Trek the wild Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan

Trek the wild Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan

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10 Days
From

$2399

$2333

Trek the wild Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan

10 Days Starting and ending in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Visiting: Kyrgyzstan

Tour operator:

YellowWood Adventures

Tour code:

KYR-TS

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

High, 7: Challenging

Age range:

12-80

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

History

From:
$2399
$2333 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$66
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Tour Overview

In this Kyrgyzstan hiking adventure, you will get the chance to discover the wild region of Tian Shan. From viewing glaciers and crossing white water rivers to bathing in natural hot springs this tour will be an unforgettable experience. Even very few local Kyrgyz people know about this hiking route, which we have created in response to the growing popularity of trekking in the Tian Shan; albeit still very small in comparison to Nepal or Patagonia for example. Nevertheless, we prefer to have the mountains to ourselves, and this adventure provides you with the means of seeing one of the few areas of the world still unaltered by man. The Kyrgyzstan trek ends in the well-known and unspeakably beautiful yurt camp of Altyn Arashan [‘Golden Spring’ in Kyrgyz], where you will experience spending the night in a cozy nomad’s yurt after bathing in the natural hot springs for which the valley is famous. Book today for this rare and completely unique adventure. This adventure is the epitome of the road less travelled: Taking you into the very heart of nature, completely away from tourists, and with only a few local shepherds in yurts and their herds of free-roaming horses for company. We will hike across beautiful untouched valleys and high passes of the Tian Shan Mountains. There is also the great opportunity to ride horses through some of the beautiful valley pastures, to sleep in a yurt and bathe in the natural hot springs with a cold beer or two on our final night in the mountains.

Highlights

  • Hike through a wild region of the Tian Shan

  • View glaciers and cross white water rivers

  • Meet local nomadic herders pasturing their livestock

  • Try horse riding & bathe in natural hot springs

Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive In Bishkek
Accommodation Name: 3 star 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: Drive To Karakol
Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Our 5-6hr drive through the striking landscapes with stunning views of Yssyk-Kol ('Kol' means Lake in Kyrgyz) is pleasantly broken by a visit to the ancient minaret Burana Tower, built by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th Century where we can climb to the top of this once important marker of the Great Silk Road, as well as visit the nearby museum and open air Balbals (stone figures). We continue our journey, stopping for lunch in Cholpon-Ata.Tonight we stay in Karakol, a city surrounded by apple orchards, for which the area is famous, set against a backdrop of snow capped Terskey Alatau mountains. It is well worth a little explore and we recommend visiting the small mosque, looking more like a Chinese temple than anything else, and made of wood, with no nails whatsoever. This evening you will meet your hiking guides for the next six days. Led by Maks, his trusty crew have many years of experience leading groups in the Tian Shan under their belts.

Day 3: Drive From Karakol To The Jurgalan Valley
Accommodation Name: Camping
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, from Karakol, we drive with Maks, for around 2 hours to a traditional Kyrgyz village from where we will embark on our first hike (9.2km, 600m ascent, taking 4-5hrs) to our campsite. This lies alongside the Jurgalan River, which swells to an impressive size in the summer, from snowmelt and the glacier located further up the valley. There is no escaping the fact that we are immediately heading off the beaten track here.

Day 4: Crossing The Jurgalan Pass
Accommodation Name: Camping
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a delicious camp breakfast we will head up to the 3500m Jurgalan pass, headed for the Tyrgon Valley (13.8km, 630m ascent, 5-7 hrs walk &/ ride). This area is absolutely perfect for horse riding and we welcome beginners to have a go as the horses are well trained and a handler can assist you where necessary. The Tyrgon Valley is a vast, grassy expanse, so more experienced riders can canter and gallop to their hearts content, until we cross the Tyrgon River by bridge. From here we can see the snow-capped mountains on the horizon with herds of horses left to roam free, whilst their shepherds camp in traditional yurts.

Day 5: Crossing Tyrgon Pass & Walking To The Base Of The Bosuchuk Pass
Accommodation Name: Camping
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We are immersed in the depths of this wild mountain region; entirely self-sufficient with our trusty team of guides, horsemen and pack animals. We walk for around 5-7 hours today (10km, 700m ascent), where the views from the Tyrgon Pass (3500m) are simply breathtaking! At night the stars come out in their full splendour as there is no light pollution.

Day 6: Crossing Bosuchuk Pass
Accommodation Name: Camping
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

From the top of Bosuchuk Pass (3400m) a completely new set of mountains, in the majestic Tian Shan range, open up to us. From this high point we will walk down to the bottom of Ailanysh Pass (8km, 530m ascent, 5-7hrs walking) where we will make a sheltered camp. One of the best things about this adventure is the complete escapism into the wilderness and the silence of the mountains – we will really be getting into our stride by this point and becoming more accustomed to the nomadic way of life.

Day 7: Walk To The Ailanysh Lake
Accommodation Name: Camping
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Our 6-7 hour hike (13km with approx 500m ascent) &/or ride, takes us up to the beautiful remote freshwater lake where we can stop for lunch, depending on our timing. The water is so fresh it is possible to drink it and we will take on supplies. After no-doubt a few Kodak moments, we will continue on up to cross the Ailanysh Pass at 3671m, to take in more stunning views, before descending to the bottom of Ortok pass where we will make camp.

Day 8: Hike To Hot Springs Of Altyn-Arashan Valley
Accommodation Name: Yurt
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Crossing our final pass (Ortok, 3609m) with views of a glacier, we descend into the well-known Altyn-Arashan Valley [‘Golden Spring’ in Kyrgyz] where will stay in a traditional nomad’s yurt. After hiking for 6-7 hours (14km, 840m ascent) we can wallow in the natural hot springs and buy beer to celebrate our journey through the Wilds of Kyrgyzstan! It is fun to get back into the mountain community – especially knowing that you will have been somewhere very few people (even locals!) have set foot.

Day 9: Drive To Karakol Then Bishkek
Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We are collected from the valley in Ex- Soviet 4X4 transportation and driven back on rough mountain tracks alongside a raging torrent of a mountain river. After picking up any gear you may have left behind in Karakol town, we bid goodbye and thank you to Maks and will be sped back to the capital for dinner and drinks for our final celebratory night in the capital exploring a bar or two.

Day 10: Fly Out From Bishkek
Meals Included: Breakfast

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

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    Yes

  • Fully Guided

    Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced member of the YellowWood Guiding team. They will be joined by local city guides in Bishkek and a local hiking guide, for the duration of the trek.

  • 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.
This is adventure travel and on occasion the advertised services at a hotel , guest house or camp (eg wifi, or hot showers!) may not be functional on our arrival.
This tends to occur in the smaller, more remote hotels. 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 hotel stays, wild and Yurt camping. 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 (2 nights): 3* Navat Boutique Hotel or similar
Karakol (1 night): Green Yard (3*), 14 Novostroika Street, Karakol, 722360, Kyrgyzstan. Tel: +996 555 451515
Camping (5 nights): We wild camp in the heart of the mountains on this adventure, under the canvas of YellowWood 2 man tents. We have horses to carry all our camp equipment, and our guides will assist with setting up, but please be aware that camping facilities are basic. There are no toilet facilities - you need to find a suitable spot away from the group and waterways, use a trowel, and carry your own toilet paper, burning it after use. Washing is done in the stunning mountain rivers, which is totally exhilarating!
Yurt Camping (Day 8): 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

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

    This tour includes trekking over passes and through mountain valleys, both of which will include rough terrain, steep gradients and some scree and boulders at varying times. To get the most of out of this adventure, you need to be a regular walker and in good physical condition. The terrain requires that you are used to walking up and down hills for extended periods of time. You do not need to be experienced in trekking however. Any hiking is undertaken at the natural pace of the group, with regular stops. Walking boots are essential on this adventure.You will be carrying just a day pack with camera, spare layers and a bottle of water. All other equipment is carried on horses. 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.You are advised to get into a regular walking pattern before the trip as convenient.

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    As detailed in Itinerary.

  • What is the maximum group size?

    The max group size is 12 people.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No, 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.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, Supporting you on your holiday will be an experienced member of the YellowWood Guiding team. They will be joined by local city guides in Bishkek and a local hiking guide, for the duration of the trek. This ensures you the perfect balance of information and support on your trip, with your Kyrgyz guides offering insight into local life and customs, as well as routes during hiking.

  • 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)

  • 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). Only 3 nights of this itinerary are based in hotels, where single rooms are possible. All other nights are in tents or yurts where you will be sharing with someone else of the same gender.

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    It is not necessary to fill out any visa forms on the plane, 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.

  • 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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Friday - Sunday

Jun 14, 2024 - Jun 23, 2024
$2399 $2333 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$66 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Sunday

Aug 09, 2024 - Aug 18, 2024
$2399 $2333 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$66 (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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