Oriental flavor of Kyrgyzstan
Duration: 10 days
Season: in the middle of April – October
Route: Osh region, Djalal-Abad region
Conditions: There is not a lot of physical exertion throughout the journey. But there will be long transfers about 6 hours a day.
During the tour you will sample the atmosphere of South Kyrgyzstan. You will see the life and culture of sarts (this is the settled part of Uzbeks) and feast your eyes on beautiful views.
The tour starts in Bishkek and then you get to the Suusamyr valley over the Tua-Ashuu pass. This is the main road that unites South and North of Kyrgyzstan. The way is very beautiful and picturesque itself you will see the great Kyrgyz river Naryn and Toktogul reservoir. Get to the nice Chichkan gorge and Sary-Chelek Lake.
Having done all this way, the travelers get to the most beautiful Ferghana valley, where Arslanbob will be the first stop. Here you can take a walk to the waterfalls and the relict walnut forest.
Then we get to Osh. This is the ancient city in Fergana valley. Here you can see and visit the sacred mountain Taht-i-Suleiman and walk around the streets of the city, which history is 3000 years old.
Day 1. Airport “Manas”– Bishkek city – Ala Archa National Park – Bishkek city (130km)
Arrival in airport “Manas” (early morning arrival). Transfer to Bishkek accompanied by a great view to Kyrgyz Ala Too Mountain Range. Accommodation in a hotel in Bishkek, having rest. Drive to the National Park Ala Archa after breakfast. Light walk along the river Ala Archa or hike to Ak Sai Waterfall. Return back to Bishkek.
Altitudes (above sea level): Bishkek 700-800m; Ala Archa National Park 2200-2700m.
Day 2. Bishkek city – Chychkan gorge (280 km)
Start moving towards Chychkan gorge after breakfast. On the way there is beautiful serpentine road up to the Too Ashuu pass. After tunnel opens great view to mountain Suusamyr valley. Get over one more pass calls Alabel arrive to Chychkan gorge. “Chychkan” means “a mouse”. Its slopes covered with mixed forest.
Altitudes (above sea level): Chychkan gorge 2200m, Too Ashuu pass 3180m, Alabel pass - 3184m, Bishkek 700-800m.
Day 3. Chychkan gorge – Arkit village (250 km)
Drive to Arkit village passing by Toktogul reservoir. It’s the biggest in Central Asia. Then opens exciting view to strong Naryn river with hydroelectric stations surrounding by mountains. Arriving to Arkit village.
Altitudes (above sea level): Chychkan gorge 2200m, Arkit 1302m.
Day 4. Arkit – Sary Chelek – Arkit (20 km one direction)
Breakfast, then drive to the Lake Sary Chelek which means “yellow basket”. It’s the second deepest Lake in Kyrgyzstan. Average depth is 98m, maximum 234m. Length of the Lake is 7,5 km. To reach the North side of the Lake is possible by boat or hiking horse path, which goes from the West shore side. Sary-Chelek Lake is located in the foothills of the Chatkal ridge, in the state reserve, which since 1979 is a member of the international network of biosphere reserves of UNESCO. The territory of Sary-Chelek reserve covers 23.8 thousand hectares. In addition to Sary-Chelek, there are seven more mountain lakes on it. For Kyrgyz people this Lake is sacred. Also from the South side there some holy places are situated: two mosques and spring with healing water. Long ago there lived hermit Buddhist community. After excursion drive back to Arkit.
Altitudes (above sea level): Sary Chelek 1940m.
Day 5. Arkit village – Arslanbob (200 km)
Driving towards Arslanbob after breakfast. On the way there will be several abandoned industrial towns from Soviet Union times. Pass tunnels and see Tash-Kumyr Hydro Power Plant.
Altitudes (above sea level): Arkit 1302m, Arslanbob 1600m.
Day 6. Arslanbob
The Arslanbob is the largest walnut area on the planet. It covers over 600,000 hectares. Up to 1,500 tons of walnuts are harvested every year in the Arslanbob Valley, also 5,000 tons of apples, pistachios, and cherry plums. Arslanbob area is now a forest zone protected by the state.
We would have trek through to walnut forest to the little waterfall, which is about 25 m. After that, we will walk to a panorama place from where you will be able to see the whole valley. After go down to the village for lunch. Then we drive to the village outskirts to visit big waterfall.
Dinner and overnight in a guesthouse.
Altitudes (above sea level): Arslanbob 1600m.
Day 7. Arslanbob – Osh city (210 km)
Driving towards Osh city. On the way visiting Uzgen city. There is architectural complex of the XII century Uzgen tower (44 meters high) from the Silk Road time. Also city is famous for its brown rice for national dish “plov”. Continue driving to Osh.
Altitudes (above sea level): Uzgen 1025m, Osh 963m
Day 8. Osh city
One-day excursion around the oldest city of Kyrgyzstan with 3000 years’ history. Start sightseeing tour from sacred mount Suleiman Too and history museum, situated in natural cave. Visit oriental market: taste dry fruits, nuts, check species, souvenirs, traditional wearing. Visit city center, main square, park, church.
Altitudes (above sea level): Osh 963m
Day 9. Osh – Bishkek
Flight to Bishkek. Sightseeing tour around Bishkek.
Visiting “Osh bazaar” market, walk from Philharmonics to main Ala Too square, oak park, art museum. Walk to the old “Podedy” (Victory) square.
Farewell dinner in a traditional cuisine café.
Altitudes (above sea level): Bishkek 700-800 m.
Day 10. Bishkek - airport
Early breakfast. Driving to the airport. Flight home.
Altitudes (above sea level): Bishkek 700-800m, Manas airport 650m
Clothing and Equipment:
Sunscreen (at least 20SPF)
Chapstik or equivalent lip balm
Sunglasses with UV protection
At least a 25 Liter backpack for personal items
Telescopic trekking sticks poles (optional)
Head lamp (eg Petzl) spare bulbs & batteries
T-Shirts, long-sleeved T-shirt, shorts
Fleece jacket or pullover
Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
Down vest and/or jacket (optional)
Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex) with hood
Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex)
Thick, warm wool hiking socks
Thin gloves for trekking and overnight
Sun hat or scarf
Warm fleece hat or light balaclava
Trekking/Hiking boots with spare laces
Footwear for around camp, eg running shoes and/or sandals