Kyrgyzstan Tour Plan

Kyrgyzstan Tour Plan

As a country that starts with K listed on, Kyrgyzstan borders Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The mountainous landlocked country is more than twice the size of Austria, has an area of ​​almost 200,000 km² and is inhabited by around 5.7 million people. By far the largest city in the country is the capital Bishkek with over 800,000 residents. It is located in the north of the state, not far from the border with Kazakhstan. Bishkek is on the old Silk Road and emerged from a caravan base.

Kyrgyzstan 1

  • Day 1: Our great journey begins!
  • Day 2: Welcome to Bischek!
  • Day 3: Chon-Kemin National Park
  • Day 4: The Kol-Kogur mountain lake
  • Day 5: The Kol Kogur Pass
  • Day 6: Lake Issyk Kul: the Kyrgyz Sea
  • Day 7: Karakol
  • Day 8: The valley of flowers
  • Day 9: Fairytale Valley & felt production
  • Day 10: Lake Songköl
  • Day 11: Enjoyment day & nature experience at Lake Songköl
  • Day 12: The Burana Tower
  • Day 13: Goodbye, Kyrgyzstan!

In the Chon-Kemin Valley we set off on our trek into the Tian-Shian Mountains, already close to the Kazakh border. If someone believed that the edelweiss belonged in the Alps and nowhere else, this will teach you better: On the way to the Toru Aigyr gorge we walk across meadows full of silvery flowers; fits in with the fact that Kyrgyzstan is also called “oriental Switzerland”. At the unusually warm Lake Issyk Kul, the second largest high mountain lake in the world, a farming family who breeds Kyrgyz horses is already waiting for us.

With peaks of up to 7,439 meters, the Tian Shian is the second highest mountain range in the world, and the Silk Road runs on its south side. Endangered animals like to retreat here. The nomads and their way of life are also at risk: the glaciers are melting rapidly. In order to get to the high alpine pastures, the shepherds have to drive their animals through increasingly raging mountain rivers. We meet nomad families again and again on our tour, a group of women let us look over their shoulders as they work on their traditional felt carpets.

Songköl Lake at over 3,000 meters is very popular with nomads. From June they will set up their white yurts on its bank. The road to Songköl winds through the mountains until it seems to get lost in nowhere. Perhaps that is why the lake is called “Last Lake”. We also sleep in the yurt camp and listen to the legends surrounding the still water by the campfire.

Meals: B = breakfast / L = lunch / packed lunch / D = dinner

1st day:

Our great journey begins!

The journey begins, today we fly to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

2nd day:

Welcome to Bischek!

We land in Bischek in the early hours of the morning and are already expected by our guide who will bring us to the hotel. After a good breakfast we treat ourselves to a break. At lunchtime we strengthen ourselves with local food and start with a tour of Bishkek. Today the city is almost an open-air museum for Soviet urban planning and was planned as a modern model city by architects from the Soviet Union. Wide boulevards, numerous parks and architecturally quite successful administrative and residential buildings, a music theater and a monumental library still bear witness to the spirit of optimism at that time. The program includes the city center of Bishkek with the Oak Park, the open-air art gallery and the main square, as well as the huge Osh Bazaar.

City tour
overnight in hotel ***
(B / L / D)

3rd day:

The Chon-Kemin National Park

Today we drive to the nature reserve near Chon-Kemin, where our trek begins. Our luggage for the next few days will be loaded from cars onto horseback. After repacking, we leave civilization behind us for a few days on the road and immerse ourselves in the tranquility and vastness of the magical Kyrgyz mountains. We climb slowly and gently on fairly good meadow paths, repeatedly crossing smaller rushing streams. It’s good that we packed trekking sandals and sticks in the daypack!
Forests, pastures and flower meadows lie along our idyllic path through the Toru-Aigyr Valley. We pitch our tents for the night on a small high plateau near a high alpine pasture. If you want, you can refresh yourself in the nearby brook, but the steadfast among us can definitely climb one of the surrounding hills to have a better overview of the vast mountain landscape.

Driving time: approx. 2-3 hours. Hike: approx. 4 hours (approx. +350 m) Overnight
in a camp in a tent (approx.2,400 m) (B / L / D

4th day:

The mountain lake Kol-Kogur

We initially hike slightly uphill over grassy mountain ridges. Today we go over two smaller passes with wonderful mountain panoramas of the surrounding high mountains with snow-capped rocky mountains. Descending again from the second pass, we arrive at the beautifully situated mountain lake Kol-Kogur. The surrounding mountain peaks and the Tien Shan spruce trees are reflected on the surface of the water and offer us a wonderful panorama. Mountains, meadows of flowers, small forests and the clear lake: a real mountain idyll.
Who knows, maybe we will still be able to light a campfire today, the sparks of which then flew into the evening sky?

Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (approx. +500 m, highest point approx. 2,900 m)
Overnight in the camp (at approx. 2,400 m)
(B / L / D)

5th day:

The Kol Kogur Pass

After breakfast we have to cross the stream straight away, our feet are then well supplied with blood and refreshed! We climb steadily over meadows of flowers and past beautiful forests – but today the ascent takes a little longer than the days before. Along gurgling streams and climbing higher and higher, we finally cross the Kol-Kogur Pass (3,270 m). A wonderfully wide panorama of Lake Issyk-Kul opens up on the descent from the pass. The character of the landscape is now completely different than on the north side of the pass, from which we climbed: If it was lush and green in the last few days, the landscape is now increasingly drier and more desert-like. We are seeing more and more bare landscapes in gray and ocher tones. This strong change of landscape forms, the direct juxtaposition of high-precipitation, green and desert-brown landscapes are one of the great fascinations of Kyrgyzstan. Descending with a wide panorama and past some high alpine pastures, we finally reach our camp on a sheltered plain near a small river.
In the afternoon there is still time to visit the nearby shepherds, take a refreshing bath in the stream – or just lie in the meadow and enjoy the wide sky.

Hike: approx. 6 hours (approx. +900 m, highest point approx. 3,250 m)
Overnight in the camp (at approx. 2,400 m)
(B / L / D)

6th day:

Lake Issyk Kul: the Kyrgyz Sea

3-hour, descending hike with fantastic views of the deep blue Lake Issyk Kul and the wide plains and mountains around the lake. The increasingly desert and dry landscape today is a total contrast to the green forests and meadow landscapes of the previous days. After we have hiked through a beautiful gorge to the beginning of the Kol Tor valley, we will have a nice picnic in nature. Our vehicles are waiting for us there and take us to Cholpon-Ata on the north bank of the lake.
Lake Issyk Kul, which many Kyrgyz people also refer to as “our Kyrgyz Sea”, is the second largest high mountain lake in the world with its impressive length of 182 km and up to 60 km wide and at an altitude of 1,607 m – after Lake Titacaca! Its great depth of up to 668 m also makes it the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world, measured by the amount of water. There are snow-covered mountain ranges around the lake. The panoramas that open up to us again and again in new and different ways are simply terrific!
What is really awesome is the water temperature: Issyk Kul means “warm lake”. Several underground thermal springs bring the water to a pleasant temperature. Even in the coldest winter, the lake never freezes over. Already in Soviet times, the lake and the pleasant climate of the shore landscapes were used for recreational and spa stays. So the Soviet cosmonauts came here after exhausting moon flights.
In the afternoon we relax by swimming in the lake and experience the almost Mediterranean summer freshness of the Kyrgyz middle class.
Optionally, we can take a boat trip on the lake and experience the huge mountain panorama from the water. (Not included in the tour price)

Hike: approx. 3 hours
overnight in a nice *** hotel on the shore of the lake at approx. 1,600 m
(B / L / D)

7th day:


This morning we drive about 170 km to Karakol and follow the north bank of the Issyk Kul. In the morning we visit the 42 hectare open-air museum in Tsholponata with prehistoric monumental buildings: We see stone circles, graves, remains of border walls and stone engravings with various animal representations. Then we visit the farming village of Tepke. We have lunch at a farm – possibly in a traditional yurt – and the owners show us their farm with new cultivation methods, many types of trees and their famous pedigree horses. Horses still play a major role in Kyrgyzstan and are part of the national identity. We feel and experience this up close today when the farmer proudly shows us his precious animals! Then we drive on to Karakol, well strengthened.
From here the famous Russian researcher and geographer Nikolai Michailowitsch Prschewalski (namesake of the Central Asian primeval horses) started numerous expeditions that took him to Tibet. We visit the famous Russian Orthodox wooden cathedral and the wooden mosque, which was built around 100 years ago in the Chinese Dungan style.

Travel time: approx. 3 hours
overnight in a *** hotel (Karakol is at approx. 1,700 m)
(B / L / D)

8th day:

The valley of flowers

After breakfast, a short drive (approx. 40 km) takes us to the “Valley of Flowers” with its famous red Jety-Ögüz rock formation at the entrance to the valley. Our guide will tell us the local legend why seven oxen were turned to stone here! In the valley we hike over some wooden bridges and after about an hour we reach a 24 meter high waterfall. In the afternoon we relax on the riverside at our yurt camp: Lush green alpine pastures, forests, rushing streams and mountains come together here to form a model alpine landscape. Hiking enthusiasts will find additional options to hike into the beautiful valley – up to the foot of a 5,000 m high glacier mountain. Overnight in a traditional yurt with comfortable mattresses and warm bedding.

Driving time: approx. 1 hour.
Hike: approx. 2 hours (optionally more possible)
Overnight stay in a traditional yurt
(B / L / D)

Day 9:

Fairytale valley & felt production

Today we drive along the south coast of Lake Issyk Kul to Kochkar (approx. 280 km). The peasant cemeteries on the roadside are exciting, with almost monomental grave structures and replicas of iron yurts. A stopover takes us to a completely different landscape in a very short time: Just a short drive away from the lake shore and a short hike, and we are in the middle of a desert without vegetation. The richness of color and shape of the clay mounds formed by erosion has earned the area the nickname “fairytale landscape”.
After a refreshment with a picnic on the lakeshore and perhaps another short swim in Lake Issyk-Kul, we visit an exemplary felt carpet production facility. A women’s cooperative has created a wonderful opportunity to earn an important income in the remote region. From the abundant local wool and traditional felt handicraft, creative carpets and many other beautiful things are made and sold by the women themselves to tourists or through fair trade. When we buy souvenirs here, the income goes directly to the manufacturers!
The next “item on the program” in Kochkor also brings a local family a direct income: our dinner and our overnight stay in a private house. Don’t worry: the house has a lot of rooms with comfortable beds, and the food – like everywhere else in the world – often tastes best “at home”!

Driving time: approx. 6 hours.
Hike: approx. 2-3 hours
overnight in Kochkor (at approx. 1,750 m) in a private guesthouse
(B / L / D)

10th day:

Songköl Lake

Today the cars are on bumpy slopes up to Lake Songköl at over 3,000 meters. The pastureland around the lake is called “nomad paradise” by the locals. Many semi-nomads spend the summer in their yurts and with horses, yaks and sheep in this beautiful area. The road leads first through a wide valley with villages and then in serpentines up the mountain to the 3,065 m high Kalmak-Ashuu pass. Often there is still some snow here into the summer. After the top of the pass, we see the deep blue Songköl Lake, embedded in a huge plateau: It looks almost unreal as it lies in its huge depression. With an area of ​​270 square kilometers, this second largest lake in the country – after Lake Issyk Kul – is located at 3,016 m above sea level, is 29 km long and a maximum of 18 km wide and at its deepest point is only 13.2 m deep. The mountain lake, which initially seems far away, comes closer on the drive from the pass and soon fills almost our entire field of vision: the green meadows, the deep blue lake and behind them the glittering snow-capped mountains. For many Kyrgyz people, spending the summer at the “Jailoo” (on the Hochalm) is the epitome of a heavenly, carefree time. The Kyrgyz writer Tschingis Aitmatow (1928-2008), for example, describes his jailoo experiences as a child in his book “Childhood in Kyrgyzstan”, which is well worth reading.
We already have lunch in today’s yurt camp at 3,000 m near the lake shore.
In the afternoon we have the opportunity to go for a walk on the lake shore and get an insight into the everyday life of the shepherds with their flocks. Maybe we can watch them milking the mares or join in the production of kumyz, a kefir-like drink made from fermented mare’s milk, or ayran, a refreshing sour milk drink – or at least get a little taste.

Travel time: approx. 3-4 hours.
Hike: approx. 2-3 hours
overnight in a traditional yurt at 3,000 m
(B / L / D)

11th day:

Enjoyment day & nature experience at Lake Songköl

We can take a wonderful circular hike to lookout mountains, take an optional ride on horses, visit the surrounding yurt settlements of the shepherds or just enjoy nature on the lake shore. Bathing in the lake is definitely an option on warm days!
Attention: The riding excursion must be reserved in advance, as there are only about 4-6 horses on site that can be organized for riding.

Hike: 2-4 hours
Optional riding excursion: 2-3 hours (* PLEASE NOTICE WHEN YOU BOOK THE TRAVEL IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO UNDERTAKE THE RIDING EXCURSION !! * Cost: approx. EUR 25 per person – Payment is made directly on site)
Overnight stay in a traditional yurt
(B / L / D)

12th day:

The Burana Tower

Today we come full circle of our varied round trip: Our return trip to Bishkek takes us over the 3,065 m high Kalmak-Ashuu pass. One last look back to the lake, and it goes down on the other side and on to the main street. Our journey today leads along rivers, past reservoirs and across wide plains. We will have our lunch in a local restaurant in a small town. We stop in Tokmok and visit the Burana tower, which was built in the 10th century. It is part of an old fort, like the one many along the Silk Road, and is now a museum. For the trade caravans, such fortified places were necessary to survive at a distance of one day’s journey.
In the afternoon we reach the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek again: What a great contrast between the parks and modern life in the street cafés of the capital and nomadic life in the high pastures!
Dinner and farewell to Kyrgyzstan in a traditional restaurant.

Travel time: approx. 6 hours
overnight in a *** hotel
(B / L / D)

13th day:

Goodbye, Kyrgyzstan!

In the (possibly very!) Early hours of the morning we will go to the airport to start our journey home.

(- / – / -)

Kyrgyzstan 2