Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Culture and Horse-riding Tour 20207 Days | Bishkek, Kyzart village, Tuz Ashuu, Tulpar Tash,Tuulga Tash

Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Culture and Horse-riding Tour 2020

Explore Kyrgyzstan’s stunning mountain landscapes and nomadic culture on horseback with this 7-day Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Culture and Horse-riding Tour of Bishkek and the area around Son-Kul Lake. Only in summer can you really discover the traditional lifestyle of the nomads who live in the yurts and the shepherds who herd their livestock on mountain pastures. The unique feature of this tour is the chance to travel in the traditional style – on horseback. Stay in yurts by the lake; get to know the locals over a cup of the traditional drink, kumis; photograph the landscapes, flora, and fauna; and try traditional foods.

 

Tour itinerary:

Day 1, Su: Bishkek – arrival and city tour
 
Arrive in Bishkek early in the morning. Upon arrival at the airport, meet your guide and transfer to the hotel for early check-in and breakfast. Rest until 12:00, then have lunch at a local café. In the afternoon, take a guided city tour, starting with a visit to the Manas Monument, which commemorates the Kyrgyz people’s main national hero. Walk around Ala-Too Square to see the changing of the Guard of Honour (if happening on the day), visit the Kurmanzhan Datka Monument, the main governmental buildings, and the Old Square with Government House. Take a short excursion to Victory Square and visit Osh bazaar (closed on Mondays). Transfer to the hotel. Free time, with own arrangements for dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Driving distance: 30 km (45 min)
Day 2, Mo: Bishkek – Burana Tower – Kyzart village
 
Breakfast. Drive to Burana Tower, all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins of this important trading point on the Great Silk Road, visit the small museum, and see a collection of balbals (ancient Turkic tombs). Continue to the village of Kyzart, with lunch on the way. Walk around this typical Kyrgyz village and then listen to an introductory talk about tomorrow’s horse-riding. Dinner and overnight at a local homestay.
Driving distance: 280 km (6-7 hours)
Day 3, Tu: Kyzart – Chaar Archa – Tuz Ashuu
 
After breakfast, transfer by vehicle to the starting point for the horse-ride (14 km) and then ride to the Tuz Ashuu pastures. Enjoy magnificent views of the Chaar Archa pastures, along with a picnic lunch. Ascend to Col Tuz Ashuu (3,228 m), then continue towards Tuz Ashuu, which is surrounded by imposing mountains, to get your first look at Son-Kul Lake. Arrive at the lake and descend to the Tuz Ashuu pastures (3,050m), passing several shepherds with their herds of sheep and cattle. Meet the family of shepherds that will welcome us to their yurt camp. Yurts are the traditional dwelling of Central Asia’s nomadic people, consisting of a wooden frame covered with several layers of felt. They can be constructed quickly, making them practical for nomads who move around. Their interiors are often decorated with felt carpets and traditional embroidery. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp.
Driving distance: 14 km
Horse-riding distance: 16 km, including 1,100m uphill and 200m downhill (4-5 hours)
Day 4, We: Tuz Ashuu – Tulpar Tash
 
After breakfast, ride along the lakeshore in a westerly direction. The route to Tulpar Tash yurt camp involves small ascents and descents (max. 100m). Have lunch at the camp. The lakeshore is beautiful, with herds of horses, cows, sheep, and goats. Take the opportunity to visit the shepherds and taste traditional delicacies like fermented mares’ milk (kumis) and yoghurt balls (kurt), as well as tea with cows’ milk. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp.
Horse-riding distance: 14 km, including 100m uphill and 100m downhill (about 4 hours)
Day 5, Th: Tulpar Tash – Kambar Ata – Tuulga Tash
 
After breakfast, ride 18 km across beautiful landscapes where you’ll see shepherds’ yurts. Although there are no trees or even bushes around the lake, the altitude and climatic variations mean that you will still see exceptional flora and fauna. This includes fields of edelweiss and forget-me-nots, and many different species of birds, such as ducks, cranes, storks, mergansers, coots, plovers, golden eagles, and cormorants, as well as thousands of seagulls. Have lunch at Kambar Ata Yurt Camp. Сontinue riding to Tuulga Tash pasture. Dinner and overnight at a yurt camp.
Hiking distance: 18 km, including 0m uphill and 0m downhill (about 5 hours)
Day 6, Fr: Tuulga Tash – Bishkek
 
After breakfast, leave Son-Kul and take a scenic drive back to Bishkek, through one of the most spectacular areas of the Tien Shan mountains, Kalmak Ashu Pass (3,446m). Have lunch on the way with a local family. Arrive in Bishkek and check-in to the hotel. Time permitting, visit the local department store, ZUM, to buy some souvenirs. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Driving distance: 350 km (6-7 hours)
Optional, subject to agreement among the group: Folklore show at a local restaurant
Especially for you, local musicians will play the national melodies of the Kyrgyz people and show you their musical instruments. Enjoy the singing and the charming melodies of our ancestors.
Day 7, Sa: Bishkek – departure
 
Breakfast, followed by hotel check-out (by 12:00). Free time until the transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Departure. End of the tour.
Driving distance: 30 km (45 min)

 

Note: Yurt camps at Song Kul Lake – shared shower (Tulpar Tash and Tuulga Tash only) and toilet
Kyzart homestay – shared showers and toilets

Level of difficulty: Participants require an average level of physical fitness for the horse riding and walking. There are some long transfers (up to 4 hours) along mountain roads.

Responsibilities of clients:
Clients should recognise and accept the risk that circumstances may arise that may cause some activities to be shortened, or eliminated altogether, without reimbursement or refund. Such circumstances include weather, earthquakes and other natural events, and injuries or other medical problems. Each tourist should organise his or her own medical insurance in his/her home country.

We recommend you bring:

  • Raincoat;
  • Sweater/fleece;
  • Wind-breaker jacket;
  • Enough t-shirts, underwear, and other clothes (consider bringing tops with long sleeves to avoid sunburn);
  • Sun hat (the sun can be strong in this region, even in the mountains);
  • Sun cream (SPF30 or higher);
  • Sunglasses;
  • Wool/winter hat;
  • Small towel;
  • Good hiking boots suitable for easy walks in the mountains;
  • Hiking sticks (if needed);
  • Suitable shoes for the city walks;
  • Personal first aid kit (the problems you are most likely to encounter are blisters, sunburn, allergies, diarrhoea, and sore muscles after hikes – we suggest bringing painkillers, anti-histamines, general antibiotics, and anything you need for your usual medical conditions);
  • Insect repellent (for skin and clothes);
  • Personal hygiene kit (hand-sanitiser is highly recommended) and toilet paper;
  • Camera;
  • Notepad and pen to make notes as you travel;
  • Small backpack (day pack);
  • Torch (flashlight);
  • Bank cards and foreign currency - ATMs accepting international cards are available in Bishkek, but Visa is preferable to Mastercard or Maestro. If you plan to exchange US$ to KGS we recommend bringing US$50 or US$100 notes without marks or other any damage (banks and foreign exchange offices do not accept damaged notes).

Weather:
Please note that in summer the temperature in Bishkek can reach 40°C, while in the mountains the daytime temperature may be as low as 10°C. Be prepared for unexpected changes in weather (rain, snow ,wind, or hail). The lowest temperature during the tour will be at Song Kul lake, where nighttime temperatures may be as low as -2 to -4°C.

  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing in hotels and homestays, and 4-6 people sharing in yurts (except at Tuulga Tash, where 2 people share one yurt);
  • Local, English-speaking guide;
  • Meals as per itinerary (7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners);
  • Entrance and ecological fees per the itinerary;
  • Transport (type of vehicle depends on the group size);
  • Bottled drinking water (1 litre per person per day);
  • Horses, horseman, and assistants on days 3, 4, and 5;
  • Horses for carrying luggage on days 3, 4, and 5.
  • Single accommodation (unless you pay the single supplement to have your own hotel room);
  • Tips for driver, guides, and horse assistants (although they would be appreciated);
  • Personal expenses;
  • Alcohol and soft drinks;
  • International or domestic flight tickets before or after the tour;
  • Visa support or visa consular fees (if required);
  • Camera and video fees (if required);
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Any deviation from the itinerary;
  • Optional activities like the folklore show on Day 6.

 

Accommodation:

Bishkek - 3 nights
My Hotel, Asia Mountains, Bridges or similar
Kyzart - 1 night
Homestay
Tuz Ashuu - 1 night
Yurt camp (4-5 people sharing one yurt)
Tulpar Tash - 1 night
Yurt camp (4-5 people sharing one yurt)
Tuulga Tash - 1 night
Yurt camp (2 people sharing one yurt)

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