|Legend has it that when God had created the world he called all the people together and gave each people a piece of land to live. The Kyrgyz, however, did not appear as they had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they were shocked to discover that all the land had been given away and that nothing was left. They went to God and beseeched Him to give them a piece of land also. So God looked around, over the whole world, but could not find a piece of land which He had not already given away. Finally He said “All the land has already been allocated, except for one small piece. That piece is so beautiful however that I wanted to keep it for Myself, but I will give it to you.” And that piece of land now is called Kyrgyzstan.
Let us show you our country - on horseback, bicycle or foot through a variety of tours. Each of our tours is of a specific nature and yet, except for one or two exclusions, has the flexibility to be adapted to our customer’s individual requirements.
Kyrgyzstan is a most beautiful gift from nature and yet still remains relatively unknown. Come and discover the secret with us – nobody knows it better.
Back in 1998 we, Elmira and Samira (two Kyrgyz sisters), conceived and created Ecotour. When we created Ecotour there were three over-riding principles that we adopted, and these principles are still paramount today.
Firstly we are proud of our country and heritage, and we wish for people everywhere to get to know our country and our people. Secondly we also feel that it is important to follow good ecological principles, for our benefit and the world as a whole. Finally we want to see many people benefitting from our efforts and so community-based tourism prevails in all our activities.
Our tours are many and varied (see 2014 schedule). But for you, the traveller, each tour we develop is simply the foundation of an amazing experience – an experience for you to create. Each tour is just an outline for you to colour in, and each will be tailored to meet your wishes, interests and needs.
We have two new tours this year. E-bikes has been launched to accommodate those who need the occasional assistance with the pedals. A trip around Issyk Kul especially designed to accommodate those on e-bikes with overnight charging facilities at each stop (except one). The active and adventurous tour has been put together for families with children who wish to enjoy multiple activities whilst getting to know the locals. This tour includes cycling, horse riding, hiking and swimming.
Our tours can be organized for individuals or groups of up to 10 people (and sometimes more), and each one can be tailor-made to suit your specific requirements. In addition we have family friendly tours with discounts for children. For the majority of our tours you can specify the start date and length of tour.
Springtime sees out “Tulip Expedition”. This tour is becoming more popular every year and includes much more than just the search for the origins of the tulip. This tour will be led by a Dutch botanist. Kyrgyzstan has a greater variety of flora than the whole of Europe, and some species can only be found here. Also much liked are our bird watching tours, mainly in early summer. We have several species of birds not seen in Europe.
In the summer we will take you to our “yurt” camps up in the summer meadows of the Tien Shan (Heavenly) Mountains and let you discover and experience the culture and life-style of the Kyrgyz nomad. At other times you will sleep in guesthouses and B & Bs.
Most of our programmes are geared towards people looking for active holidays and who enjoy physical effort and are not afraid of exerting themselves. However for those who wish to have more relaxed holidays we offer tours in which the culture and way of life of the Kyrgyz are the central themes.
In the spring and autumn we organize several tours more suitable for those travelers who desire more comfort. You will sleep in hotels, B & Bs and guesthouses and enjoy more comfort and privacy than when staying in a yurt. These tours are more suitable for guests who are not fond of camping or are elderly, and their emphasis is on getting to know the Kyrgyz way of life, music and culture.
We are also aware that a number of people have specific dietary requirements (i.e gluten free, etc.), and we are happy to accommodate your requirements on the majority of our tours. Our cooks in the yurt camps are experienced in cooking for guest with celiac disease and food allergies. Vegetarian meals are also not a problem.
In central Bishkek we have our own hotel, the UMAI. Here we offer warm, friendly and affordable accommodation, along with good breakfasts, all close to the heart of the capital.
Our ambition is to awaken within you an interest in Kyrgyzstan and the tours organized by the Ecotour team, and we hope that one day we will meet each other in our country. We are looking forward to seeing you.
Discover Kyrgyzstan with Ecotour, on foot, on horseback, or on a bicycle. Discover the hospitality of the Kyrgyz people and enjoy the natural beauty of our nature.
We will be at the following fairs and we would love to meet you:
- In Amsterdam in the Beurs van Berlage at the Amsterdam fair for special Journeys. January 10 and 11. 2015, Grote Zaal stand nr 40
- In Amsterdam in de Rai at the Fiets en Wandelbeurs. January 31 and February 1 2015
- In Antwerpen in the Expo hall at the Fiets en Wandelbeurs Vlaanderen. February 28 and March 1. 2015
In an oasis of Central Asia
Deserts and steppes are characteristic for the nature of Central Asia. The mountain chains of the Tien-Shan with Issyk-Kul lake at its heart is an oasis in the middle of this arid region. Issyk-Kul lake (180 km long and 60 km wide, max. depth 668 m) is the second largest high mountain lake in the world. The lake is 1,600 m above sea level and is surrounded by mountain ranges with altitudes up to 7,439 m. A combination of extreme depth, thermal activity and mild salinity means the lake never freezes. Within a 4 hour car journey of the lakeshore you can see many different landscapes; semi-deserts, steppes, mountain meadows and forests, sub alpine and alpine meadows, snowdrifts and glaciers. They are inhabited by many species, some of which are threatened by extinction the snow leopard, the Marco Polo sheep and the Ibisbill being the best known.
...an old nomadic culture has survived
The traditional culture of the Kyrgyz people has survived throughout time. In summer some of them go into the mountains with their yurts and their livestock in order to take advantage of the lush summer pastures, and where they live in harmony with nature - secluded from “civilization” - as they did thousands of years ago. The Kyrgyz are very hospitable people to whom time is not important.