Kyrgyzstan is full of extremes: from deserts to lakes, mountains to gorges, big cities to quiet “jailoos”, this landlocked Central Asian country can offer something to everyone. This action-packed nine-day itinerary will take you through you some of the best Kyrgyzstan has to offer: you’ll start and end in the capital Bishkek, visiting a renowned handicraft workshop and checking out the local sites before hiking around the Chunkurchak mountain meadow, enjoying local cuisine in the Kyzyl-Oi village, taking a dip in Song-Kul Lake, and exploring Chon-Kemin National Park. From learning about the local feltmaking industry to milking a cow, the possibilities are endless on your exploration of this Central Asian jewel.
|Visit felt making and weaving handicraft studios Hike or horseback ride through stunning mountain landscapes Enjoy sweeping panoramas of Suusamyr valley and Son-Kul lake Watch the famous nomad horseback game, Ulak Tartish||
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Your adventure begins in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan that was once a stop on the ancient silk road. After being picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel, you will have a chance to explore the highlights of this city. Start out in the Central Square, and then check out the Philharmonic House with the Statue of Manas, Lenin's statue, the National Historical Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the “Supara” ethnic complex.
The second day of your journey will kick off with a visit to the handicraft workshop of Aidai Asangulova, a renowned feltmaker in Bishkek who developed a technique for incorporating silk into felt making. Afterward, you’ll take a tour of Tumar Studio, a modern Kyrgyz atelier which produces a wide variety of felts. Following lunch, you’ll head to the weaving studio of Gulmira Akmatova, a founder of Kyrgyz Oimo studio, where she makes handmade ponchos, shawls, hats, and scarves. Finally, you will travel to Chunkurchak, around 1 hour's drive, a stunning valley with wonderful snowy peaks, fine alpine meadows, and rapid mountain streams, to stay overnight at the Beshik Hotel.
Today, you have the chance to explore Chunkurchak, known as a “jailoo” - a high mountain pasture or meadow. Take a hike through the open pastures and along side the rivers and streams, or ride a horse along the scenic landscapes. For those in search of a little quiet, this is a wonderful destination for meditating.
After spending the morning and enjoying lunch in Chunkurchak, you will head to Kyzyl-Oi village in the Suusamyr Valley - a scenic 4-hour drive away. Along the way, you will pass the Kara-Balta gorge, go through a 1.8-mile mountain tunnel, and enjoy spectacular panoramas of the Suusamyr valley itself. There will also be chances to stop to take photos near livestock flocks, as well as meet local Kyrgyz nomads. Once you reach Kyzyl-Oi village, you will enjoy local cuisine for dinner and spend a night in a family-run accommodation.
Today, you will leave Kyzyl-Oi Village and head to Song-Kul Lake, one of the most picturesque places in Kyrgyzstan, via a stunning 4.5-hour drive. Enjoy long hikes or horseback rides through its large pastures, take a swim in the lake, and meet nomads who can show you how they milk cows - you may even want to have a try yourself! After your action-packed day, you will spend the night in a yurt.
You will have the opportunity to spend the entire day by Song-Kul Lake: enjoy a horseback ride or a hike; check out a yak herd and all of the beautiful migratory birds in the area; take a boat out on the lake and meet local fishermen; and a take in a match of Ulak Tartish, a traditional nomadic sport played on horseback throughout Central Asia. Overall, soak in the beauty, culture, and tradition of Song-Kul Lake while enjoying nature and meeting the people who enjoy it every day.
After breakfast, you will head out to Kochkor, where you will visit local felt handicraft shops and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, you will continue on through the pretty Orto-Tokoi reservoir and the Boom gorge to Chon-Kemin valley, 3 hours' drive away, which boasts sweeping mountain views. Tonight, you will enjoy dinner and spend the night in the “Ashu” guesthouse in Kalmak-Ashuu village.
This morning, you will enjoy two to three hours of horseback riding or hiking in Chon-Kemin National Park, a gorgeous area featuring rivers, mountains, and even the desert in some areas. After you’ve worked up an appetite, you will enjoy lunch back at “Ashu” guesthouse restaurant before heading back to Bishkek, a 2.5-hour drive. On the way back, you will visit Burana tower, a large minaret from the Karakhanid period located about 50 miles east of the city. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at a restaurant and the night in Bishkek hotel.
After your exciting week of history, culture, and natural exploration, your trip has come to an end. Once you’ve checked out of your hotel, you’ll be transferred to the airport, whether you are heading back home or onto a new destination for more incredible adventures.
This stunning, modern destination in the center of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek proudly holds the title of the only five-star hotel in the country. Within 35 minutes’ drive from the airport, this luxury hotel is surrounded by all of Bishkek’s sights of interest and history including The Museum of Fine Arts, Dubovy Park and the State Opera. What’s more, within the hotel, the facilities are first class. A range of 178 stylish rooms and suites are fitted with the latest amenities and guests can enjoy 24-hour concierge service for any and all their needs. Food lovers will be delighted by the range of cuisines, from authentic Mediterranean meals to laid-back barbecues by the pool. Meanwhile, the chic lobby bar and Opera Lounge are perfect spots for pre-dinner drinks or a romantic night cap. The comprehensive range of facilities on offer in the health club includes an outdoor pool, a spa with treatment rooms and a well-equipped gym so that guests can enjoy relaxation and reinvigoration during their stay.
To the south of Bishkek city lies gorgeous scenery as far as the eye can see and for guests who want to travel a little out of the city for a taste of nature, the Bishkek Hotel Bungalows by Supara Chunkurchak are a perfect compromise. Just over 40 miles from Manas international airport, this eco-resort boasts beautiful bungalows dotted on the green hillside with stunning views of the Kyrgyz valley. And this foray into nature comes not at the expense of comfort; rooms are equipped with mod cons including television, a well-stocked en-suite bathroom with toiletries and towels. There is even a terrace with a private hot tub - perfect for a relaxing soak at sunset after a long day enjoying the countryside. The resort has an on-site restaurant which serves up delicious traditional local dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients. Days can be spent exploring the surrounding area on hikes or on horseback while hobbyists will enjoy the plentiful fishing and skiing too.
Set up camp alongside the spectacular alpine Song-Kul lake in northern Kyrgyzstan, in a traditional yurt - a round, portable tent. This lake, which sits at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet, is the largest freshwater lake in the country and features spectacular views. Spending the night under the stars in a traditional yurt provides great insight into local nomadic lifestyle, while also allowing guests to get back in touch with nature and the area’s stunning surroundings. Though the interiors may be rustic, the luxury of this splendid, remote outdoor location makes it oh-so-worthwhile.
Experience village life in comfort at Ashu Hotel, a charming guesthouse in the Chon-Kemin region of Kyrgyzstan. This unique hotel oozes tradition and tranquility: from the colorful decor and the outdoor eating area and garden to the majestic display of mountains in the distance, guests find themselves completely immersed in Kyrgyz culture while enjoying first-class service. Choose between a single or double room in any of the mountainside cottages and enjoy extra amenities including the on-site conference hall, traditional cuisine and day trips to the spectacular Chon-Kemin gorge.