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Asphalt road in Tien Shan mountains

To the source of the Syr Daria river

Exploring Kyrgyzstan's Canyon Majesty, Dirty Roads, and Syr-Daria River's Source on best mountain's roads of the Tien Shan

Embark on an unforgettable tour through the hidden treasures of Kyrgyzstan, where natural wonders and off-the-beaten-path exploration await. Traverse the stunning canyons of Kekemeren and Kichi-Naryn, marveling at their rugged beauty and captivating landscapes. Venture along dirt roads that lead you deep into the heart of the country's untouched wilderness.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Song Kul, a mountain lake that seems straight out of a postcard. Nestled amidst towering peaks, this pristine oasis offers breathtaking views and a chance to connect with nature in its purest form.

Continue your journey as you trace the origins of the mighty Syr-Daria river, following its path to its pristine sources. Experience the thrill of driving through remote and untouched terrain, forging your own path as you uncover hidden gems along the way.

Conclude your adventure around the enchanting shores of Issyk Kul, the pearl of the Tien Shan Mountains. Indulge in the serenity of its azure waters, surrounded by majestic peaks, as you reflect on the awe-inspiring landscapes you've encountered throughout your journey.

Through the hidden treasures of Kyrgyzstan

Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit: Experience Kyrgyzstan's Untamed Beauty on a Tour through Canyons, Lakes, and Rivers.

10 DaysUntainted toursKyrgyzstan

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Program


            Manas International Airport - Bishkek
Arrival at airport Manas, rest and visit Bishkek city, the capital of Kyrgyzstan
Manas International Airport - Bishkek

Early arrival in Bishkek where everyone will be picked up at the airport by our driver. Short transfer to your hotel in Bishkek city centre and resting time in the morning. Around midday, meeting at the reception desk with your guide for the general briefing, before enjoying a tasty Kyrgyz lunch. Then we stop at Ala Too Square where you will start a walking tour of Bishkek. You will be able to visit countless parks, the Osh Bazar and get to know your guide. Tonight, everyone will get to know each other at a welcome dinner with a mix of the best local dishes and drinks.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
46 km
01:00
03:00
140 m
0 m

            Bishkek - Kyzyl Oy
Accross the Kyrgyz range to the red village of Kyzyl Oy
Bishkek - Kyzyl Oy

We leave the Kyrgyz capital for our first acclimatization in the mountains. The road runs along the chain of the Kyrgyz Alatoo, up to the valley of Kara-Balta, the passage to the south. Once we arrive at the entrance to the tunnel, we go for a picnic on the edge of 2 small mountain lakes, almost 2km away. Free time before taking the road again or rather the tunnel that allows us to cross the Kyrgyz chain. On the other side, a completely different panorama opens up to our eyes, a vast green plain surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The Suusamyr Valley is a haven of peace for nomads during the summer. In winter, some inhabitants stay in a few villages including Kojomkul, a hero who gave his name to his village. He could lift stones weighing more than 600kg. Then the road sinks into a colorful canyon, on the banks of the Kekemeren River. This parade gives way to an unexpected small village where we spend the night at the home of one of the members of the local ecotourism community.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
215 km
04:30
01:30
150 m
150 m

            Kyzyl Oy - Tash Doeboe (Song Kul)
Road from Kyzyl Oy to Song Kul's lake
Kyzyl Oy - Tash Doeboe (Song Kul)

A multitude of different landscapes are waiting for you today. The descent of the Kekemeren canyon and its fascinating colors. The valley of Jumgal. Karaketche Forests and Coal Mine. Song Kul Lake. Arrival at the shore of the lake, meal and overnight under yurt.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
150 km
04:00
2800 m
1500 m

            Tash Doeboe (Song Kul) - Tash Rabat
Drive from Song Kul to Tash Rabat through Baybichetay range
Tash Doeboe (Song Kul) - Tash Rabat

Maybe one of the most impressive journey through two mountain ranges. In the morning, we leave the Song Kul's lake through the pass Moldo Ashuu (3200 m. alt.). An amazing panorama open on the Naryn valley. After fir tree forest, we drive through dry region and through the river Naryn. Lunch in Baetova. In the afternoon, we drive through a red and dry hills till the foot of the MELS pass, alt. 3268 m (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin). Passing the Baybichetay range, the nature is more rich, green pasture cutting by vertical grey cliffs. We cross a third pass, named Kulak Ashuu (3400 m. alt.) which look not difficult, but in case of rain, the road is slippery. End of the day, we cross the At-Bashi valley and reach the caravanserail of Tash Rabat. Accommodation and dinner in a yurt.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
200 km
05:00
1400 m
1200 m

            Tash Rabat - Naryn city
Driving from Tash Rabat to Naryn city
Tash Rabat - Naryn city

After breakfast, you will be able to see the Tash Rabat Caravanserai for the last time.  The first stop of the day will be the ancient fortress of Koshoy Korgon where the hero "Koshoi" saved his whole village by building a fortress where the village was protected from invading armies.  Another stop along the way to Naryn would be the village of At-Bashy where you can walk through the small bazaar and get a picture with Horse Head statue.  The next stop along the way would be the Ak-Tash waterfall.  It's a great stop to stretch your legs and see a nice waterfall.  Once you arrive in Naryn City you will be able to rest at the guesthouse and enjoy a dinner with your new hosts.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
120 km
03:00

            Naryn city - Tamga
Driving to Tamga through the Tosor pass
Naryn city - Tamga

The day begins in Naryn, where we venture into the captivating Small Naryn Gorge, surrounded by the majestic Tien Shan fir trees. Ascending to 2,800 meters, we traverse the breathtaking Karagoman high plateau, offering panoramic views that will leave you in awe.

Continuing our expedition, we encounter the soothing hot springs of the Jelisuu River and witness the pristine springs of the Naryn River. As we ascend the Tosor Pass at 3,893 meters, we are greeted by the small glacier of the Teskei Alatoo range, showcasing nature's grandeur. Brace yourself for a thrilling descent as we make our way to the renowned Issyk Kul lake, where its deep blue waters provide a serene atmosphere.

As the day comes to a close, we find solace in a welcoming guesthouse near the picturesque beach of Issyk Kul. Here, you can unwind, witness the golden hues of the sunset, and reflect on the incredible journey you've experienced. Overnight in guesthouse.
 

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
210 km
07:00
1900 m
2300 m

            Tamga - Karakol
To Karakol exploring the Teskei Alatoo range
Tamga - Karakol

Start your day with an invigorating drive as we ascend to the high plateau of Arabel Suu, passing through the breathtaking Barskoon Pass at an altitude of 3,900 meters. Be mesmerized by the surrounding glacier, where nature's frozen masterpiece unfolds before your eyes. En route, witness the enchanting waterfalls of Barskoon Gorge and to the memorial of the legendary Yuri Gagarin.

As we descend from the heights, the tranquil beauty of Issyk Kul lake beckons.

Continuing our adventure, we venture to Jeti Oguz, known for its distinctive "Seven Bulls" rock formation. Marvel at these imposing red cliffs, standing tall against the backdrop of the Kyrgyz landscape. Their captivating presence tells tales of ancient legends.

Finally, we reach Karakol city, where you can unwind and find respite. Rest and rejuvenate in a welcoming guesthouse, allowing the day's experiences to sink in. Discover the charm of this historical city, with its rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere, as you prepare for a peaceful overnight stay.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
230 km
05:00

            Karakol - Tamchy
The North shore of the Issyk Kul lake
Karakol - Tamchy

This morning, we set sail for the west of Lake Issyk Kul, discovering its north shore, the most developed. We stop in front of imposing tumulus, left by the Scythians. Then we arrive at Cholpon Ata, the capital of this seaside coast. In the afternoon, we visit the petroglyphs at the exit of Cholpon Ata. Then we arrive in Tamchy, a small town by the lake where the local ecotourism association welcomes us for the night. We have time to enjoy a swim and then participate in the preparation of a traditional dinner. Overnight in a guest house.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
180 km
03:00

            Tamchy - Bishkek
Drive from Issyk Kul's lake to Bishkek, through the Burana tower (Balasagun ancient city)
Tamchy - Bishkek
  • After breakfast, enjoy a short swim or walk down to Issyk Kul Lake before you make your way back to Bishkek. 

In the village of Tamchy it’s possible to meet with local masters that are making handicrafts and special Kyrgyz slippers that are great gifts for your friends back home.
The first stop of the day will be at the historical Burana tower where you can see the ancient city of the Balasagun.  It’s a great stop to see a bit of the Silk Road History.
The next stop will be in Bishkek where you will be able to enjoy a walk thought the city and see a few of the hidden bazars and buy possible gifts for friends back home. 
Tonight, you will be able to have a farewell dinner with your guide and driver before you take a rest at your guesthouse in Bishkek.

Options : rafting in Chuy or Chong Kemin river; hiking in the Konorchek canyon, visit of the Chong Kemin valley; baths in hot water springs of Issyk Ata.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
205 km
04:00
0 m
900 m

            Bishkek - Manas International Airport
Transfer from Bishkek to Manas International Airport.
Bishkek - Manas International Airport

Depending on your flight time, your guide will join you to the airport and help you check in for your flight.  If your flight is later in the day your guide will show you more places in Bishkek before your flight. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Kyrgyzstan and we hope you come back again to explore other counties in Central Asia with us. 

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
40 km
00:40
0 m
100 m

After contacting several competitors, we decided on Nomads Land. They worked with us to design a trip perfect for the needs of our young kids, seeing all the sights we wanted in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. English speaking guides were friendly and knowledgeable. Drivers were skilled. Highly recommend traveling with their team!

Madeline Horn

Great service and atmosphere. Always friendly staff. Always ready for any groups for exploring Kyrgyzstan.

Sightsee247921

On your way

Tash Rabat KG

The historic-cultural area, which includes the most ancient memorial Tash-Rabat (the 14th century) is situated 110 km to the South from Naryn and not far from the border with China on the height of 3120 m in the canyon Kara-Koyun. Tash-Rabat (Caravan-Sarai) was the inn for merchants and travelers on the ancient Silk Road from Central Asia to China and was the place for rest protecting sellers from bandits in those ancient times.

Tash-Rabat is a comfortable and attractive place for a stop between Bishkek and Kashgar. Today the caravanserai is a square, rather squat-looking building that is much bigger than it appears from the outside because it digs deep into the hillside behind. Inside there is a domed central chamber leading to the remains of 30 dank rooms including, opposite the entrance, the khan’s own quarters. One chamber contains two underground dungeons, one of which has been filled in and another, which is apparently 10 meters deep.

There is also a well and supposedly an old tunnel, possibly leading to a look-out point. The chambers on either side of the entrance each have a broad, raised ledge, which is said to be a communal bed used by the caravanserai’s soldiers, who were garrisoned here to protect against bandits.

Arabel Suu syrt KG

Arabel Suu means "river of the sharped back" and it's also the spring of the Naryn river. But some water of this high plateau flow also in the Issyk Kul bassin. 

The Arabel Valley is an ancient peneplain elevated to over 4000 meters above sea level during the Alpine orogeny. This valley is home to numerous glaciers, marked by moraine arcs indicating their past extent. Due to glacial retreat since the Little Ice Age and accelerated melting over the past 40 years due to climate change, numerous glacial lakes have formed within the Arabel Suu Valley, with more anticipated in the near future. Notably, the valley features a unique glacier type known as the Grigoryev Ice Cap. This ice cap blankets the mountain like a cap and extends through several valleys. Ice core samples taken from the Grigoryev Ice Cap revealed that around 8000 years ago, during a warmer climate, the Arabel Suu Valley likely had no glaciers at all.

The geological structure of the Arabel Suu Valley encompasses layers of deposits from the Neogene to the present day, preserving an archive of the evolution of landscape and climate over millions of years. The valley's uplift occurred during the Oligocene period without significant tectonic deformations, a rare phenomenon for the Eurasian relief. Today, the Arabel Suu Valley serves as a popular tourist destination, offering a representative mountain landscape. 

This high plateau is not only a magical place for hikers in summer, but also for skiers in winter and spring. The plateau is surrounded by the Teskei and Soek ranges and part of the Geopark Teskei's inventory.

Soek pass (Arabel-Suu) KG

The Soek Pass, located in the Jeti Oguz district of Kyrgyzstan, is a high road pass that holds a significant place in the history of the ancient Silk Road. The name "Soek" in Kyrgyz language means "bones," which is thought to be due to the high altitude and barren landscape that surrounds the pass.

The Soek Pass is a crucial link between the high plateau of Arabel-Suu and the plateau of the upper Naryn River, known as Ak-Shirak. The pass is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall, making it inaccessible for vehicles and travelers. But it can be bypassed by following the course of the Arabel-Suu River.

The journey across the Soek Pass is not for the faint-hearted, as the pass reaches an altitude of over 4,000 meters and requires a steady ascent through the Terskey Range and its glaciers. The rugged terrain and unpredictable weather conditions make the crossing even more challenging.

Despite the difficulty of the journey, the Soek Pass holds great historical significance as it was a crucial part of the ancient Silk Road trade route that connected the Xinjiang with the ancient cities of the Chuy valley. Traders and merchants would use this route to transport their goods, including silk, spices, and other precious commodities.

Today, the Soek Pass remains an important transportation route for the people living on the South shore of the Issyk Kul lake. It serves as a vital link between the remote mountain communities and the rest of the country. Despite its challenges, the pass attracts adventure seekers, skiers, horsebackriders and trekkers who are eager to experience the rugged beauty, majestic lakes and historical significance of this ancient Silk Road route.

Issyk Kul lake KG

The Issyk-Kul lake has a length of 182 km, a maximum width of 60 km and covers an area of ​​6,236 km². This makes it the second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca. Located at an altitude of 1,606 m, it reaches 668 m deep. 

About 118 rivers and streams flow into the lake. The largest are the Djyrgalan (Jergalan) and Tyup. It is fed by springs, including many hot springs and snowmelt, and it has no outlet. Its south side is dominated by the Tian Shan mountain range of wild beauty. The lake water is slightly saline and level down about 5 cm per year.

The Issyk-Kul lake is an important step on the Silk Road, a dirt road for travelers from the Far East to Europe. Many historians believe that the lake was the point of origin of the plague that hit Europe and Asia in the early and mid 14th. The status of the lake as a place of passage for travelers allowed the plague spread across the continents through the medieval merchants who unknowingly took away the vermin infested with them. Armenian monastery from the 14th century was found on the northeast coast of Lake retracing the steps of a medieval map used by Venetian merchants on the Silk Road.

Info

What is included

  • All transportation in a private vehicle

  • All airport transfers

  • Accommodation as described in the program

  • Meals (3 per day)

  • Bottled water & tea

  • English-speaking guide

  • 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 flights

  • International banking fees (PayPal, ...)

  • Travel & repatriation insurance

  • Visas / LOI (if applicable)

  • Alcoholic and soft drinks

  • Personal expenses

  • Additional costs due to unexpected personal events (health, loss of luggage, ...)

  • Tips for guide & driver (always optional, always appreciated)

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