Tour Program

Day
1
Day 1: Bishkek – Kyzyl Oi
Itinerary
Leaving Bishkek you will cross the stunning Too Ashuu Pass and enter the Suusamyr valley. Once you are across the pass you have left the most developed parts of Kyrgyzstan behind and have entered a land of yurts, shepherds, and remote villages. At the bottom of the pass you turn off the highway toward the head of the Suusamyr Valley. Stop for a few minutes in the picturesque village of Kojumkul and check out the monuments to Kyrgyzstan’s strongest man. Continue on into the a red rock gorge to the village of Kyzyl Oi. Kyzyl Oi was quite possibly the only Kyrgyz village formed before Soviet collectivization, so it retains a unique, Central Asian character. Set in a small opening in the middle of the gorge, the village has a unique, isolated feel.
Meals
_ L D
Accomodation
Guest House (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
2
Day 2: Kyzyl Oi - Song Kul Lake
Itinerary
From Kyzyl Oi the road heads back out into the gorge for another 20 stunning kilometers. After the gorge, stop to take some pictures of the multi-colored rocks that stand as sentinels of the south entrance. From there the terrain flattens out as you cross the valley around Chaek. Turning south you head into another stunning pass on the road to Song Kul. The road is only paved around Chaek, otherwise the whole day is off pavement. The pass to Song Kul cuts through the Kara Keche coal mine on its way up to one of the most beautiful jailoos (mountains pastures) in all of Kyrgyzstan. At the end of the day you arrive at a small circle of yurts on the south shore of the lake and eat hearty, traditional food, drink kumys, and sleep in a yurt under the very visible Milky Way.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Yurt (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
3
Day 3: Song Kul Lake - Tash Rabat
Itinerary
Wake up to the fresh air of Song Kul, breathe deeply, and after breakfast walk around the area or take a short horseback ride, then load up in the Jeeps. Turning south you head through the Moldu Ashuu Pass and continue to head south until you are near the Chinese border where you will spend the night in another yurt camp near the well-known, ancient caravan stop, Tash Rabat.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Yurt (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
4
Day 4: Tash Rabat - Kel Suu Lake
Itinerary
Leaving Tash Rabat you will head deeper into the remote mountains near the Chinese frontier. The goal for the night is Kel Suu. This 3500 meter elevation lake fills a narrow, rock gorge, exiting underground for a truly mysterious lake. The road there is unpredictable, changing every season. Usually the Jeeps can make it all the way there, but if not, the last of the distance will be done on horseback. Camp near the lake or stay in a local family’s yurt some distance away.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Camping or yurt stay (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
5
Day 5: Kel Suu Lake
Itinerary
Spend the day around Kel Suu exploring on foot or on horseback. You can explore canyons that few tourists have every seen and go on a guided expedition looking to get a photograph of the elusive Marco Polo sheep (season dependent), or other rare wildlife like Ibex, among the craggy peaks.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Camping or yurt stay (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
6
Day 6: Kel Suu Lake - Naryn
Itinerary
Leaving Kel Suu behind head back to the north toward the provincial capital of Naryn. On the way you will pass through some of Kyrgyzstan’s most remote jailoos, such as the Bosogo jailoo, which produce some of the finest milk. In Naryn get a touch of civilization again (like a nice, hot shower). Relax and prepare for the next stage of your journey.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Guest House (shower!)
Day
7
Day 7: Naryn - Kazarman
Itinerary
From Naryn head east into the mountains through the Kyrgyz heartland. Pass through a town that (probably) has a secret gold mine, then head into one of the most colorful mountain regions in Kyrgyzstan. The passes around Kazarman are not just filled with switchbacks, the mountains practically shimmer with colors. Spend the night in Kazarman.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Homestay (outdoor toilet, possibly a summer shower)
Day
8
Day 8: Kazarman - Arslanbob
Itinerary
The road from Kazarman down to Jalal Abad opens first with another breathtaking pass. Following yet another of the finest passes in Kyrgyzstan, you will find that the terrain begins to settle down into the heartache inducing beauty of the fertile Ferghana Valley farming region. From Jalal Abad head north a bit into the hills and spend the night in Arslanbob. After arriving, take a hike for an hour or two through the ancient walnut forests surrounding Arslanbob. This forest is considered the oldest natural walnut forest in the world. It was so notable, that one of Alexander the Great’s generals is said to have made mention of it when they passed through the region.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Homestay (running water and shower)
Day
9
Day 9: Arslanbob - Sary Chelek
Itinerary
Head out early in the morning to Sary Chelek. This lake is another of Kyrgyzstan’s varied wonders. It’s shear, forested mountains come right out of the water. Arriving around lunch time drive up to the lake and hike around the area. In the evening, stay in a nice guesthouse with showers.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Homestay (running water and shower)
Day
10
Day 10: Sary Chelek - Besh Aral
Itinerary
Leaving behind the more civilized areas once again, head toward the national preserve in the far west of Kyrgyzstan, Besh Aral. Few people ever visit this region. Do some hiking and explore the area.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Camping (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
11
Day 11: Besh Aral
Itinerary
Hike or horseback ride deep into Besh Aral. There you can find rivers, gorges, and mountains rarely seen by man. Enjoy a day outside the Jeeps exploring.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Camping (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
12
Day 12: Besh Aral - Chatkal Valley
Itinerary
Break camp in the morning and head further north. A few hours north on the track is another rarely visited valley. Spend the rest of the day in the remote Chatkal Valley. While not many people see Chatkal, it is stunning. Hike back into the mountains or hire horses from some of few locals who live in the area and explore further.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Camping (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
13
Day 13: Besh Aral - Talas
Itinerary
Leaving Chatkal toward Talas requires rugged Jeeps as you cut through another rarely traveled pass deep in Kyrgyzstan’s mountains. The scenery flattens out a bit as you enter the Talas valley. The Talas region is famous for its tasty beans. If road conditions allow enough time, stop in Talas and see the Manas mausoleum and museum. Turn south out of the city on a two-track and spend the night in a shepherd’s yurt camp in the mountains.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Yurt (outdoor toilet, no shower)
Day
14
Day 14: Talas - Bishkek
Itinerary
Leaving behind the shepherd families of the Talas region, return to Bishkek on the narrow highway that connects Bishkek with southern Kyrgyzstan. You’ll once again cross Too Ashuu Pass and head back to civilization in Bishkek. After stopping by the hotel you booked in Bishkek so that you can get cleaned up, go to a great restaurant in Bishkek for one last group dinner.
Meals
B L D
Accomodation
Hotel of your choice (not included in price)