Trek Karakol region
15-day tour, in small groups, since 2019
Tour around Lake Issyk-Kul with a 5-day trek in the Karakol area
Through forests, pastures, past small lakes, and over rocky barren landscapes
You will experience the culture of nomads by staying in yurts, the nomads’ dwelling made of felt and wood, visiting herdsmen and their families in the pastures and tasting their traditional drink, kymyz, made from fermented mare’s milk.
This two-week tour has been specially designed following the many requests of our customers interested in the famous Altyn-Arashan – Ala-Kol route in the Karakol region. We have combined the well-known trek with the unknown that will go through pristine and untouched valleys, and past small lakes.
The first part of the tour begins with day hikes in the Konorchok Canyon and around the yurt camps in the alpine valleys allowing you to get adjusted to the altitude ready for the main trek. You will experience the culture of nomads by staying in yurts, the nomads’ dwelling made of felt and wood, visiting herdsmen and their families in the pastures and tasting their traditional drink, kymyz, made from fermented mare’s milk. Accommodation in Bishkek is at small pleasant hotel not far from the centre, a guesthouse in Karakol and a hotel in Cholpon Ata.
You start your 5-day trek from the Jergez Valley, a place free of mass tourism. Through forests, pastures, past small lakes, and over rocky barren landscapes you move from east to west, and after crossing 3 passes of over 3.500 m you will reach the pass from where you will first see the famous turquoise-coloured Ala-Kol Lake, surrounded by mountain peaks. You camp 2 nights in the Altyn–Arashan Valley, also known as Golden Spa for its healthy hot springs. The tour is challenging but you will always remember it as an unforgettable experience.
Walking days are usually between 4 and 8 hours. The group consists of 4-8 people, guides and an English-speaking interpreter. Porters will help to carry the luggage, a maximum of 12 kg p.p. During the trek you will sleep in small tents. You need to bring a warm sleeping bag, isomat, warm clothes, water proof clothing and very comfortable walking shoes.
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, transfer to hotel. In the afternoon sightseeing around Bishkek with our guide/interpreter. Stay in hotel.|
|Day 3||By minibus to the Boom Gorge and hiking there in the Konorchok Canyon with red rock pillars shaped by wind and rain (about 4-5 hours). We will spend the night with a local family in Kara Tala, a village on the southern side of Lake Issyk-Kul.|
|Day 4||Through the Kongur Olung Valley and over the Ala Bash Pass (2360m) to the yurt camp Temir-Kanat at 2450m. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 5||Day in the yurt camp Temir-Kanat. Hike in the surrounding mountains or go horse riding, horses for rent here. Stay in yurt..|
|Day 6||Drive to Bokonbaevo to meet a man who hunts with golden eagles. He will bring one of his birds and tell about eagle hunting. Then onto the yurt camp Sonun near the lake. Here you will see all types of landscape: semi-desert, forest and mountains with beautiful glaciers in a distance, and across the lake to the mountain ranges on the other shore. In the afternoon we can go swimming in the lake or hike in the badlands. Stay in yurt.|
|Day 7||From Sonun along the south side of Lake Issyk -Kul to Karakol at the east end of the lake and the biggest city of the region. Sightseeing in the city with its Russian gingerbread styled houses, visiting the Dungan Mosque (1910) and the Russian Orthodox Church (1898) built of wood. Stay in guesthouse.|
|Day 8||By car to start trekking (20 km) through the beautiful spruce forest alongside the mountain river, passing by shepherds living in their yurts or tents. Around 5-6 hours of walking at an altitude of 2000-2400m. Camping at the end of the valley.|
|Day 9||We cross the Ailanysh Pass (3560m) to the Almaluu Valley (5-6 hours). On the way we have a nice view of the Almaluu Valley, waterfall and carpets of flowers. Camping in the forest.|
|Day 10||Today we hike for 6-7 hours over the Ortok Pass (3780m) to the Arashan Hot Springs. We will pass by small mountain lakes, walk across the Kyrgyz jailoo and enjoy the view of the Tashtanbek Tor Bashy Peak (4600m). Camp in the Arashan Valley by a small resort consisting of few guesthouses built in the Soviet period. A chance to take a bath in the hot springs with radon water.|
|Day 11||Day hike to the famous Ala-Kol Lake (3500m) set in a barren, rocky depression and surrounded by the peaks of the Terskey Ala Too Range. The lake is approached along rocky paths and scree slopes via the Ala-Kol Pass (3860m). View to the Ala-Kol Lake from the top of the pass. In the evening, back to the Arashan Valley and staying in tents.|
|Day 12||Walking on some winding serpentines and down to the Arashan Gorge covered with spruce and pine forest on one slope and with various herbs and flowers on the other (3-4hrs). At the beginning of the gorge the minibus will be waiting. By minibus back to Karakol. Stay in guesthouse.|
|Day 13||Drive along the north shore of the lake to Cholpon Ata, a nice bathing resort. In Cholpon-Ata we can swim and visit the Archaeological Open-Air Museum to see the petroglyphs (rock drawings made by the Scythes from the 11th to 3rd centuries BC). Stay in hotel.|
|Day 14||Back to Bishkek (250km). In the afternoon we can visit the Osh Bazaar for shopping. 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.
|July 29||August 12|
|4 and more persons|
|For four and more persons|
|Price||€ 1.390 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.