Chon - Kemin is a picturesque valley tucked away in the northern reaches of the Chui oblast. It sits near Boom Gorge, between Bishkek and Lake Issykul, and is known for its beauty, traditional lifestyle, and accessibility all throughout the year. This tour takes you into the valley for horseback rides, rafting, and hiking adventures. We then make our way back to Bishkek via backroads, exploring lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs on the way. Don’t forget your swimsuit, hiking boots, and sunscreen! The temperatures you’ll encounter on this tour range from sizzling red rock canyons and hot springs all the way to the icy waters of the Chon-Kemin River and Kol-Tur Lake.
Day 1 | Bishkek
Transfer to Bishkek and arrive at guesthouse for breakfast and time to rest. This day you will be able to go on a city tour of Bishkek to see Oak Park and Ala-Too Square.
Oak Park is an old park full of oak trees, open air sculpture exhibition, and monuments. It’s a peaceful area to absorb stories and artifacts of Kyrgyz history while walking under the shadow of big oak trees. The enclosed cabins of the ferris wheel at nearby Panfilov Park provide breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
Ala-Too Square is surrounded by the main attractions of Bishkek city. You will be able to see the main historical characters of Kyrgyz nation, visit the museum, see the white house, and observe citizens enjoying the expansive space that is regularly decorated by the city.
Lunch and Dinner will be at national cafés.
Day 2 | Bishkek – Chon – Kemin
Today we are going to Chon-Kemin, it will take 2.5 hours by car. Accommodation will be in a guest house. Chon-Kemin is a wide, open valley with a rushing river through the center. We will go on a horse ride up into the mountains on the southern side of the valley and have a picnic. Dinner will be back at the guesthouse. Weather depending, we may be able to go camping in the mountains for the night.
Day 3 | Chon-Kemin - Rafting
In the summer, the Chon-Kemin river can be navigated by raft. You can choose a level of rafting, but the instructor will also be present to guide and give instruction. The rafting takes about 3 hours. Afterward we will go to eat lunch in a traditional roadside stop on the old highway, where they are known for making an excellent “katama”, a flaky bread made of layered philo dough. Then we’ll head back to the guest house in Chon-Kemin for showers, resting, and dinner. Again, depending on the weather and interest of the group, camping in the mountains can be organized.
Day 4 | Chon-Kemin – Konorchek Canyon
This day we will leave Chon - Kemin and go to Konorchek Canyon, sometimes referred to as the “grand canyon of Kyrgyzstan”. It is about 45 min by car to the trailhead, then we hike about 1 hour to get Konorchek canyon. This is a hot hike, so we will take plenty of liquids, but good clothing and sunscreen for sun protection are a must.
After Konorchek we will visit the Burana Tower at Chui Valley, a minaret from the 11th century. It is an important historical tower from the Silk Road period. Climbing to the top is possible by a dark, narrow, stone staircase that opens up to a 360 view of the Ala-Too range.
The next destination is Kegeti Waterfall. It is visible from the road and is only a 5 minute walk from the car. Its pretty rarely climbed, but this is a very accessible climbing area for those that would like to explore around the waterfall.
After visiting the waterfall we will head over to the other side of the valley to stay at the guesthouse in Kegeti. (no wifi or internet access this night).
Day 5 | Kegeti – Kol-Tor lake
After breakfast, we will hike to Kol – Tor Lake, which sits at an altitude of 2733m, almost 900 m above the guesthouse! The hike is pleasant, following creeks, meandering through forest, and covered with wildflowers from top to bottom. After Kol-Tor we will return to the guesthouse for lunch, then drive to Issyk-Ata to relax in their hot springs.
From Issyk-Ata we return to Bishkek and accommodations in the guesthouse. Have a dinner and rest.
Day 6 | The Day of Alamedin
We start the day with a hike in Alamedin Gorge. This hike is only 30 km from Bishkek but seemingly transports visitors to another world. We will hike for about and hour and half to reach a hidden waterfall, with charming panoramas and the occasional grazing horse along the way.
After returning from the gorge we can visit Alamedin bazaar, a little smaller and tamer than the renown Osh Bazar, but known for its photogenic displays of fruits, breads, meats, honey, spices, and every other tasty delight that Kyrgyz people love to eat.
Lunch will be a picnic in the gorge, and for dinner we will take part in a traditional Kyrgyz cooking lesson, which of course we can enjoy from when it is finished.
Day 7 | Ala – Archa
After breakfast and a rest at the hotel, we will go to Ala-Archa National Park. A short drive from Bishkek, Ala-Archa is a beautiful place for basking in fresh air and nature, with beautiful spruce trees, striking mountains, a rushing river, and for those that wish hike, a dazzling 25-30m waterfall.
On the way back to the hotel, we will stop by Osh bazaar to take a look at the souvenir stalls.
Dinner will be at a Kyrgyz ethno restaurant, known for their shashlyk (barbequed meat) and natural, traditional style of decor.
Day 8 | Departure
Transfer to airport and departure.
- Meeting at the airport
- Accommodation in guest house according to the program
- Full Board meals during the entire program
- Transport according to the program
- English speaking guide during the whole program
- Entrance expenses to all trips concurring to the program
Cost doesn’t include:
- International airfare to and from Bishkek
- Cost of visa and consular administrations
- Personal costs in lodgings
- Any changes to the program