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Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Multi-Active

15 days

≈ $223 per day

$3 340

COUNTRY

Kazakhstan

STARTS / ENDS IN

Almaty / Bishkek - Departure

DESTINATIONS

15 (Almaty, Satty Village, Karkara Valley, Sary Jaz, Chon-Ashu Pass, Karakol Valley, Ala Kul Lake, Altyn Arashan & Karakol, Issyk Kul, Kochkor, Kilemche Pasture, Song Kul Lake, Burana & Bishkek, Bishkek, Bishkek - Departure)

TOUR TYPE

Adventure

TOUR GROUP

Fixed date

START DATE

08 July 2018

END DATE

22 July 2018

SEATS LEFT

7+

AGE RANGE

10 to 70 year olds

Guide's Language

  • English

Available Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Almaty

    Early morning arrival in Almaty and transfer to the hotel for check in. Have a rest after your long flight and relax before starting the city tour around noon.

    Almaty is the largest city of Central Asia’s richest country, Kazakhstan. Until 1997 it was the country’s capital and it remains today the country’s business and educational center. Roads are wide and tree-lined and there are good views of the Zailisky Ala-Too mountains that form a backdrop to the city. The name Almaty means “the place with apples” and it is believed that this is where apples originated from.

    We grab bikes for a tour of the city’s most memorable sights. Our itinerary includes such gems as the Zenkov Cathedral, a wooden Orthodox church built at the turn of the century, Panfilov park, new & old square, and the green market. We will then head to the skiing area Shymbulak, just half an hour outside of Almaty, where we take the cable car to go up to the top for a nice view (3200m). For part of the way down, if you like, you may use a nice downhill mountain bike trail. In the evening we have welcome dinner in a nice Kazakh restaurant in the city center. Overnight in the hotel.

    Hotel Kazzhol or similar

  • Day 2
    Satty Village

    Today we have a long but exciting driving day ahead. After an early breakfast, we depart towards one of the most famous natural sights of Kazakhstan – Charyn Canyon. The canyon is often compared to the Grand Canyon, although it is much smaller in size with a total length of 80-90 kilometers. The part of the canyon you will visit is known as “Valley of Castles” for its unusual rock formations. It is 3 kilometers long and 100 meters deep. We will walk these 3 kilometers down to the river, where we will have a picnic.

    We then walk back up to the car and drive from the stepps into the nearby mountains to the next sight of the day, Kaindy Lake. The name of the lake translates as “birch tree lake”. Rising from its emerald waters are the slender trunks of a forest, drowned in 1911 as the result of a huge flood triggered by a violent landslide caused by the Kebin earthquake. The hot weather will be very inviting to go for a swim in the lake.

    We drive about one hour on the road back and reach the village of Satty where we have dinner and stay for the night in a simple family guesthouse. If you are not too tired after the long day you can try out the “banya”, Russian sauna.

    Satty Family Guesthouse, (single room cannot be guaranteed, pit toilet outside)

  • Day 3
    Karkara Valley

    After breakfast with the family we depart towards Kyrgyzstan. After about 4-5 hours of driving we reach Kegen border point in the picturesque Karkara valley. After border formalities we drive to a nice place, not far from the border, to have a picnic (ca. 2300m altitude). From this point we start our 3 days cycling tour. We enjoy a delightful ride up along the Karkara river (distance around 20km, +200m elevation gain). At a nice location we stop for today, have dinner and set up our tents next to the river.

    Overnight in tents, ca. 2550m altitude

  • Day 4
    Sary Jaz

    Cycling up along Karkara River (35km). You will bike along the mountain road and climb to Kyzyl-Moinok Pass (3370m) (this part can be done by car and who likes may start cycling from the top of the pass). Downhill to wild Sary-Jaz River (20km).

    Overnight in tents, ca. 2900m altitude

  • Day 5
    Chon-Ashu Pass

    A fantastic descent on a gravel road along the Sary-Jaz river brings us to the confluence of Sary-Jaz and Ottuk rivers. Total distance of around 20 km. From here starts the ascent (ca. 30 km) to the Chon-Ashu pass (3825m). Descend to the forest zone (around 20 km) at around 2800m altitude. Here a truck will be waiting for us and take us to the town of Karakol (70 km). On this day as well, the uphill biking part can be done by car. Dinner and then overnight in the hotel.

    Hotel Amir or similar, 1750m altitude

  • Day 6
    Karakol Valley

    After a comfortable night in the hotel we start a three days trek today. We transfer by minibus about 2 hours to the Karakol valley, the starting destination of the trek. From Karakol gorge (2550m) we hike about 2-3 hours slightly uphill for 8 kilometers to reach the “Orphan” Mountaineer Shelter. We stop at the shelter, have dinner and set up our tents not far.

    Overnight in tents, ca. 2900m altitude

  • Day 7
    Ala Kul Lake

    After a hike of ca. 3 hours, the highlight of this trek awaits us today – mountain lake Ala Kul (3560m). It is more than 70 meters deep and of incomparable beauty. From the shore of the lake you can see a beautiful glacier – this is the source of the lake. We have picnic at the lake. In the afternoon we hike up higher to Ala Kul Pass (3890m) from where we enjoy uninterrupted views of the 5000+ meters mountain peaks of the Terskey Ala-Too mountains – including Karakol Peak, Djigit Peak and Tashtanbek Peak. Trek down to Kelidke Keldike Valley, where we pitch our tents.

    Overnight in tents, ca. 2900m altitude

  • Day 8
    Altyn Arashan & Karakol

    Leaving the campsite after breakfast you will trek down to the Altyn-Arashan valley, a 10 kilometers hike that we estimate will take us around three hours. This valley is famous for its natural hot springs, which you can visit to relax after the three days of trekking. The lush pastures of Altyn Arashan were the choice of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin as he looked for somewhere to spend time recovering after landing back on Earth after his expedition into space. After a picnic and relaxing we take a Russian truck which will take us on a shaky ride back to Karakol. We will have dinner in an Uighur family and overnight in hotel.

    Hotel Amir or similar, 1750m altitude

  • Day 9
    Issyk Kul

    After breakfast, we will set out to explore Karakol. We visit the city, making sure we allow plenty of time for its wooden Dungan mosque, built in 1904, and the Orthodox wooden church dating from 1855, proof of the ethnic and spiritual diversity of the Issyk Kul region. Any city tour of Karakol could not be considered complete without seeing the Karakol Historical Museum with its new photo exhibition about Ella Maillard. She was a famous Swiss traveler that took many pictures of Central Asia in the 1930s. On the way along the southern shore of lake Issyk Kul to our next destination – Tosor, we will break the journey at Skazka Canyon. Translating from the Russian word for a fairy tale, the burnished reds, ochres and yellows of the canyon’s sedimentary rocks seem almost other-worldly. We will go for a short walk and have picnic at the canyon.

    Upon arrival at the yurt camp we will have plenty of time to go for a swim before dinner. Issyk Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world and known as the “Pearl of Kyrgyzstan”. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp near the village of Tosor near the shore of lake Issyk Kul.

    Overnight in yurt – 2-4 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water), 1600m altitude

  • Day 10
    Kochkor

    After breakfast, we drive further westwards along the southern shore of the lake. On the way, we will first meet an eagle hunter and then stop at Kyzyl-Tuu, where you can watch how yurts are produced, their skeletal wooden framework covered in thick layers of felt and canvas to cope with all weathers. Continuing our drive, we pass by Orto-Tokoi reservoir. Arriving in Kochkor, we visit a workshop of local women to see close up how the traditional Kyrgyz felt carpets are made. You will be taught how Kyrgyz people make their amazing shyrdaks, a carpet that is commonly found in Kyrgyzstan. You can even make your own small carpet. Tonight, our accommodation is a homestay where we enjoy a tasty home-cooked supper before turning in.

    Adamkaly Guesthouse, with shared western toilet and shower, 1770m altitude

  • Day 11
    Kilemche Pasture

    After breakfast transfer to Kyzart village (2200m altitude). There we will meet the local guide with horses and after short instructions we start a delightful light ride on horseback to Kilemche “jailoo” (summer pasture). Within sight of the road, cross Kyzyl-Kiya jailoo, an enormous, relatively flat sea of grass. Continue into the Chaar-Archa valley and eat tasty lunch by the racing river, with view of the holy 4400m Baba-Ata mountain. Sated, ford the river and follow the trail over verdant hills to Kilemche jailoo. Dinner and overnight in the family yurt camp.

    Overnight in shepherd’s simple yurt (4 people in a yurt, pit toilet outside, no shower, running water in river), 2800m altitude

  • Day 12
    Song Kul Lake

    After breakfast at Kilemche, spend the morning riding to Jaldyz Karagai pass (3400m), over the Song-Kul Mountains and into the lake’s basin. The morning climb offers wonderful views of Kilemche jailoo. From the rocky pass Song Kul lake is still distant, but as you traipse down the slopes, it gets larger and larger, until finally the lake fills most of your field of view and the southern mountains tower above it. Song Kul is a mountain lake in the Central Tian Shan range, virtually in the center of Kyrgyzstan. One translation of the name is “The last lake”. It is located at an altitude of 3016m above sea level, 29 kilometers long, 18 kilometers wide and a maximum depth of only 13 meters. It is Kyrgyzstan’s second largest lake after Issyk Kul. The green meadows surrounding the lake, full of Edelweiss, are used by local shepherds and their families as summer pastures. You will see yurts scattered around the lake and herds of horses and sheep grazing. Not surprisingly, the lake is known as the “nomad’s paradise”. We will spend the night again in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt. At night you can see the sky full of starts.

    Overnight in yurt – 4 people in a yurt, facilities are outside (Western toilet, shower with heated water)

  • Day 13
    Burana & Bishkek

    After breakfast, we depart towards the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. On the way, we stop at Burana Tower. The minaret was built in the 11th century in the medieval town of Balasagun, capital of the mighty Karakhanid empire. You can climb up the winding staircase to enjoy a nice view of the Chuy Valley. There is also an open-air museum featuring a collection of ancient balbals, carved stone figures used as monuments. After another 1-2 hours we finally reach Bishkek. Dinner in restaurant and overnight in hotel.

    Park Hotel or similar

  • Day 14
    Bishkek

    In the morning after breakfast, transfer to Ala Archa National Park, in the mountains, just 30km outside of Bishkek. We will hike ca. 3 hours up to the waterfall, have a picnic and then return to Bishkek.

    In the afternoon we will have a city tour in Bishkek. The tour includes Panfilov Park, Ala-Too Square with the National History Museum, and monuments to national hero Manas, writer Chingiz Aitmatov and another Kyrgyz hero Kozhomkul. We will also visit Osh Bazaar, where you can buy some souvenirs or take photos of the hustle and bustle.

    In the evening we have farewell dinner in a nice restaurant. Overnight in hotel.

    Park Hotel or similar

  • Day 15
    Bishkek - Departure

    Today it’s time to say a fond farewell to beautiful Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan. Our driver will provide your transfer to Bishkek International Airport. We hope you enjoyed your trip and will return soon to explore more of Central Asia.

What's included

  • Breakfast

  • Dinner

  • Equipment

    Personal equipment (e.g. sleeping bag, mat)

  • Guide

    English speaking tour leader accompanying the group for the whole time

  • Transport

  • Hotel

    Accommodation based on double / twin room sharing Four people accommodation in a yurt

  • Transfer

    All transfers by mini bus according to the itinerary, from/to airport

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