Culture tour in the heart of Kyrgyzstan
8 days, from Bishkek to Osh.
Off beaten tracks
This tour present inner Kyrgyzstan with most beautiful places. It was developed for a short visit of Kyrgyzstan with an extension to Uzbekistan.
Arrival in the morning at Bishkek international airport. After customs and immigration formalities, transfer (30 min) to the city center. Installation in a guest house for a few hours of rest. Drive to Ala Archa National Park. Colorful ride to the Aksai waterfall; picnic on the spot. Back to Bishkek for a first discovery of the city: the Red Square, the Flag, the Dubovy park and art gallery. Dinner in town and overnight in guest house.
In the morning transfer to Tamchy that is situated on the shore of the Issyk-Kul Lake (hot lake), a pearl of Central Asia, the second biggest mountain lake in the world after the Titicaca Lake. On the way visit of the Burana Museum, the ancient capital of Central Asia of the 11th century called Balasagun. Arrival in Tamchy. Overnight at guesthouse.
Transfer to Karakol. Visit of the Prjvalsky Memorial Complex. In order to understand the Kyrgyz people life of the 19th century visit of an orthodox church, a wooden mosque in Karakol. In the afternoon drive to Jety-Oguz Sanatorium, a very famous sanatorium of the Soviet time. Soviet president and famous astronauts visited it. There is an opportunity to take a radon shower and massage in the sanatorium. Overnight in yurts.
In the morning departure from Jety-Oguz. Lunch in Kochkor village where we can visit a handicraft center and see the process of making traditional Kyrgyz carpets. In the afternoon transfer to the Son-Kul Lake over Kalmak -Ashu Pass. Drive around the Son-Kul Lake to get to our yurt camp. Making the acquaintance with nomadic traditions. Overnight in yurts.
Transfer to Chichkan gorge. Coming up to Kara-Keche canyon then to the colorful Kekemeren gorge via Chaek. Drive to the Susamyr Valley, a huge prairie where local nomads come in summer to herd their cattle (3440). Arrival at Toktogul village. Overnight in the homestay.
Transfer to Arslanbob. Driving up to the Toktogul Dam. Picnic on the shore of the reservoir. then getting to the canyon raising over the Naryn River. On the main highway Osh-Bishkek drive to the Fergana Valley. Dinner in Djalal - Abad. Setting off for great walnut forests. Visiting a small waterfall sacred for local people. Overnight in homestay.
To the West, cotton fields, the Fergana Valley welcomes us warm. Early departure of Arslanbob to Osh, Uzgen stop and visit of the minaret and mausoleums of the eleventh century. Then transfer to Osh. Visit of the city of Osh, the mausoleum of Babur and the throne of King Solomon. Overnight in guest house.
After breakfast transfer to the border Dostlik. Meeting with Uzbek team. Transfer to Tashkent
On your way
The town of Toktogul is located in the district of Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan, along the dam Toktogul. The Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, is 280 km north and Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, 400km south. Located in west of the chain of the Tian Shan, the Toktogul valley has a long history. Its location along the river Naryn and surrounded by mountains allowed to easily defend against attacks and withstand natural disasters. With its abundant nature, the 7-4 centuries BC, the valley was home on his land Scythian warrior tribes. At that time, the Scythian believed in the existence of an underground world, and buried the kings and prominent warriors with their household utensils, their slaves, their horses, their arms so that they can use during their second life underground. Thus, the Toktogul Valley was one of the most populated areas of Central Asia. During the Soviet period, the archaeologist Alexendre Bernshtam began to seek and explore the tombs of Scythian. There was a lot of wealth and also, in a tomb, he found the whole body of a horse and hunting weapons of a leader. In the 1960s, the dam Toktogul forced to stop exploring all the graves remained in the artificial lake. In late 18th and early 19th century, the empire had Kokand invaded the Ferghana Valley and the territory of modern Uzbekistan. In order to expand its territory, they began to attack the people of the Celestial Mountains. The conquest began with the Toktogul valley because it was always one of the most populated valleys of Tien-Shan at that time. The invaders found themselves facing strong resistance from local people, although they had no army. Their situation in the middle of Tien-Shan allowed to defend themselves easily and without wasting much force. Because there was only one entrance into the valley where the amount of the warriors did not play a big role. But finally, because of a betrayal, Toktogul residents were defeated. The USSR had promised the people of Toktogul, 223.8 million som compensation for the dam construction. Unfortunately, people have never touched the money. From 1975, the new city was built on the north shore of the lake. Today, this city is fertile and shady.
Tash Doeboe (Song Kul) KG
Every year at this place nomads spend the holidays. And in the south-east coast, between the hollows Kum-Bel (Sandy Pass) and Tepshi (Basin) are ancient stones.
According to the Historical Museum of Ak-Talin region, there are 9 homes, each of which consists of eight stones, they extend from north to south. The diameter of each chamber is 335-366 cm, the length of the stone reaches 91,3-152,4 cm, the distance between the centers of 11-44 meters.
"These archaeological sites called 'Hearth of Manas', are built of stones and post for tying his horse Akkulov. These monuments are found in the Altai and Tenir Too. Tradition says that the Manas, going to war for a just cause, and trained to speak in this valley with its 40 soldiers "
Small village on the North shore of the Issyk Kul lake. 35 km East of Balykchy town.
Song Kul lake KG
The scenary Song Kul (or Song Kul) lake is the main pasture of nomads. Hundreds yurts are built during summer. The beautiful lake large of about 25-35 km is a natural reserve. Many species of birds are stopping during their long migration. Some tombs from Sakh times and petroglyphs are most ancient traces of live. Different trekking or horseback riding roads are joining the place.
Osh, the second largest city of the Kyrgyz republic, is one of the oldest settlements of Central Asia. It is located in southwestern Kyrgyzstan near the Uzbekistan border in the eastern section of the Fergana Valley. This one of the Central Asia's most interesting cities because of its long history, dating back as least to the 5th century BC - its position as an important crossroads for Silk Road trade and its huge market. For centuries it was a major silk-production center, strategically situated on a trade route to India.
Sights are: the huge bazaar, Sulaimans Throne (a 200 m hill called Takht-i-Suleyman (Solomon's Throne), where the Prophet Muhammad is thought to have prayed and where Muslim pilgrims began visiting in the tenth century), Baburs House (at the top of Sulaimans Throne), several monuments (especially the one of Kurmanjan Datka – Kyrgyz feminine ruler and engaged warrior against the Russian invasion), the Russian-orthodox church, the biggest mosque of the country (situated right beside the bazaar) and the Rabat Abdul Khan Mosque (16 th century).
The population of Osh is mostly Uzbek. Osh has two universities, a sanatorium, and an airport. Economic activity has been aided by beneficial reforms and consists of the Jayma bazaar; silk trade; mining of zinc, lead, and coal; food processing; and the production of silk, cotton, and wool.
At the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul, Karakol is a fertile garden town of wooden chocolate-box cottages and shady, poplar-lined avenues. Fringed to the east by the Terskey Ala-Too Mountains, which tower dramatically over its low-rise skyline, Issyk-Kul ripples 10 km to the west.
Karakol is the best base from which to explore the lakeshore and Central Asia's prime trekking and mountaineering routes. With the most spectacular parts of the Central Tien-Shan right on its doorstep and newly open to foreign visitors, the town attracts trekkers, hikers and climbers from all over the world.
Karakol and its surroundings have just as much to offer their less energetic visitors. Besides one of Kyrgyzstan's largest and most colorful bazaars, a nomadic livestock market and several good museums, its spectacular environs boast an endless array of truly unique day trips. Blood-red cliffs, hot springs, Scythian burial mounds, nomad camps and sandy beaches thousands of miles from the sea are all within easy reach.
The town was build since 1869, one year after Teplokluchenka (actually name Ak-Suu). There is a unique building in the center of Karakol - ancient wooden orthodox church. But you may visit also the zoo, the regional museum, the wooden mosque, the Panfilov park, the Park Victory, the museum and memorial Prejwalski.
Despite Karakol's status as the administrative center of the Issyk-Kul region, it has only 75,000 residents and a gentle, small-town atmosphere.
Dostlyk border post KG
4 km from the town of Osh, it's the only border for tourist to enter in the Uzbek's Ferghana.
On the Kyrgyz side, mini-bus nr. 136, 137, 138 are driving to Osh center.
Bishkek is one of the greenest cities in Central Asia. About 150 different kinds of trees and bushes are planted in the streets of the city. There are many cinemas, Opera House, Kyrgyz and Russian Drama Theater, Mosques and Orthodox churches, historical complex of the national hero - Manas- “The Manas Ailly”, zoological, geological art and other museums, exhibitions of decorative and applied art, colorful oriental bazaars are others interesting places you are invited to visit.
On bazaar one can see really traditional handiwork of Kyrgyz land and goods from all around the world at reasonable prices. There are remarkable parks and shadowy boulevards Erkindik and Molodaya Gvardia, pensioners like to walk there, sportsmen run along its alleys, kids play and young people date here.
Bishkek - capital, heart of the Kyrgyz Republic, its political, economic, scientific and cultural center, the main transport unit. Bishkek - the location of the supreme bodies of the government of republic, embassies and representations of the foreign states. Bishkek is located in the center of the Chuy valley, at bottom of snow-white mountains of Kyrgyz Ala-Too, at height of 750 m. above sea level.
The area of territory - 160 sq. km, the population - about 1 million person. The city residential areas which have arisen at various times, differ on the planning structure and a degree of an accomplishment. Last years are characterized by occurrence on adjoining to city of territory of some new buildings with the microstructure. The city on administrative-territorial division is broken into 4 areas: Leninsky, Pervomajsky, Sverdlovsky, Oktjabrsky.
In Bishkek the most part of all industry of Kyrghyzstan is located. Feature of planning structure of the city of Bishkek is development of industrial zones along the railway. In city two industrial zones are allocated: east and western. The system of transport and foot ways connects industrial and administrative areas among themselves. Gardening is submitted by squares, parkways, parks, adjoining to city the territory is planted by forest plantations, there are lakes and water pools.
The science and education are submitted by the National academy of sciences and a plenty of average special and higher educational institutions. Bishkek - the center of national culture of Kyrghyzstan. Here there are theatres, a philharmonic society, libraries, museums.
Intensively the information infrastructure of city develops: some Internet providers already work, a plenty of local, global, corporate computer networks is created. Two operators of cellular communication, some operators of a paging and trunk radio communication work.
Arslanbob village KG
Arslanbob (written also Arstanpap or Arslanbap) is a wide village in the mountain, north of the city of Jalal Abad. Mainly populated by people of Uzbek ethnicity, the village count about 15'000 inhabitants. Most of the population are Uzbek, and less than 5% is Kyrgyz, Russian, Tatar, Tajik, Chechen etc… The village is situated at an altitude of 1350 metres up to 1800 metres.
Kyrgyzstan's first known export to Europe was the Arslanbob walnut. Nuts forest are legendary because there are certainly originel forest of nuts, and maybe Alexander the Great bring back these nuts to Greece. Two waterfalls are located in the area which attract tourists, expats and pilgrims, skiers and other whole year round.
Arslanbob is named after an 11th-century figure, Arslanbob-Ata (alternate: Arstanbap-Ata). He may have been of Arab descent as in that language, Arslan translates to "lion" and bab to "gate", while in Turkic languages, ata means "father of". ergo "father of the lion gate". 'Bob', used as a suffix, is a traditional practice used in the Arslanbob which denotes "a traveler and explorer.
Muslims consider picturesque forest gardens sacred. According to legend, in ancient times there was an extremely hardworking man called Arstanbap who served the prophet Muhammad. Pilgrims come from far away to see the mausoleum of Arsantbap. And those who visit the forest bring with them a bit of paradise.
The walnut forest is within the 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) forest situated between the Fergana and Chatkal Mountains. The walnut forest is located at altitudes varying between 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) and 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level on the Fergana range's south-facing slopes. At 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres), the Arslanbob woodland is the largest walnut grove on Earth.
Behind the village of Arslanbob are the Babash-Ata Mountains. There are two waterfalls nearby. One measures 80 metres (260 ft) high and has a slippery scree slope; it is situated in a cliff face north of the village. Another, to the east, is 23 metres (75 ft) in height and has two prayer caves, one of which is known as the Cave of the 40 Angels.
NGO "Forest relics" is our lodging provider. In Summer or in Winter, they organise sports and cultural events :
In May : Bike Challenge of Arslanbob
What is included
All transportation in a private vehicle
All airport transfers
Accommodation as described in the program
Meals (3 per day)
Bottled water (when possible) & tea
English-speaking trekking guide
Pack horses with saddle bags & horsemen
Camping & cooking equipment (tents, mats, gas, stove, etc)
All the activities listed in the program
Entry fees at national parks and/or border zones listed in the program
Entry fees at museums and historical sites listed in the program
Domestic flights mentioned in the program
A contribution to our sustainable development projects
Organisation of the trip & local taxes
What is not included
International banking fees (PayPal, ...)
Travel & repatriation insurance
Visas / LOI (if applicable)
Alcoholic and soft drinks
Personal equipment (sleeping bag, headlight, personal medication, etc)
Additional costs due to unexpected personal events (health, loss of luggage, ...)
Tips for guide & driver (always optional, always appreciated)
Through various ecotourism projects and initiatives, Nomad's Land aims to increase awareness of ecotourism and responsible travel, for a sustainable development of the tourism sector.
Rural development in Nepal
The Nepalko Sathi association leads its actions in favor of the Sherpas of Khembalung in the Arun valley (Province of Koshi). Nepalko Sathi
From Tumlingtar airport we reach by jeep the small town of Kahandbari where we are greeted by Kibutie and his family. From there, we climb to the small village of Gontala, in the heart of the actions of Nepalko Sathi (three days of walking), then we go up to Saissima, where Tendi Sherpa is rehabilitating the hamlet of his childhood. From Saissima it is possible to continue and make a loop towards Makalu and the impressive surrounding peaks (under tent).
Beyond the Glacier, a short film over the water in Central Asia
Conflicts over water in Central Asia are at the heart of the short film Beyond the Glacier, directed by David Rodríguez Muñiz in 2019. An interesting documentary that takes the form of a journey, from the glaciers of Kyrgyzstan to the sea of Kyrgyzstan. Aral.
Silk Road Yurt Camp
Another yurt camp that Nomad's Land is supporting so that shepherds of Song Kul Lake can get extra income from tourists. With the family of Sagyn and Jumabek, we have prepared this camp in order to keep all the nomadic authenticity. You can participate in the daily activities of nomads. Not far from the camp, you can access the shores of the lake but also the petroglyphs hidden in the nearby mountains.