Pearls of Kyrgyzstan: Lake Yssyk-Kol and Lake Song-Kol
- Best Season: mid June — mid September
- Duration: 11 days
- Category: combined – 6 days auto / 3 days medium-level trekking and 2 days horseback riding
- Level of Difficulty: easy to medium
- Group size: any
- Transport: Jeep or Minivan (2-6 pax); Minibus (6-12pax).
- Requirements: weatherproof warm clothes, trekking boots, hat, sleeping bag with mat, sunglasses and sunscreen
Day 1: Arrival at Manas airport. Pick up and transfer to Bishkek. Hotel accommodation.
Day 2: Leave for Chong-Kemin Valley (approx .3 hours drive). 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. At lunch time arrival in Chon Kemin, after lunch walking around the village. Dinner, bed and breakfast at a CBT home stay.
Day 3: Continue the drive to Karakol (about 4 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). Lunch en-route in 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 the 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 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: After breakfast, transfer to the Jeti-Ögüz Gorge (Seven Bulls), 1 hour. Visit the Kök-Jaik area (Valley of Flowers), 2-3 hours. Picnic lunch en-route. Continue to the southern shore of Ysyk-Köl Lake (3-hour drive). Dinner and overnight stay at a yurt camp near Bokonbaevo village.
Day 8: Morning departure to Kochor Village (Naryn region, about 3 hours). Arrival by noon, lunch. Afternoon – learn how “ala kiiz” – Kyrgyz felt carpets – are made. Dinner, bed and breakfast at a CBT home-stay.
Day 9: After breakfast head to Song-Köl Lake (110km, 3-hour drive). Meet your host family, lunch upon arrival. Optional: horseback riding. You can also help your host family with their everyday life: looking after the horses and sheep, making bread and milk products, bringing water from a source nearby. Dinner and overnight stay in a shepherd’s yurt.
Day 10: Start trekking or horseback riding towards Kyzart Village along the lakeside. This day you will reach Tuz-Ashu area. Meals and overnight in a yurt. Detailed tour description is given below!
Day 11: Ascent the Tuz-Ashuu Pass (3 400 meters ASL) and arrive at Kyzart Village, where hot lunch waits for you. Afternoon transfer to Kyzyl-Oi Village, 2,5 hours. Kyzyl Oi is an old village which has kept its distinct Central Asia character with its scattered reddish clay houses. It is located in 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. It’s an ideal place to hike or ride on horseback in the mountains, or simply to rest enjoying the beautiful landscapes red and green-coloured. Arrival in Kyzyl-Oi, dinner and B&B in a home stay.
Day 12: After a late breakfast transfer to Bishkek (5 hours). Arrival in Bishkek, end of the tour.
Day 13: Transfer to the airport. Departure.
— 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.
5 nights CBT home stays
3 nights CBT yurt stays
2 nights Tents
5 Lunches and 3 Lunch-picnics