Conditions: Every participant should have: warm clothing, rain jacket, trekking boots, sleeping bag. Weight of personal gear is unlimited.
Trip around Lake Issyk-Kul
Service: Full board and lodging in hotels and tent camps, guides, interpreters, and transportation during the entire trip and full expedition services.
Lake Issyk-Kul is the soul of Kyrgyzstan. Once seen, it will make you wish to return again and again. Issyk-Kul valley is a unique place, with micro-climates there ranging from desert to extreme continental. At the entrance to the valley is a desert; rainfall amounts in this region are no more than 100mm a year. Then, moving further up the valley, we see the climate getting milder and damper. Thus, on the opposite side of the valley, in Karakol, the climate is damp continental. In Kyrgyz language, Issyk-Kul means "hot lake". From ancient times it has been called this because it never freezes. Issyk-Kul is the second largest alpine lake in the world (after Titicaca in South America). This mountainous lake is situated at 1,609m above sea level.
The second interesting place we will visit is Lake Kara-Kul, 12.5km from the main road from Balykchi to Karakol along the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. Our route follows the Ak-Terek River towards to Ordo-Kuchar creek (9km) and then along the shore of Issyk-Kul lake (3.5km).
Kara-Kul Lake sits at 1,628 m above sea level; its length is 700m, width 400m, is 300m distance from Issyk-Kul and is seperated from the Lake by a beach.
Kara-Kul looks much like the Dead Sea in Israel, and it's water is also bitterly salty and possesses medicinal qualities, a result of the many hot mineral springs at the bottom of lake; like the Dead Sea, you can float on the surface motionless due to the salt content. Any view of the lake and surrounding areas is very picturesque, the flora of which appears as a desert landscape. There are many wild ducks living on and around the lake. And we see very beautiful views of this area from the top of the Terskey Ala-Too Mountain range.
This tour will show you one of the best places in Kyrgyzstan, our nature and nomadic lifestyle.
Day 1. Arrival in Bishkek. Accommodation in mountain hotel (30km from Bishkek).
Day 2. Transfer (90km) from Bishkek to Kegety gorge, excursion to waterfall. Transfer (7km) to Kelter-Kegetinskij gorge. Night in tents. Road to the gorge runs along the Kyrgyz range. There is wonderful view of peaks from the road. Kelter-Kegetinskij gorge is a lateral branch of the main gorge of Kegety, but it is more beautiful and interesting.
Day 3. Hiking follows the upper reaches of the Kelter-Kegetinskij gorge to a beautiful mountain lake, at 2,600m. Our route runs along the picturesque lake and then along easy slopes. The lake is a bright turquoise color. Descent to the lake. Night in tents.
Day 4. Transfer from Kelter-Kegetinskij to the unique salt lake, Kara-Kul. En-route, visit to the Burana tower, a historical monument from the 10th century, and Kok-Mojnok canyon, with phenomenal red rock formations. From Kelter-Kegetinskij gorge we continue our trip along the Kyrgyz range. Then through the Boom gorge we arrive in the Issyk-Kul valley, at the entrance of which lies a desert; rainfall amounts in this region equal no more than 100mm a year. Then, passing Balykchi, our road lies along the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. Night in tents.
Day 5. Transfer to Tamga village. After lunch, rest at Issyk-Kul lake. Night in guesthouse.
Day 6. Excursion to waterfalls (30m and 100m high) in Barskaun gorge. Easy path along the gorge to the lower small waterfall. For those who would like to see the large waterfall there is path along the slope. Return to guesthouse for lunch, excursion (20km) to the site "Fair", swimming in Issyk-Kul Lake on a red sand beach. Night in guesthouse.
Day 7. Hiking in Tamga gorge, on the way visit to Tamga-Tash (stone with historical inscriptions, 6th - 1st centuries B.C.), ascent to the upper reaches of Tamga gorge to the forest zone, descent along Tamga gorge to Tamga village. Night in guesthouse.
Day 8. Transfer to Dzety-Oguz gorge. Visits to nomads' yurts. Night in tents.
Day 9. Hiking to the upper reaches of Dzety-Oguz gorge for sightseeing of Dzety-Oguz walls (5,181m). Night in tents.
Day 10. Transfer from Dzety-Oguz gorge to Semenovskoe gorge (on the north side of Issyk-Kul Lake. Night in yurts. Acquaintance with nomadic life of shepherds. En-route, visit to Przhevalski museum, Russian church and Dungan mosque in Karakol city.
Day 11. Transfer from Semenovski gorge to Bishkek, on the way visiting the museum of local lore and petroglyph museum in Cholpon-Ata city. Night in hotel.
Day 12. Excursion around the city, shopping.
Day 13. Return home.