14-day tour, in small groups, since 2019
An introduction into some of the forms of Shamanism still practiced today in Kyrgyzstan
As well as visitng shamans and sacred places, you will also see mosques and cathedrals that are in daily use
Travelling around Lake Issyk Kul, you will get know Kyrgyz culture and traditions
Kyrgyzstan has a long tradition of Shamanism. Before Islam was introduced into the country, this was the main spiritual belief and has never disappeared completely. Since the country gained independence there has been a revival of the interest in, and practice of, Shamanism. For guests interested in Shamanism this tour offers the opportunity to become acquainted with the different forms still present in Kyrgyzstan.
There will be time to walk in silence, meditate and empty our minds. The beauty of nature, the mountains, the clear sky at night with thousands of stars, help us to restore the contact with our own inside world. We will meet herdsmen who live in yurts during summer and sample the nomadic culture and different forms of art.
Transportation will be by minibus and a guide/interpreter will come along to help in the communication with the local people. We will stay in nice hotels and B&B’s, as well as with local families where the sanitary facilities are rather basic.
Day By Day Programme
Here you can find a detailed description of the tour with routes and locations
|Day 1||Departure from your local airport.|
|Day 2||Arrival at Manas airport where we will be met by our guide/interpreter and transferred to the Umai Hotel or equivalent. After a rest and a light lunch some sightseeing around Bishkek. We will also visit the Russian Orthodox Church with its beautiful blue façade and roof. Accommodation in the hotel.|
|Day 3||Today we drive to Tashtar-Ata, the Mountain of Salvation (18 km south of Bishkek). According to an ancient legend pilgrims performed rituals at the Mountain of Salvation in order to overcome illness, fight addiction, and ask for mercy and health from the Almighty. In the afternoon back to Bishkek and a visit to the Central Mosque. Stay in the Umai Hotel or equivalent.|
|Day 4||Drive from Bishkek to Balykchy, a town at the west end of Lake Issyk-Kul. Here we will visit a shaman. Kyrgyz shamanism displays a mixture of Islamic and pre-Islamic practices of Turkic people. Nowadays there are several types of shamans: “bubu”, “bakshy” – the ones using the healing properties of herbs and other natural substances, “kozuachyk” using different techniques to tell the future and “moldo” using Islamic practices to heal people. Stay with a local family.|
|Day 5||Continuing along the north side of the lake to Cholpon-Ata, a lively bathing resort with an archaeological open-air museum where we will see the petroglyphs (rock drawings made by the Scythes from the 11th to 3rd centuries BC). Shortly before Cholpon Ata we will visit, in Chon Sary–Oi, the new Nomadic Museum. Stay in nice hotel.|
|Day 6||Further along the north shore of Issyk-Kul to the Kyrchyn Valley for a hike in silence along the river. Throughout history the Kyrcyn Valley has been a gathering point for the Kyrgyz tribes. Then on to Kench a small town with a hot spa, close to Karakol at the east end of the lake. In Karakol we will visit the regional museum. Stay in a hotel.|
|Day 7||After breakfast we visit the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Dungan Mosque that resembles a Buddhist temple. Now along the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, we continue to the yurt camp Manjyly. We will stop in Jeti Ogus, one of the most beautiful gorges in Kyrgyzstan, where you will see the famous red rocks with names as the “Seven Bulls” and the “Broken Heart”. Next stop is at Fairy Tale Valley. The rocks in the valley have been sculpted by wind and rain into strange form such as castles, animals and other shapes. Manjyly yurt camp is located in a dry, semi dessert area not far from the lake and it will be possible to go swimming.|
|Day 8||Today we visit Manjyly-Ata, a sacred place for the Kyrgyz. The complex is hidden amongst the gentle clay hills. There are holy trees, 7 healing springs, old graves and a dilapidated mosque. On the top of one of the hills a modern mosque was built in 1998. Then onto Temir-Kanat. In May we will stay with a local family in the village, in August we will sleep in the yurt camp on a plateau above the village (2.450 m). We have to hike the last 100 m up to the yurt camp, or go on horseback as cars cannot reach the yurt camp easily. Stay with local family or in a yurt.|
|Day 9||Continue west through the Kongur Olung Valley, famous for its flora and birds of prey. Stop in Toguz Bulak to meet another Shaman. Have lunch with a family and continue to the village of Kara-Tala where you will spend the night with a local family.|
|Day 10||Drive to Kochkor, the centre of felt-making. Here you can visit Kochkor-Ata, another sacred place of the Kyrgyz, and the bazaar. After lunch drive westwards to visit the Chon-Tuz salt mine, not far from Kochkor. We will make a short hike in the area and visit the “curative hospital” partially located in the mine where there are rooms used to treat health problems like chronic bronchitis and certain allergies. In the evening back to Kochkor and stay in a B&B.|
|Day 11||First along the Orto-Tokoy Reservoir and over the Kubaky Pass (2.160 m) to the main road to Bishkek. En route stop at the Burana Tower and museum, an architectural complex of the 10th century that has survived from the times of the Great Silk Road. We will also see Balbals, gravestones from the middle ages. Arrive in Bishkek in the afternoon. Stay in the Umai Hotel.|
|Day 12||In the morning yoga and meditation and in the afternoon to Ala-Archa National Park to hike along the trail to the Ala-Archa River. This National Park is an alpine park in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, established in 1976 and located approximately 40 km south of the capital city of Bishkek. The park includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River, and the mountains surrounding are a popular destination point for hikers. The park covers about 200 square kilometers, and its altitude ranges from about 1.500 meters at the entrance to 4.895 m. Picnic lunch. Stay in the Umai Hotel.|
|Day 13||Day in Bishkek. In the morning we can get a massage and visit a sauna, and in the afternoon meeting with a Shaman and/or go shopping and sightseeing. Farewell supper, stay in hotel.|
|Day 14||Transfer to Manas Airport and departure.|
Due to unforeseen circumstances, it might be necessary to make small changes in the program.
We ask for your understanding.
Our tours can be organized for individual travelers or groups of up to 10 people (and sometimes more) and for families with (young) children. For the majority of our tours you can specify the start date and length of the tour.
|May 18||May 31|
|August 10||August 23|
|4 and more persons|
|For four and more persons|
|Price||€ 1.350 p.p.|
For bookings of 4, or more, persons we offer a 5% discount. In case there are less participants than required, if you pay an additional fee, the trip will go on as planned.
Terms of payment
Your booking will be confirmed upon receipt of a deposit of euros 250 per person. The outstanding balance must be paid either 8 weeks before departure or in cash upon arrival. We do not accept debit or credit cards.
• Transportation by minibus
• Transfer from and to the airport
• All meals, breakfast, lunch and supper
• Stay in hotel, B&B, guesthouse, yurt and homestay
• Programme as described
• English/German (as required) speaking guide/interpreter
• Personal expenses
• Entrance charges if applicable
• Alcoholic and other bottled beverages
• Activities not mentioned in the programme
If you have to cancel a tour you already booked, we have to charge you cancellation fee.
If Ecotour cancels the tour, of course you will get back the full amount you paid.
If you cancel your trip, depending on the time your message reaches us, you owe Ecotour the following amount:
|till 42 days before departure||one pays the deposit|
|day 42- till day 28||35 %|
|day 28- till day 21||40 %|
|day 21- till day 14||50 %|
|day 14- till day 5||75 %|
|day 5 – till day 2||90 %|
|on the last day before and the day of departure||100%|
A trip with Ecotour means an unusual and unforgettable vacation.
Our trips are suitable for those who do not insist on luxury, love the mountains,
appreciate the silence and do not want to travel in large groups.
WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU
Kyrgyzstan is a land full of beautiful experiences and wonders unique…
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Mountain passes, bad tracks, off-road, and firm climbs over 3000 m characterize this route.
Not all slopes are steep, but some are very long and on dirt roads.
But it is worth the effort.