Bishkek-Issyk-kul-Karakol-Bishkek-Osh-Almaty, 8 Days
DAY 1 QBISHKEK (KYRGYZSTAN)
• Upon arrival to Bishkek we embark on a city tour, visiting Pobeda (Victory) Square, Duboviy (Oak) Park, Central Ala-Too Square, Fine Arts Museum and National Philharmonic. Observe some of the finest examples of Soviet architecture.
• After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the busy and colorful Asian Bazaar where you can purchase tapestry of fabrics and local produce.
• Drive out of the city to visit Ala-Archa Gorge (45 km), a natural Park located on a spur of the Tien-Shan Mountain range.
• Embark on a short hiking tour to see panoramic views of the gorge.
• Dinner at a local restaurant.
• Check-in hotel for the night.
DAY 2 BISHKEK - ISSYK-KUL
• After breakfast, depart for Issyk-Kul Lake, the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca inSouth America. Measuring 182-km long by 58-km wide, the lake appeared as a result of volcanic activity. Issyk-Kul means “warm lake” and refers to the fact that it never freezes, despite its high elevation. With diverse flora and fauna, Issyk-Kul Lake and the surrounding environments are rightly considered to be one of Central Asia’s most remarkable locations.
• En-route, on the outskirts of Tokmok town, we visit the archaeological centerBuranaTower(11th c. minaret). The Burana Tower is a minaret built in the 11th century on the ruins of the ancient city Balasagun. It is 24 meters in h. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and also watch a collection ofBalbals (stone warriors) and Turkic ancient tombs.
• We enjoy the equestrian nomadic games specially set for us by locals in the village of Don-Aryk.
We continue our way and drive to Issyk-Kul through villages and little towns, notably Kemin, Balykchy, Tamchy, Sary-Oy, Kara-Oy.
• Check-in to the hotel on arrival to Cholpon-Ata atIssyk-Kullake.
• The rest of the day is free time for you to explore the area and perhaps even a swim in the lake?
DAY 3 ISSYK KUL – KARAKOL
• After breakfast, we visit the open-air Petroglyph’s Museum (dating back to 800 B.C.) These petroglyphs were made 2000 years ago by local shamans. The images are primitive long horned ibex, horses, camels and snow leopards. There are several thousands of petroglyphs here, providing a glimpse into the world of the Iron Age.
• Next we drive approximately 2 hours to Karakol city, formerly Przhevalsk. A Russian military outpost founded on 1 July 1869, Karakol grew in the 19th century after explorers came to map the peaks and valleys separating Kyrgyzstan from China. In the 1880s Karakol's population surged with an influx of Dungans, Chinese Muslims fleeing warfare in China.
• Lunch at a local café en-route.
• On arrival, visit the Dungan Mosque that was built in a Chinese-style without using any single metal nail.
• Visit an old wooden Russian Orthodox Church.
• Dinner and overnight in guest-house. The guest house is a family-owned business consisting of about 15 rooms, located at the foot of the Tien-Shan Mountains in Karakol.
DAY 4 KARAKOL – BISHKEK
• After breakfast, depart for Jetti-Oguz Gorge (“ bulls”)that is famous for its red rocks formations. Enjoy the scenery and take plenty of photos of a Broken Heart Mountain.
• Lunch at a local café or picnic en-route. (Note: Meal will be simple due to lack of facilities in this rural mountain region.)
• Let’s explore the stunning place called Skazka canyon. The canyon is one of the most picturesque in Kyrgyzstan, full bizarre sandy forms, due to which the canyon got its sonorous name. Over the millennia of erosion, red sandstone has taken shape that resembles the outlines of fabulous monsters and ancient castles from ancient legends.
• Continue towards Bokonbaevo village where we will meet a local eagle-hunter. There are still some people in the village who continue this ancient way of hunting. They train eagles and hawks when they’re still young and every winter, go with them to the mountains for hunting. Here you’ll learn many interesting facts about this way of hunting and you’ll be able to take photos while keeping the bird on your hand!
• Hit the road and return to Bishkek.
• Dinner in a local restaurant.
• Return to the hotel for the night.
DAY 5 BISHKEK - OSH
• In the morning we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan and so-called “southern capital”. One of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. The exact date of its foundation is unknown. Its history goes back over a millennium, and archaeological finds are generally three thousand years old.
• The main attraction of the city is Mount Takhti-Suleiman ("The Throne of Solomon"), which since antiquity has been considered one of the most important shrines of local Muslims - the second Mecca. On the southern slope of Suleiman - the mountains are stored evidence of ancient Islamic religious cults and found ancient agricultural settlements of the Bronze Age. The origin of the city of Osh is associated with them.
• Since ancient times, Osh was famous for its bazaars and caravanserais. For more than two thousand years, the bazaar has lived its noisy and vibrant life, changing its buildings and expanding its borders, but remaining in the same place chosen in antiquity.
• We also visit the artisan’s street where local small manufacturers produce goods. Dinner at local restaurant and overnight in the night.
DAY 6 OSH - BISHKEK - ALMATY (KAZAKHSTAN)
• Early morning check-out as we transfer to the airport for a short flight to back to Bishkek and we hop on the bus to head to Almaty (approximately 4hours’ drive), the largest city in Kazakhstan. (Crossing border may take some time). Almaty was the capital of independent Kazakhstan from 1991 to 1997. In1997 the capital moved to Astana. Since then, Almaty has been referred to as the southern capital of Kazakhstan. Almaty remains the major commercial center of the country. It's the largest, most developed, and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan.
• En route, we visit Tamgaly, a petroglyph site in the Zhetysu of Kazakhstan. Tamgaly became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The majority of the 5000 petroglyphs are in the main canyon, but there is a number in the many side canyons. The petroglyphs are mostly Bronze Age, but in some cases have been overlaid with Medieval or later etchings. There are some petroglyphs from the Iron Age.
• Dinner upon arrival to Almaty at a local restaurant and we check-in the hotel for the night.
DAY 7 ALMATY- CHARYN CANYONS –ALMATY
Early morning after breakfast we set off to the State National Natural Park Charyn which is 200km from Almaty. EnrouteKokpek Village, a simple lunch will be served. Charyn Canyon is considered to be the largest canyon in the world after the famous Colorado one in America. It is also an amazing creation of nature that exists for millions of years, picturesque and very diverse in geomorphologic aspects. The h of steep mountainsides reaches 150-300m. Numerous ravines and gullies make a dense rambling net. Wind and water created the stunning "Castles Valley". The length of it is more than 2km, the width 20-80m. All along the valley, you are surrounded by towers of fantastical forms, built of sedimentary. Their age is about 12 million years. All this time nature was creating these architectural wonders, without haste was building the majestic castles. Drive back to Almaty. Overnight in Almaty.
DAY 8 ALMATY Q
• In the morning we embark on a city tour of Almaty, visiting the Ascension Cathedral – the second highest wooden building in the world, Square of 28 Panfilov Heroes and museum of Musical Instruments.
• We take a cable car ride up the Kok-Tobe mountain (the highest point of the city) to enjoy a panoramic view of Almaty.
• After dinner at a local restaurant, we transfer to the airport for your flight home.
*Rates per person in US$ based on shared twin/double room:
Bishkek – Art Hotel/ or similar
IssykKul – Akun/or similar
Karakol - Green Yard GH/or similar
Osh – Osh Nuru/or similar
Almaty - Mildom/or similar
GROUP SIZE: 8
PRICE: 579 USD
TRANSPORT SIZE: Minibus 18 seater
Single room supplement: 189USD
Services included into the price:
- Accommodation with breakfast in the stated hotels
- Folk show in Bishkek
- Equestrian nomadic show in Don-Aryk
- Falcon hunting show in Kyrgyzstan
- Mineral water 1L per person daily
- Comfortable AC transport
- Entrance fees to the monuments.
- Cable car in KokTobe
Services NOT included into the price:
- Bishkek – Osh and Osh-Bishkek airfares60USD p/p one way (airfares are subject to change)
- Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan visa fees
- Tips for guide and driver
- Expenditure of a personal nature
- Medical insurance
- Full board (optional 200USD per person)