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Kyrgyzstan – Son Kul and Issyk Kul Yurt Trek

Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan

Trekking Map

One of the best ways to experience the country is hiking to the unique Son Kul Lake (the second largest mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan) and Issyk Kul Lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world.

On this tour you will stay in traditional nomadic yurts which are awesome. Enjoy the view of the summer pastures (jailoos) in the middle of the Tian Shan Mountains. After a sightseeing tour in Bishkek, the path will lead us to the impressive red mountains and gorges of Kizyl Oi. Then it goes to the untouched mountains at Son Kul Lake. We continue to the small town of Karakol and to the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, with its crystal clear water, sunny beaches and thermal springs. Here you will relax on the sandy beach after the trek and experience the great mountain panoramas.

This trek is an ideal introduction to the magnificent and outstanding mountain landscape of Kyrgyzstan and its unique nomadic culture.

Trip Details

Day 1: Arrival in Bishkek (800m)
You will be picked up from the airport by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. After checking in, you will have time to rest. In the evening we will discuss the details of the trip with you and take you out for a welcome dinner. Overnight in Hotel Ramada or similar category, (D).

Day 2: Sightseeing in Bishkek and preparation for the trekking tour
The whole day is devoted to the Bishkek City Tour. You will visit Pobeda Square (Victory Square), Duboviy Park (Oak Park), Central Ala-Too Square, Historical Museum, National Philharmonic, and many other attractions. A visit to the Asian bazaar should not be missed either. This bazaar is very colourful and loud. People sell all kinds of goods there. During a tour you will have the opportunity to take a lot of photos. Welcome dinner awaits you in a local restaurant. Overnight in Hotel Ramada or similar category, (B).

Day 3: Drive to Kyzyl Oi (1,500m) – 5 hours drive / 230km
In the morning we start our journey to Kyzyl Oi. The road leads through the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. During your transfer you have a breathtaking view of the impressive mountains and gorges. Enjoy the overwhelming panoramic view from the Töö Aschuu Pass, which is more than 3,000 meters high. You will spend this night with a host family. The hosts will prepare a tasty dinner for you. Overnight in the guest house, (B|L|D).

Day 4: Drive to Kyzart via Kyzyl Korgon (2.100m) – 3 hours drive / 120km, later 2 hours hike
In the morning we drive to the village of Kyzart with a detour to the Kyzyl Korgon Gorge. The sight of these red mountains is absolutely breathtaking and there is no better way to end the day. During your transfer you have a wonderful view of the impressive mountains and gorges. Overnight in yurt camp, (B|L|D).

Day 5: Trek to Kilemche (2,600m) 5 to 6 hours hike
Today the hiking boots are laced. The trek takes us to Kilemche. We cross the Kyz Art pass (3,405 meters). While the vegetation in this region is green in spring and early summer, it will be less green at the end of July, but still very fascinating. Overnight in yurt camp, (B|L|D). Difference in altitude: + 500 m / – 430 m.

Day 6: Trek to Song Kul via Tuzashuu Pass 3.229m approx. 4 hours Hike
After breakfast you will ascend to an altitude of 3,480 m to the mountains “Tuzashuu”. The unique panorama at Son Kul Lake is fantastic. On a gentle descent we will see many yurt camps scattered around the lake. Overnight in yurt camp, (B|L|D). Difference in altitude: + 750m / -220m.

Day 7: Drive to the south side of Lake Song Kul – hike to the Moldo viewpoint (3,500m), 1 ½ hours drive and 4 to 5 hours hike
Life at Son Kul Lake is very interesting; the Kyrgyz shepherds have their jailoos here, the summer pastures. On our hike we visit nomads and can try delicious local dishes with them. Try real nomad beer «Kumys» (fermented horse milk) and the Kyrgyz sheep cheese – Kurut. On the way we visit the ‘Stones of Manas’, where you will be told the traditional stories of the ancient Kyrgyz athletes. Afterwards you go on a hike to the Moldo Aschu mountain range, which is about 3500 meters high. Overnight in yurt camp, (B|L|D).

Day 8: Drive to Issyk Kul (1,600m) – 280km / 5 hours
In the morning you will be driven to the city of Kochkor. The path leads through an impressive gorge, and then you drive over Kalmak up the Aschu Pass, which is 3,448 meters high. In the Kochkor you will spend some time with a family who will show you how the famous national felt carpets are produced in different work steps. You will also visit a small handicraft museum. Then drive to the heavenly Issyk Kul Lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world (1,608m above sea level). Dinner and overnight in yurt camp, (B|L|D).

Day 9: Day hike into the Fairy Tale Valley (1,700m) – 2 to 3 hours, demonstration of a traditional eagle hunt
Today we hike to the “Skazka” gorge. This impressive canyon is called “fairy tale” because of its bizarre rocky landscape. The wind has formed fabulous sculptures and formations in the rock here since time immemorial. Some of these formations in “Skazka” were named after well-known objects because of their similarity. For example, a series of ridges in the canyon is compared to the Great Wall of China. We’ll have a picnic there. In the afternoon on the way back we meet a local eagle hunter. It gives us impressive insights into traditional eagle hunting. There are still some people in the villages who practice this ancient way of hunting. They train young eagles and falcons to hunt with them in the mountains in winter. The demonstration is extremely exciting and spectacular photos are guaranteed. Keep a safe distance from the magnificent animals because the kings of the air, even when tamed, can be dangerous. We drive to our yurt camp on the beach and enjoy the lake and the silence, (B|L|D). Difference in altitude + 100 / -100m.

Day 10: Relaxation day on the beach of the yurt camp at Issyk Kul
Today is free. The sandy beach at the yurt camp is breathtakingly beautiful with a fantastic view of the snow-capped peaks on one side and the opposite side with rocky red mountains. After Lake Titicaca in South America, Lake Issyk Kul with 6236 km² is the second largest mountain lake in the world. It is 182 km long, 60 km wide, up to 668 m deep and is 1607 m above sea level. The lake is also called the “Heart of Tian Shan / Central Asia”. To the north of the lake lies the Kungej Alatau mountain range, and to the south the Terskej Alatau range. A total of 118 rivers flow in Issyk Kul. The main tributaries are Jergalan, Tjup, Karakol, Juku and Jethi-Ogus. Overnight stay and meals in yurt camp, (B|L|D).

Day 11: Drive to Bishkek – 330km and about 4 to 5 hours drive
Today we drive back to the capital Bishkek. This time we will drive along the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kul. After this trip we saw this big lake from all perspectives. The farewell dinner will be in a restaurant in Bishkek. Overnight at the Hotel Ramada, (B|L).

Day 12: Flight back home
It’s time to say goodbye to Kyrgyzstan. Farewell and drive to the airport, (B).

Legends: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

German guided tour
English guided tour

Duration: 12 days
Costs: € 1.590 per person
Group size:
Min. 4 persons(all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only four persons)
€ 290 for single room, for hotel overnights only


  • Airport transfer
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Three meals during the trekking tour in yurts
  • Breakfast and hotel accommodation in Bishkek
  • Drinks (water, tea, coffee) and snacks during the tour
  • Luggage transport by horses or vehicle
  • High quality tents for double use
  • Local English speaking trekking guide
  • City tour in Bishkek
  • All land transfers in private vehicle
  • First aid equipment

Not included

  • International flight
  • Additional tours and meals, which were not mentioned
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
  • Personal bills
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency, evacuation and loss, theft of luggage or damage to luggage and personal effects)

For entry into Kyrgyzstan, German, Swiss and Austrian citizens no longer require a visa for stays of up to 60 days. The passport should be valid for at least three months (from the date of entry) and proof of the corresponding return or onward travel documents (tickets) should be kept. Child entries in the passport of a parent are no longer valid, each child requires a separate identity document. For the onward journey to Uzbekistan or Tajikistan always a valid Uzbekistan entry visa is required, which must be applied for in the country of origin.

A travel health insurance (with salvage costs) is essential for your own safety and a prerequisite for booking our trips. In the event of an accident in the mountains, which makes a helicopter necessary, this will not fly until the full cost assumption has been clarified.
Absolutely recommended is the conclusion of a travel cancellation insurance. Especially flights at bargain prices are usually not free of charge to change or cancel. Also, in Kyrgyzstan, complications could occur with the weather, with your health, etc., which force a break in the journey.
We have asked the ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to put together different performance packages for you. You can book the appropriate travel health insurance for you at www.reiseversicherung.de

Please note: ERGO insurances are recommended for travelers resident in Germany and Austria. Other citizens are required to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their country.
Please note that geoDiscovery Tours only recommends the booking of travel insurance via ERGO to its guests and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the traveler and the insurance provider. It is up to every traveler to book his travel insurance via the ERGO or another provider.

Standard vaccines for adults, vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and polio, possibly also against whooping cough (pertussis), measles, mumps, rubella, influenza (risk groups) and pneumococci (over 60 years old) are recommended. As travel vaccinations, hepatitis A, long-term or special exposure are also recommended for hepatitis B, typhoid fever, TBE and rabies.

Currency in Kyrgyzstan
The national currency is the Kyrgyz Som (KGS). Invoice is 1 € = 79 som, as of 06.08.2018.

Money and Pay in Kyrgyzstan
In banks and exchange offices Euro and USD can be changed. If possible, you should only bring newer banknotes in perfect condition, as notes with small cracks or dirty banknotes / wrinkled ones are often not exchanged. Small banknotes (5, 10 and 20 euros) are often exchanged only for a slightly worse course. Banks and hotels usually accept Visa and MasterCard. Elsewhere credit cards are rarely accepted, but in Bishkek and Osh ATMs are available for easy cash withdrawal.

Getting there
Kyrgyzstan has two international airports; Bishkek (Manas airport, airport code FRU) and Osh (airport code OSS).
The onward journey is usually by car or by bus.

Accommodation and conditions
The transport takes place in private vehicles. Overall, the roads are sometimes bad, except for some major routes. At the Chinese and Tajik borders, however, extensive work is being done to build new roads. Depending on the tour, accommodations take place in hotels, with host families or in Yurten camps.

Standard of hotels and accommodations
The hotels booked by us are good and correspond to quite middle, western standard. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel kitchen is adapted to Western eating habits and their food is harmless to enjoy. It can sometimes lead to power outages or for a while no hot water available. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and endeavors to the welfare of each guest.
During the tent tours you will be accompanied by a cook, the kitchen helpers and the pony guides. They spend the night in two-man tents. There is also the kitchen tent, the stay tent and of course the toilet tent.
At the Yurt Treks/Tours the local families will cook for you. Sanitary facilities will not always be functional. Here is the understanding of the guest asked.

Tour program
The travel program is optimally coordinated for all trips recommended by us. However, it may happen that in the travel destination without prior notice roads must be closed or become impassable due to climatic events. It may also be that due to traffic congestion or fuel shortage several hours of waiting arise. It may also mean that access to attractions is blocked. Our guides are prepared for such situations and will endeavor to achieve all program items to the satisfaction of the participants. Therefore, the inconvenience is usually limited. Nevertheless, it should be noted at this point that the reasons mentioned can force program changes at any time. The constraints of such changes are beyond the responsibility of the organizer. The resulting costs are borne by the traveler. We ask for your understanding.

Please note that our trips are not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Trip Details

  • Duration: 12 days
  • Holiday Type: Yurt Camps
  • Best trekking period: Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Max Altitude: 3.600 m
  • Group size: Min. 4 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of four persons)
  • Tour guide: English-speaking trained Kyrgyz mountain guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 1.590,00 
  • Single room supplement: 290,00 €
    for hotel accommodation only