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We can give our warm recommendations to anyone considering going to Kyrgyzstan in general, and with Ecotour in particular! We spent two weeks in some of Ecotour's yurt camps, and it was a highly memorable experience. Ecotour was very flexible and had arranged a programme that suited our wishes perfectly.

Tom & Karin Airaksinen
Stockholm, Sweden



address:
46-A, Donskoy Pereulok
720040 Bishkek
Kyrgyz Republic

phones:

+996 557 802805 (English)
+996 772 802805 (English)
+996 555 913245 (German)

E-mail: info@ecotour.kg
elmirakalmakova@gmail.com






Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan: different experiences!

The Wonders of Uzbekistan and the Beauty of Kyrgyzstan

Date: on request

Price: 1450 euro pp for 4 or more participants,
without transportation between Tashkent and Bishkek (plane, train or bus).

The Uzbeks have always been settlers, the Kyrgyz have always been nomads. Culturally we have some similarities, but we also have many differences. This tour will give you a chance to explore two sides of Central Asia.

The tour starts in Tashkent and then on to Bukhara and Samarkand. All the major sites have been included. But there is more than just historical monuments – visiting bazaars, cooking classes, folklore shows and more, including a chance to enjoy some of the natural beauty as you travel from place to place.

Arriving in Bishkek brings you to another world, a world of green mountains, alpine pastures, the world of the semi-nomads living in yurts. You will notice the similarities but you will be struck by the differences. Your tour heads to Son Kul (Last Lake) and then around the down to the south side of beautiful Issyk Kul (Warm Lake) and then on and around the lake.

In each country and in each place, you will get the chance to meet with locals, trying their cuisines and experiencing their daily lives and culture.

Transportation is by minibus, and an English or German speaking guide/interpreter travels along and helps in the contact with the local people. You will stay in nice hotels in Uzbekistan and in Kyrgyzstan also in B&B’s and yurts.

Programme

Day 1: Departure from your home airport.

Day 2: Arrival at Tashkent airport where you will be met by our guide/interpreter and taken to your hotel. After breakfast and some rest, a city tour around Tashkent with the guide/interpreter. We will visit the religious centre of Tashkent, the Khastimam Complex and Kukeldash Madrasah that are close to the tomb of one of the first imams of Tashkent, the famous scientist, scholar of the Koran and Hadith, poet and craftsman Hazrati Imam (full name - Abu-Bakr Muhammad Kaffal Shashi). We will also visit the Chorsu Bazaar. After lunch visit the new part of the city - Independence Square, Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan, Alisher Navoi Theatre, Amir Temur Square etc. Lunch and dinner in restaurants. Stay in hotel.

Day 3: Early breakfast at 6.30 to catch the fast train from Tashkent to Bukhara. Arrival in Bukhara at noon. After lunch at a local restaurant, a half-day city tour in Bukhara. The historical centre includes 140 medieval structures that managed to preserve their exteriors unchanged for centuries. We will visit a number of mosques, shrines, madrasahs. In the evening a folklore show and show of national clothes at the Nodir Devonbegi Madrassah. For dinner we will visit a national house for a masterclass of plov cooking (traditional Uzbek dish). Stay in a hotel.

Day 4: Half-day city tour in Bukhara. We visit the mausoleum and Madrasah EIsmael Samani Mausoleum (9-10th C), the oldest mausoleum of Bukhara, the Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum (14th C), the main bazaar and the Chor Minor Madrasah. Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we travel to Samarkand. On the way we will visit the house-museum-workshop of Gijguvan, Master of Ceramics. The skill of making ceramics has been passed from father to son, from generation to generation. Arrive in Samarkand. Accommodation at hotel. Free time. Supper and stay in a hotel.

Day 5: Sightseeing around Samarkand. We visit Guri Emir legendary mausoleum, where Amir Temur and all his family are buried, Registan Square, a world-famous complex of 3 madrasahs, and the golden dome mosque, Mosque Bibi Khanum. After lunch we continue sightseeing. Shahi–Zinda Necropoli, a holy place and cemetery with graves of Temerlane’s dynasty, and the grave of a cousin of the Prophet Muhamed. Later we go to the Observatory of Ulugbek, an incredible 15th century construction for studying astronomy. Free time in Registan Square and local bazzar. After dinner, if possible, we will see the light show in Registan Square and the night view of Tamerlane’s mausoleum. Stay in hotel.

Day 6: We drive from Samarkand to Tashkent. On the way a small stop to enjoy the view of the mountain pass at the legendary Iron Gates of Tamerlane. Photo stop near the second largest river of Central Asia, the Sirdarya, with a fish market and roadside markets where the best melons are sold in the whole region. After lunch, free time for shopping. Farewell dinner and stay in the hotel. If transferring to Bishkek by bus, we leave this evening.

Day 7: Flight to Bishkek (or arrival by bus) early morning. You will be met at the airport or bus station and taken to the Umai Hotel (or similar). After lunch we will go sightseeing around Bishkek with our guide/interpreter. Stay in the Umai Hotel.

Day 8: By minibus to Kyzyl-Oi in the Suusamyr Valley. We head west over the main road to the town of Kara-Balta and then turn south into the mountains. After 100km you reach Sosnovka where the ascent to the tunnel starts. Through many serpentines we climb up from 850 to 3100m. The Tor Ashuu Tunnel is 2½km long and the only toll tunnel in Kyrgyzstan. At the other end we see the beautiful Suusamyr Valley. Descending into the valley, we turn further south along the Kokomeren River. After 45 km we reach the village of Kyzyl-Oi, passing through an extraordinary landscape of majestic mountains. Especially colorful is the red clay covering the mountains from bottom to top. This clay has been used as material for house building for many centuries, and some of these houses can be seen in the village. Stay in a good B&B.

Day 9: Drive alongside the mighty Kokomeren River and then climbing to the Kara Keche Pass (3016 m) we will pass through a semi-desert area until we reach the coalmine. Right after the mine we start climbing to the Kara-Keche Pass (3384m) and soon we will reach Lake Son-Kul. Son-Kul is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, 3016m. above sea level. It is 29 kilometres long and 18 wide with an average depth of 13 metres. Son-Kul is located on a wide plateau surrounded by mountains that are around 4000m high. There are many shepherd families on the plateau and they spend their whole summer here with their cattle, sheep, horses and yaks. It will be cold here at night so bring warm clothes. Overnight stay in yurt.

Day 10: Day in Son-Kul hiking in an area full of edelweiss and visiting local herdsmen to taste kymyz, the traditional drink made from fermented mare’s milk. It is possible to go horse riding (horse rental is not included). Stay in yurts.

Day 11: Drive from Son-Kul to Bokonbaevo, the district town of the Tong region. First over a very bad road and with many serpentines, we will descend the Kalmak-Ashuu Pass (3440m) and go down to the Tolok Valley surrounded by a beautiful badland (arid) area. Soon we come to the junction and drive on the main road coming from China. On the way we will stop in Kochkor, the centre of felt making. The women from the surrounding villages have started a cooperative shop where they sell their products. It is interesting to visit this shop, named Altyn Kol (golden hands). Lunch here and visit the bazaar before driving along the water reservoir to Bokonbaevo on the south side of Lake Issyk-Kul. Stay in B&B.

Day 12: Before leaving Bokonbaevo we will meet a man who hunts with golden eagles and other birds of prey. He will show his bird(s) and tell about his profession. Our first stop will be the Fairy Tale Valley, famous for its multi-coloured sandstone cliffs that have been weather-sculptured into an ensemble of fairy-castles, pillars and human forms and faces. We continue along the south side of the lake and next visit Jeti Ogus, one of the most beautiful gorges in Kyrgyzstan (2200m). We will see famous red rocks with names like the “Seven Bulls” and the “Broken Heart”. There are many legends about the formation of these rocks. In the small village there is an old Russian Spa where it might be possible to bathe and have a massage. From here it is another 35 km to Karakol where we will spend the night in an hotel.

Day 13: If a Sunday, we will have an early visit to the animal market, followed by some sight-seeing in Karakol. We will visit the Russian Orthodox Church and Dungan Mosque. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is a fine example of a completely wooden Church. It served as a dance hall under the Soviets, and a school during the Second World War. Built on the site of an earlier church erected in 1876, the current building was constructed between 1890-1895. During the construction a yurt served as a church for the local population. The exotic-looking blue building in central Karakol resembles a Buddhist temple, but is in fact a mosque. We drive along the north shore of the lake to the Kyrchyn Valley for a short hike. This valley is the home of the World Nomad Games and has been a gathering point of Kyrgyz tribes through the centuries. Stay in a in a hotel in Cholpon Ata, a nice resort on the lake.

Day 14: Drive back to Bishkek. On the way we visit the Burana Tower, an architectural complex from the 10th century that has survived from the times of the Great Silk Road. In the middle-ages it was the city of Balasagun, the capital of the Karachanid Khaganate, a Turkish dynasty of that time. You will see the 24 metre minaret and mausoleums which have been restored. You can also see Balbals, grave stones from the middle ages. It is not clear why this city disappeared. One version is that it was destroyed by conquering tribes, another that because of a contagious disease it was abandoned. In the late afternoon we reach Bishkek and have some time for shopping. Dinner and stay the Umai hotel.

Day 15: Transfer to the airport and departure.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, it might be necessary to make small changes in the program. We ask for your understanding.

Should there are less than 4 participants for this tour, you will be requested to pay an additional fee to take this tour individually (unless unescorted) or with a small group.

 

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