KYRGYZSTAN, THE SWITZERLAND OF CENTRAL ASIA

  
CODE KYR7D
Price : £1,295 per person

Best time to go : April, May, June and September.

Having 80% of its territory covered by mountains, Kyrgyzstan has earned its nickname as the Switzerland of Central Asia. Imagine endless green pastures, glittering rocky streams, turquoise-blue lakes & dramatic gorges, wandering herds of cattle in a background of snow-capped mountains . This unique paradise is home to a friendly small population of just 6 million. Kyrgyzstan will certainly amaze nature lovers, mountain hikers and horse riders.

Note : This tour can be booked as an extension after the ‘Kazakhstan, land of natural beauty’.
However it can also be arranged as a 7 day Kyrgyzstan only tour starting in Bishkek and ending in Bishkek. Please add £195 per person.

KARAKOL – JETY OGUZ – ISSYK KUL LAKE – ASHU & CHON KEMIN GORGE – BISHKEK

Price includes : Private a/c car with driver, local English speaking guide, hotels as stated or similar with daily breakfast, main meals as stated, visits & excursions as per programme, admission fees.

Price excludes : International flights, optional horse riding, optional boat excursion & Eagle hunting show, other meals, drinks, tipping and any service not specified.

Day 1: KARAKOL (-/-/D)
Arrive at the border with Kazakhstan, meeting with Kyrgyz guide and overland transfer to Karakol (120 km), one of the old towns where the Russian garnisons settled in the 19th century. Upon arrival check-in at Green Yard Guesthouse built at the foot of the mountain. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Karakol.

Day 2: JETY-OGUZ (B/L/D)
After breakfast car transfer to Jety-Oguz gorge (approx 40 km) stopping at Seven bulls, a remarkable red sandstone rock formation. Drive in mountain roads towards picturesque Jety-Oguz gorge. Enjoy a leisurely trekking tour around the gorge among mountain forests full of singing birds and beautiful flower while listening to your guide who will tell romantic legends about this place. Optional horse riding. Picnic lunch by a stream. Eagle hunting show can also be arranged as an option. Afternoon return to Karakol for a city tour including an old Russian Orthodox Church, a Mosque in Dungan style and Karakol regional Museum. Later enjoy a family hosted dinner and overnight at Green Yard Guesthouse.

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Day 3: ISSYK KUL LAKE (B/L/D)
AfAfter breakfast depart by road for Issyk-Kul lake, the second largest lake in the world on the altitude of 1607 m above sea level and bordered by Tien Shan mountain range. Since ancient times the coasts of Lake Issyk-Kul have attracted people. Everything around the lake relates with history: the caves of Stone Age people, the stone burial mounds of cattle breeding tribes, the art galleries of Petroglyphs stretching over hundreds of kms around the lake, the stone roads and huge burial mounds of the Scythian kings, silent stone statues guarding the repose of perished civilizations. En route stop for the open-air museum of petroglyphs also called 'Garden of stones' and the Ethnological Museum at Cholpon Ata.
Caravans of heavily-laden camels, horses, and donkeys used to plod their way from China across the high mountain passes and along the lake shore to distant Europe. The ruins of ancient and medieval cities which prospered in the times of the Great Silk Road now lie buried underwater, vanished from memory after centuries of war and conquest. Optional boat excursion on the lake. Arrive at Raduga Resort in early afternoon.
Lunch at the resort after which time at leisure to relax and take in the beauty of the lake and mountain scenery around it. Dinner and overnight at Raduga Resort.

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Day 4: ASHU (B/L/D)>
AfteAfter breakfast depart by road along the northern shore to Chon-Kemin. Travelling by car along the lake shore is alone a very enjoyable experience. The warm & clear water of the lake makes it a popular holiday destination for Central Asian people who called it the Kyrgyz ‘sea’ and Pearl of the Tien Shan.
Arrive Chon-Kemin at lunch time. After lunch, enjoy a stroll in the local villages to see how the local farmers live & work. In Chon-Kemin gorge another chance to experience horse riding (optional). Dinner and overnight at the scenic Ashu Mountain Guest House.

Day 5: BISHKEK (B/L/D)
After After a leisurely breakfast depart by road to Bishkek, en route stops at the ruins of the ancient city of Sogdians – Nevaket. Later stop en route to see Burana tower (11th century). Here you can find the ruins of Balasagun, an ancient city of the Eastern Turks. This Silk Road city has flourished during the reign of the Karakhanids (955-1130). At that time, the city was described as a developed and wealthy city with more than 200 mosques, madrasahs and khanakas. Balasagun is the birth-place of the famous medieval poet Yusuf Balasaguni, the author of the poem “Blessed Knowledge”, the first literary work in Turkic language of Central Asia. The original of this book is still kept in Cairo. In 1219, Balasagun was captured by the Mongols and renamed to Gobalyk, translated as “Good city”. And in the 14th century, according to some scientists, after the deadly pestilence, the black plague in 1338-1339, the whole city disappeared. The Burana Tower, a few balbals and ruins of the Nestorian and Muslim mausoleums are all that remain today of the legendary Balasagun. From the top of the tower (25m high) the 11th century minarets can be seen blending in a beautiful panoramic view of this region. Lunch en route.
Dinner in town & overnight at Plaza 4* Hotel in city centre.

Day 6: BISHKEK (B/L/D)
BishkekBishkek city tour takes you to Victory Square, Oak park with its open-air museum of Sculptures, if will be opened visit to History Museum (former Lenin Museum), Frunze Museum, the national theatre and Osh bazaar. Complete the day with a visit to the State Museum of Fine Arts and a stop at The House of the commander of the Red Army and the Russian Orthodox church. Lunch during visits.
Late afternoon enjoy a ballet performance at the National Theatre (subject to availability). Dinner & overnight in Bishkek.

Day 7: Departure (B/-/-)
In due time car transfer to airport for flight home.