Day 1: Bishkek city - Toktogul water reservoir (330 km). Meeting with the group. Leaving Bishkek city for Toktogul water reservoir. Toktogul is the largest water reservoir in central Asia. Its maximum depth is about 215 m. It is very popular to bathe in the reservoir and there are a lot of locals in summer as the water gets very warm. Lunch picnic en route. Accommodation in a hotel (very basic). Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Toktogul water reservoir - Burana canyon (150 km). Wake up before sunrise (approximately at 4 am). Sunrise shooting of Toktogul water reservoir. Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to Kara Djygach village in Djalal Abad oblast (region). The locals call it Burana. We drive as far as possible and set our tent camp. A several kilometers hike into the gorge and to a cave. Sunset shooting. Return to the camp. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Burana canyon - Sary Chelek Nature Reserve (90 km). Sunrise shooting, breakfast, Gathering the camp and drive to Sary Chelek Nature Reserve. Lunch picnic en route. Setting our tents at the higher lake. Sary Chelek Lake translates from Kyrgyz as “Yellow bucket”. Its maximum depth is 246 m. The reserve was created in 1959 for saving the flora and fauna of the walnut forest and alpine landscapes. Sunset shooting. Dinner overnight in the camp.
Day 4: Sary Chelek Nature Reserve. Sunrise shooting at the higher lake. Breakfast and packing. Transfer by boat to the Northern shore of Sary Chelek lake. Setting the camp, lunch. Sunset shooting from the view point. Return to the camp for dinner. Overnight in the tents.
Day 5: Sary Chelek Nature Reserve – Chichka gorge (300 km). Wake up an hour and a half before the sun rise and hike to the view point for sunrise shooting. Return to the camp for breakfast and packing. Return by the boat to the Southern shore. Transfer to Chichkan gorge. Chichkan gorge lies at 2000 m above sea level. The name translates as “mouse” because it is very narrow and reminds the mousetail. There are Tien Shan blue spruces covering the slopes, as well as birches and juniper (”Archa” in Kyrgyz). Accommodation and dinner in the hotel.
Day 6: Chichkan gorge - Son Kul Lake (310 km). After breakfast we leave for Son Kul lake. Son Kul lake – is located in Tien Shan at 3016 m above sea level. The territory around the lake is summer pastureland for nomads from Kochkor, Naryn and At Bashi regions. It is considered as the best jailoo. The road up to Son Kul lake windes up through mountains and disappears in the sky. This is why the lake is called Son Kul which means “the last lake”. Lunch picnic en route. Arrival to Son Kul lake. If we get before sunset we take pictures from the view point at petroglyphs. Dinner and overnight in the yurt camp.
Day 7: Son Kul lake. Early morning wake up. Transfer to the viewpoint for sunrise shooting. Return to the camp and breakfast. Rest until noon and lunch. Later we go to watch the horse games of the nomads. They demonstrate “Kok Boru” or “goat tearing” game. It is very popular in Central Asia. Return to the camp. At 6 pm we drive to the view point (on the big bridge) for sunset shooting. Return to the camp. Dinner and overnight in the yurt camp.
Day 8: Son Kul lake - Kara Koyun gorge (260 km). Wake up at 8 am. Packing and departure to the yurt camp in Kara Koyun gorge near Tash Rabat Caravanserai (7 km). After lunch and rest in the afternoon we head into the mountains where we take pictures of the petroglyphs, rock drawings, and Ak-Tash range. Sunset shooting at Ak-Tash. Return to the camp at about 9 pm. Dinner and sauna. Overnight in the yurt camp.
Day 9: Tash Rabat Caravanserai – Tash Rabat pass – Chatyr Kul lake (12 km). Wake up at 7 am, breakfast and transfer to Tash Rabat caravanserai. Tash Rabat is build of stone and located on the bank of Tash Rabat river which is a tributary of Kara Koyun river. It lies at higher than 3500 m above sea level.
We take pictures of the caravanserai outside and inside (please bring stands (beds), it is very dark inside). Later we get on the horses and leave for Chatyr Kul lake. Those who can not or do not want to ride can walk. The hike is about 12 km. The horses take our luggage. Lunch – lunch boxes. We reach Chatyr Kul lake in the afternoon. We photograph the lake from Tash Rabat pass (3800 m), but as it is not the best time for shooting we do not spend much time here, we descend towards the lake and set our camp. Before sunset we get on the horses and return to the top of the pass to take good pictures. Return to the tent camp, dinner and overnight.
Day 10: Chatyr Kul lake – Tash Rabat pass – Tash Rabat Caravanserai - Kara Koyun gorge (12 km). Wake up before sunset. We take horses and ride up to the pass again. We are planning to take photos of Chatyr Kul lake at morning light. Chatyr Kul lake is located in Aksai valley close to Chinese border at 3500 m above sea level. Its depth is 16,5 meters. The lake is the winter stay for several wild bird species, though there is no fish in the lake. Return to the camp, breakfast, packing and return to the yurt camp. Arrival to the yurt camp, dinner and sauna. Overnight in the yurt camp.
Day 11: Koyun gorge. Late wake up, breakfast and rest after the hike on the previous day. Lunch at 1 pm. Short rest and an easy hike along the big circle to a cave and wonderful views over Ak Tash rocks. Today we are going to photograph them at sunset from the other side of the gorge. Return to the yurt camp, dinner and sauna. Overnight in the yurt camp.
Day 12: Kara Koyun gorge – Eki Naryn (170 km). Wake up at 8 am, breakfast, packing and departure for Naryn town. Lunch in a local café. Transfer to the place at coinfluence of Naryn and Kichi Naryn rivers. Sunset at the coinfluence. Setting up the tent camp higher the river flow. Naryn river is the longest river in Kyrgyzstan. Its length is 535 km. It is formed by Big Naryn and Small Naryn rivers that start in Central Tien Shan. There are several hydropower stations on Naryn river. Dinner (snacks and hot tea boiled on a gas burner). Overnight in tents.
Day 13: Eki Naryn - Bishkek city (400 km). Sunrise shooting on Naryn river bank. Gathering the camp and transfer to Naryn town for breakfast. Lunch in Kochkor village. Demonstration of felt making. Departure for Bishkek city. Farewell dinner in Bishkek city.
Day 14: Bishkek city – airport (30 km). Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport.
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