In the Footsteps of the Nomads of Kyrgyzstan

In the Footsteps of the Nomads of Kyrgyzstan

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9 Days
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$2699

$2564

In the Footsteps of the Nomads of Kyrgyzstan

9 Days Starting and ending in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Visiting: Kyrgyzstan

Tour operator:

YellowWood Adventures

Tour code:

KYR-FN

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

Medium, 5: Intermediate

Age range:

12-80

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
From:
$2699
$2564 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$135
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Tour Overview

Follow in the footsteps of Nomads in this small group Kyrgyzstan moderate hiking tour.



On this Kyrgyzstan cultural tour you will get to experience three of Kyrgyzstan’s most beautiful alpine lakes: Stay in yurts with views of the majestic sea-like Issyk-Kul lake, watching the local eagle hunters; Earn a view of Chatyr-Kol after hiking or horse-riding to a high pass deep in the Tian Shan Mountains along the ancient Silk Road; Ride horses alongside nomad herders in the tranquillity of Son-Kol Lake, situated in the heart of the country surrounded by a gentle crown of mountains and grazing livestock in the summer months.



Kyrgyzstan is famed for its hiking in the high Tian Shan but if you prefer a more relaxed adventure yet still with the ability to take in many of the mind-blowing views, then this is the trip for you. The nomadic way of life is still very much alive in this country – nestled deep within the Central Asian Steppe – and you will have plenty of chances to meet with the local people and learn about their timeless way of life.



Kyrgyz food is absolutely delicious and apart from gorging ourselves in the capital on the many traditional dishes, we will also experience the home-cooked meals of the family we are staying with in communal dining yurt – in Son Kol particularly – with maybe even a schnapps or two to wash it down after. Kyrgyzstan displays incredible natural beauty with horses in abundance; even if you have no previous horse riding experience the mounts are very well trained and used to having travellers ride them so this can be the perfect opportunity to try something new and get a feel for the nomad that lives in all of us.

Highlights

  • Stay in yurts with local nomadic families

  • Travel to pristine 'alpine' lakes

  • Day-hike in the Tian Shan Mountains

  • Ride horses & watch eagle hunting

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Arrive In Bishkek
Accommodation Name: Boutique Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Most international airlines arrive into Bishkek early in the morning. Upon landing, you will be transferred to your hotel to check in - early-check ins with breakfast are included. You have the morning to rest after your travel.At 12pm, you will meet your guide and embark on a walking tour of Bishkek. The capital of Kyrgyzstan, also known as the ‘White City’ – so called because many of the government buildings in Soviet times were built from the beautiful, locally mined white marble - is a fascinating city with vast plazas and dramatic monuments from the Soviet Era. Our local tour guide will give us a welcome introduction to both the city and the history of the country, followed by dinner in one of the most well-known tea houses in the city, complete with traditional live music and dancing.Accommodation: 3* Bugu Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 2: Travel To Chon Kemin Valley Via Burana
Accommodation Name: Guest house
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we transfer to the incredible Chon Kemin Valley, a protected region home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the country. Chon Kemin is a unique natural reserve with beautifully preserved alpine landscape. Steep glaciers are fringed with green coniferous forests and the valley is surrounded on all sides by towering mountain peaks. After the rainy season, the valley blooms with wildflowers which spread as far as the eye can see. On the way, we stop to visit Burana Historical Complex, a large archaeological complex near Tokmok, 80 km east of Bishkek. The minaret is something to behold: built in the 11th century, the height of the tower is about 25m; in the Middle Ages, it was over 40m, part of it having been destroyed by an earthquake in the 15th century. If you can climb to the top of Burana, the views of the surrounding valley are staggering. On the east side of the tower there are the remains of mausoleums, and along the perimeter, ancient Turkic stone sculptures. We spend the night in the village of Tarsuu, a picture of rural Kyrgyz life, at a family run guesthouse. There are plenty of things to do this afternoon: a 2-3 hours (easy) hiking tour to Kalmak-Ashuu gorge, or you could, for a small fee, go on a horse-die or take a cookery class - the local delicacy is Boosok, a traditional Kyrgyz snack.

Day 3: Drive To Lake Yssyk-Kol, Visit Skazka Canyon & Eagle Hunting
Accommodation Name: Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have a fabulous day ahead of us and make an early start to get on our way as our destination: we have a total of 6 hours of driving to do today but it will be spread out.Our first stop is the southern shore of Issyk-Kul, a saline lake 113miles long. In the Kyrgyz language, the name means ‘warm lake’, as, despite the ring of snow capped mountains surrounding it, it never freezes due to the salt content. Our homestay is near the shores of the glistening lake – so large that its turquoise waters often look like the Mediterranean. Our route gives us a wonderful opportunity to acclimatise to the Kyrgyz landscapes, and brief glimpses into how life plays out here. We will explore the interesting rock formations of Skazka Canyon and be treated to a demonstration of eagle hunting at Bokonbaev village by local Kyrgyz nomads. Depending on time, we may get to walk by the shore before heading 'home' and settling in.

Day 4: Drive To Tashrabat Caravaserai Yurt Camp
Accommodation Name: Yurt
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have some more distance to cover today (395km) to head into the more remote parts of the country, so after breakfast, we drive south, down alongside the rising snow-capped Tian Shan Mountains. Our destination is the ancient Caravanserai of Tashrabat, which lies on the ancient Silk Road, only two days travel from the Chinese border.We break our journey in the remote village Acha-Kayindy to enjoy lunch and... a felt show. After a leg stretch and bite to eat at a local family's home, we continue on (3hrs) to reach Tashrabat in the afternoon. A 'caravanserai' is a roadside inn with, typically, a central courtyard for travellers in the desert regions of Asia. The Caravanserai of Tashrabat was just such a place: it's easy to imagine the traders and travellers of old stopping in this place to rest when journeying between the countries of Central Asia. The thick stone walls of the buildings of Tashrabat still stand and endure the elements, almost lost in the vast open plains surrounding them. Believed to have been used by traders since the 1400s, it is likely that there was a Christian monastery here as early as the 900s.We will stay in the yurt camp and explore the Caravanserai itself, imagining how traders throughout history would have holed up to protect themselves from bandits or bad weather on this lucrative but perilous trade route. Tonight we are treated to a fantastic dinner prepared by the lodge.Yurts sleep 2 - 4 people: single accommodation is not available. Shower and toilet facilities will be shared. Electricity and mobile connection is not available - do not expect wifi either!

Day 5: Day Trip To Chatyr-Kol (Lake) - With Hiking & Horse-Riding Options
Accommodation Name: Yurt
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

A mix of riding (additional cost for optional activity) and walking is the ideal way for us to travel up the winding valley trails to the top of a high pass (4000m), where, weather permitting, we will have an incredible view of Chatyr-Kol (Lake). It is a there & back route, and we have all day to enjoy it, so there is no rush - we will be travelling at a leisurely pace with plenty of time for photo stops. We suggest riding the flatter sections to and from the base of the climb (14km total), and then hiking (8km with 950m ascent). Riding will be suitable for beginner riders also. If you would rather, you can just stay and explore the foothills around the Caravanserai, but the views are absolutely worth it if you are even a teeny bit tempted!We stay at the Caravanserai yurt camp for a second night tonight.

Day 6: Drive To Song-Kol (Lake) Yurt Camp
Accommodation Name: Yurt
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will take the winding road up into the very centre of Kyrgyzstan’s hidden plateau (249km), to the majestic Song-Kol (“last lake” in Kyrgyz), in the Naryn Province, up at 3016m. It is probably - at the very least, arguably - the most picturesque lake in the country. It is a popular ground for nomadic shepherds who bring their flocks here in the summer months. Wildlife is diverse and the experience of nature, pristine. We will stay in a beautiful traditional nomad yurt camp on the southern shore, with the family who run it, play with the innumerable children, and sample the delicious local cuisine. Yurts sleep 2 - 4 people: single accommodation is not available. Shower and toilet facilities will be shared. No mobile signal. Electricity is from 18:00 until 22:00.

Day 7: A Day At Song Kol
Accommodation Name: Yurt
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we have a complete day of leisure in these beautiful surroundings. Choose to hike, horse ride, grab a book or do nothing apart from breathe in the clean air and revel in the wilderness! It really is an amazing place just to spend time. Lucky visitors may see deer, foxes, marmots, Marco Polo sheep, birds of prey, or even leopards and wolves on the plains. Rest under a never-ending sky, viewing incredible sunrises and sunsets, not to mention impeccable views of the Milky Way in clear skies. Take the golden opportunity to spend time with the local people in ours and other yurt camps dotted along the shores. We stay a second night in Son-Kol yurt camp.

Day 8: Drive Back To Bishkek
Accommodation Name: Boutique Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Reluctantly leaving our yurts and the striking plains behind, we will drive (360kms, taking 5-6hrs) back to the capital for our last group dinner in the city and to celebrate our adventure in this unique and beautiful country. We pause for lunch at the house of a family in Kochkor before continuing onto the capital. Some will miss the simplicity of the Yurt life... others will look forward to returning to some home comforts...The journey starts where it began, and we enjoy a group meal together in the city, celebrating a memorable journey together. Accommodation: 3* Bugu Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 9: Fly Out From Bishkek
Meals Included: Breakfast

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. Leaving the stunning landscapes of Kyrgyzstan is going to feel all wrong but ‘normal life’ awaits you. Time to plan your next escape!

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as detailed in hotels, lodge and yurts

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • Fully Guided

    Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced, approachable and knowledgeable English speaking local Kyrgyz guide, who will be with you for the duration of the holiday

  • Meals

    as detailed in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • International Travel

Accommodation

We fully believe in, and practice, Responsible Tourism, using hotels run by locals. We put time and effort into building our relationship with them to ensure you have a a great trip.



We choose hotels based on cleanliness, comfort, safety, proximity to our route (to avoid unnecessary extra travel), and a warm client welcome, as well as reliability in their service to us. Some hotels will be basic, and in modern buildings and or in towns. Wherever we can, we will choose smaller more characterful, individual hotels, but in areas where tourism is still developing, this may not be available.



An aspect of our adventures is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles and to experience new things which is exciting and memorable, and reflects the countries we are visiting.



This is adventure travel and on occasion the advertised services at a hotel, guesthouse or camp (eg wifi, or hot showers!) may not be functional on our arrival. This tends to occur in the smaller, more remote places. Very rarely a hotel lets us down and we are required to find alternative suitable accommodation that might not be our first choice.



This accommodation on this adventure involves both hotel stays and camping in Yurts. The list below gives information on our first choice of accommodation for this adventure. Where hotels and refuges are fully booked or unavailable, we will use an alternative of a similar standard, and equally well situated. We will provide you with an accurate list of accommodation, with contact information to leave with relatives, prior to departure on your adventure.



Bishkek (3 nights): 3* Navat Boutique Hotel, or similar



Yurt Camping (5 nights): A yurt is a large felt tent made from sheeps wool, which results in a warm, cosy and waterproof shelter. The centre of the yurt houses a metal wood burner with a chimney for all smoke to escape through the roof.



The yurts house either 2 or 4 simple but comfortable beds with plenty of extra blankets to pile onto your sleeping bag (please bring a winter season bag), should you feel chilly. If you are travelling with a group of friends then we are happy for friends to share a yurt (4 people), or YellowWood can arrange the rooming for solo travellers to share with others of the same gender.



Toilet facilities are shared and in a separate ‘hut’. There are taps and running water in the camp for washing. We use traditional nomadic yurt camps where electricity is available between 18:00 and 22:00 and there is no mobile signal. Please note that part of this adventure is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles.

Check out our Q&As

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Unless you have booked a single room (where they are available) and paid the single room supplement for those nights, you will be sharing a twin room with another client (of the same gender).

  • What is the maximum group size?

    Your group will be any number from our minimum group size of 4, up to a maximum of 12 clients. This number works really well with the ratio of guides, and ensures an optimal level of service to you during your adventure. We get clients booking alone, as couples and in small groups of friends. If you have a larger group of friends or family who are interested in having their own customised trip, then please let us know and we can cost it out for you. Our links with in-country travel experts often mean that we can assist you in developing a personalised itinerary.



  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes. Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced, approachable and knowledgeable English speaking local Kyrgyz guide, who will be with you for the duration of the holiday. This ensures you the perfect balance of information and support on your trip, offering insight into local life and customs, as well as routes during hiking.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    You are visiting the Tian Shan mountains and your itinerary involves some walking over rough terrain and some optional trekking. To get the most of out of this adventure, you therefore need to be a regular walker and in good physical condition. You do not need to be experienced in trekking, however. Any hiking is undertaken at the natural pace of the group, with regular stops. You will be carrying just a day pack and bottle of water.



    Training - As with all active holidays, the fitter you are, the more you can relax and enjoy the stunning route, and the better you can cope with challenges such as the outside elements.

    Clients are advised to get into a regular walking pattern before the trip as convenient. NB: If you have bought new hiking boots for this adventure, this is the right time to wear them in, not on the trip! itself.



    Grades 4-6: Intermediate

    You need to have a good level of fitness and be a regular walker for these adventures, with ideally some trekking experience. You can expect to be walking for 3-6 hours per day, not including rest stops, normally on good trail paths but with some uneven surfaces at times.



    You will not be required to carry more than a day sack. You may be walking in more challenging temperatures. You will generally be walking at low altitude (below 3000m) but may walk at altitudes up to 4000m. The amount of ascent could be up to 800m in a day but will frequently be less. You may walk on consecutive days.



    Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable clothing for this adventure.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes. Your YellowWood adventure starts at the airport in Bishkek. We understand that arriving into an unfamiliar airport can be very daunting, so we aim to give you as much information here as possible, to help you prepare. Manas International Airport is the main international airport in Kyrgyzstan, located 25km NW of the capital, Bishkek. It is a small, though fully functioning, airport with 2 ‘terminals’ that you may arrive into, at different ends of the same building. You will be met at the airport by your YellowWood guide and a local driver for transport to the Silk Road Lodge (approx 40mins)

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    It is not necessary to fill out any visa forms on the plane (or prior to travel), but on disembarking, you have a couple of jobs to do.



    1. Purchase your Visa on arrival, from the Immigration desk

    2. Collect your baggage

    3. Meet your YellowWood Guide & driver (they will have your name on a board, along with the YellowWood logo)

    4. Exchange Currency: The easiest is probably to use the ATM in the airport, however, there is also the option of exchanging currency in Bishkek in the afternoon, during the city tour.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Flights are not included in the cost of your holiday, and whilst we are happy to help advise you, responsibility for booking the correct flights rests with you. We recommend that you use a comparison tool such as www.momondo.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net when searching for flights. We will send you a Flight Information Sheet with further pointers on which flights to book for your adventure.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2015

  • Risk Assessment

    YellowWood operates a Safety Management System which encompasses a planned, researched, implemented and reviewed approach to your Health & Safety. A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm (hazards) and the assessment of likelihood of hazards occuring, as well as the severity of the outcome of a hazard.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies

  • Experienced Leaders

    On all of our adventures you will benefit from the daily presence of an experienced, English speaking local guide. You will also have additional guides at various points during the trip (see itineraries for details).

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    As a visitor to a foreign country, we inevitably leave our mark. At YellowWood Adventures, we are determined that this ‘mark’ will be a positive one. Tourism is not always beneficial and we are conscious of treading lightly in the lands we explore.

Reviews of this Operator

Ruth  

FANTASTIC TRIP TO EITHIOPIA!!

2020

From guiding us through the crowded alleys of Lalibela at Genna to clambering up the dizzy heights of Abuna Yemata this was a trip that surpassed all expectations! Yellowwood hits the right balance of organised small group travel with adventurous, 'off the beaten track' experiences all the while making you feel as if you've travelling with a small group of your friends. Ethiopia is truly a beautiful country with wonderful friendly and generous people throughout. I highly recommend this trip and am already planning for my next Yellowwood adventure!

Ethiopia Adventure, 2020
Sophie  

Absolute trip of a lifetime

2019

This trip was one of the best I've ever done. Getting into the Tian Shan mountains was really quite magical; experiencing the scenery and feeling isolated from the rest of the world, thanks to the personalised feel of the trek, was unrivalled. The quality of the food was also a highlight, and I was catered for as a vegetarian (in a very non-vegetarian place!). Kyrgyzstan is a relatively undiscovered gem, and it was lovely to do a road-less-travelled style trip. Thanks to Sam and YellowWood for taking us on a genuine adventure with a fantastic itinerary. I look forward to joining some more non-traditional trips when possible!"

Kyrgyzstan Adventure, 2019
Ken  

People and Landscapes of Oman Adventure

2022

Every day was a highlight for me, no specific favourite. Oman deserves all the superlatives it gets -magnificent scenery, safe, friendly environment, welcoming and engaging people. YellowWood delivers a winner on this trip! Kudos to all.

Oman Adventure, 2022

Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Monday

May 26, 2024 - Jun 03, 2024
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Aug 30, 2024 - Sep 07, 2024
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Saturday - Sunday

May 10, 2025 - May 18, 2025
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Saturday - Sunday

Jul 19, 2025 - Jul 27, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$135 (USD)

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Saturday - Sunday

Sep 06, 2025 - Sep 14, 2025
$2699 $2564 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$135 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    YellowWood Adventures requires a minimum deposit of 400 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of yellowwood adventures charges.

    Up to 57 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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