KYRGYZSTAN AND BEYOND ( PRIVATE TOUR )

  
Code KYR15D

Price £3,295 per person ( Jun - Sep only )

visit asia - tours to asiaKyrgyzstan is often fondly referred as The Land of Celestial Mountains as three quarters of its territory is covered by mountains with a few peaks as high as 7,000 m. In the old times thanks to its central location Kyrgyzstan played a vital role in the great silk road which ran from China to Italy involving many countries in Central Asia, India, the Middle East and part of Europe. Through 7,000 kms of roads, for over 17 centuries ( 2nd century BC – 15th century AD ) Chinese silk & pottery together with Indian semi precious stones & spices, wool carpets from Central Asia have travelled on camel back from East to West and in return leather & fur were brought back from Europe. This tour takes you to parts of 2 countries ( Kyrgyzstan & China ) which have seen streams of caravans slowly moving in & out of their lands, stopping for trade and breaks exchanging culture, languages & traditions.

BISHKEK – ASHU - CHON KEMIN - ISSYK-KUL LAKE – KARAKOL – JETY OGUZ – KOCHKOR – NARYN – TASH RABAT – TORUGART BORDER – KASHGAR – URUMQI.

Price includes : Visa for China, private a/c car with driver, local English speaking guides/escorts, hotels as stated or similar with daily breakfast, main meals as stated, visits & excursions as per programme, admission fees, permits for Kyrgyz-China border crossing, internal flight Kashgar/Urumqi.

Price excludes : International flights* ( London to Bishkek and Urumqi to London via… ), insurance, tipping, optional horse/camel riding, extension to Amalty or Beijing or other parts of China and any service not specified.
* To make your holidays even more hassle free, we can purchase international flights on your behalf at very competitive prices. Please call us for more information
Single room supplement is £1,095 per person.

Day 1 : International flight to Bishkek

Day 2 : BISHKEK – ALA ARCHA (-/-/D)
Arrival in Bishkek (the old name is Frunze) early in the morning, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Transfer to 4* Park hotel in city centre. Rest of the morning is at leisure. Afternoon enjoy a one hour car journey to Ala Archa national park in the outskirts of Bishkek. This alpine national park on the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River, small & large glaciers and a 4,900 m high mountain peak. A popular relaxing place for city dwellers, you will come across many Kyrgyz coming to enjoy fresh air and barbequeing by the stream. Return to Bishkek in late afternoon. Welcome dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at Park hotel.

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Day 3 : BISHKEK (B/L/D)
Today city tour takes you to Victory Square, Oak park with its open air museum of Sculptures, 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.

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Day 4 : ASHU (B/L/D)
Departure by road to Chon-Kemin gorge (175 km). 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 (25 m high) the 11th century minarets can be seen blending in a beautiful panoramic view of this region. Next stop is at the ruins of the ancient city of Sogdians – Nevaket, before arriving in Chon-Kemin. Enjoy a stroll in the local villages and experience a horse riding ( optional ) in Chon-Kemin gorge. Lunch, dinner and overnight at the scenic Ashu Mountain Guest House.

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Day 5 : CHON KEMIN – ISSYK KUL LAKE (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the Guest House. Continue by road to Issyk-Kul lake ( 160 kms ), the second largest lake in the world on the altitude of 1607 m above sea level and bordered by the Tien Shan mountain range.
The warm & clear water of lake makes it a popular holiday destination to Central Asian people who called it the Kyrgyz ‘sea’ and Pearl of the Tien Shan. After lunch time at leisure to relax and take in the beauty of the lake. Dinner and overnight at the Karven Four Seasons Resort.

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Day 6 : KARAKOL (B/L/D)
After breakfast car transfer to Karakol ( 130 km ) along the northern shore. 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.
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. Arrive in Karakol, one of the old towns where the Russian garnisons settled in 19th century. Upon arrival visit an old Russian Orthodox church and a Mosque in Dungan style and Karakol regional Museum. Overnight at Green Yard hotel.

Day 7 : JETY-OGUZ (B/L/D)
After breakfast car transfer to Jety-Oguz gorge (40 km) stopping at Seven bulls, a remarkable red sandstone rock formation. Drive in mountain roads towards picturesque Jety-Oguz gorge. Trekking tour around the gorge among mountain forests full of singing birds and beautiful flowers, listening to your guide who will tell romantic legends about this place. Picnic lunch by a stream. Return to Karakol. Enjoy a family hosted dinner and overnight at Green Yard Hotel.

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Day 8 : KOCHKOR (B/L/D)
After breakfast a short drive to town for the Ethnological Museum at Cholpon Ata before departing by road this time along the southern shore of Issyk-Kul lake to Kochkor (240 km). On the way a few stops for leisure walks on the sandy lakeshore. Upon arrival in Kochkor, lunch at a local restaurant before visiting a felt carpet workshop. The local people here make various felt products the traditional way, manually. You can not only buy souvenirs, but also take part in the process of felt carpet making. Dinner and overnight in a village Guest House by the mountain.

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Day 9 : NARYN (B/L/D)
After a leisurely breakfast overland transfer to Naryn ( 150 km ) via a beautiful road bordered by red mountains. After lunch drive along Naryn river to Salkyn-Tor national park ( 30 km ) to enjoy the wild and beautiful landscapes. Dinner and overnight at Khan Tegri Hotel.

Day 10 : TASH RABAT - TORUGART border crossing – KASHGAR (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast depart by road to Tash Rabat Caravan Sarai, a place on the Great Silk Road, that served as inn for traders, now an important historical and archeological monument of Kyrgyzstan and is one of the very few well preserved memorials from the Middle Ages. Located at an altitude of 3,000 m above sea level, Tash-Rabat Caravan Sarai was constructed in the 15th century, on the ancient Silk road from Central Asia to China to accommodate merchants, ambassadors and travellers. It is the largest stone structure built in Central Asian architecture. The size of the construction, the building materials, the special layout, are all remarkable. Leisure walk along the gorge and mountains populated by yaks. Picnic lunch.
Midday transfer to Torugart. Border crossing and continue by road to Kashgar (168 km) going through check points and Chinese Immigration. On arrival check in at 5* Xuejing Jinxiang Int'l Hotel. Dinner & overnight at Hotel.

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Day 11 : KASHGAR (B/L/D)
Morning excursion to Oytak Glacier (140 km). Afternoon pay a visit to some of Kashgar religious sites: Abakh Hoja Tombs and Idkha Mosque. Rest of the day enjoy a stroll in Kashi old quarter for a glimpse of the Uighur’s lifestyle. Dinner in town. Overnight at Xuejing Jinxiang Int’l Hotel.

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Day 12 : KASHGAR - URUMQI (B/L/D) must be a SUNDAY
After breakfast visit the Sunday livestock market ( locally called bazaar ) in the south of Kashgar city. Here sheep, goats, cows, donkeys, horses, yaks & camels are sold like other consumer goods. On the day Uighur farmers and herders walk their cattle into the city from nearby villages to the bazaar to sell them for cash. Next we move to the Sunday market which opens… everyday. This is the largest market in the area, packed with textiles, garments & headscarfs, carpets, handicrafts, hats & bags, spices & dried fruits, etc... a myriad of striking colours & exotic smells. Return to hotel after lunch. In due time car transfer to airport for a short flight to Urumqi. On arrival meeting with local guide and transfer to 5* Hoitak Hotel for dinner & overnight.

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Day 13 : HEAVENLY LAKE (B/L/D)
Morning drive East Urumqi to Heavenly Lake (Tian Chi) 110 km from the city. In the middle of Bogda Peak nestles Heavenly Lake covering 4.9 square kms of crystal cleared water. On a clear day the snow capped mountains can be seen in the blue horizon, their slopes coloured by verdant pasture and flamboyant wild flowers.
Lunch during visits. Afternoon Urumqi guided city tour. Now the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region., Urumqi was one of the main cities on the ancient Silk Road. The city tour includes a visit to the Red Hill park with Hongshan ( red mountain ), and a stroll in Erdaoqiao Bazaar. Dinner in town & overnight at Hoitak hotel in Urumqi.

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Day 14 : Departure (B/-/-)
After breakfast visit Xinjiang Museum which houses collections of silver works of art, stone steles, coins and currency, ceramics, wooden articles, and paintings. One of the highlights is the well-preserved collection of 4,000-year-old corpses, unearthed along the Silk Road. In due time transfer to airport for flight home. Extension to Almaty (Kazakhstan) or other parts of China ( Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Shanghai etc... ) possible on request.

Day 15 : Arrive home