Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan: similarities and differences

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan: similarities and differences

Combination tour of 18 days, for nature lovers

Countries with beautiful nature. Kazakhstan with mountain areas and impressive sandy desserts. Kyrgyzstan with mainly high mountains and valleys. Two countries: quite different in nature and lifestyle.

Due to the tremendous number of mineral resources, Kazakhstan has become a much richer country than the neighboring Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan is more industrialized, whereas Kyrgyzstan has remained mostly an agricultural country.

In Kazakhstan you will visit the large, modern town of Almaty, the famous Medeo skating rink and several National Parks. In Kyrgyzstan you travel around the 2nd largest mountain lake in the world.

About tour

After independence both countries developed in different directions. Kazakhstan is much larger than Kyrgyzstan and has many more resources. It became financially well to do, in contrast to Kyrgyzstan. The origin of the population however is the same, this still causes some similarities, but also differences have occurred. During this trip you will discover some of these differences.

The tour starts in Almaty and from there you make a round tour, visiting several National Parks, staying in hotels. B&B and guesthouses. In Kyrgyzstan you will travel around Lake Issyk-Kul, learn about the local customs and habits connected with the nomadic life and also stay in  yurts, the felt nomad tents. You will get a chance to meet with locals, trying their cuisines and experiencing their daily lives and culture.

Day By Day Programme

Here you can find a detailed description of the tour with routes and locations

  Day 1Departure from your local airport.
  Day 2Arrival at Almaty Airport and transfer to the hotel. After some rest, a city tour with guide interpreter. Almaty is a modern, friendly town, originally build as a garrison place of the Tsars. In the Panfilov Park in the centre, you can visit the Russian Orthodox Zenkov Cathedral, go to the Green bazaar and admire the new modern architectural buildings. Although it is not the capital, Almaty is still the Financial centre of the country. Stay in hotel.
  Day 3Today we visit National Park Altyn -Emel, 250 km from Almaty. It is on the south side of the Ili River and covers 520.000 hectare.  Lunch in Basschi. In the afternoon to the so-called “singing dunes” north-east of Almaty. “Singing Dunes” is a phenomenon of nature, famous for the fact that when the weather is dry the sand dune emits a sound similar to the tune of organ. Stay with local family in Basschi.
  Day 4After breakfast we leave for Zharkent (118 km). This town is close to the border with China.  We visit the old Mosque and Orthodox church. Zharkent was a small Uighur settlement prior to official Russian township status. Lunch here, then on to Zhundzha.  This village is the capital of the Uigur district and has hot spas. Stay in hotel near the hot spa.
  Day 5We drive to Saty and make an excursion to Kaindy Lake. This lake is 400m long and at some places 30m deep, and is located  at an altitude of 2000m. It is the result of a large landslide, which you can see as there are still a lot of dead spruce trees in the middle of the lake. Lunch with local family. In the afternoon we continue to Lake Koksai. Hike to the next Koksai lake. Stay in  guesthouse in Saty.
  Day 6Return to Almaty. We stop at the Charyn Canyons, a famous canyon of 154 km. There are impressive rock formations. We will hike a few hours through the Canyon. Then on to Almaty where we will spend the night before leaving for Bishkek (Supper not included). It is possible to fly to Bishkek in the late afternoon or spend the night in Almaty.
  Day 7Today we travel to Kyrgyzstan. There are 2 options: by plane or by taxi. Taxi is less expensive and will take about 4 hours driving. Flight takes about 1 hour, usually at the end of the day. Arrival in Bishkek and transfer to the Umai hotel. Depending on arrival time, some sightseeing Bishkek with guide interpreter. Stay in hotel Umai.
  Day 8Today by minibus to Cholpon Ata, a bathing resort on the north side of Lake Issyk-Kul, 250 km driving. On the way we will stop to visit the Burana Tower, one of the few historical buildings of Kyrgyzstan and a remnant of an old Silk Road town. The tower is part of the minaret of the town of Balasagun that was the capital of the Karahanieden in the 11th century. In 1974 the tower was restored and now you can climb up inside the tower and enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. Around the tower you find Balbals (gravestones) from between the 6th and 10th centuries. The small museum contains more artifacts collected in this area. From here we go to Cholpon-Ata where we will stay in a hotel. It is possible to have a swim in the lake.
  Day 9We continue along the north shore of the lake heading for Karakol. On the way to Karakol we stop in Oruktu, a small village with an openair hot spa, we can take a bath here and then continue to Karakol, a nice town at the far east side of Lake Issyk-Kul. Stay in guesthouse.
  Day 10If this is a Sunday, visit the animal market. Next to Jeti Ogus with differently-shaped bright red rocks. Most of the rocks have names and their own legends and stories about their origin (names like Seven Bulls, Broken Heart). Our guide will tell us more about these legends. We will spend the night in the yurt camp Manjyly. On the way there will be a short hike in Fairy-tale Valley. Here again there are some very impressive rocks formations.
  Day 11Drive to Bokonbaevo to meet a man who hunts with golden eagles. He will tell about his profession and show his bird(s). Then onto the yurt camp Temir-Kanat (2.450 m). The last 200 m up to the yurt camp is on foot or on horseback as it is not accessible for most vehicles. Stay in yurt.
  Day 12Day in Temir-Kanat. Here we can rent horses to ride, go hiking or maybe learn some Kyrgyz cooking. On horseback it is possible to ride up till 3000 m and higher. You can also 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 13We leave Temir-Kanat yurt camp on foot to the place where the car is waiting (about 25-35 minutes walking). From here through the Kongur Ölung valley to Kara Koo where we reach the road around Lake Issyk-Kul. We continue to Kochkor a small town well known for the making of felt carpets.  Here we have lunch and continue to Son-Kul, a lake at 3016m. Even in summer it will be cold her at night, so warm clothes are needed. Stay in yurt.
  Day 14Day in Son-Kul. This lake is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. It is 29 kilometers long and 18 wide, with an average depth of 13 m, and is located on a wide plateau surrounded by mountains that are around 4.000 m high. There are many shepherd families on the plateau and they spend their whole summer here with their horses, cattle, sheep and yaks. We can hike or rent horses to ride in the mountains. Stay in yurt.
  Day 15Drive down the mountains over the Kara-Keche Pass (3384 m) and descend into the Suusamyr Valley. We will stay in a B&B in the village Kyzyl-Oi.
  Day 16Today a long drive, first through the Tor-Ashu Tunnel at 3100 m.  This tunnel is 2 1/2 km long and for now the only pay tunnel in Kygyzstan.  Through many hairpin bends we descend to Sosnovka  and then on to Kara Balta. Here we join the main road to Bishkek where we will arrive in the afternoon. Stay in hotel.
  Day 17Day trip to Ala-Archa National Park, about 40 km south east of Bishkek. We can hike along the trail to the waterfalls of the Ala-Archa River at 3200m. Other less difficult hikes are also possible. The flora in this park is very rich and many species typical for this habitat can be found. Picnic lunch, stay in hotel.
  Day 18Transfer 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.

Tour specifics

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.

Date on requestDate on request
4 and more persons
For four and more persons
Price without flight from Tashkent to Bishkek€ 1.495 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/ bus station
• All meals, breakfast, lunch and supper in Kyrgyzstan, in Kazakhstan only breakfast
• Stay in hotel, B&B, guesthouse, yurt and homestay, except hotel in Almaty
• Entrees
• Programme as described
• English/German (as required) speaking guide/interpreter, one can also book a guide/ interpreter in Kazakhstan (if booked)

• Flights
• Transfer from Almaty to Bishkek
• Insurances
• Personal expenses
• Horses to ride
• Tips
• Alcoholic and other bottled beverages
• Activities not mentioned in the program

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 departureone pays the deposit
day 42- till day 2835 %
day 28- till day 2140 %
day 21- till day 1450 %
day 14- till day 575 %
day 5 – till day 290 %
on the last day before and the day of departure100%

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.


Kyrgyzstan is a land full of beautiful experiences and wonders unique…
click the link below

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.