Horseback Riding on the Southern Lakeshore of Issyk-Kul
- Itinerary: Bishkek – Bokonbay — Bishkek
- Duration: 3 days horseback riding
- Category: Auto/Horseback
- Group size: any
- Overnights: home stay & tents
- Season: March – November
- Requirements: Waterproof Warm Clothes, Trekking Boots, Hat, Sunglasses.
- Altitudes above sea level: 1500 – 2400 m
- Horseback: 4-5 hours day
Bokonbayevs (Bokonbayev or Bokonbaevo) is the center of the Tong District in the Issyk-Kul Province of Kyrgyzstan. It was established as Kol’tsovka village in 1912. With a population of 10,648 (2009 Population Census), it is the largest village in the south of Issyk-Kul. A bustling industrial center in Soviet times, it now serves as a base for tourism into the breathtaking mountains to the south. There you can enjoy demonstrations of traditional falconry with eagles or venture down the road to the west leading to Balykchy’s dry and arid landscapes.
The valley offers several trekking and horseback riding possibilities according to skill and ability— from easy short walks along the Chong-Kemin River to more challenging and intense hikes over 4,000m passes. For the adventure seekers, white water rafting is also a popular activity. For relaxing experience you are after, explore this stunning valley on horseback.
Day 1: In the morning we’ll make our way to the Bokonbay region by car(4-5 hours). On the way, we’ll break for lunch at café. There is an optional stop in Tokmok to visit the historical site Burana Tower (an architecture complex from XI-XII centuries). After arriving in the afternoon in the region of Bokonbaeva, we’ll continue towards the mountain hills to the shepherd’s house “Jaichy.” Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted by the shepherd’s family and can enjoy a hospitable cup of tea in their home and wander around the farm until dinner time. We’ll stay overnight in the shepherd’s house.
Day 2: After breakfast, you’ll hit the trail by horseback, and along with your guide you’ll follow the sheep trails up to the red canyon hills which open to a spectacular view of Lake Issik-Kul. While passing ancient petroglyphs take in the vista to the south- the great snow covered mountain peaks of the Tian-Shan. Lunch will be served picnic-style in the outdoors, and in the afternoon we’ll begin the descent to the village Kyzyl-Tuu. Accommodation will be provided by a local family running a home-stay. The village of Kyzyl-Tuu is a unique village where all of the residents are masters in making of the Kyrgyz yurts. Here, you’ll find the hub for the majority of Kyrgyzstan’s and parts of Kazakhstan’s yurt production. Dinner will be served in the home-stay.
Horseback riding: 5-6 hours
Day 3: After a nice home-cooked breakfast, we will continue the horseback riding into the small dry gorge of Ak-Terek ahead of the lake side. On the way, we will stop for another picnic-style lunch along the path. Afterwards, we will reach the saltiest lake in the world, Shor-Kol. In the summer time, a lot of people come here to swim and to bathe in the mud. We will spend the night in a hut, where dinner will also be provided.
Day 4: After breakfast, we’ll have our last day riding by horseback along the lake shore of Issyk-Kul to the east and turn back to the south, where you’ll see the gorgeous dry canyons leading to the road. After arriving at our finish point, you will be picked up by CBT transport staff and head to Bokonbay village again, where you can take a hot shower and have lunch in the home-stay. In the afternoon, you can take a walk around the village, and rest before dinner and stay another night in the guest house. Or if you prefer, there is also the option of returning to Bishkek by car after lunch.