Duration: 18 days
Group size: 10+
Dates: 3rd – 21st July 2019
Cost: Approx. £1400 (+ £125 Single Supplement) + International Airfare, approx. £550 with Turkish Airlines
Kyrgyzstan is a country of vast open spaces, majestic mountain ranges, deep gorges and canyons, azure lakes, horses and friendly people. The opportunities for memorable experiences are endless. This trip hopes to fulfil several dreams in one go by providing a variety of experiences which will give us a close look at Kyrgyz lifestyles, culture and take us to places of stunning beauty.
Our trip starts in the capital, Bishkek, with its solid buildings, tree-lined avenues, colourful gardens and statues depicting hard work and endeavour by those who shaped the country. There are plenty of references to the Russian influences pre independence in 1991.
Leaving Bishkek we head to the mountains to the south of Lake Issy-Kul, but not before visiting the lake shore and enjoying the blue waters surrounded by mountains. The ensuing trek takes us through gorges and over passes reaching an altitude just short of 4000m. For the most part we will be camping but we may have the opportunity to stay in yurts. At the end of our trek we transfer to the southern shore of Lake Son-Kul and the start of our horse trek.
The horse plays an important part in the daily lives or rural Kyrgyz. It is a most efficient form of transport across rough, open country, helping farmers to follow their stock as they roam the hills and valleys looking for the best summer pasture. Their presence enhances the landscape as they roam free, galloping in herds with their mains flowing. And, of course, they provide a strange brew of fermented mare’s milk – definitely an acquired taste. The second phase of this trip sees us relying on horse power to take us through some stunning scenery of mountains and gorges, staying with local people in their homes.
Our remaining days in Kyrgyzstan takes us to the south-west for a mixture of amazing sights and cultural importance. This will include the Arslanbob Mountains, whereupon the world’s largest walnut forest grows. This journey leads us to the city of Osh. Archeologists have revealed that Osh is an ancient city, approximately 3,000 years old. Osh, however, is not only unique due to its extremely old age, but also because it was located along the path of the Great Silk Road. Osh city was one of the main trade centers on the route of caravans crossing Central Asia. The Osh oriental Bazaar has remained at its original location on the bank of Ak-Buura River in the center of the town over the centuries. A lot of different goods come to Osh Bazaar from all over Central Asia. One particularly interesting sight in Osh is Suleiman Too (holy mount). Local people often climb the mountain in the belief that it brings absolution and good health. One can see both old and young people alike ascending and descending its face daily.
After two nights in Osh, it is time to go home and we catch our flight from Osh, with a wealth of memories.