Kyrgyzstan is a land-locked country in Central Asia, located along the ancient Silk Road, 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”. Kyrgyzstan rewards visitors with unspoiled nature, hospitality, and free spirit of nomadic traditions. In summer, high plateau pastures (jailoo) and lakesides are dotted with nomad tents, it is the best season to experience nomad lifestyle.
Wee hours depart from Kuala Lumpur International Airport via Dubai, arrival in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek in the afternoon, transfer to hotel. Late afternoon take a stroll around city center.
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 home cook meal near Burana at a Kyrgyz family home. Overnight at guesthouse in Chong-Kemin, climb a nearby hill for panoramic view of the valley.
Drive to Issyk-Kul region. En-route visit Cholpon-Ata’s open-air petroglyph gallery. The rock paintings include hunting scenes dated between 800BC and 1200AD. Afternoon arrival in Karakol, visit Dungan Mosque (Chinese Muslims), dinner at Dungan family-run kitchen, learn more about the minority community’s history and culture. Overnight at Karakol home stay.
Take a converted trailer bus to Altyn-Arashan located at altitude 2435m, known as Little Switzerland. Enjoy the greenery, fresh air, and hot spring bath in the mountains. Overnight in yurt camp, enjoy the serenity of the mountains, and counting stars at night.
After breakfast, one may opt to trek or take the trailer bus again downhill. Back in Karakol city for lunch. Later, visit the century-old Russian Orthodox wooden church, and take a stroll in the local market. Overnight at Karakol homestay.
Drive to Jeti-Ögüz Gorge (Seven Bulls), named after huge flaming red rocks that resemble the shape of bull. Visit the Kök-Jaik area (Valley of Flowers), view of undulating hills carpeted by pine forest. Later head to the southern shore of Issyk-kul, on the way visit Skazka canyons, admire rock formations shaped by wind erosion. Overnight at a yurt camp, after dinner, enjoy a folklore show.
Eagle hunting demonstration in the morning, learn how local hunter trained eagle as partner. After lunch at yurt camp, drive to Kochkor Village, visit a handicraft workshop, and learn how Kyrgyz felt carpets ( ala kiiz & Shyrdak ) are made. Overnight at home stay in Kochkor, enjoy home cooked meal.
Transfer to summer pasture near Kyzart pass for lunch, which is also the starting point for 2-day horseback trip to Song Kul. Cross Kyzyl-Kiya jailoo (summer pasture for nomads). Continue over Chaar-Archa Pass (3061m), with views of the holy Baba-Ata Mountain (4400m). Follow the trail to Kilemche Jailoo, dine and sleep in yurt camp.
Spend the morning climbing to Jalgyz Karagai pass (3400m), enter the lake basin. The trek offers superb views of grassland and mountain ranges. Lunch stop at Jaman Echki, which is also the end-point for horse riding. Later transfer by car to yurt camp by the lake shore for stay.
Rest and relax by the lake side. Watch or participate in everyday life of shepherds: milking cows; making national milk products like kymyz (fermented mare’s milk) or airan (a sour dense milk product); tending sheep and cattle. Stroll along the lakeshore, play local sports. Overnight in yurt camp.
After breakfast, transfer by car to Bishkek (6 hours), upon arrival hotel check-in. Later, free and easy, one may opt to do last minute souvenir shopping at the malls or opt to visit a local spa center for a unique scrubbed down experience. Dinner self-managed.
Wee hours transfer to the airport, board an early morning flight, and bid farewell to Kyrgyzstan. Arrival in Kuala Lumpur at night. End of tour.
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