Kyrgyzstan – Mountains, Lakes & Nomads

Holiday Highlights

  • Travel the old Silk Road
  • Magnificent mountain scenery
  • Probably the remotest and most untouched Ffestiniog destination
  • Learn about the history of Central Asia
  • Immerse yourself in its daily life and culture
  • Family run or locally owned accommodation
  • Friendly welcome guaranteed
  • 12 days from £2,995pp
Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:

Thursday 4 July to Monday 15 July 2024

Kyrgyzstan is a remote mountainous country bordering China and forms part of the Old Silk Road. Much of its rural population is still nomadic and this tour gives us the chance to understand their history and way of life whilst marvelling at the magnificent scenery in which they live.


Days 1 & 2 – Bishkek

Flight from London via Istanbul to Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. Transfer to our hotel where, after a morning’s rest, we have a light lunch followed by a guided city tour. Evening meal at our hotel.

Day 3 – Ala-Archa Gorge

We visit the Ala-Archa Alpine National Park south of Bishkek for a picnic lunch and short optional walk. Dinner once more at the hotel where we also enjoy an “Elechek Show” of traditional Kyrgyz women’s head dresses and costumes.

Day 4 – By Train to Lake Issyk-Kul

By train from Bishkek to Balykchy, a five hour journey through mountain and “canyon” scenery. Balykchy is at the western end of the large Lake Issyk-Kul, the northern shore of which is a favourite summer resort area for Bishkek’s city dwellers. Cholpon-Ata is one such resort and we have an overnight here.

Day 5 – Kyrchyn Gorge & Karakol

Karakol is the main town at the eastern end of the lake but we take a side trip en route to visit the remote Kyrchyn Gorge, the ancient meeting place of the Kyrgyz tribes and the traditional home of the World Nomad Games. In Karakol we see the Chinese influence in the pagoda shaped mosque and the magnificent wooden Russian Orthodox Cathedral. We are now just 93 miles from the Chinese border.

Day 6 – Jeti Oguz

A day trip to the Jeti Oguz (7 Bulls) sandstone rock formations which guard the alpine valley south of Karakol. Return to Karakol for overnight.

Day 7 – Golden Eagles & Mountains

Travel along the remote south side of the lake for more amazing sandstone scenery. We visit a family which shows us how yurts are constructed and decorated as part of the domestic industry and a local man teaches us how they still hunt with eagles. We then continue our journey further into the mountains to Naryn (6,500ft high) for an overnight stay.

Day 8 – Tash-Rabat

Visit one of the finest examples of 15th Century stone caravanserai (roadside inns) on the Old Silk Road and close to the Chinese border. We are now at 10,400ft and the rest of the habitation in this area consists of the familiar yurts which the nomadic people take to their summer pastures. Return to Naryn for overnight.

Day 9 – Lake Son-Kul

Journey along a winding road through alpine pastures, where herds of yak roam freely, to the beautiful lake at Son-Kul (9700ft). We have lunch in a yurt with a nomadic family before continuing to Kochkor for an overnight stay.

Day 10 – Kemin Gorge

A morning’s drive brings us to what is without doubt the remotest accommodation on Ffestiniog Travel’s long list of far-flung destinations. The Kok Archa Guest House is some 3kms up a rough track from the village of Tar-Suu but we are assured of a warm welcome and excellent food. The afternoon is free to either walk in the valley or simply relax and enjoy the solitude which only a remote spot like this can bring.

Day 11 – Return to Bishkek

A visit to the Burana Tower, all that remains of an Old Silk Road Fortress town, en route back to Bishkek where we are treated to a BBQ evening meal in the garden of our hotel.

Day 12 – Bishkek to London

Mid-morning flight from Bishkek, arriving London late afternoon same day.

What to expect on this holiday

We are confident that this holiday is unique amongst “package holidays” sold in the UK. All accommodation is clean and comfortable with en-suite in all bedrooms but 5-star it is not. Kok Archa, for example, has no mobile phone signal but does have internet via cable. Most travel is via minibus, comfortable in itself although some roads are rough – especially to Son-Kul and Kok Archa.

We strongly advise you read the very candid blog by Ffestiniog traveller, David Grosvenor. Please note that David’s point about the long journey from Naryn to Kemin Gorge has been addressed by inserting an extra night at Kochkor. He was also unlucky to coincide with a heatwave – the tour that departed two weeks earlier had a much more comfortable experience, as did the 2023 departure.

Due to the limited number of rooms in guesthouse accommodation, this tour will be limited to 12 persons.

Tour Route


Selected Hotels

Hotel Umai, Bishkek

Light House Hotel, Cholpon-Ata

Amir Hotel, Karakol

Hotel Aska, Naryn

Hotel Olive, Kochkor

Kok-Archa Guest House, Kemin Gorge

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Rail travel as detailed
  • Other travel by private mini-coach
  • All accommodation with en-suite facilities
  • All breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
  • All entrance fees as appropriate
  • Airport and other transfers
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local professional Kyrgyz guide

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,995
Single room supplement: £250
Deposit for this holiday: £300

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

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