Day 1. Tashkent - Bishkek flight. Excursion to Ala Archa National Park (80km). (B)
Upon arrival to the international airport “Manas” you will be met by “Ak Sai Travel” guide. Short drive to Bishkek and accommodation in a hotel.
After breakfast we leave the city for Ala Archa gorge.
Ala Archa National Park located in a picturesque gorge of Ala Archa 40 km off from Bishkek. It is a popular place for hiking, skiing and mountaineering including trips to more than 20 glaciers. It covers the area of 200 km² - mostly forested valleys, waterfalls and rivers rich in trout. The altitude of ranges varies from 1500m to the highest point 4895m (Peak Semenov Tien Shanskii). Several rare species of fauna and especially traditionally revered juniper trees are under protection in the Natural Park. It has very diverse fauna: mountain meadows are the habitat for wild goats, deer and marmots. Ala Archa National Park is one of the few places of the habitat of the rare snow leopard.
On the way we make several stops near a cemetery for taking pictures and to visit the grave of a national Kyrgyz hero – Baytik Baatyr, his mausoleum. Upon arrival to the park zone you can walk up along the river (the easiest route), go up to the Ak Sai waterfall or to the alpinist cemetery. All three routes are of different levels of difficulty, but all of them are very beautiful. It is up to you which one to choose.
Optionally: After the trek up along the river towards Ak Sai glacier you come back to the parking lot near the park hotel at the time arranged earlier where you have a barbeque lunch.
After the walk in the gorge you drive back to Bishkek.
Optionally: Dinner in a local restaurant with folklore performance. During dinner we take the unique opportunity to listen to the Manaschi (a singer performing the national Kyrgyz epos, Manas) and see Kyrgyz folklore show. The musicians in traditional Kyrgyz costumes present you a wide range of national musical instruments – starting from Komuz (a three-stringed wooden musical instrument) to Chopo Choi (wind instrument made of mountain reed). You hear the fascinating singing of young Kyrgyz ladies and men.
Dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight in the hotel.
Day 2. Bishkek city – Issyk Kul Lake via Burana Tower (280km). (B)
In the morning one hour drive to Burana Tower (old minaret) near Tokmok city.
That minaret was constructed in Balasagun town; one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 11-12 centuries AD. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and visit a little local museum telling about that civilization. Also watch a collection of Balbals, Turkic ancient tombs.
Optionally: After excursion you can have lunch in a Kyrgyz family house in Tokmok, where tourist can closer learn about life of local people.
Optionally: National horse riding games at Burana tower. Horse games and competition - the favorite type of entertainment of Kyrgyz people in the past. Nowadays you have a chance to see young men – djigits – racing on their horses, and see several other kinds of traditional Kyrgyz horse games (Ulak Tartysh, Kyz Kuumai, Tyiyn Enmei, etc). Along with hunting dogs and birds, horses have always played an important role in the life of Kyrgyz people. They were used in every day life as true assistants in household and as thoroughbred racers.
In the afternoon we drive to the Issyk Kul Lake, the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America.
Measuring 182 km long by 58 km wide, the lake appeared as a result of volcanic activity. It is heated from below by thermal activity and never freezes even in the depths of winter. In the summer the water temperature reaches 25-28 degrees centigrade (warmer than the air) and you can swim in the lake enclosed on all sides by the snowy peaks of the Tien Shan Mountains. Extremely deep and nicely warm over the centuries the lake has been something of an oasis in this inhospitable mountain environment. With diverse flora and fauna Issyk Kul Lake and the surrounding environments are rightly considered to be one of Central Asia most remarkable locations.
Thay day you also visit so called “Stone garden” or Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs site, the temple in the open air of the Scythians and the Hung suns civilizations dated back 9-8 centuries BC till 3-4 centuries AD. The area of those stone drawing lies at the foot of Kungei Alatau Ridge with a beautiful view of the whole lake. Local History & Ethnography Museum is also highly recommended for visiting!
Overnight in a hotel on the lake shore.
Day 3. Issyk Kul Lake – Karakol town. Excursion to Karakol Gorge (150km). (B)
Optionally: In the morning you can go on an hour boat cruise in the lake to admire clear water of Issyk Kul with snow capped Tien Shan Mountains in the background!
Today you continue driving to Karakol town situated in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tien Shan.
This sleepy but very interesting old Russian town was first erected by Cossacks in the middle of 19th century and became an important garrison settlement.
On the way we visit the museum of N. M. Przhevalski, the outstanding Russian explorer of Asian continent.
Upon arrival to Karakol check in the hotel/guesthouse.
After a short rest you visit Dungan mosque, a unique construction in Chinese style, but serving as a mosque. Also you will see an old Russian Orthodox Church – Holy Trinity Cathedral made of wood without any nails.
After sightseeing tour in Karakol town you drive to Karakol gorge.
After a walk in the gorge you will be driven to Karakol town.
Optionally: Dinner in Dungan family, where you taste the national dishes and learn more about their life and traditions.
Overnight in the hotel/guest house.
Day 4. Karakol town– Djety Oguz – Kochkor village (280km). (B,D)
In the morning you are transferred to Djety Oguz Gorge.
Djety Oguz in Kyrgyz means “Seven Bulls”. This picturesque gorge is named so because of the red rocky sand formations covered with forests of Tien Shan spruces. We hike up the main gorge along the winding Djety Oguz mountain river. On the way you visit some yurts of the local nomadic families.
Optionally: In the gorge it is possible to organize Golden eagle hunting show on the one of the mountain slopes. You will meet the hunter whose family has been breeding these strong beautiful birds for many generations and learn more about the life of them.
After the walk in the gorge - transfer to Kochkor village along the southern shore of the Issyk Kul Lake. On the way we admire landscapes and make several stops for short hiking in the most picturesque spots.
Also we make a short stop in Skazka (Fairy Tale) Canyons for hiking. The canyons consist of mottled petrified clay and look very picturesque with dark blue Issyk Kul Lake in the background.
In Kochkor village we will visit a handicraft museum and a shop, where you can buy different masterpieces – starting from huge felt-silk blankets, finishing with small Christmas tree decorations. The local women make felt, various carpets, embroidering and spinning, and other handicraft stuff.
Optionally: If you want it is also possible to take part in “shyrdak production demonstration” yourself and try to make your own felt rug!
Dinner in a Kyrgyz family and overnight in a local family house.
Day 5. Kochkor village - Bishkek city. Sightseeing tour in Bishkek (200km). (B)
That day after breakfast you drive back to Bishkek city to do the sightseeing tour there.
The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, handsome buildings and Soviet heritage. The gesturing statue of Lenin can still be seen in the city’s vast central square, yet it is the permanently snow capped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop.
Excursion to the State History Museum and walking tour around main Ala Too Square to watch ceremony of changing of the Guard of Honor, main governmental buildings, and finish at the Old Square with Parliament House and the only survived in Central Asia Lenin’s Monument.
Transfer to Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people. Visit to the Victory Square to continue the city tour by short excursion there. After excursion tourists may go shopping in the largest department store in the city - ZUM. Today you can also visit the biggest market in Bishkek – Osh bazaar.
Overnight in a hotel in Bishkek.
Day 6. Bishkek - airport (80 km). (B)
In the morning you will be transferred to the international airport “Manas”, to catch you flight home.
For the flight here you can use service of Aeroflot, Turkish airlines, Ukrainian airlines, Saven China airlines, Uzbekistan airways.
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