Explore Kyrgyzstan’s stunning mountain landscapes and nomadic culture on horseback with this 7-day Kyrgyzstan Nomandic Culture Tour of Bishkek and the area around Son-Kul Lake. Only in summer can you really discover the traditional lifestyle of the nomads who live in the yurts and the shepherds who herd their livestock on mountain pastures. The unique feature of this tour is the chance to travel in the traditional style – on horseback. Stay in yurts by the lake; get to know the locals over a cup of the traditional drink, kumis; photograph the landscapes, flora, and fauna; and try traditional foods.
Kyrgyzstan Nomandic Culture Tour descriptions
Bishkek, Kyzart village, Tuz Ashuu, Tulpar Tash,Tuulga Tash
Get confirmation 3 days before the departure date
Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing in hotels and homestays, and 4-6 people sharing in yurts (except at Tuulga Tash, where 2 people share one yurt);
Local, English-speaking guide;
Meals as per itinerary (7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners);
Entrance and ecological fees per the itinerary;
Transport (type of vehicle depends on the group size);
Bottled drinking water (1 litre per person per day);
Horses, horseman, and assistants on days 3, 4, and 5;
Horses for carrying luggage on days 3, 4, and 5.
Single accommodation (unless you pay the single supplement to have your own hotel room);
Tips for driver, guides, and horse assistants (although they would be appreciated);
Alcohol and soft drinks;
International or domestic flight tickets before or after the tour;
Visa support or visa consular fees (if required);
Camera and video fees (if required);
Personal travel insurance;
Any deviation from the itinerary;
Optional activities like the folklore show on Day 6.
Arrive in Bishkek early in the morning. Upon arrival at the airport, meet your guide and transfer to the hotel for early check-in and breakfast. Rest until 12:00, then have lunch at a local café. In the afternoon, take a guided city tour, starting with a visit to the Manas Monument, which commemorates the Kyrgyz people’s main national hero. Walk around Ala-Too Square to see the changing of the Guard of Honour (if happening on the day), visit the Kurmanzhan Datka Monument, the main governmental buildings, and the Old Square with Government House. Take a short excursion to Victory Square and visit Osh bazaar (closed on Mondays). Transfer to the hotel. Free time, with own arrangements for dinner. Overnight at the hotel. Driving distance: 30 km (45 min)
Day 2, Mo: Bishkek – Burana Tower – Kyzart village
Breakfast. Drive to Burana Tower, all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins of this important trading point on the Great Silk Road, visit the small museum, and see a collection of balbals (ancient Turkic tombs). Continue to the village of Kyzart, with lunch on the way. Walk around this typical Kyrgyz village and then listen to an introductory talk about tomorrow’s horse-riding. Dinner and overnight at a local homestay. Driving distance: 280 km (6-7 hours)
Day 3, Tu: Kyzart – Chaar Archa – Tuz Ashuu
After breakfast, transfer by vehicle to the starting point for the horse-ride (14 km) and then ride to the Tuz Ashuu pastures. Enjoy magnificent views of the Chaar Archa pastures, along with a picnic lunch. Ascend to Col Tuz Ashuu (3,228 m), then continue towards Tuz Ashuu, which is surrounded by imposing mountains, to get your first look at Son-Kul Lake. Arrive at the lake and descend to the Tuz Ashuu pastures (3,050m), passing several shepherds with their herds of sheep and cattle. Meet the family of shepherds that will welcome us to their yurt camp. Yurts are the traditional dwelling of Central Asia’s nomadic people, consisting of a wooden frame covered with several layers of felt. They can be constructed quickly, making them practical for nomads who move around. Their interiors are often decorated with felt carpets and traditional embroidery. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp. Driving distance: 14 km Horse-riding distance: 16 km, including 1,100m uphill and 200m downhill (4-5 hours)
Day 4, We: Tuz Ashuu – Tulpar Tash
Breakfast. Transfer to Tepke village to take a farm tour and then have lunch by the Jyrgalan River. Optional: 1 hour of horse-riding. Continue to Karakol, a small but interesting town with traditional Russian architecture. The town was established in the middle of the 19th century and became an important garrison settlement in the region. Just before reaching Karakol, visit the museum of the Russian explorer, Nikolai Przhevalsky. Then take a sightseeing tour of the town, including the Dungan Mosque, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the historical museum. Have dinner with a local Dungan/Uighur family. Overnight at a hotel. Driving distance: 130 km / 3-4 hours
Day 5, Th: Tulpar Tash – Kambar Ata – Tuulga Tash
After breakfast, ride 18 km across beautiful landscapes where you’ll see shepherds’ yurts. Although there are no trees or even bushes around the lake, the altitude and climatic variations mean that you will still see exceptional flora and fauna. This includes fields of edelweiss and forget-me-nots, and many different species of birds, such as ducks, cranes, storks, mergansers, coots, plovers, golden eagles, and cormorants, as well as thousands of seagulls. Have lunch at Kambar Ata Yurt Camp. Сontinue riding to Tuulga Tash pasture. Dinner and overnight at a yurt camp. Hiking distance: 18 km, including 0m uphill and 0m downhill (about 5 hours)
Day 6, Fr: Tuulga Tash – Bishkek
After breakfast, leave Son-Kul and take a scenic drive back to Bishkek, through one of the most spectacular areas of the Tien Shan mountains, Kalmak Ashu Pass (3,446m). Have lunch on the way with a local family. Arrive in Bishkek and check-in to the hotel. Time permitting, visit the local department store, ZUM, to buy some souvenirs. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant. Overnight at the hotel. Driving distance: 350 km (6-7 hours) Optional, subject to agreement among the group: Folklore show at a local restaurant Especially for you, local musicians will play the national melodies of the Kyrgyz people and show you their musical instruments. Enjoy the singing and the charming melodies of our ancestors.
Day 7, Sa: Bishkek – departure
Breakfast, followed by hotel check-out (by 12:00). Free time until the transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Departure. End of the tour. Driving distance: 30 km (45 min)Driving distance: 150 km / 3 hours
No Credit Cards required. Book With Flexibility. If your plans change, you can easily change the date or cancel the tour.