KYRGYZSTAN NOMADIC LIFE TOUR
Join the Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Life Tour and discover how the local people work in harmony with the land and resources that sustain them. On this tour you will meet passionate local service providers who are dedicated to creating a sustainable future for tourism in the area.
You will enjoy the quiet charms and warm hospitality of the Kyrgyzstan people and experience a nomadic life including sleeping in a yurt beside the alpine lake of Song Kul. We will soak up the hustle and bustle of oriental bazaars as well as taking time to explore Kyrgyzstan’s green, modern capital, Bishkek.
A highlight of this tour for many is the chance to take part in workshops of Felt and Yurt production and learning how to cook Kyrgyz cuisine. This is an authentic travel experience that will leave lasting memories for all who take part.
Day 1 – Arrival in Kyrgyzstan
Today you will arrive in Kyrgyzstan. Having completed customs and immigration you will be met by a local driver and transferred to your hotel for the evening. There are no activities planned for today so you can either relax at the hotel or explore the local area.
Overnight at Bishkek Hotel
Day 2 - Bishkek to Jaichy
You will meet up with your guide and driver this morning in the lobby of the hotel to begin the drive to the southern shore of Issyk-Kuk. On the way we will stop to visit the old town of Balasagun and the Burana Tower. Its construction dated from the 10th to the 11th century. We stop for lunch in a local road side cafes (payable locally), where it maybe possible to taste the local bread called Kattama. Our next stop is in Kyzyl-Tuu, where the local masters make the wooden parts for the yurts. A local artisan will show you how to make the wooden parts of a yurt and you may even get to experience this yourself. We arrive at the yurt camp in Jaichy Gorge and have dinner. Tonight you will experience overnight in yurts as the nomads do. (Driving today - 320 km, 5-6 hours of driving)
Overnight at Jaichy Yurt Camp (BD)
Day 3 - Jaichy to Tamga
Enjoy your breakfast in the yurt camp. This morning you will be learning about the Eagle hunters known as Kusbergi or Berkutchi. A local hunter will talk about the process of breeding and training Eagles. There is also the option to take a hike (about 3 hours) to Boz- Salkyn panoramic viewpoint. For those who don’t want to do a hike, there is time to explore the nomad’s life in the camp. In the afternoon we continue the trip to Tamga village (about 1 ½ hours of driving). The village of Tamga is located on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake and if you have brought your swimmers, then it is possible to have a swim in the lake or just walk along the wild beach. Dinner and overnight in the yurt camp.
Overnight at Tamga Yurt Camp (BLD)
Day 4 - Jety-Oguz
You will have breakfast in the yurt camp before we take a hike from Svetlaya Polyana to Jety- Oguz. This is an easy walk that should take about 4 hours hike and you will enjoy the beautiful views of the lake and mountains. We will have a picnic lunch on the way, before arriving at our yurt camp for the evening. Dinner and overnight in the yurt camp.
Overnight at Jety-Oguz Yurt Camp (BLD)
Day 5 - Jety-Oguz to Karakol
There is time for a morning walk in the surrounding area before we transfer to Karakol. We visit the famous red rock formation and Dungan Museum in Yrdyk village and learn more about Dungan ethnicity. We will enjoy lunch with a local Dungan family. Upon arrival in Karakol, we will take a city tour visiting the Russian Orthodox Church, the Muslim Mosque and the Museum of Przhevalsky. Tonight we have dinner along with an Uighur family, and the host will cook a local dish called Lagman. Perhaps the most famous and fundamental part of the local cuisine, lagman is a specialty noodles dish. Starting from a dough ball, these noodles are hand-pulled and hand-cut, a labour-intensive process of repetitive stretching and pulling. (Total distance today 40 km, 1 hour of driving)
Overnight in the family guesthouse. (BLD)
Day 6 - Karakol to Kochkor
An early start this morning as we visit the Sunday animal market, and experience the local trading culture. Our journey will continue to Kochkor village, located along the northern shore of Issyk-Kul. Issyk-Kul lake is the second largest mountain lake in the world. Issyk Kul means warm lake and it was given this name due to the fact that it does not freeze in the winter due to its high salt content. This is a vast body of water stretching to a length of 200km and being 60km wide at points. We will take a boat excursion (1 hour) on the lake before we set off for our accommodation in Kochkor, a family guesthouse. The group will visit a women's cooperation called “Altyn Kol” (Golden Hand) and you can take part in a felt production master class and buy beautiful felt art handicrafts from the local artists. We have dinner at the guesthouse. (Total distance today - 290 km, 5-6 hours of driving)
Overnight in the family guesthouse. (BLD)
Day 7 - Kochkor to Song-Kul
The group will travel to Song-Kul today (150 km, about 3-4 hours of driving). There are plenty of activities available here, depending on your preference. You can go on a day hike in the mountains, meet local shepherds and observe the shepherd's way of life. If you would like to experience horse riding this can also be arranged. For riding we arrange for a local stableman as your escort. It is possible to watch Horse Games competitions. (all payable locally and subject to availability)
Overnight in the Song-Kul Yurt Camp (BLD)
Day 8 - Song-Kul to Chon-Kemin
The morning is fre to explore or enjoy the surroundings. After lunch we will transfer to Chon- Kemin Nature Park. This national park is one of the most picturesque parts of Kyrgyzstan. More than 700 species of plants can be found here and rare mammals such as snow leopard, brown bear, maral, Eurasian lynx, golden eagle, Himalayan griffon vulture, bearded vulture, saker falcon and sablefly are also found. Upon arrival we will get comfortable and have dinner in the local family guesthouse. (Total distance today - 270 km, 4-5 hours of driving)
Overnight in the family guesthouse. (BLD)
Day 9 - Chon-Kemin to Bishkek
After breakfast, you will learn to cook the local bread known as Boorsok before we continue on the final part of our trip back to Bishkek. On arrival we will take a city tour visiting the Historical Museum, Ala- Too central square and other centrally located sights. After the city tour, we will transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (Total distance today - 160 km, 2-3 hours of driving)
Please note: Departure flights should be booked for this evening. We can arrange an extra nights accommodation in Bishkek if required. Contact us for details.
Get in touch with Our Local Tour to book the Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Life Tour
13th June to 21st June 2023
19th July to 26th July 2023
1st August to 9th August 2023
Price - £1695 per person (based on two people sharing)
Single Supplement - £185
Included in the Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Life Tour
Not Included in the Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Life Tour
Government Travel Safety Advice
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice. Please refer to the COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry.
Kyrgyzstan - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kyrgyzstan
Visa and Passport Information
If you are visiting Kyrgyzstan, your passport should be valid for six months from the date you arrive.
Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting if you think that your passport does not meet both these requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You do not need a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan if staying in Kyrgyzstan for 60 days or less on a British passport.
Travelling with medication
Most UK prescriptions are accepted in Kyrgyzstan but you should check in advance with individual pharmacies. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
Medical facilities in Kyrgyzstan are not as developed as those in the UK. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
What to bring on the Kyrgyzstan Nomadic Life tour
Lightweight clothing which can be layered is adviseable as well as general warm clothing. A light rain coat is also important. Laundry will not be available in most places.
Lightweight comfortable shoes/trainers and/or walking boots.
Luggage while on your tour
Please allow yourself one main piece of luggage and a day-sack. Remember, you are expected to carry your own baggage, so don't overload yourself, a soft wheely bag may be easier to manage than a suit case.
We recommend a sunhat, sunscreen, a torch, insect repellent and a waterbottle. A solar charger for your phone and other electronics is a good idea.
The currency in Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyzstani som. This is different from the Uzbekistan Sum and they are not interchangeable. Aside from the Kyrgyzstani som, no other currency is officially accepted in Kyrgyzstan. Major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, and Amex are accepted in Kyrgyzstan, especially at shops and restaurants. Having some Kyrgyzstani som banknotes could help for small purchases and tipping. You can typically exchange currency at a bank or exchange bureau.
Use of electronic devices
For Kyrgyzstan there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Kyrgyzstan operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Local Laws and Customs
Kyrgyzstan has a secular constitution. Most Kyrgyz people are Muslims. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. Lack of cultural sensitivity has caused trouble for some unaware foreign nationals.
Possession and use of drugs are illegal. If you’re found guilty, you could face a lengthy prison sentence in basic conditions.
Taking photos of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities. You must carry your passport, or a notarised copy of it, at all times. The police can arrest you if you do not carry ID. Homosexuality is legal, but not often discussed or recognised publicly. You should take care over public displays of affection.
Time zone in Kyrgyzstan (GMT+6)
In Kyrgyzstan, mobile internet is inexpensive and fast enough to do research and stay in touch with people. 3G is available in the major towns. Bishkek has plenty of coffee places with wi-fi and your accommodation should have decent wi-fi too.