Nomadic culture with hikes
15-day tour, in small groups, since 2002
This tour combines Kyrgyz history with meeting local people and learning something of their culture
Seeing how yurt frames are made and meeting a man, and the eagle(s) he hunts with, are all part of the tour
As well as tasting our national drink, kymyz, made from mare’s milk, you will have a chance to swim in the second highest/largest lake in the world
Sample the culture and everyday life of the nomads in Kyrgyzstan. You will sleep in yurts, the felt houses of the nomadic herdsmen, will see felt objects for everyday use being made and get the opportunity to cook a Kyrgyz meal. You can also see how nomads prepare kymyz, the national drink made from mare’s milk. And if you are lucky, you might even see traditional games played on horseback.
Visit the Burana Tower and the petroglyphs (stone carvings from the Scythian period) near Cholpon-Ata. In the capital Bishkek enjoy the organized chaos of shopping at the Osh Bazaar.
In between activities there is still plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Tian-Shan Mountains.
Almost each day it is possible to hike and interesting hiking itineraries are included in this programme. The transportation takes place by minibus. On several occasions part of the distance will be done on foot. If, when and how long these hikes will be, is a matter of consulting together. There will be the opportunity to ride horses and to visit the herdsmen who come with their families to the alpine summer pastures to guard the cattle.
Bishkek accommodation is in a small pleasant hotel and on tour in yurts, B&Bs, and hotels. An English-speaking guide/interpreter will accompany you for the whole tour.
This journey suits people who are interested in the nomadic way of life and the culture of the Kyrgyz people. For the hikes you need to be in good physical condition. About 4-5 hours walking a day in mountainous terrain should be in your range of possibilities. We expect you to be a little adventurous and happy to forget luxury.
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 meet you and take you to the Umai Hotel (or equivalent) in Bishkek. After a rest and a light lunch sightseeing around Bishkek. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 3||Drive from Bishkek to Cholpon-Ata on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. En route visit the Burana Tower, the remnants of the old Silk Road City that existed in the 10th to 12th centuries. Around the tower we will see Balbals (gravestones) from between the 6th and 10th centuries. The small museum contains more artifacts collected in this area. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 4||In Cholpon-Ata it is possible to visit the Archaeological Open-Air Museum and to see the petroglyphs (rock drawings made by the Scythes from the 11th to 3rd centuries BC). Then a hike in the Kyrchyn Valley (2000m), home of the World Nomad Games and a gathering point for the Kyrgyz through the centuries. Continue to Karakol where we will stay in a nice guesthouse.|
|Day 5||In the early morning we visit the famous animal market, followed by some sightseeing. After lunch we visit Karakol National Park, hike along the stream and enjoy nature.|
|Day 6||Continue to Jeti-Oguz, a lush valley with striking red sandstone rock formations (including the “Seven Bulls” from which the valley takes its name). Hiking in the area. Continue along the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul to Sonun yurt camp located in a semi-desert area close to the edge of the lake (1600m). On the way we stop to hike in Skaska, a small valley with strange eroded chalk/limestone hills. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 7||Day in Sonun yurt camp, hike in the badlands, go swimming or help cooking a Kyrgyz meal.|
|Day 8||Drive to Bokonbaevo to meet a man who hunts with golden eagles. Then onto the yurt camp Temir-Kanat (2450 m). The last 200m up to the yurt camp is on foot or on horseback as it is not accessible for most vehicles.|
|Day 9||Day in Temir-Kanat, where you can go horse riding, hiking or maybe learn some Kyrgyz cooking. You can visit the shepherds living in their yurts in pastures and taste kymyz, fermented mare’s milk, and see how it is made. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 10||Hike down to the minibus and then through the Köngur Olung Valley back to the road around Lake Issyk-Kul and continue to Kara Suu, a village near Kochkor, where we will stay with a local family who specializes in making felt carpets. On the way we will stop in Kyzyl-Tuu to see yurt frames and yurt decorations being made. Stay with local family.|
|Day 11||Today onto Kochkor, a centre of feltmaking. An interesting place to visit is Altyn -Kul, the cooperative shop of the women of the surrounding villages. Next, we drive to the Boom Valley for a hike of a couple hours in the Konorchok Canyons, and then continue to Chon Kemin, a valley on the border with Kazakhstan. Stay in nice guesthouse.|
|Day 12||Day in Kemin, hike up to a lodge at 2800m and have lunch there, return to the guesthouse.|
|Day 13||Return to Bishkek. Stay in hotel Umai or equivalent.|
|Day 14||Day for sightseeing Bishkek, shopping, visit the Osh Bazaar (lunch not included). If sufficient participants, a folklore concert and farewell dinner. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 15||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.
|June 24||July 8|
|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.