Location is an approximation


The heart of Central Asia
Fascinating history on the Silk Road
Mountain paradise, untouched natural beauty


Mountain paradise

Few places are as fascinating as the region of Central Asia, which has been inaccessible for most people until very recently. At its heart lies Kyrgyzstan, a country of spectacular views where 90% of the land is mountainous. Traditionally inhabited by nomadic tribes, its location along the legendary Silk Road has made it a focal point for trade and the exchange of ideas for many centuries.

Kyrgyzstan operates a visa-free policy for British citizens and many other nationalities.


Nomadic people

The Kyrgyz people have lived in the region of modern day Kyrgyzstan for over a thousand years, and many have preserved their traditional way of life. As we travel through the country, we will see white yurts huddled together at the foot of a mountain, or old Kyrgyz men and women selling mare’s milk by the road.


Silk Road influences

We will begin our journey in Bishkek, a Silk Road city and the country’s capital, where people have gathered to trade in the lively bazaars for hundreds of years. The Bishkek landscape is dominated by majestic, snow capped mountains. In the main Ala Too square, we see signs of ancient Persian influence, as well as the proud statue of the mythical Manas, the father of the Kyrgyz people.


Beautiful scenery

After exploring Bishkek and its surroundings, we will begin our journey across this picturesque country. Staying a couple of nights in a guest house in the peaceful Chon Kemin valley, we will get a taste of real village life, spending an afternoon with the locals. We will also see the natural wonders of this beautiful country as we go on a half day hike.

"I felt I really got a good overview of this beautiful country."
Cathy, June 2018

By the waters

As we travel further east, we will see the mountainous landscape shifting in colour and shape until the large Issyk Kul lake opens before us. The impressive Tien Shan mountain range towers in the distance. Here, we will learn more about the country’s fascinating history and perhaps enjoy the view over a bowl of tea, before we continue our journey to the city of Karakol.


An eastern outpost

In the eastern city of Karakol we will see the true face of this diverse region, which borders both Kazakhstan and China. Here we see the city’s wooden orthodox cathedral, as well as a Chinese style mosque, built by the Dungan people. One of the highlights of our stay in Karakol will be dinner with a local Uighur family, an ethnic group which is scattered over Central Asia and China’s Xinjiang province.


Valleys and mountains

While in Karakol, we will explore the stunning Jergalan Valley, hiking up to the peaceful Turnaly Kol mountain lake and seeing the striking red cliffs of Jety Oguz. There will be the option of a longer or shorter hike on this day. On our way back around the Issyk Kul lake we will visit a local eagle hunter and learn more about the role of the eagle in Kyrgyz culture, before returning for a last day in Bishkek.

While Kyrgyzstan is a modern nation, it is still the land of nomads, of untouched natural beauty, of forgotten empires and diverse culture. Kyrgyzstan is off the beaten path, yet it’s a country well-travelled for hundreds of years, and one with views well worth the journey.


Day #1
Depart UK. The letters in brackets indicate which meals are included each day (B = breakfast, L =lunch, D= dinner). All walking tours are optional.
Day #2
Arrive in Bishkek. Rest at hotel before our city tour, including Osh Bazaar, Victory Square, Oak Park and the Tsum department store. Overnight in Bishkek (B/-/D)
Day #3
Visit the Ala Archa national park for a walking tour in the morning (approximately 1h each way). Free time in the afternoon. You might like to visit Dordoi Bazaar, one of the largest bazaars in Asia. Overnight in Bishkek (B/-/D)
Day #4
Transfer to Chon Kemin. On the way we visit Burana Tower, the only remains of a lost empire. Overnight in Chon Kemin (B/-/D)
Day #5
Half day walking tour of the Chon Kemin valley (approximately 1h each way). Afternoon with local family with baking, yurt set up and a folklore concert. Overnight in Chon Kemin. (B/L/D)
Day #6
Transfer to Karakol. Stop in Cholpon Ata for a visit to lake Issyk Kul and an open air musem of petroglyphs. Lunch in Cholpon Ata. Overnight in Karakol (B/-/D)
Day #7
City tour of Karakol, including old quarters, the museum of Przewalsky, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and an Asian style Dungan mosque. Visit a local handicraft shop. Dinner with an Uighur family. Overnight in Karakol (B/-/D)
Day #8
Day in the Jergalan valley. Hike up to the Turnaly mountain lake (2862m), with views into the Karkyra valley. This is an all-day hike – a shorter and less strenuous option is available, which would take you up to 2450m.
Day #9
Transfer to Bishkek. Visit Jety Oguz gorge at the foot of the Tien Shan mountains (1h walking tour). Visit the family of an eagle hunter. Overnight in Bishkek (B/-/D)
Day #10
Free day in Bishkek. Overnight in Bishkek (B/-/D)
Day #11
Depart Kyrgyzstan (B/-/-)


All departures for this destination have been completed this year but please look here again soon for details of next year. (Summer dates are usually released towards the end of November and winter towards the end of May. If any dates are available sooner they will be shown on this page when they are confirmed).

In the meantime, please click on the relevant tab at the top of the screen (eg Summer or Winter) to browse our site for alternatives.

See you soon!