Oriental flavor of Kyrgyzstan

Oriental flavor of Kyrgyzstan

Duration: 10 days, 9 nights
Season: in the middle of April – October
Route: Osh region, Djalal Abad region
Level of difficulty: there is not a lot of physical exertion throughout the journey. But there will be long transfers about 6 hours a day.

A great opportunity to experience the culture of southern Kyrgyzstan and to admire beautiful views. Travelers will travel along the road that connects the two parts of Kyrgyzstan - North, and South. The road goes through the Suusamyr mountain valley, which can be accessed through the Too-Ashuu pass, and then through several tunnels and the Naryn River to the famous Chychkan Gorge and Lake Sary-Chelek.

Sary-Chelek means "yellow bucket" in Kyrgyz. It is the second deepest lake in Kyrgyzstan. The average depth is 98m and the maximum depth is 234m. The length of the lake is 7.5 km. It is possible to reach the northern part of the lake by motorboat, or by a hike with horseback support through the nearby passes. Lake Sary-Chelek is located in the foothills of the Chatkal Mountain Range in the state nature reserve, which since 1979 is a part of the international network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The territory of the Sary-Chelek reserve is 23.8 thousand hectares. In addition to Sary-Chelek Lake, there are seven mountain lakes here. For the Kyrgyz, this lake is sacred. There are also several holy places in the south: two mosques and spring with healing water. A Buddhist hermit community lived here.

After the journey all this way, travelers get to the beautiful Fergana Valley, where the first stop is Arslanbob. This is the largest area on the planet where walnut trees grow. It covers more than 600,000 hectares. Up to 1,500 tons of walnuts are harvested annually in the Arslanbob Valley, as well as 5,000 tons of apples, pistachios, and cherry plums. The Arslanbob area is now a forest area protected by the state. We take a walk to the waterfalls and relict walnut forest.

Then we are going to visit the ancient city of Osh. We shall visit the sacred mountain Suleiman-Too and take a walk along the streets of the town, which history counts 3000 years. You should also visit the famous oriental bazaar.


Day 1. 
Airport “Manas”– Bishkek city – Ala Archa National Park – Bishkek city (130km)

Meeting at Manas airport, transfer to Bishkek (early morning arrival. Accommodation in a hotel in Bishkek, having rest. Drive to Ala-Archa Natural Park. Walk up the river. Return to the city. Excursion around evening Bishkek with sightseeing: Ala-Too Square, White House, walk around the Oak Park to the Opera and Ballet Theatre and to the Victory Square. If there are preferences, small adjustments are possible.

Altitude (above sea level): Bishkek - 700m, Ala Archa - 2200-2500m

Day 2. 
Bishkek city – Chychkan gorge (280 km)

Transfer to the Susamyr valley along the serpentine road to the Too-Ashu pass. Crossing mountain pastures through the Alabel pass to the Chichkan gorge. “Chychkan” means “a mouse”. Its slopes covered with mixed forest.
Accommodation at a guesthouse.
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 it opens an exciting view to the strong Naryn River with hydroelectric stations surrounding by mountains. Arriving in Arkit village.
Altitudes (above sea level): Chychkan gorge – 2200m, Arkit – 1302m

Day 4. 
Arkit – Sary Chelek – Arkit (20 km one direction)
Breakfast. One-day hike to Sary-Chelek Lake. You will remember the hike for a long time, as the trail passes through one of the oldest relict walnut forests in the world. Optional: boat trip to the North shore of the lake, 7 km one way. From the Southside, there some holy places are situated: two mosques and springs with healing water. Long ago, there lived hermit Buddhist community. Return to the village of Arkit. Overnight at the guesthouse.
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. 
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 a 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 going down to the village for lunch. Drive to the village outskirts to visit the 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 to visit Uzgen city.  There is an 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 the 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 of history. Start sightseeing tour from sacred mount Suleiman-Too and history museum, situated in a huge natural cave. Visit oriental market: taste dry fruits, nuts, check species, souvenirs, traditional wearing. Visit the city center, the main square, the park, and the church. 
Altitudes (above sea level):  Osh – 963m

Day 9. 
Osh – Bishkek (680km)
Flight to Bishkek. Sightseeing tour around Bishkek. 
Visiting the “Osh bazaar” market, walk from Philharmonics to main Ala-Too square, oak park, art museum. Walk to the old “Pobedy” (Victory) square. Farewell dinner in a traditional cuisine café. 
Altitudes (above sea level):  Bishkek – 700-800 m

Day 10. 
Bishkek - Airport “Manas” (35km)
Early breakfast. Driving to the airport. Flight home.
Altitudes (above sea level): Bishkek – 700-800m

Service includes:
Double or twin accommodation in guesthouses/ hotels according program;
Transport for transfers during tour;
Full board during the tour;
English speaking guide;
Tickets to the museums, workshops mentioned in the program.

Service doesn't include: 
Single supplement;
Accommodation in hotels before and after the program;
Alcohol and soft drinks;
Transfers, excursions or horse riding over the program etc.;
Visa and invitation letter to Kyrgyzstan;
Medical insurance.

Clothing and Equipment:
Sunscreen (at least 20SPF);
Lip balm;
Sunglasses with UV protection;
At least a 25 Liter backpack for personal items;
Telescopic trekking sticks poles (optional);
Head lamp spare bulbs & batteries; 
T-Shirts, long-sleeved T-shirt, shorts;
Trekking pants;
Fleece jacket or pullover;
Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional); 
Down vest and/or jacket (optional);
Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex);
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.