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Kyrgyzstan Explorer

Group Tour

15 Days From $2,709

Overview

Kyrgyzstan is quite simply one of the most beautiful countries on earth. The aptly named Tien Shan or “Mountains of Heaven” that stretch across its length and breadth are lush and green, high and wild, and are dissected by sweeping steppe lands, primal forests, crystal streams and turquoise lakes.  

Far away, scratching the belly of the endless sky is a never-changing vista of lofty snow-capped peaks. With 90% of the country lying above 1500m this is very much a destination ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

14 x Breakfasts
14 x Lunches
14 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses and our feet(!). There is also the option to go horse riding.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will stay in a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from hotels and guesthouses to yurts and homestays as part of local community-based tourism projects. There is also one night of wild camping. In the yurts and homestays it may be necessary to share a room/yurt with up to 4 or 5 people. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Kyrgyzstan Explorer
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: JOIN TOUR IN BISHKEK

DAY 1: JOIN TOUR IN BISHKEK

The tour starts around lunchtime in Bishkek. This afternoon we will have a look around this city, one of the world’s more relaxed capitals, visiting the excellent National History Museum and taking a wander around one of the bustling bazaars.

B Hotel or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: BISHKEK - CHYCHKAN GORGE

DAY 2: BISHKEK - CHYCHKAN GORGE

Leaving the capital today, it is not long before we get into the mountain scenery for which Kyrgyzstan is so rightly famed. Our route will take us over two mountain passes - the dramatic Tuu Ashuu (3586m) and the Ala Bel (3184m) which in Kyrgyz means “colourful pass”. As we travel through the Suusamyr Valley we will make several stops for some short acclimatisation walks and opportunities hopefully to meet some of the nomads who are often found here in the summer. We should be able to see their traditional yurts; observe mare milking and see how they control their huge flocks of sheep. This is a great introduction to the life of the nomadic shepherd. Upon arrival at Chychkan Gorge there should be time to explore some of the surrounding area.

Oson Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: CHYCHKAN GORGE - SARY CHELEK

DAY 3: CHYCHKAN GORGE - SARY CHELEK

With an early departure from Chychkan, we aim to arrive by mid-afternoon at Sary Chelek, which was included in the list of UNESCO Protected Biosphere Reserves in 1978. This is one of Kyrgyzstan’s least visited but most striking locations. Centred around a spectacular lake, which sits at an altitude of 1873m, Sary Chelek is almost alpine in appearance and provides some of the finest scenery in Central Asia. We base ourselves here for two nights.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: SARY CHELEK

DAY 4: SARY CHELEK

Today we plan to head out with a picnic lunch and take an easy but exhilarating walk between and around two of the lakes of Sary Chelek. Being home to over 1000 species of plant, 160 species of bird and 34 different types of mammal we can never be sure of exactly what we might see, but the views all around are spectacular.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: SARY CHELEK - ARSLANBOB

DAY 5: SARY CHELEK - ARSLANBOB

Leaving Sary Chelek this morning we head south towards Arslanbob village. Considered to be one of the country’s most attractive villages, it not only sits in the middle of a vast walnut forest, but it is also interestingly predominantly inhabited by ethnic Uzbeks. On arrival we will visit the local bazaar and settle in to our community-based homestay, where we stay for the next two nights.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: ARSLANBOB

DAY 6: ARSLANBOB

Today we will have the whole day to explore on foot the surrounds of Arslanbob and to see its famous walnut forests, as well as some of the waterfalls and streams which dot the region. The walnut forests are believed to pre-date the 11th century and may even date back to the times of Alexander the Great. In fact legend has it that Alexander brought back large quantities of the nuts from Central Asia, but had to give them up once he reached Greece as payment to the boatmen who transported his troops. While this may just be the stuff of legend, what is certainly true is that Central Asian walnuts regularly formed part of the goods that were transported along the Silk Road, branches of which ran close to Arslanbob. Those preferring a less active day can take shorter walks and relax amidst the beautiful scenery of this small village.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: ARSLANBOB - KAZARMAN

DAY 7: ARSLANBOB - KAZARMAN

We have a long drive today through the country’s interior as we head through the central ranges of the Tien Shan over the Kaldama Ashuu pass (3062m) to Kazarman. This remote town sits on the Naryn River, one of the major tributaries of the Syr Darya River which was known to Alexander and the ancient Greeks as the Jaxartes.

Homestay
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: KAZARMAN - SON KUL

DAY 8: KAZARMAN - SON KUL

Leaving Kazarman this morning we drive over the Moldo Ashuu pass (3660m), cross the Naryn River and head for Son Kul, a spectacular 3000m high mountain lake, to stay in our yurt camp. Arriving late afternoon, we will have a chance to venture out and meet the local nomads who spend their summers here.

Son Kul Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: SON KUL

DAY 9: SON KUL

Today there will opportunities for full or half day walks (or horse rides) up into the hills to enjoy the mind-blowing views over this amazing lake. Alternatively, those wishing to can just hang out at the yurt camp and enjoy some down time. We also hope to be able to observe a game of kok buru (perhaps better known by its Afghan name buzkashi) in which riders compete to place a headless goat in a goal!

Son Kul Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: SON KUL - TASH RABAT

DAY 10: SON KUL - TASH RABAT

This morning we’ll take another beautiful drive on to Tash Rabat, the famous ancient Silk Road caravanserai, where we will spend the next two nights. Dinner will be provided by the family of Jergal, the caretaker of the caravanserai with whom Wild Frontiers have been staying for over a decade.

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: TASH RABAT

DAY 11: TASH RABAT

Today is free to explore the stunning mountain surroundings. The walking in this area is wonderful and those wishing to ride also have the chance do so. We might head up to the 3,500m Tash Rabat Pass or follow another beautiful circular route, or you could just do your own thing. This valley, just 35km as the crow flies from the Chinese border, is lush and green, groaning with horses, yaks and sheep and the nomads who live by them. We will take a packed lunch with us, as the ride or walk will take most of the day. We’ll have a traditional dinner again with our friends.

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: TASH RABAT - NARYN - RIVER CAMP

DAY 12: TASH RABAT - NARYN - RIVER CAMP

This morning we’ll drive on to Naryn, stopping en route at At Bashy to view the 11th century ruins here. In the afternoon we take a beautiful drive following the Little Naryn River along a quiet road. We will spend the night at our camp by the river. Dinner will be cooked in camp by our own cooks.

Wild Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: RIVER CAMP - ISSYK KUL YURT CAMP

DAY 13: RIVER CAMP - ISSYK KUL YURT CAMP

Today we will make a full day trek from the camp, over the 4100m Ton Pirival Pass and on to a yurt camp. The scenery on this walk is magnificent but it should be made clear that it is a reasonably tough trek that will need to be completed in 6 hours. If you prefer not to walk, you can travel in one of our vehicles via Sary Bulak to meet up with the trekkers at the yurt camp on the north side of the pass. Whichever way you choose to travel, there are wonderful views down on to Issyk Kul Lake.

Yurt Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: ISSYK KUL YURT CAMP - BISHKEK

DAY 14: ISSYK KUL YURT CAMP - BISHKEK

This morning we will have a chance to see an eagle hunting demonstration. This ancient skill was something for which our dear friend Sogan Bai, who passed away in 2009, was most famous and regarded as a national hero. Although he is no longer with us, there are others in the region who continue his legacy. Later we will walk down through the foothills of the verdant Tien Shan, the Mountains of Heaven, to Bokenbaevo and drive to Tok Mok to visit the restored 11th century Burana Tower. We will then continue on to Bishkek and check in to our hotel in time to freshen up for our final night in Kyrgyzstan.

B Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: TOUR ENDS BISHKEK

DAY 15: TOUR ENDS BISHKEK

The tour ends after breakfast today at the hotel

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Travel, Discover, Help

For every passenger that our local agent in Kyrgyzstan hosts, $1 per day is donated to their charitable project during your stay.
 
Travel, Discover, Help enables children from orphanages to learn more about Kyrgyzstan, by offering excursions to the countryside and events throughout the year.  
 
Additionally, they provide 40,498 days of work for locals annually and support ecological campaigns - transporting waste from glaciers and mountain gorges across this beautiful country.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
TK 1986 London Heathrow (LHR) 16:30 Istanbul (IST) 22:15
TK 344 Istanbul (IST) 00:40 Bishkek Airport (FRU) 08:45
TK 345 Bishkek Airport (FRU) 10:25 Istanbul (IST) 13:25
TK 1971 Istanbul (IST) 14:35 London Heathrow (LHR) 16:40

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Kyrgyzstan.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.
 

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Uzbekistan

If you have the time, why not take a short flight from Bishkek over to Tashkent to visit the architectural wonders of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva in Uzbekistan – a good contrast to the dramatic scenery of Kyrgyzstan.
Allow 7-10 days.&

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The weather conditions can be extremely varied during this tour. In the mountains you will often be travelling at heights in excess of 3000 metres, and even in the middle of summer it can turn bitter with snow falling, although on average at this time of year we would expect temperatures in the early 20s (C). At the same time mercury in the thermometers of Bishkek can be nudging 40C.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. However, please note that you will be camping and staying in yurts, so you should be prepared for long-drop toilet facilities and no showers for part of the trip. But don’t panic too much… this is genuine adventure travel and your overall experience will easily make up for the lack of mod cons!

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for Bishkek and Chychkan Gorge only, and the one camping night where you would get your own tent.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 6826 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION