From Chong-Kemin Valley to Issyk-Kul Lake: Horse Riding 2 days
- Itinerary: Bishkek – Chong-Kemin — Tamchy
- Duration: 3 days
- Level of Difficulty: Medium (1 pass at 3 400 m)
- Altitudes see level above: 2 500- 3 400 m
- Category: Auto/Horseback riding
- Group size: any
- Overnights: 2 nights in homestays, 1 night in a tent
- Season: 01 June – 30 September
- Requirements: waterproof warm clothes, trekking boots, hat, sleeping bag with mat, sunglasses, sunscreen..
- Estimated horse riding time: 6-7 hours on Day 1 and 4-5 hours on Day 2.
Chong Kemin lies within the Tian Shan mountain range separating Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This spectacular valley is famed for its natural beauty, abundant wildlife and rich, varied flora. This is the reason why Chong Kemin National Park was founded in 1977.
Cliffy mountains of Boom Gorge conceal colorful shrubs and gorgeous fir tree forests. These forests grow densely and cover all mountain slopes as if covered by velvet. On the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range there are 582 glaciers, with the total area of 520 кm2.Most of them are situated in the central part of the range. The upper reaches of Chong-Kemin river is considered to be the biggest glaciations center. Mountains range on the eastern part forming the mountain junction known as Kemin-Chelek. At the eastern part of Chong-Kemin is situated Kok-Oirok jailoo. Kemin State has a Reserve aimed at preserving pheasants and hares, and also places of growing ephedra (Bot.: Ephedra intermedia). The nature in Kemin is unique by its own beauty, rich with thermal and mineral springs. Chong-Kemin gorges are also truly attractive by its beauties and conveniences. By the gorges of Kyrgyz Ala-Too there are lots of sparse growths of fir trees, juniper, birch, maple, rowan-tree etc. The friendly group of CBT Chong-Kemin would be glad to welcome you at the land of brave Shabdan Baatyr (Shabdan Hero). Experienced guides can show you track through passes to the azure coasts of Issyk-Kul. During the tour, one can see rare species of flora and fauna of Central Tien-Shan, learn more about local inhabitant’s culture, visit Reserve and take part in many other interesting activities.
The valley offers several trekking possibilities from easy short walks along the Chong Kemin River to adventurous and tough hikes over 3 000m passes, certainly not for the faint-hearted. Recently white water rafting has become a popular activity for visitors in the area, However, if it’s a more relaxing experience you are after, exploring this stunning valley on horseback is a great alternative.
Day 1: Morning transfer from Bishkek to Chong-Kemin valley, the village of Karool-Dobo (Watch Hill). On the way, visit the Burana Tower architectural complex (10-11th century, an important point on the Great Silk Road), 15 km from the main road. Upon your arrival lunch time at friendly home stay. After lunch short horseback around the village to the Watch Hill and Orto-Kaindi Gorge. Evening return to the village, overnight in a homestay with dinner. (Optional: rafting in Chong-Kemin River for 20 km, 2 hours, easy level)
Day 2: After breakfast transfer to the tour starting point of Chym-Bulak Jailoo (“Jailoo” is a mountainous summer pasture). The route goes along Chon-Kemin river through Bai-Kishi, Toguz-Bulak and Chym-Bulak gorges. Slopes of these gorges are covered by fir forests. Lunch. Continue the tour through the forest till Kol-Konur lake at 2 500 meters. Set up the camp, dinner and overnight stay in a tent. Horse time: 6-7 hours.
Day 3: Breakfast. Continue the tour from Kol-Tor lake to Tamchy pass and cross the pass (3 400 meters a.s.l.). Short break for a lunch. Continue to Achyk-Tash Jailoo, where a car from Tamchy Village picks you up and transfers you to the lakeshore of Issyk-Kul Lake. Enjoy the lakeside and swim in refreshing waters of Issyk-Kul Lake after the tour. Dinner and B&B in a local home stay. End of the tour.