Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek

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14 Nights / 15 Days

Start in Bishkek and end in Cholpon-Ata! With the Hiking & Trekking tour Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek, you have a 15 days tour package taking you through Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and 4 other destinations in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan:

Spectacular trekking through alpine meadows and wild pastures inhabited by Kyrgyz nomads – past gushing rivers and waterfalls, taking in panoramic views of Lake Issyk-Kul and the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan Range, meaning ‘Mountains of Heaven’. The first part of the walking route crosses a series of rugged, seldom-visited gorges, which only the most intrepid of outsiders have laid eyes on. Whilst the latter part of the trek crosses into Jety-Oguz Gorge,

Day 01: Arrive Bishkek; afternoon city tour
The tour starts in Bishkek. The group flights are scheduled to arrive into Bishkek in the morning; those on the group flights will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel (approx. 40km/1hr drive). We have requested early check-in for all clients so the rooms should be ready for when you arrive. Land only clients who have booked their own flights should join at the start hotel no later than midday as we have a city tour in the afternoon. Bishkek is Kyrgyzstan’s modern capital city and industrial centre and this afternoon we’ll have a guided tour to explore its wide avenues and Soviet heritage. We visit the Frunze Museum and Museum of Fine Arts (please note that the National History Museum is closed for maintenance at the time of writing) as well as the city’s main sites (on foot and using transfers where necessary), taking in Manas Monument, Lenin Statue, Ala-Too Square (where we witness the ceremonial changing of the guard), Kurmanzhan Datka Monument, and the Government buildings. We end the tour.

Day 02: Full day excursion and warm-up walk in Ala-Archa N.P.
Today we take an excursion to Ala-Archa National Park, located about 40-60 minutes (40km) north of Bishkek and go for a gentle warm-up walk, usually to a waterfall which takes approx. 4-5hrs for a round trip / 3.75km each way.

Day 03: Drive via Burana Tower to Tosor Village on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul;0 overnight in a yurt camp
We begin our journey towards the Tian Shan, or more specifically, the Terskey Ala-Too Range. Our destination is Tosor on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul (the drive is approximately 310km/6-7 hours). We break up the journey with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site – Burana Tower, an 11th century minaret and the first of its kind in Central Asia and an important point along the Great Silk Road. Issyk-Kul is the second largest salt lake in the world, after the Caspian Sea (and fast becoming the largest as the Caspian Sea recedes), it measures 70km by 180km and is almost 700m at its deepest point. Its name translates as ‘Hot Lake’ and was given as, even in the depths of winter and despite being just above 1,600m, it never freezes. The area around the lake is a mixture of forest and meadow with a backdrop of towering mountains. Tonight, we usually sleep in a yurt camp but as space is limited, occasionally we may have to stay in a guesthouse in Tamga village.

Day 04: Free morning by the lake; transfer to Juukuchak Gorge
We have a free morning to take in the scenery, perhaps swim in the lake or sunbathe on its shores. After lunch at the yurt camp, we drive for around 1.5hrs (70km) to Juuku Gorge and onwards into a smaller branch of the canyon – Juukuchak Gorge. Upon arrival, our tents will be ready and waiting for us. We’ll meet our trekking guides and camp staff, stretch our legs around the camp, and this evening there will be a full trek briefing. Full-service wild camping

Day 05: Trek over Orto-Bulak Pass (2,540m) to Kichi-Kyzyl-Suu Gorge
Afte0r breakfast we set off walking along a trail from the foot of the mountains up and over Orto Bulak Pass (2,540m) in the Kichi-Kyzyl-Suu Gorge. The scenery is pristine which adds to the beauty. Full-service wild camping

Day 6: Hike through nomad pastures to Djili-Suu; option to visit nearby hot springs by jeep
This morning we begin following the trail to Chon Kyzyl-Suu Gorge. Chon Kyzyl-Suu Gorge is popular with Kyrgyz nomads, as there are many green pastures and mountain rivers. We will usually see several nomadic families along the way, together with their livestock and yurt settlements. We’ll reach our campsite at Djili-Suu in the early afternoon. After reaching our camp there is an opportunity to take our jeep to the nearby hot springs. There are several small pools with hot springs and the waters are believed to have good health properties. Full-service wild camping

Day 07: Trek to Jety-Oguz Canyon via Kok-Jaiyk Pass (2750m)
We continue our hike to the Jety-Oguz Gorge, one of the most beautiful and famous canyons in Kyrgyzstan. To reach this gorge, we have to cross the river and cross the Kok-Jaiyk Pass (2750m). It’s quite a climb but the view from the top of the pass will give us a new appreciation of these so called ‘celestial mountains’ as we’re rewarded with an unforgettable mountain panorama. During today’s walk, we will also get magnificent views of Lake Issyk-Kul. At the end of the day, we reach the camp – a chance to grab a shower. 

Day 08: Ascend via a narrow, wooded river gorge to the base of Telety Pass
This morning we meet our team of porters who will carry our main luggage for the remainde r of the trek. We follow a path along the bank of the West Telety River, through a very narrow wooded gorge (Bay Tor), and eventually emerge in alpine meadows. We usually stop for a picnic lunch in the meadows, which are awash with colour in spring as the wild flowers bloom. After a rest, we continue the trek to our tented camp (approx. 3000m) at the foot of Telety Pass. After settling into our tents there is the option to take a short 1km walk to the nearby waterfall.Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Day 09: Cross Telety Pass (3800m); descend through alpine meadows to Karakol
Today is a challenging day with a reasonable amount of ascent and descent and some tricky terrain. The route over Telety Pass follows a narrow path which ascends gradually for the most part. There are however, two steep slopes, which require considerable effort. From the top of the pass (3,800m) the views are spectacular. The descent is along a wide slope covered with talus, which gives way to alpine meadows and then follows the East Telety River. One of the latter sections of the trail passes through woodland, where you will need to concentrate on your footing to avoid the overgrown tree roots. Tonight’s camp is situated at about 2,500m elevation.Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Day 10: Daywalk to the foot of Karakol Peak, the highest in the Terskey Ala-Too Range
Today we go on a return daywalk up and along Uyun Tor River to the foot of Karakol Peak. We have a chance to see Tien Shan blue spruce forest, underwood (dog rose, honeysuckle, black barberries, mountain ash, black currents, etc.) and wild mushrooms. In the summer flowers are in bloom in the meadows, such as snowdrops, tulips, primroses, and edelweiss. We trek to a point from where we can see Karakol Peak, the highest of the Terskey Ala-Too Range.Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Day 11: Ascend through forest to a waterfall by Lake Ala-Kul (3600m)
Although the distance today is not great, this is a tough walk due to the amount of ascent, especially if it is hot. We firstly descend along the gorge for about a kilometre, and then cross the river by bridge to follow the trail into a forest. A long ascent brings us to a grassy slope, from where the path snakes its way onwards, passing by a river overflow, to finally arrive at a log hut, known locally as Sirota mountain hut. There’s a table, benches and a fireplace inside – the perfect spot for a rest and a snack. There are some sculptures of animals and idols carved in wood in the area surrounding the hut, like something out of a fairy-tale. From here, the trail climbs up higher, and leaving the forest behind, we hike along the river and reach a beautiful waterfall, flowing down from Ala-Kul Lake. Tonight’s camp is situated at approx. 3,600m elevation.Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Day 12: Long descent with fine mountain views to Altyn Arashan; option to take a dip in the thermal baths
As we ascend we enjoy wonderful views of the lake – in the Kyrgyz language Ala-Kul means “colourful Lake”, and its water can appear in different colours depending on the light. As we get closer to its shores, we see the main Terskey Ala-Too Range, including Aksu, Djigit, Karakol and Oguz Bashi Peaks. From the lake edge, it will take us another hour and a half to the pass. The initial descent from the pass is on a steep scree slope, and then through the picturesque Keldike Valley, where we’ll encounter herds of cattle and flocks of sheep grazing. Later the trail brings us into a forest again and descends into Arashan Valley. At the tent camp in Altyn Arashan, there’s the option to relax in the hot springs (there are thermal baths of up to +50degC).Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Day 13: Military truck to Karakol for sightseeing; traditional home-cooked ‘lagman’ noodle dinner
This morning we spend some time admiring Altyn Arashan and the surrounding area, especially the fir forest in contrast with the snowy mountain backdrop. We then descend to Karakol town by military truck (approx. 1 hour). Depending on the ‘road’ conditions we may walk along the river as far as the national park gates before continuing by truck. We’ll have a short sightseeing tour of the town, visiting Dungan Mosque, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Prjevalskii Memorial Complex.Tonight’s dinner will be taken in a Dungan family home in Karakol town, where we can see traditional cooking methods and learn how to make lagman noodles, before sitting down to eat together.

Day 14: Drive to Bishkek visiting Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs en route; optional Kyrgyz folklore show
In and around Cholpon-Ata
We drive back to Bishkek, stopping to visit the Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs along the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul en route. The drive is approximately 250km and takes 5-6 hours – we’ll stop for lunch at a road cafe on the way. Close to Cholpon Ata are Scythian burial mounds, as well as the ‘stone forest’ or petroglyphs which are between 4,000 and 1,400 years old. They are located at the foot of Kungei Alatau Ridge at a scenic spot overlooking the lake.A farewell dinner is included in Bishkek and if you wish, there is the option to arrange a Kyrgyz folklore show. The talented musicians and singers wear traditional Kyrgyz costumes and play a wide range of national musical instruments – including a Komuz (a three-stringed wooden musical instrument) to Chopo Choi (wind instrument made of mountain reed).

Day 15: End Bishkek
The tour ends in Bishkek after breakfast. Final departure transfer to the airport in time for the flight back to home.

City Nights Hotels
Bishkek 02 Hyatt Regency Bishkek
Tosor Village 01 Touristic Guesthouse
Juukuchak Gorge 01 Tented Accommodation
Kichi-Kyzyl-Suu Gorge 01 Tented Accommodation
Chon Kyzyl-Suu Gorge 01 Tented Accommodation
Jety-Oguz Gorge 02 Tented Accommodation
Karakol 02 Tented Accommodation
Ala-Kul Lake 01 Tented Accommodation
Altyn Arashan 01 Tented Accommodation
Karakol 01 Hotel Hillside Karakol
Bishkek 01 Hyatt Regency Bishkek

– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– 14 nights accommodation as per program
– English speaking guide
– Meals: Breakfasts, Lunch & Dinners
– Entrance fee
– All listed transport and activities
– All present government taxes.

Additional Services:
– Views of Lake Issyk-Kul and Aka-Kul
– Hike through 6 different gorges, including the famously beautiful Jety-Oguz Canyon
– Chance to bathe in Altyn Arashan hot springs
– Discover Bishkek, Burana Tower and the Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs
– Panoramic views from Telety Pass (3,800m)
– Learn how to make traditional ‘lagman’ noodles in a family home in Karakol
– Daywalk to the foot of Karakol Peak, the highest in the Terskey Ala-Too Range

• International Flights.
• Personal Expenses.
• Camera / Video Camera Fees.
• Medical Aid.
• Tips.
• Travel Insurance.

• Accommodation in good hotels.

• Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.

• Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost. – Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.

• A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.

• If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.

• Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.

• In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.

• In Asia, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.

• While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.

• Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.

• In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.

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