September 6, 2019

Local life in Jyrgalan: the experience you must acquire

Thousands of tourists come to Kyrgyzstan every year.  Foreigners admire the nature of the mountainous country, beautiful lakes and the incredible beauty of the mountains. But there are things in our country that make tourists say: “Wow!”. If you are going to Kyrgyzstan, then you most likely want to experience all the delights of local life and Kyrgyzstan culture. Many foreigners believe that there is some kind of freedom in Kyrgyzstan and life here feels brighter. Locals find it difficult to realize because they have not seen the other.

By the way, we would like to add that in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, you are unlikely to feel the vibes of the local life of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is more developed than in other areas of the country. But we do not say that it is impossible to find a hint of local life in some parts of the city. Bishkek is a city of contrasts, both modern trends and echoes of the Soviet past can be found there. Specially for you, we picked up a place where you can plunge into the life of local people, even become a part of this life. This place is Jyrgalan, it takes about six-seven hours to get there from Bishkek, but it’s worth it.  You will not only see the mode of life of locals, their traditions and customs but also see the majestic landscapes on the way to this place.

The valley of Jyrgalan is located in the eastern part of Issyk-Kul region, 60 km far from the city of Karakol.  There is unusually fresh air in Jyrgalan, and the beauty of the local valleys will simply amaze you with its superiority.If you like trekking, then this place is perfect for you. Even with the change of seasons, this place does not lose its magnificence. Every freeride skiing fan will want to ski on the local snowy slopes.

Perhaps you have a question why it is Jyrgalan that we advise you in order to feel the local life. The answer to this question is not so complicated. We advise this place because of people living here. The population of Jyrgalan is very friendly and hospitable people who will not only warmly welcome you, but also introduce you to all the pleasures of local life. Here you will be not just a guest, but a member of a large family. Together with people living in Jyrgalan, you will get a chance to cook, or to take part in the production of the national drink kymyz. You can even milk a cow or a mare if you are not afraid. This is only a small part of what you can do in Jyrgylan. 

As you probably already understood, Jyrgalan is a place that is definitely worth a visit. Now let’s try to figure out how to get there. If you are going to go to Jyrgalan, then most likely you are leaving the city of Bishkek or the city of Karakol. If the starting point is the city of Bishkek, then it will be more convenient for you to hire a private taxi to the village of Jyrgalan.  The cost of a trip from Manas airport to Jyrgalan is about 6000 som. The car can accommodate 4 people, and the trip will take about seven hours.

If you want to go to Jyrgalan from the city of Karakol, you have two options for going there. You can also hire a private taxi for 1500 som (the car can accommodate 4 people). The trip will take an hour.  You can also get there by marshrutka #331 from Ak-Tilek Market (The Big Bazaar), located at the intersection of Derbisheva and Bektenov streets in Karakol. The cost of the trip will be only 80 som. Marshrutka rides daily three times a day throughout the year: in the summer at 8:30, 13:30 and 17:30; in the winter at 8:30, 13:30 and 16:30. If you rent a car, it will not be difficult for you to get to the village of Jyrgalan. Using Google Maps, you can easily reach from Bishkek to Karakol, and then, along the Karakol-Jyrgalan route, English-language signs are installed, so you will not get lost.

Despite the fact that the valley of Jyrgalan is beautiful at all times of the year, we still advise you to visit it in summer.  In winter it is cold and snowy enough, some destinations become difficult to reach. We would even say that winter in Jyrgalan is good for skiing and snowboarding, but not really good for experiencing local life. In the spring and autumn, you literally risk “drowning” in the mud.

Where to stay?

The options where you can stay here can be very diverse. You can stay in the homes of locals (if you are looking for a homestay in Kyrgyzstan), who converted their homes to guesthouses, or in new, but no less comfortable dwellings, also built by local residents. There are also yurts in which you can live.  All owners of guest houses are members of the Destination Jyrgalan, and they transfer part of their income to social projects in the village. For this reason, your stay in Jyrgalan is not just an exploration of a new place, but a kind of cultural exchange and you directly benefit the locals.

Guesthouses there offer home-cooked meals for travelers and it’s a great way to learn more about Kyrgyzstan cuisine. Breakfast is usually included in the accommodation price. A fixed price for lunch and dinner is 450-500 som per person. You can also be provided with a lunch box for 350 som if you are going to go horse riding or trekking for a day. There are no cafes or any other places to eat in the village of Jyrgalan, there are only small shops where you can buy some snacks.  If you are a vegetarian or have a special diet, you should inform the owners of your guesthouse in advance so that they can prepare individual meals for you (dietary restrictions are taken into account). 

What can you do?

The valley offers adventure routes with hiking trails, horse riding trips, and even mountain biking. Even winter is a great time to visit Jyrgalan. The climate of Terskei Ala-Too mountain range is perfect for skiers and snowboarders. You can definitely enjoy the solitude in the mountains that will be at your disposal. Freeride skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are the most popular winter sports in Jyrgalan. This is also a good place to dive into Kyrgyz traditions and customs that were handed down from generation to generation. Those who want to improve the general condition of their body can undergo a course of therapeutic nutrition horse milk in nature. You can also participate in the manufacture of felt products that are in great demand or join the Kok-Boru incendiary game.

Come to Jyrgalan, make an unforgettable journey to the wonderful world of nature, plunge into its secrets and make new discoveries for yourself. Prices for some services that you have seen in this article are indicated at the time of this writing. We hope that we have fully described to you all the advantages of rest in Jyrgalan.  Enjoy your stay!

Photos from sources: twostaywild.com, thetrek.co, travel-tramp.com, destinationkarakol.com, jyrgalan.com

15 days

Horse Riding Tours in Kyrgyzstan: The Paths of the Great Silk Road

On this tour, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo through stunning mountain passes of the ancient Silk Road via horseback. This unforgettable horsebacking journey will take you to h ...

From 
$2000
Price from 2000 USD to 3900 USD per person (the price depends on a group size). The price 2000 USD per person is available for groups of 6 people.
More info
6 days

Lakes Song Kul and Kel Suu

Visit 2 of Kyrgyzstan’s most mesmerizing lakes in one trip! Lake Song Kul is a quiet, peaceful lake located at the top of a pristine mountain pass where nomadic families herd their animals i ...

From 
$1600
The price depends on a group size. The price 1600 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
4 days

Lake Song Kul: Quick Getaway

This trip takes you to a variety of places within the heart of Kyrgyzstan. Start off by exploring and soaking in the beauty of Kyrgyzstan’s Chichkan Gorge. Spend the night in a yurt when you ...

From 
$1230
The price depends on a group size. The price 1230 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
8 days

Three Mountain Lakes in Kyrgyzstan silk road

This Kyrgyzstan tourism packages showcases some of Kyrgyzstan’s most gorgeous alpine lakes: Song Kul, Kel Suu, and Issyk Kul. Lake Song Kul is a peaceful lake located at the top of a mountai ...

From 
$2100
The price depends on a group size. The price 2100 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
9 days

Nomad’s Land and Culture

This tour takes you to the southern part of Kyrgyzstan back to the north in a grand sweep of beautiful and memorable places. You’ll visit remote villages, larger cities, numerous gorges, the ...

From 
$2550
The price depends on a group size. The price 2550 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
9 days

Vacation and Travel in Kyrgyzstan silk road: 9 days

This 9-day Kyrgyzstan tourism packages takes you through Kyrgyzstan’s gorgeous wilderness, historical sites, quaint villages, and bustling cities. Visit the remote, picturesque village of Ky ...

From 
$2690
The price depends on a group size. The price 2690 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
7 days

Sightseeing Trip to Kyrgyzstan: North & South

Explore destinations of unparalleled beauty in this Kyrgyzstan tourism packages that’ll take you from Kyrgyzstan’s Chichkan Gorge in the south to the town of Kemin in the north. During this ...

From 
$1250
The price depends on a group size. The price 1250 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
8 days

Lake Issyk Kul Wonders

This trip takes you to several destinations located all around Lake Issyk Kul, the world’s second largest alpine lake (6,236 km²): Chon Kemin, Cholpon Ata, Karakol, Altyn Arashan, and Tamga. ...

From 
$1150
The price depends on a group size. The price 1150 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
13 days

Asian Holidays in Kyrgyzstan silk road: 13 days

This Kyrgyzstan tourism packages has everything needed for a true off-roading games! Enjoy Kyrgyzstan’s pristine natural beauty by visiting alpine lakes (Lake Song Kul and Lake Sary Chelek), ...

From 
$3224
The price depends on a group size. The price 3224 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
More info
9 days

Holiday Excursions to Kyrgyzstan silk road: 9 days

This 9-day trip culminates in a visit to the stunning alpine lake Sary Chelek. Lake Sary Chelek is located in a remote biosphere reserve that also houses 6 other lakes as well as unique wild ...

From 
$1320
Price from 1320 USD to 1620 USD per person (the price depends on a group size). The price 1320 USD per person is available for groups of 6 people.
More info
8 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/20/2019 - 07/27/2019

Nomadic Culture & History Tour

This week-long trip ensures travelers a wide variety of experiences during their stay in Kyrgyzstan. Start out by visiting the country’s most popular national park and continue on to see anc ...

From 
$1000
The tour price is 1000 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
14 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/23/2019 - 08/05/2019

Hike to the Patagonia of Kyrgyz Mountains

The nature of Kyrgyzstan is amazing. Its mountain landscapes are various in different corners of the Republic. SR1401 presents a new trekking program which goes along the gorges of Turkestan ...

From 
$2120
The tour price is 2120 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
11 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
08/04/2019 - 08/14/2019

Trekking the Terskey Ala Too

Trekking through the Terskei Ala Too Mountain Range is an experience full of breathtaking landscapes and the thrill of exploring remote places. On this tour you'll sleep under the starlit sk ...

From 
$1980
The tour price is 1980 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
14 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/12/2019 - 07/25/2019
08/09/2019 - 08/22/2019

Trek to Glacier Hopping

This trek starts in the At Jailoo Gorge, an amazingly beautiful place, and ends at South Inylchek Base Camp, taking approximately 1 week. From the base camp you'll get stunning views of Nans ...

From 
$2460
The tour price is 2460 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
22 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/02/2019 - 07/23/2019
07/09/2019 - 07/30/2019
07/16/2019 - 08/06/2019
07/23/2019 - 08/13/2019
07/30/2019 - 08/20/2019
08/06/2019 - 08/27/2019
08/13/2019 - 09/03/2019

Lenin Peak Expedition from Bishkek

Go on an expedition to Lenin Peak with an experienced mountaineering guide! Tour dates are fixed and tours are guaranteed to run no matter the number of the group! The tour price includes an ...

From 
$2150
The tour price is 2150 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
21 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/03/2019 - 07/22/2019
07/10/2019 - 07/29/2019
07/17/2019 - 08/05/2019
07/24/2019 - 08/12/2019
07/31/2019 - 08/19/2019
08/07/2019 - 08/26/2019
08/14/2019 - 09/02/2019

Lenin Peak Expedition from Osh

Our special offer for fans of climbing - an expedition to the famous Lenin Peak with an experienced guide! The program is quaranteed to run at several fixed dates, which makes it very afford ...

From 
$1950
The tour price is 1950 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
1 day

Heli-skiing / boarding tour in Kyrgyzstan

Wherever possible we accept private bookings from individuals for single heli day to join our guaranteed departure groups of skiers/riders. Due to several reasons we cannot accept more than ...

From 
$499
The price depends on a group size. The price 499 USD per person is available for groups of 12 people.
More info
8 days

“Leader Climb” - Kyrgyzstan tourism packages to the Ala Archa Gorge

Ala Archa National Park is located 40 kilometers from the capital city of Bishkek and holds 20 glaciers, 2 rivers, over 50 mountain peaks, waterfalls, and springs. This is one of the most po ...

From 
$970
The tour price is 970 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
11 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/22/2019 - 08/01/2019

Tien Shan Lakes and Mountains

Tien Shan Lakes & Mountains is an 11-day trekking tour that begins in Bishkek and takes you to some beautiful alpine lakes, gorges, small cities, mountain passes, etc. The tour starts ou ...

From 
$2000
The tour price is 1870 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info
14 days
Guaranteed!
i
Fixed dates for 2018:
07/25/2019 - 08/07/2019

Hike in the Tien Shan: 2 Weeks Tour

The trip we offer you below is a light version of program "To the heart of Tien Shan" and trip to Son-Kul lake. It begins in Bishkek, the capitals city of Kyrgyzstan. By a driven car you are ...

From 
$2640
The tour price is 2640 USD. The price doesn't depend on the amount of people in a group. The tour will be fulfilled even if only one person buy it.
More info