Relish in unspoiled nature, stay in nomadic yurt, witness traditional nomad games, and feel the warmth of local hospitality in beautiful Kyrgyzstan – a land-locked country in Central Asia. Located along the ancient Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan is a crossroad for people of various origins and traditions, yet the prevailing culture is that of a nomadic lifestyle shaped by the natural surroundings. Kyrgyz shepherds move around with their flocks of animals according to seasons, living in tent-like homes called yurts; there’s a saying that goes “only in death, when he is buried, that a Kyrgyz stops wandering”.
Depart from Kuala Lumpur International Airport via one transit stop, arrival in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek after lunch, transfer to hotel and refresh. Late afternoon take a stroll in city centre to feel the local vibes.
Head for Chong-Kemin Valley. En-route visit an important point on the ancient Silk Road — the Burana Tower architectural complex, dated back to the 10th century, monuments include a minaret, remnants of a castle, and ancient warrior cemetery. Enjoy lunch near Burana at a Kyrgyz family home. Overnight at home stay in Chong-Kemin, a serene village surrounded by green fields and wild flowers blooming in spring. Enjoy home cooked dinner with host family.
Today visit Cholpon-Ata’s open-air petroglyph gallery. The rock paintings include hunting scenes dated between 800BC and 1200AD. Around noon, arrive at the northern shore of Issyk-Kul, largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, its name means “warm lake”, it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks of Tienshan ranges, but never frozen-over in winter. Chill out by the beach after lunch. Late afternoon arrive in Karakol, visit Przhevalski Museum dedicated to the famed Russian explorer of Central Asia and Tibet. Overnight at Karakol homestay.
Morning visit the wooden church of Russian Orthodox in downtown before proceed to the foothill of Altyn-Arashan, then transfer by trailer bus (kamaz) to ascent 16km to 2435m above sea level. Enjoy picnic and hot spring bath in the mountains. Relish in unspoilt nature, view of rolling hills carpeted by alpine-forest, crystal clear river gushing by, greenery all around. Overnight in a hut or yurt, enjoy the serenity of the mountains, and counting stars at night.
Wake up to fresh air and the sound of nature, enjoy a slow breakfast. Late morning depart from Altyn-Arashan, back in Karakol by lunch time, later, sight-seeing in city center. Sights of interest include Dungan mosque with distinct Chinese architectural designs, bustling local market, and wooden house in old quarter. Overnight in Karakol home-stay, enjoyed home cooked dinner.
Early morning visit the weekly Sunday Animal Market, where various livestock and husbandry tools are sold, and services like fixing horseshoe are available. Later, drive to Jeti-Ögüz Gorge (Seven Bulls), named after huge flaming red rocks that resemble the shape of a bull. After picnic lunch, watch two teams of Kyrgyz horsemen compete in traditional game Buz Kashi; players manoeuvre with a goat’s carcass (replaced with a mould nowadays), and score by putting it into the opponent’s ground. Overnight at Bokonbaevo yurt camp by the southern shore of Issyk-Kul.
Morning explore the Fairy Tale Canyon (Sakzka) shaped by centuries of wind and water erosion. Later, enjoy eagle hunting demonstration, Kyrgyz hunter shows how eagles are trained to be hunting partner. Afternoon visit the village shyrdak workshop to learn how traditional felt carpet are made and participate in the process. At night, watch a traditional folk music performance at yurt camp, and learn about traditional musical instrument of Kyrgyz.
After breakfast, drive to Kara-Bulak in the southern outskirt of capital city. Upon arrival at the eco-camp site in the valley, free time to enjoy various activities, such as arrow shooting and team building games. Later, sweat it out and rejuvenate at smoke sauna bath. After dinner, wait for starry starry night to grace the sky, if lucky, you might spot the milky way.
In the morning, short hike in the eco-camp surrounding hills and waterfall. Later, drive back to Bishkek for lunch. Afternoon, explore Bishkek downtown, among the sights of interest are Central Square Ala Too and Panfilov Park. At night, a wide selection of restaurants for dinner, from local to international cuisines.
Wee hours transfer to airport, board an early morning flight, and bid farewell to Kyrgyzstan. Arrival in Kuala Lumpur at night. End of tour.
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