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Living with the Nomads of Naryn & Kol-Ukok Lake, Kyrgyzstan

On this exciting nine-day adventure through Kyrgyzstan, you will explore not only the natural beauty of this diverse, rugged country, but also the culture and lifestyle of its most traditional nomadic people. Start and end your trip in the country’s capital Bishkek, but escape the urban metropolis to hike around the beautiful Köl-Ükök Lake, explore local handicraft shops in Kochkor, discover Tash-Rabat, a 15th-century stone caravanserai, and visit a nomadic camp, learning all about the local way of life. You will also stop at several historic sites, such as Koshoi-Korgon, the site of an ancient fortress, and Burana tower, a minaret from the Karakhanids’ period. To learn about both past and present life in Kyrgyzstan, this trip can’t be beat.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Discover the urban and cultural charms of Bishkek, the heart of the Kyrgyz nation
  • Live the local life among the Kyrgyz nomads of Naryn and study the ways of the mountains and plains
  • Explore the 15th-century stone caravanserai Tash-Rabat in rural tranquility
  • Hike around the blue waters of Lake Kol-Ukok and marvel at the bright green pastoral scenes
  • Spend the night in a yurt without sacrificing comfort in the pastoral beauty of Lake Kol-Ukok
  • Trek to the high mountain pastures of At-Bashy valley and Kamandy
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive in Bishkek

Today is the first day of your exciting adventure through Kyrgyzstan. We will pick you up at the airport in Bishkek, the country’s capital, and take you to your hotel for the chance to get settled in. Afterward, spend some time visiting the sites of the city, such as the Philharmonic House with the Statue of Manas, the Central Square, the National Historical Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Enjoy dinner in a restaurant and your stay overnight in the hotel.

Day 2
Bishkek - Kochkor - Isakeev - Kol-Ukok Lake

After breakfast, you will head out on the road for the 5-hour drive toward Köl-Ükök Lake, stopping along the way at Burana Tower, a minaret from the Karakhanids’ period, Kochkor, a picturesque valley, and Tez-Tör summer pasture, known as a jailoo, where you can enjoy a nice horseback riding trip through the meadow. You’ll stop along the way to enjoy a pleasant picnic near the lake, exploring the local flora and fauna, before heading to your abode for the evening- you’ll be spending the night in a traditional yurt.

Day 3
Kol-Ukok Lake

When in Kyrgyzstan, do as the locals do! Enjoy a day by Köl-Ükök Lake, sharing in the daily life of nomads in their environment. Take a hike or horseback ride by the lake or take a boat out and fish with the nomads. After your busy day outdoors, you will spend a second night in a yurt.

Day 4
Kol-Ukok Lake

Today, spend the morning exploring the uniqueness of a nomadic camp, before horseback riding back to Isakeev, enjoying a picnic along the way. From there, you will transfer to Kochkor, where you can visit local handicraft shops before heading to Naryn, a picturesque town on both banks of the Naryn River. Tonight, you will enjoy dinner and overnight in a local guesthouse after a long day's driving (7 hours).

Day 5
Naryn-Ak-Muz-Kamandy Jailoo

This morning, you will head to At-Bashy valley and Kamandy high pasture (jailoo), passing through the Ak-Muz village during the 90-minute drive. Enjoy a short hike and lunch with the nomads on the scenic jailoo, conversing with them and discovering their unique way of life. Tonight, you will once again stay overnight in a yurt.

Day 6
Kamandy Jailoo-Acha-Kayindy- Tash-Rabat Caravanserai

Today, you will visit Acha-Kayindy village for lunch in a local house before stopping in at At-Bashy village, the site of a large livestock market that occurs every Sunday. Continuing on, after 4 hours you will reach your evening’s destination: Tash-Rabat, a 15th-century stone caravanserai. Enjoy the local sauna (bania) and dinner and overnight in a yurt.

Day 7
Tash-Rabat- Koshoi-Korgon-Naryn

This morning, enjoy some leisure time to hike or horseback ride through the scenic landscape, about two miles above the sea level. In the afternoon, you will head back to Naryn (3 hours away), stopping at Koshoi-Korgon, the site of an ancient fortress where you can observe the ruins or check out the on-site museum. You will enjoy dinner and overnight at a local guesthouse in Naryn.

Day 8
Naryn - Bishkek

Today, you will head back to Bishkek (a 5-hour drive) for a farewell dinner and to catch any of the sights you may have missed at the beginning of your trip. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in your Bishkek hotel.

Day 9

On the ninth day, your exciting adventure comes to an end. You’ll be transferred back to the Bishkek airport, where you can head home or - if you still have more energy - continue your travels on to another exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Hyatt Regency Bishkek

Hyatt Regency Bishkek

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.

Celestial Mountains Guesthouse, Khan Tengri Hotel, The Yurt Camp of Roza & Ishen

Celestial Mountains Guesthouse

In the pretty Kyrgyz town of Naryn, at the quiet, eastern end, guests bed down in the comfortable Celestial Mountains Guesthouse. Surrounded on all sides with breathtakingly dramatic scenery, from snow-peaked mountains to the flowing Naryn River, the town is a great base from which to explore the nearby areas. While Celestial Mountains Guesthouse may have a functional-looking exterior, inside it’s cozy with homey decor and a welcoming atmosphere. Guests can choose from double, twin or triple rooms or, in the summer months, opt to stay in a traditional yurt. Every effort is made to make guests feel at home, with a comfortable television room stocked with movies to enjoy on lazy days; the guesthouse restaurant serves up breakfast and dinner every day and picnic lunches are available on request - perfect for day-trips in the country. What’s more,  traditional performances and craft demonstrations can be arranged for a taste of the local culture.  


Khan Tengri Hotel

A stay in the Khan Tengri Hotel is an experience of traditional Kyrgyz hospitality and style coupled with modern conveniences and features. In a safe and friendly district in quiet and pretty Naryn, the small, comfortable hotel enjoys sweeping views of the soaring mountains beyond. Guests can choose from double, twin or triple rooms, all of which are equipped with television and hair dryer, with en-suite bathrooms. The hotel has a sunny terrace on the second floor to take in the view and has ample parking for guests with vehicles, using Naryn as a base to explore the surrounding area. Business guests can book the conference hall which can accommodate up to 35 delegates. There’s a pleasant cafe/restaurant which serves up delicious local dishes as well as international cuisine and seminars or demonstrations of local culture and traditions can be arranged by the friendly, English-speaking staff.


The Yurt Camp of Roza & Ishen

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. 

Kamandy Jailoo Yurt Camp

Kamandy Jailoo Yurt Camp

Travelers in the At-Bashy Valley will have the unique opportunity to discover the incomparable beauty of the Kamandy high pastures - known locally as the jailoo and immerse themselves in Kyrgyz nature. The most authentic way to experience the pastures is to stay in a traditional nomadic yurt camp. Here, guests can bed down as close to nature as possible without forgoing shelter and the comforts of a warm bed. The hospitality of the nomads is notorious and guests will feel right at home, cooking, eating, sharing and laughing with the community. Waking up every morning in the midst of stunning Kyrgyz scenery, there is a range of activities and outward-bound adventures right on the doorstep, from horseback riding to hiking and picnicking, there’s something for everyone. While the accommodation is not the sumptuous luxury of a five-star hotel, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stay in a uniquely charming environment.

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Victoria was struck by the stunning landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, as well as the fresh, clean air and the amazing hospitality of its people.
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