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From the Saddle

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11 days, 10 nights

June 01, 2020 —
October 01, 2020

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Adventure through the backcountry and see more remote regions of Kyrgyzstan by joining this ten-day tour that focuses around horse trekking and horse rides.  Tread the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, meander along pristine valleys, and savor the time in some of the most beautiful areas of the country.


Day 1 | Bishkek

White Leopard guides will meet you at the Manas International Airport and provide transfer to a hotel in Bishkek. (30 km, 40-50 min).  After having some rest, we will visit the main Bishkek city attractions, including Ala-Too Square, green parks, an open air art gallery, the Historical Museum and others as time allows.  All destinations are located close to each other and afford a personal engagement with this emerging, post-Soviet capital city. 

Day 2 | Bishkek – Ken–Suu

Drive from Bishkek to Ken Suu village on the eastern side of Lake Issykul, about 6 hours (403,8 км)

After having lunch, ride horses to Kel-Tor lake. The lake is located at an altitude of 2725 meters above sea level and was formed as a result of an earthquake. The water in the lake has a beautiful turquoise hue but is quite chilly.  Potential swimmers will discover water that reaches a peak temperature of 5 degrees in the summer!

Overnight at a guest house or camp near Kel-Tor.

Day 3 | Koroo-Karagai

Ride the horses from Kel-Tor to an area known as Koroo-Karagai.  This is a beautiful place to visit with tall spruce trees surrounding from all sides.  Few tourist itineraries reach out to this area, so the chances of encountering other travelers is small. 

We will have lunch on the trail, then head back to Ken-Suu village.

Overnight in Ken-Suu at a guesthouse.

Day 4 |  Ken-Suu – Karkyra 

Setting out early from Ken Suu, today’s trail goes to Karkyra through Santash.

San-Tash Pass is  translated as “counting stones”. One of the legends about the adventures of Tamerlane is connected with this place:  before the outbreak of a campaign, Tamerlane ordered his soldiers to each lay down one stone in one place.  When they returned, each surviving soldier retrieved the stone that he had placed.  Those stones that remained became a monument to soldiers who did not return from the campaign.

After crossing the pass, the Karkyra Gorge opens up, right on the border between Kyrgyzstan and the Kazakh Republic.  It is named for the cranes that make a stop there in the summer and early autumn during seasonal flights.

We will have lunch enroute, and spend the remainder of the day exploring Karkyra. 

Overnight in a camp at Karkyra.

 Day 5 | Sary-Jazz

After breakfast we will go by car to the Sary-Jazz valley via Turuk.  This route will provide a beautiful view to Han-Tengri, a pyramid-shaped peak that sits at the intersection of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and China.  In the valley we can take a short horse ride or walk along the beautiful river Sary-Jazz (Yellow Spring).  The length of the river is 198 kilometers, but of course we won’t follow it that far.

Overnight in a camp at Sary-Jazz.

 Day 6 | Jyrgalan Valley

Starting out fresh from Sary-Jazz, we will drive to Jyrgalan valley, about 80 km away.   Jyrgalan is famous for its verdant pastures, rolling hills and abundant wildflowers.  There are numerous trails and roads for horse rides or hiking, and along the way you can meet local people, drink tea, and talk.  We will ride to the waterfall Kok-Bel, a refreshing destination during a summer afternoon. 

Overnight at a yurt camp in Jyrgalan.

Day 7 | Jyrgalan – Djeti-Oguz

After breakfast we will drive to the Djeti-Oguz gorge, which sits west of Karakol (176 km from Jyrgalan).  This is one of the must-see places in Kyrgyzstan. The gorge is 37 km in length and is covered with lush vegetation during the spring and summer.  Its name translates as “Seven Bulls”, which refers to a monumental ridge of red rocks that is often photographed in the late afternoon, when the nearing sunset brings out the color of the rocks.

In the gorge you can let us know what you would like to do.  There are hikes to see the “Valley of Flowers” and Kok Dzayyak waterfall.   We can also ride horses to Dragon Gorge for even better views of the red rocks.

Afterward we will continue driving to the village of Tamga and overnight in a yurt camp by the lake.

Day 8 | Tamga and Tosor

Today we will take a little break from horses to explore the village and relax near lake Issyk-Kul.  Tosor has one of nicest sandy beaches near the lake, and many people find it easy to spend the day relaxing, swimming, and picnicking while listening to the waves lapping at the lake’s edge.  If you are not a lake person, we can arrange for optional trips into Barskoon Valley and down to Skazka Canyon.  Barskoon Valley has a splendid waterfall to visit, though it is a 1.5 hour uphill hike to get close enough for the impressive photos. 

We will overnight at a guesthouse in Bokonbayevo, just an hour or so down the road from Tamga.

Day 9 | Bokonbayevo - Son-Kul

Our next destination is Son-Kul Lake in the Naryn province. We will camp on the shore of this alpine lake, the second-largest in Kyrgyzstan (after Issky-Kul).  Son-Kul sits at an altitude of 3,013 m, so the nights are cold and there is usually snow until July!  Families from surrounding regions send their livestock to the lake in the summer for “jailoo”, and with the tourism industry an abundance of white yurts have popped up along the western end.  Edelweiss, forget-me-nots and a plethora of purple asters blanket the ground.  Time depending, we can take a sunset horse ride up into the hills for a higher view of the lake before dinner.

We will overnight in a yurt.

Day 10 | Son-Kul – Bishkek (380 km.)

After breakfast you will be free for a few hours.  You can ride horses, walk to the stone paintings, or just bask in the vastness of Son-Kul.  After an early lunch we will go back to Bishkek, a 5-6 hour drive. 

Accommodation in Bishkek at a guest house.

Day 11 | Departure

Transfer to the airport and goodbye!

Cost includes:

·        Accommodation during the whole program
·        Meals during the whole program
·        Horse
·        English speaking guide during the whole program
·        All the transfers according to the program
·        Entry and ecological fee

Cost doesn’t include:

·        Visa support and visa fee (if necessary)
·        International airfares
·        All optional rejections from the main route
·        Drinks and dishes not included in the main menu

Become one with your steed while exploring the vast and beautiful potential that lies in the further reaches of Kyrgyzstan’s natural landmarks and destinations.

For trip you need:

·        waterproof jacket and trousers
·        backpack
·        sunglasses
·        sun cream
·        warm clothes
·        hat for sun protection
·        hat warmth


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