From Bishkek to Osh
- Itinerary: Bishkek – Burana Tower – Chong-Kemin Valley – Karakol Town – Altyn-Arashan Hot Springs — Jety-Ögüz Gorge – Bokonbaevo Yurt Camp- Kochkor Village — Song-Köl Lake – Kyzyl-Oi Village – Arslanbob Village — Osh
- Best Season: mid June — mid September
- Duration: 16 days
- Category: combined – 8 days auto / 8 days medium-level trekking (or horse riding)
- Level of Difficulty: Easy to medium
- Group size: 2-12 pax
- Transport: Jeep or Minivan (2-6 pax); Minibus (6-12pax).
- Requirements: weatherproof warm clothes, trekking boots, hat, sleeping bag with mat, sunglasses and sunscreen (optional — swimming costume/trunks for the hot springs at Altyn-Arashan).
Day 1: Early morning arrival at Manas airport. Pick-up and transfer to Bishkek. Hotel accommodation. Free time in Bishkek.
Day 2: Afternoon transfer to the Chong-Kemin Valley, 3 hours from Bishkek. On the way, visit the Burana Tower architectural complex (10-11th century, an important point on the Great Silk Road), 15km from the main road. 1 hour. Arrive in Chong-Kemin. Lunch and take a stroll around Chong-Kemin. Dinner, bed and breakfast at a CBT home-stay.
Day 3: Morning departure to Yssyk-Köl Lake. Transfer to Karakol (5-6 hour drive). On the way, we make a stop in Cholpon-Ata to visit an open-air petroglyph (rock painting) gallery (5km from Cholpon-Ata, heading to the mountains). Lunch en-route at a café. Afternoon arrival in Karakol followed by a city tour: visit the Dungan Mosque and the Russian Orthodox Church. Dinner, bed and breakfast at a CBT home-stay.
Day 4: Morning transfer to the Ak-Suu Village (about 30 km). Start the trekking. Lunch-picnic on the way. Trek to the footsteps of the Ortok Pass. Camp in the tent near the Pass. Trekking time: 5-6 hours. Detailed description with map is given below!
Day 5: Hike through the Ortok Pass, 3560 m. Amazing views of the valley, and the small beautiful mountain lakes. Lunch after descend. Walk to the Altyn-Arashan resort, which is situated 2450 m above sea level. Camp at this wonderful place which is surrounded by magnificent rocks and from where a lot of streams begin from the glaciers. A great panoramic view of the the snow-capped Tashtanbek Tor Bashy (Peak Tashtanbek), 4600 m. Overnight is available in a mountain hut or in tents. Trekking time: 6-7 hours.
Day 6: At the Altyn-Arashan resort is possible to take a thermal water bath. 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. After breakfast walk from Altyn Arashan resort down by Arashan Gorge (4 hours). Drive to Karakol (30 minutes). Dinner, bed and breakfast at a CBT home-stay.
Day 7: Transfer to the Jeti-Ögüz Gorge (Seven Bulls). Visit the Kök-Jaik area (Valley of Flowers). Picnic lunch en-route. Transfer to a yurt camp on the southern shore of Yssyk-Köl Lake (800 metres from the beach). Dinner and overnight stay in a yurt.
Day 8: Breakfast. Leave for Kochkor Village (Naryn region) –about a 3-hour drive. Lunch upon arrival. Afternoon — learn how “ala kiiz” – Kyrgyz felt carpets – are made. Dinner, bed and breakfast at a CBT home-stay.
Day 9: Morning departure to the Kyzart Pass (1.5 hours). Start the 3-day trek to the Son-Köl Lake (“The Final Lake”), 3016 metres above sea level. Picnic lunch en-route. Continue over the Chaar-Archa Pass (3061 m) into the Chaar-Archa Valley with views of the 4400m holy Baba-Ata Mountain. Sated, cross 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. Dine and sleep in a yurt. Trekking time: 5-6 hours. Optional: horseback tour.
Day 10: Continue your journey to the Son-Köl Lake. After breakfast at Kilemche, spend the morning climbing to the Jalgyz Karagai pass (3400m), over the Son-Köl 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, Son-Köl is still distant, but as you trek 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 the Jaman-Echki yurt, follow the lakeshore west to a shepherd’s yurt or tent in the Tuz-Ashuu area. Meals and overnight stay in a yurt or tent. Trekking time: 5 hours.
Day 11: After breakfast at Tuz-Ashuu, start the trek towards Kyzart Village. Arrive in Kyzart and have lunch at your home-stay. Late afternoon transfer to Kyzyl-Oi Village (3 hours). Dinner, bed and breakfast in a home-stay. Kyzyl Oi is an old village which has kept its distinct Central Asia character with its scattered reddish clay houses. It is located in the Suusamyr Valley in a narrow gorge of the powerful Kokomeren river. The village is located at 1800m where the valley forms a bowl surrounded by high red coloured mountains, which give the place its name, Kyzyl-Oi, meaning “Red Bowl” in Kyrgyz.
Day 12: Transfer to Arslanbob village, 7-8 hours. Lunch at a café en-route. Arrival in Arslanbob, dinner, bed and breakfast in a home-stay
Day 13: Start the 2-day trek in the walnut forests around Arslanbob. All meals will be provided during the trek. Overnight accommodation in a tent.
Day 14: Morning – continue the trek with a late afternoon arrival back in Arslanbob. Dinner, bed and breakfast at a home-stay.
Day 15: Early morning transfer to Osh (4 hours). On the way visit an 11th century architectural complex in Özgön. Arrive in Osh and explore the city: visit the sacred Sulaiman-Too (Prophet Solomon’s mountain) and Osh bazaar, one of Central Asia’s largest open-air markets. Optional lunch and dinner at a café serving Kyrgyz dishes. Bed and breakfast at a CBT home-stay.
Day 16: Depart to Bishkek, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or China.
— Burana Tower (10-11th centuries, an important point on the Great Silk Road);
— Ysyk-Köl (Issyk-Kol) lake;
— Cholpon-Ata petroglyphs;
— Song-Köl (Son-Kol) lake, mountain lake on 3016 m;
— Arslanbob – walnut relict forests.
8 nights CBT home stays
3 nights CBT yurt stays
3 nights Tents
8 Lunches and 3 Lunch-picnics