºC), but it can start raining or even snowing within one hour.


At night the temperature can drop below 0 ºC and there can be frost in the morning. Bring warm and waterproof clothes that are suitable for any weather condition.


Gear/ equipment needed for this tour
As there’s a limited luggage space in the car, you’ll need to bring a backpack in which you can carry your clothes, personal items, tent, sleeping bag and camping mattress. You won’t have to carry your backpack that much but try to keep your luggage to a minimum.


Camping equipment such as a tent, sleeping bags, and camping mats can be rented on a daily basis (not more than €10/day).


Bring a sunhat, sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen lotion and a pair of long pants for the horseback trek. If you can handle the cold temperature of the lakes (5 ºC), feel free to bring your swimsuit!


Charging electronics
It will be difficult to charge your electronic devices during the trip. 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 one whole year in the country!)

Kyrgyzstan is one of the safest countries in Asia. Safety is our priority and we wouldn’t organize anything that would put you in danger!


Do I need to have camping/ horseback riding experience?
You don’t need to have camping experience but you need to be aware of what you’re signing up for.


This is not a ‘glamping’ trip so you need to be comfortable with living in basic conditions, not being able to take a hot shower for the full length of the trip (you can wash yourself in the lakes and/or rivers) and feel confident enough to use a tree or a hole in the ground as a toilet.


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.


Altitude levels
On this trip, we’ll be reaching high altitudes (around 3500 m above sea level). You’ll have the time to get used to the altitude but in case you ever had issues with altitude sickness, please seek medical advice before booking this trip.


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





Cost of tour: €900 per person.

Express your interest to participate by the 15th of May 2020 (1st tour) or the 15th of June 2020 (2nd tour).

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


If you book before December 31st, 2019, you’ll get a 10% discount on the tour price!


Confirm your participation with a deposit of €300 per person.

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

Deposits can be made through Transferwire, a safe online money transfer service.


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.




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 2020.

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