DAYS 41 – 56: KYRGYZSTAN
Leaving Uzbekistan behind, you will make your way into the magical mountain kingdom of Kyrgyzstan!
Once you have crossed the border you continue your overland journey to Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan’s Ferghana Valley – if you are delayed at the border you may stay in the closer town of Jalalabad instead.
You will spend the next 3 days overlanding through the stunning and remote Kyrgyz Ferghana Valley, stopping often to admire the views and perhaps take some impromptu hikes in the hills and countryside, and wild camping en route.
Your next stop in Kyrgyzstan will be the incredible Song-Kul Lake where you will spend two nights in traditional felt yurts. You will have free time here to explore the area and to enjoy some optional activities including hiking, horse-riding or watching a game of goat polo!
From Song Kul your next stop will be the small village of Kochkor where you will stay in local family-run guesthouses and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz hospitality! While in Kochkor you will also visit a small museum and women’s felt making cooperative that produces ‘shyrdaks’, the felt carpets for which Kyrgyzstan is renowned. You may also have the opportunity here to see some excellent local musicians playing traditional Kyrgyz folk music and to see how a yurt is put up!
From Kochkor you will drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul and up into the mountains to the alpine trekking region of Jeti-Oghuz. En route we will have an included demonstration from a local ‘eagle hunter’. You will then have a free day to hike in the incredible scenery here, or take an optional horse ride with some of the local nomads.
From Jeti-Oghuz you will head to the Russian-style town of Karakol where you will have a free afternoon to explore and relax. You will then drive to the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul and visit the ancient petroglyphs at Cholpon-Ata before continuing to the beautiful area of Chong Kemin where you will have two nights and a free day to explore and hike in this stunning area or to get involved in an optional white water rafting excursion.
A short drive will take you to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, with the opportunity to visit the Burana Tower en route. In Bishkek you will have spare time to explore the city.
From Bishkek you will return to Kochkor for another night, before continuing on to Tash Rabat, once a key staging post on the Silk Road. During your time here you will visit an ancient caravanserai and have some time to explore the surrounding area. In Tash Rabat you will either wild camp or your tour leaders may choose for the group to stay in local nomadic yurts near the caravanserai, sleeping 8-10 people per yurt.