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Tien Shan Lakes and Mountains: Good combination of trekking and cultural impressions!

Tour Country:



11 days

Price per person:

2000 USD

Tour dates:

Jule 22 – August 1, 2020

Tour description

Tien Shan Lakes & Mountains is an 11-day trekking tour that begins in Bishkek and takes you to some beautiful alpine lakes, gorges, small cities, mountain passes, etc.

The tour starts out by driving to Lake Song Kul, a peaceful alpine lake surrounded by quiet nomadic yurt camps and pristine nature. At the lake you can enjoy some horseback riding, trekking, or just relax and chat with your nomadic hosts. You will also be able to see a demonstration of local equestrian games and competitions. The tour continues by driving to the eastern shore of Lake Issyk Kul to the city of Karakol.

Karakol valley is nearby and that is where all of our trekking begins. As we trek through the Terskei Ala Too Range, you’ll be blown away by its extreme beauty and diversity. During our trek we’ll see the famous Karakol Peak (5,216m) and the beautiful moraine-glacial lake, Ala Kol (3,532 m) as well as cross over Ala Kol Pass (3,800 m). As the cherry on top, we will stop by the Altyn Arashan hot springs where you can lounge in its steaming mineral water! Most nights will be spent around a campfire and in tents underneath Kyrgyzstan’s starry skies.

Special Announcement:

During the 2020 season Supplier SR1401 will have permanent tent camps set up along this entire trekking route. This ensures a number of things:

1)    Your journey will be easier and more comfortable than ever since you do not need to carry any food, tents, kitchen utensils, etc.

2)    This lessens the overall cost of your tour since you will have no need to hire porters, cooks, etc.

3)    Your journey is safer. There are means of communication available at every tent camp.

Tour Program:

Day 1 – July 22, 2020: Airport – Bishkek, Drive 30 km, 1 h.

Upon arrival to the international airport “Manas” you will be met by “Ak Sai Travel” guide. Short drive to Bishkek and accommodation in a hotel. Afternoon city tour.

The capital and industrial centre of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek is a city of wide avenues, handsome buildings and Soviet heritage. The gesturing statue of Lenin can still be seen in the city’s vast central square, yet it is the permanently snowcapped Kyrgyz Alatau mountain range which towers over Bishkek providing a quite stunning backdrop.

We visit Manas Monument, the main national hero of the Kyrgyz people. Then excursion to the State History Museum and walking tour around main Ala Too Square to watch ceremony of changing of the Guard of Honor, Kurmanzhan Datka Monument, main governmental buildings, and finish at the Old Square with Government House. Transfer to the Victory Square to finish the city tour by short excursion there. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Overnight in a hotel.

Meals: dinner.
Accomodation: Hotel.

Day 2 – July 23, 2020: Bishkek – Burana Tower – Lake Song Kul, Drive 390 km, 8-9 h., + 2000 m.

After breakfast depart to Son-Kul lake, on the road make halt on Burana Tower (old minaret) near Tokmok city.


That minaret was constructed in Balasagun town, one of the capitals of Karakhanid State existed in 12 centuries AD. Explore ruins of that important trading point at the Great Silk Road and visit a little local museum telling about that civilization. Also watch a collection of Balbals, Turkic ancient tombs.

After excursion lunch in the family house in Tokmok, where tourist can closer learn about life of local people. In the afternoon continue your journey to Son Kul lake, the second largest mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan.

Upon arrival in the lake basin accommodation in yurts.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Yurts.

Day 3 – July 24, 2020: Lake Song Kul.

After breakfast we will have horse-riding around area, then after lunch you can view horse show.


Today you step into the nomadic life at the Song-Kul Lake. Here, the Kyrgyz people still live in traditional simplicity. You enjoy horseback riding or just hiking, spend time with friendly Kyrgyz families and taste their fresh airan (yogurt) and kymys (a fermented national drink from mare’s milk), also you will view horseshow.

Overnight in yurt.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Yurts.

Day 4 – July 25, 2020: Lake Song Kul – Karakol, Drive 350 km, 7-8 h., + 1300 m.

In the morning you drive to Karakol town situated in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tien Shan. This sleepy but very interesting old Russian town was first erected by Cossacks in the middle of 19th century and became an important garrison settlement.

On the way we will stop in Bokombaevo village. Together with the locals we will learn this ancient handicraft and get closer to the culture of nomads. In Bokonbaevo they specialize in production of huge carpets to cover a yurt or to put on the floor.

Overnight in hotel/guest house.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Hotel/Guest House.

Day 5 – July 26, 2020: Tour of Karakol & transfer to Karakol Gorge, Drive 430 km,7-8 h, +900 m.

Morning short sightseeing tour in the town – Dungan Mosque, Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Prjevalskii Memorial Complex. Lunch in a local café. Then driving to Karakol gorge.

We will visit the museum of N. M. Przhevalski, the outstanding Russian explorer of Asian continent. You visit Dungan mosque, a unique construction in Chinese style, but serving as a mosque. Also you will see an old Russian Orthodox Cathedral made of wood without any nails.

Dinner and overnight in “Karakol” tent camp at 2500m.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Tent Camp.

Day 6 – July 27, 2020: Hike to the foot of Karakol Peak (5,216 m), 16 km. 6-8 hrs, +700 m/-700 m.

Radial hike up along Uyun Tor river to the foot of Karakol peak.

We have a chance to see Tien Shan blue spruce forest, underwood (dog rose, honeysuckle, black barberries, mountain ash, black current, etc. There are mushrooms in the forest. Starting from May there are flowers blooming on the meadows – snowdrops, tulips, primerose, white anemone, alpine Aster, edelweiss (really big ones), etc. We reach the point with a view at the highest peak of Terskei Ala Too – Karakol peak.

Dinner and overnight in Karakol tent camp at 2500m.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Tent Camp.

Day 7 – July 28, 2020: Trek along the gorge to Sirota Hut and Lake Ala Kol (3,532 m), 9 km, 6-8 hrs, +1100 m.

Descent along the gorge about 1 km, later we cross the river over a bridge and the trail leads us into a forest.

Rather long ascent finishes at a steep slope covered with grass, the trail turns into a serpentine, passes by a river overflow, and arrive to an unusual place which is called “Sirota” mountain hut.

It is a log hut. There is a table, benches, fireplace inside. We can find a number of sculptures of animals and idols carved in wood around the hut. It looks like a fairy tale place. It is a nice place to sit down, rest, have a snack.

Later the trail goes up higher, leaving the forest behind we hike along the river and reach a beautiful waterfall, flowing down from Ala Kol Lake.

Dinner and overnight in Ala Kol tent camp at 3600m.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Tent Camp.

Day 8 – July 29, 2020: Trek over Ala Kol Pass (3,800 m), pass Lake Ala Kol, & descend into Arashan Gorge (2,600 m), 18 km, 6-8 hrs, +200 m/-1200 m.

Moraine Lake of Ala Kol stretches from east to west for 2.8km, its width is 500m, and depth 70m. Ala Kol means Colorful Lake in Kyrgyz language. Depending on the light the water might change its color. It can be emerald green, turquoise with white clouds reflected, light green or dark grey, or even black.

During the ascent we enjoy wonderful views of the lake. Arriving closer to the lake we see the main range of Terskei Ala Too with a number of peaks – Aksu, Djigit, Karakol, Oguz Bashi, etc. From the lake edge it will take us another hour and half to the pass.

Descent from the pass along a talus slope, and later across a wide valley of Keldike with picturesque landscapes, herds of cattle and flocks of sheep grazing. Later the trail brings us into a forest again and descends into Arashan valley.

Upon arrival to the tent camp you may use an opportunity to relax in the hot springs. There are thermal baths (up to +50C) in the valley. Possibility to take thermal baths.

Dinner and overnight in Altyn Arashan tent camp at 2600m.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Tent Camp.

Day 9 – July 30, 2020: Altyn Arashan Gorge – Cholpon Ata, Drive 155 km, 4-5 hrs, -1000 m.

There is a resort Altyn Arashan founded 1963, famous for its hot mineral springs. The resort represents several wooden huts located on a big treeless meadow on the right bank of Arashan river.

The Northern slopes of the left river bank are covered with fir trees. It gives an unforgettable picture – dark green trees with snowcapped mountains “Aksu wall” (5022m) in the background. Transfer to Cholpon Ata town.

Possibly to descent over green fields with blooming flowers and crystal mountain springs. The final 5 km of the gorge are very narrow not more than 30 m with high rock walls. At the entrance to the gorge we pass by a village – Ak Suu (the name comes from the hot springs). Here you will take place inside the car. Accommodation in a hotel on the north shore of Issyk Kul Lake.

Dinner and overnight in a hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Hotel.

Day 10 – July 31, 2020: Cholpon Ata – Bishkek, Drive 250 km, 3-4 hrs, -800 m.

Morning, after breakfast, transfer to Bishkek city. Lunch en route. Upon arrival to the city accommodation in a hotel. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Optionally: During dinner we take the unique opportunity to listen to the Manaschi (a singer performing the national Kyrgyz epos, Manas) and see Kyrgyz folklore show. The musicians in traditional Kyrgyz costumes present you a wide range of national musical instruments – starting from Komuz (a three-stringed wooden musical instrument) to Chopo Choi (wind instrument made of mountain reed). You hear the fascinating singing of young Kyrgyz ladies and men and learn more about the traditional music and poetry of Kyrgyz.

Overnight in a hotel.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accomodation: Hotel.

Day 11 – August 1, 2020: Bishkek – Manas International Airport, Drive 30 km, 1 h.

Morning transfer to airport to catch your flight back home.



Single accommodations in hotels – 130 USD /person

Single accommodations in tents – 70 USD /person

Equipment. For this trip you will need the following: 4 season sleeping bag, walking boots, waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket or similar, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, a daypack of around 40 liters, head-torch and batteries, 2 x 1 liter water bottles, sun cream. A down jacket, pair of sandals, swimming suit and walking sticks are recommended.

Luggage allowance on trek: Your baggage on trek will be carried by porters. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 12 kg of personal belongings. 1kg extra – 12 USD per programs. It is possible to leave travel clothes or other items not required on trek in our office – we will deliver them to Issyk-Kul Hotel on your arrival there after BC.

  • • Accommodation in hotels in Bishkek – 3 nights
  • • Accommodation in Amir hotel or Green Yard Guest House in Karakol – 1 night
  • • Accommodation at the Hotel at Issyk-Kul Lake – 1 night
  • • Accommodation in yurt on Son-Kul lake – 2 night
  • • Accommodation and full board (hot food for breakfast and dinner, lunches as snack boxes) in the permanent tent camps along the trek Karakol gorge – Altyn Arashan gorge – 4 nights. (Please note, you do not need to set up your tents, they will be set in advance + cook will be waiting for your with hot meal when you arrive!)
  • • FB during whole program
  • • Escorting Guide during the whole program
  • • Porter service during the trek (*please read about baggage allowance on trek below)
  • • All the transfers according to the program
  • • Entry and ecological fee
  • • For groups of 6+ people:
  • • Horse-games show (on Son-Kul lake)
  • • Horseback riding (half day on Son-Kul lake)
  • • Folklore show
  • • Demonstration in Bokombaevo production of huge carpets.
Does not include
  • • Visa support & fees (if necessary)
  • • All optional activities listed in the tour itinerary
  • • Beverages & meals not included in the tour menu.


Fixed price per person


  • Jule 22 - August 1, 2020

About the company

We work to ensure that tourists who come to Bishkek have an opportunity to learn better our city, people and nature. We do our best to improve all services.