Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Adventure
Type: Adventure Tour
Duration: 11 Days
Best Time to Travel: May – October
Places you'll discover
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Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Adventure - Itinerary
This trip allows you to get off the beaten track and explore some of the lesser known places of these two Central Asian destinations. Discover the 150m high ‘singing sand dunes’ of Basshi and stay with a local family in a guesthouse.
Walk through picturesque gorges and around stunning lakes and sample local cuisine and see how the locals hunt with the help of eagles. Spend the night in a yurt – a traditional Kyrgyz nomadic home. A great adventure beckons!
Meet upon arrival and transfer to the hotel.
An afternoon sightseeing tour of Almaty. Almaty may have lost its status as the capital of Kazakhstan, but it remains the country’s first city. It is the cultural, tourist and business capital and main transport hub. This beautiful town set at the foot of the emerald Tian-Shan Mountains is rightly known as a garden city.
We visit the Abai Theatre, the Green Market and the Independence Monument in Republic Square as well as the Zenkov Cathedral. Return to hotel.
After breakfast we drive to Tamgaly Gorge, home to some 5,000 rock carvings or petroglyphs. Tamgaly’s remarkable concentration of petroglyphs, associated settlements and burial grounds, provide testimony to the husbandry, social organization and rituals of pastoral peoples from the Bronze Age right through to the early 20th century. The large size of the early petroglyphs, their unique images and the quality of their iconography sets them apart from the wealth of rock art in Central Asia.
We return to Almaty and the hotel in the afternoon.
Almaty – Basshi
We drive 260kms to Basshi in Altyn Emel National Park. The park is home to a diverse range of unique landscapes, historical sights and flora. Not counting insects and fish, at least 260 different animals live in Altyn Emel. There are endangered amphibians like the Siberian toad and rare and endangered birds like black stork, and imperial eagle.
Visit the Bes Shatyr barrows and ancient Scythian necropolis. The site consists of thirty barrows of differing sizes and hundred ritual menhirs. From here we drive on to a family-run guesthouse where we spend the night.
After breakfast we continue our excursion in Altyn Emel National Park. Our first stop is the fascinating ‘Singing Dune’ so called as it emits a low, vibrating rumble when the sand moves akin to organ music! The 150 meter high dunes are located in between two rocky mountain ranges. We later stop at the Aktau Mountains where bands of white, red and orange run horizontally across the range with striking effect.
Return to Almaty and a city tour including Zenkov’s Orthodox Cathedral and the Great Patriotic War Memorial.
Basshi – Charyn – Karakol
After breakfast we depart for Charyn Canyon. The Canyon has been described as the Grand Canyon’s little brother. This is not to detract from the sheer splendour of the canyon itself. The vista of dramatic erosion made by the river Charyn below and the elements has created a dramatic and impressive landscape. The Canyon itself is approximately 150 km long, and, in places up to 300 meters deep.
From here we make our way to the Kyrgyzstan border and on to Karakol. Karakol is is the fourth largest city in Kyrgyzstan, near the eastern tip of Lake Issyk Kul. A Russian military outpost founded in 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.
If we are in Karakol on Sunday then we will visit the Sunday market. We also go to the museum dedicated to Russian explorer Mikhail Prjvalsky followed by a Russian Orthodox church and a Dungan Mosque.
Drive to Aksu Gorge in the Tian Shan mountain range. The gorge is 15km long and 500m deep in places. The area including the nature reserve has an alpine feel with nearby mountains reaching over 4,000m.
Karakol – Kochkor
After breakfast we drive 280km to Kochkor. En route we stop for a hike in Jeti Oguz Gorge, a lush valley with some striking red sandstone rock formations (the “seven Bulls” from which the valley takes its name).
We continue on to the traditional village of Bokonbaevo where we can see how locals hunt with the aid of eagles. Proceed to Kochkor for a traditional Beshbarmak dinner. Beshbarmak is the national dish of Kyrgyzstan. The dish is eaten with the hands, thereby its name besh barmak – “five fingers”. Fresh dough is cut into squares and boiled in a meat broth.
Kochkor – Son Kul Lake
We depart Kochkor for Son Kul Lake. Son Kul is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan covering 278 sq.km at an altitude of 3,016m.
We have a picnic lunch by the lake and have the opportunity to walk around the lake, visit the yurts of the real nomads and taste traditional Kyrgyz milk called Kymyz, made of fermented mare’s milk. We spend the night in a Yurt – a traditional Kyrgyz nomadic house.
Son Kul Lake – Bishkek
We depart Son Kul Lake for the capital Bishkek – a drive of approx. 400km. We drive through the Kalmak Ashu Pass and also stop at the Burana Tower which dates back to the 11th century and was once a stop on the Silk Road. Near the tower are the ancient ruins of Balasagyn.
We arrive in Bishkek in the late afternoon.
We have a sightseeing tour of the capital including stops at open air sculpture museum, Osh Bazaar, the Frunze Museum and an orthodox church.
Visit nearby Ala Archa National Park. Ala Archa National Park has forested valleys, waterfalls and rivers abundant with trout. The park’s highest peak is the 4,895m Semenov Tien Shanskii. Several rare species of fauna including the revered juniper trees grow here and the mountain meadows are home to wild goats, deer and marmots and the increasingly rare snow leopard.
Transfer to Manas Airport for your onward flight.
- Room accommodation in twin share
- Yurt accommodation in Son Kul Lake
- Private transportation by car/ minivan
- Experienced English speaking Kazakh and Kyrgyz guides
- Drinking water in car / minivan
- Daily breakfast and meals as mentioned in itinerary
- Entrance and sightseeing fees as mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival and departure transfers
What's Not Included?
- International Flights
- Drinks during meals
- Optional tours
- Any personal expenses such as laundry, hotel phone etc
- Tips and gratuities