Pearls of Kyrgyzstan: Song-Kol & Issyk-Kul Lakes
Days: 9 Locations which you will visit: Issyk Kul, Altyn Arashan, Song Kol
Experience the beauty, mystery, and vibrant culture of Kyrgyzstan on this unforgettable journey. Explore the haunting ruins of Balasagun and its towering symbol, the 11th-century Burana Tower, once a grand minaret. Delve into the wild expanse of the Chong-Kemin Valley, home to an incredible range of terrain and unique fauna and flora.
Lose yourself in the shimmering azure paradise of Issyk-Kul Lake, the second-largest saline lake in the world, with its year-round warm waters set against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Discover Son-Kul, 'the final lake,' a radiant sapphire gem nestled in the heart of lush mountain pastures. This strikingly beautiful high-altitude lake, embraced by nomads since ancient times, is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the timeless nomadic lifestyle.
From the echoes of ancient civilizations to serene mountain pastures, this tour offers a deep dive into the soul of Kyrgyzstan, bringing together natural beauty, rich history, and fascinating local traditions in a single, comprehensive adventure.
This day drive to Chong-Kemin Valley. Visit the Burana Tower architectural complex (10th-11th century, an important point on the Great Silk Road) on the way (15 km from the main road, 1 hour). Upon arrival to Chong-Kemin have a lunch at home stay. Accommodation in a local guesthouse. Optional: horse riding or walk around the village.
After breakfast drive to Karakol (about 5-6 hours). On the way make a stop in Cholpon-Ata to visit an open-air petroglyph (rock painting) gallery (5km from Cholpon-Ata, heading to the mountains). Continue your way to Karakol, make another stop for lunch at cafe. Upon arrival to Karakol, visit Dungan Mosque and Russian Ortodox Church. Dinner will be at café, overnight at guest house.
Morning after breakfast transfer from Karakol town to Ak-Suu. Meet your guide team and start trekking up to the river Ak-Suu. Ascent the hot spring first day. Overnight in a hut or yurt. Trekking time: 4 hours
After breakfast at Altyn-Arashan trek back to Ak-Suu village, where driver will pick up you. You will never be able to forget the sight of the snow on Peak Palatka (Tent) 5260 m. or “Swallow’s Nest Pool”, nestling beneath the open sky. Walk from Altyn Arashan resort down by Arashan Gorge (3hours). Dinner at café, accommodation at guest house.
Leave to the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake. On the way visit Jeti-Oguz Gorge (Seven Bulls Rock) and Skazka Canyons (Fairy Tale Canyon). Have a lunch upon arrival to yurt camp. Then free time, you can swim at the lake. Dinner and accommodation in a yurt camp at the lakeshore.
Afternoon transfer to Jaychi yurt camp, where you will see eagle hunting show. Then continue your way to Kochkor village, have a lunch at home stay at Kochkor village.
Transfer from Kochkor to Kyzart pass. Arrival at Kyzart pass, meet your guides team and start the tour. Within sight of the road, cross Kyzyl-Kiya jailoo, an enormous, relatively flat sea of grass. Continue over the Chaar-Archa Pass (3 061 m) into the Chaar-Archa Valley and eat a tasty lunch by the racing river, with views of holy 4400 m Baba-Ata Mountain. Sated, ford the river and follow the trail over verdant hills to Kilemche Jailoo. The name means “like a carpet,” and this swathe of grass covers whole mountain ranges, with shadings as subtle as any shyrdak (shyrdak is a Kyrgyz felt carpet). Dine and sleep in a yurt, naturally.
After breakfast at Kilemche, spend the morning climbing to Jalgyz Karagai pass (3400 m), over the Song-Kol Mountains and into the lake’s basin. The morning climb affords wonderful views of Kilemche jailoo, and the pass itself is rocky and exciting. From the pass, Song-Kol is still distant, but as you traipse down the slopes, it gets larger and larger; the mountains on the other side get higher and higher, until finally the lake fills most of your field of view and the southern mountains tower above it. After lunch at Jaman Echki, transfer the lakeshore east to the yurt at Batai-Aral. Upon arrival meet your host family of Kyrgyz shepherds. Meals and overnight are in a yurt of shepherds.
After breakfast transfer to Bishkek, via Kalmak-Asuu pass. Upon arrival to Bishkek, end of the tour.
- Accommodation according the program at home stay, guest houses and yurt camps
- Meals during tour (8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners), except alcoholic drinks
- Transport services
- English speaking touring guide
- Visiting cultural/historical places and entrance fees
- Cultural events and show according to the program
- 2 days trek to Altyn-Arashan hot springs
- 2 days trek to Song-Kol lake
- accommodation in Bishkek;
- meals at cafes;
- single supplement;
- personal expenses;
- activities out of program;
- travel insurance;
- international air fare;
- boat trip and rafting.