This journey combines a mixture of cultural and architectural heritage, local cuisine, natural beauty, hiking activity in the picturesque southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake.
Early morning we will start the trip from Bishkek to Issyk-Kul Lake. On the way we will have a short visit of the medieval age tower-minaret “Burana Tower”, along the Great Silk Road which is left from ancient city Balasagun (11-13th cent).
After we will continue the way to Issyk-Kul. We will drive through a picturesque and narrow gorge Boam, and along the railway which was built during the WW2 by war prisoners.
We will stop for lunch to have traditional Central Asian meal on the way. At the end of the Boam gorge, Issyk-Kul lake will open up which is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. The lake is located at the altitude of 1600 m above sea level. The whole lake is a biosphere reserve and resembles the Earth itself, surrounded by mountains in the north and south, having its own microclimate, its own water cycle and unique ecosystems.
At around 16.00 we will arrive in Bokonbaev village which is located along the southern shore of Issyk-Kul and surrounded with beautiful nature. Here we will have a short hike to the nearby mountain for a panorama view of the Issyk-Kul lake. After dinner we will take a rest in a quiet village atmosphere.
Driving distance: 270 km (4-5 hours)
Overnight in the guest house/ homestay in Bokonbaev village.
In Bokonbaev you can request to see an ancient nomadic tradition of eagle hunting which is passed over from generation to generation. You will see skills of a local hunter and his well-trained eagle.
We will then leave Bokonbaev village and visit Skazka Canyon (“Fairy Tale”) for a short hike. The canyon, the beauty in the south of Issyk-Kul lake, was named after its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by wind into various sculptures and formations. Some structures have been named for their similarity to the well-known objects and places. For example, one set of ridges in the canyon is called the "The Chinese Wall" due to its similarity to the Great Wall of China. Not only do the rocks have different shapes, but also various colors.
Then we will head to the Jeti-Oguz Gorge. It is a lush, picturesque valley with some striking red sandstone rock formations, including the “Seven Bulls”. The name "Jeti-Oguz" (translated as " bulls") came from a chain of weathered red rocks, similar to bulls lying on the ground, and became a visiting card of the gorge. The local point of interest is the rock "Broken Heart", near which you can always make incredible photos.
For 25 km on both sides of the gorge there are blue spruce trees that are included in the red book of Kyrgyzstan. In the gorge at an altitude of 2200 m there is Jeti-Oguz resort, known for its healing geothermal springs. We will spend there enough time to explore the area, walk in the mountains and enjoy the nature.
We will also visit nearby Yrdyk village for a dinner with a local family. It’s a village where Dungan minority group lives. This minority group came to Kyrgyzstan after a conflict in China and have been living in this area since the 19th cent. Most Dungan people here speak fluent Russian and Kyrgyz in addition to their own language. They are great farmers and have rich traditions and cuisine. We will have a chance to learn about their interesting history and culture.
Driving distance: 132 km (2 hours)
Overnight in the guest house in Karakol
In multiethnic Karakol we will have a city sightseeing walk and get acquainted with its architecture, different nations, cultures and their cuisines.
We will see Russian traditional houses that were built after the great earthquake in the early 20th cent and destroyed previous buildings. We will also visit Wooden Orthodox Church, Dungan mosque built in a Chinese style without the use of a single nail.
At noon we will drive back to Bishkek
Driving distance: 400 km (7-8 hours)
1 pax $420 per person
2 pax $380 per person
3 pax $290 per person