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The Nomad Trek in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan

Trekking Map

On this classic trekking tour, we will guide you through the unique nature of Kyrgyzstan. We follow the paths of the nomads from Shamsy Valley to Son Kul Lake.
High valleys, steppes, rivers, high mountain lakes and passes over 3,000 m are characteristic of this tour. On the way we meet friendly nomads on their summer pastures, enjoy the wide mountain landscapes and experience the diverse and dreamy landscape of Kyrgyzstan.
The highlights of the trip are the hike to the high mountain lake Son Kul, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the Issyk Kul lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world, where we can relax on the beach for the last days of the trip.

You can expect a moderately difficult tour that requires physical fitness but is technically easy to master.

Trip Details

Day 1: Arrival in Bishkek, briefing, sightseeing and welcome dinner
Arrival in Bishkek and drive to the hotel. After a break, we explore the bazaar and the center of Bishkek on a small city tour. Then we end the day with a welcome dinner and enjoy traditional Kyrgyz cuisine. Overnight in Hotel Ramada or similar category, (D).

Day 2: Drive Bishkek to Shamsy Valley (2,000 m) – approx. 3 hours’ drive and 2 hours hike
We will be driven to the Shamsy Valley and meet the rest of our support team there. Then we hike for about 2 hours and reach our first camp on the bank of a river. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 3: Trek to Shamsy Pass (3,200 m) – 6 hours hike
After breakfast we continue our hike along the river. On this easy hike, we ensure that our body adapts to the altitude. Today’s camp is at the foot of Shamsy Pass. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 4: Crossing the Shamsy Pass (3,570 m), to the summer pasture of Sarysaz (3,150 m) – approx. 5 hours hike
Today we will cross the first pass on our route. The beginning is quite easy, the second part leads up quite steeply. We see magnificent flower meadows and with a bit of luck we can observe ibexes. On a wonderful path it goes downhill to the summer pastures of Sarysaz. Now we are in the land of the nomads and meet many yurts and their inhabitants. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 5: Sarlysaz to Karakol River (3,080m) – 6 to 7 hours
We hike in a wide valley with some yurt camps, herds of sheep and horses. Enough time to meet locals and get to know their lives. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 6: Crossing the Boutchouc Pass (3,400 m) to the Soek River (2,800 m) – 5 to 6 hours hike
After breakfast we hike towards the Soek River, cross the Boutchouc Pass and reach our camp. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 7: Day at Soek River Camping Site – Participate in nomadic life
Today we spend time with the nomads and learn how to cope with their everyday lives. We will also have the opportunity to try some of the delicacies such as kymyz (fermented mare’s milk), kaymak and nomad bread. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 8: From Sandyk to Jumgal Valley 3,540 m – overnight at 2,500 m
We circle the Sandyk mountain along the river and climb to the Saryk pass at 3,540 m. The mountains of Son Kul are not far anymore. We hike down the Jumgal valley, another beautiful valley where nomads have pitched their summer camps. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 9: Jumgal Valley to the Kilemche Mountains (2,500 m), over the Tcharatcha Pass (2,900 m) – 6 hours hike
We cross the Kochkorka-Chaeck road near Kyz-Art (2,664 m) and walk over the Tcharatcha Pass (2,900 m) to get to the Kilemche mountains to our current camp. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 10: From the Kilemche mountains to the north side of the Son Kul lake (3,000 m) – 4 to 5 hours hike
We cross the Tuz Ashou Pass (3,225 m) and hike downhill to Son Kul, a pearl of Kyrgyzstan. The high mountain lake Son Kul is framed by snow-capped mountains and offers a very special backdrop with the yurts, numerous horses, yaks, sheep and cows. We spend two nights in a yurt to learn more about nomadic life. Overnight in the yurt, (B|L|D).

Day 11: Hike around Son Kul Lake and free time – 3-4 hours hike
A day of hiking in these beautiful surroundings. Overnight in the yurt, (B|L|D).

Day 12: Drive from Son Kul to Issyk Kul Lake
Transfer to Lake Issyk Kul, the pearl of Central Asia. The afternoon is free to swim and relax. Our camp site is near Ak Say Gorge. The terracotta color of the gorge stands in breathtaking contrast to the blue color of the lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains. Overnight in tent camp, (B|L|D).

Day 13: Visit Skazka Gorge and relax at Issyk Kul Lake
Today we drive a vehicle for about 1½ hours and then 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 number of ridges in the canyon are compared to the Great Wall of China. From noon you have time to relax or swim by the lake. Overnight in tent camp on the lake shore, (B|L|D).

Day 14: Drive to Bishkek – 330 km and about 5 hours drive
Today we are going to Bishkek. The afternoon is at your disposal. Overnight in Hotel Ramada or similar category, (B).

Day 15: Flight back home
It’s time to say goodbye to Kyrgyzstan. Farewell and drive to the airport, (B).

We reserve the right due to special events, force majeure or from make changes to the program due to weather conditions.

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

German guided tour
English guided tour

Duration: 15 days
Costs: € 1.990 per person
Group size:
Min. 4 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only four persons)
€ 210 for single room, for hotel overnights only


  • Airport transfer
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Three meals during the trekking tour
  • Breakfast and hotel accommodation in Bishkek
  • Drinks (water, tea, coffee) and snacks during the tour
  • Luggage transport by horses
  • Comfortable camping equipment (shared tent, shower tent, camping toilet)
  • High quality tents for double use
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Local escorts during the tour (guides, cook, driver)
  • City tour in Bishkek
  • 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: 15 days
  • Holiday Type: Camping Trek
  • 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: 1.990,00 
  • Single room supplement: 210,00 €
    for hotel accommodation only