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Equestrian tour in the Tien Shan is a unique opportunity not only to visit the Tien-Shan Mountains and the high-mountain Son-Kul Lake, get acquainted with the life of local Kyrgyz nomads, taste the national Kyrgyz cuisine but also a unique opportunity to touch the history of the caravan routes of the Great Silk Road.
You will stay in various accommodations.
This program is designed for confident riders. Every day you have to ride horses for 10-15 kilometers and spend 4 to 7 hours on horseback. This is an exciting and amazing journey through the Tien Shan Mountains, overcoming mountain passes, crossing fast rivers, high-mountainous jailoo, and gorges.
Your journey will be filled with the culture and life of nomads, you will feel like a medieval rider, knight, or merchant on a long caravan route. Here is the freedom - no cities, no settlements, no Internet and the benefits of civilization, only you, your horse, the earth under your feet, the sky over your head, and the wind in your hair.
Meeting at the airport and transfer to Shamsy gorge. On the way, you will visit the historical-architectural complex “Burana Tower” (IX – X AC). Then you will go to the gorge called Tuura-Kayin where the cooks, guides, horses and the setout are going to wait for you. Lunch and acquaintance.
The ride to Shamsy gorge will take you about two hours and this will be enough for the first day. This ride is good for the acquaintance of the group, checking of the physical form and riding skills. Also, it’s good for getting acclimatized as Tuura-Kayin gorge is located at the height of about 2100 meters above sea level and your further riding will be on height much bigger than this one. You will have dinner upon arrival. Overnight in tents.
In the morning after breakfast, the team will divide into two. The cars will go around the Kyrgyz range through Tokmok and Kemin towns, through Boom gorge and Kochkorka village onto Sarala-Saz pastures to get everything ready for the moment you arrive.
As for you, you will go at first to the merge of Eastern Tuyuk and Shamsy rivers and then along the Shamsy gorge to the same-named pass (3570 meters). The trail is going along the river with crystal clear water, along the fir-tree forest, through the meadows full of flowers.
On the way you are able to see many different birds, sometimes deer and mountain goats but already above the forest zone. A little higher there is snow but here you may find mountain turkeys, ubiquitous crows, and eagles soaring high in the sky.
You will go slow and stop whenever you would want to take photos. The team will organize a little picnic on the way. The descent is going to go by talus and alpine meadows. There’s no forest on the other side of the ridge and won’t find it anymore along the whole trip except for a few groves at the rivers, and juniper bushes on the slopes.
The camp is going to be at a height of 3000 meters. Here, there are no bushes only meadows and hills. Here are lots of edelweisses. Herds of horses, sheep-like dark clouds graze on the green slopes. On the East beneath you will be able to see villages, fields, and roads. To the West go same green meadows and they seem to go somewhere to the sky.
On the South there are summits and behind them, there is the aim of your trip – Lake Son-Kul. On the North – Kyrgyz ridge from where you will come. Dinner. Overnight in tents.
After breakfast, you will go to south-west. Along the slope not losing height you will go to the river called Eastern Karakol. The cars will go down to the villages to go around the mountains and come to the shore of the river across Buchuk pass (3400 meters) first to cook dinner for you. There on the very shore of the river, they will put the camp.
On the way, if you are lucky you will be able to try kymyz – Kyrgyz national drink made of mare’s milk and of course Kyrgyz national bread – lepyoshka. Here, in Kyrgyzstan, if you won’t try the bread you are given you may offend the host as bread here is considered to be the symbol of Kyrgyz hospitality. You will get to the camp in the evening. Dinner. Overnight in tents.
Today your aim is to go over the Buchuk pass. In the morning the cars will leave you and will be waiting for you on the other side of the pass. Your trip will take about 4 hours. The river valley here is marshy. Here every year one may watch the life of a big marmot family. It’s very interesting how they play, fight, repair their burrows and just lay with their bellies to the sun.
You will have a lot of free time today and if you desire you may have a little walk to gumbez – the grave of one unknown Kyrgyz noble. It’s quite destroyed but still makes an impression. Dinner. Overnight.
The aim of this day will be horse riding over the Saryk pass and go down to Kochkorka-Soyok road not far from Kyz-Art pass (2664 meters). Today it’s going to be your last camp on the way to Son-Kul Lake as on the day after you will already overnight on the shores of the lake.
Here the yurts are everywhere. The herds of horses, cows, and sheep. There are no trees, no bushes only grass, and further up there are talus and rocks. Dinner and overnight in tents.
Today you will finally come to the lake. After breakfast, you will get on the horses and start to go. A very long trip is waiting for you today. You will have to go over two passes: Chaar-Archa and Tyuz-Ashuu down to the northern shore of the lake. There you will meet with the cars.
Son-Kul is a big alpine lake. Its height is over 3000 meters above sea level, the climate here is very severe. In winter the thickness of the ice is about 1 meter. You may see a lot of waterfowl. All the shores are covered by edelweiss but there are many other flowers too.
Again many yurts on the shores of the lake and animal herds, but sometimes you are able to see one difference here – camels. Along the shores there are hills. In winter it gets really cold here and that’s why in November you will not see even one person here. Dinner. Overnight in tents.
Today you will go on the other side of the lake along its western shores and come to yurts the host of which will be waiting for you. The road is going to be difficult, swamps, rivers, steep ascents and descents but finally it is going to change into the flat western shore.
Again you will see the yurts and maybe try tea with lepyoshka (flat bread) and kymyz. Then in the yurts, the full meal will be waiting for you and the joy from the fact that you did it! You will say goodbye to your guides and enjoy the evening on the shores of an amazing alpine lake. Today you will overnight in yurts.
Today the return to Bishkek is waiting for you. After breakfast, you will say goodbye to the host and start off to Kochkorka where you will have lunch and then go straight to Bishkek. Upon arrival, you will be accommodated in Asia Mountains Hotel where we will have a farewell dinner in the evening.
Departure. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
It will require physical abilities and endurance, special clothes, and shoes. You also need the necessary gear: a small backpack, warm clothes according to weather, snack, and water. Physical activity takes several hours a day with rest breaks.
You must have skills of being in the mountains, horse riding or cycling, the ability to use special equipment like trekking poles; the ability to move along more complex mountainous terrain, to cross small rivers, etc. Active programs are full of physically active days.
This horse riding holiday is available as a group or private tour (with at least four participants). If you are interested in having your own tour with your chosen date, please send an inquiry to Hotel Asia Mountains.
The nature of the Tien Shan is unique. Forests are found here only at the beginning of the route, but green hills in summer and bright yellow in autumn are simply mesmerizing with their beauty and endlessness. A huge number of small streams and rivulets glisten in the sun inviting everyone to try their crystal clear water originating somewhere very far away from huge majestic glaciers.
Huge flocks of sheep, cows and horses scurry up and down the slopes sometimes so far from the shepherd's house that it seems that it is here, in a mountainous country called Kyrgyzstan that wild herds are still preserved peacefully grazing on the mountain slopes under protection of Mother Nature.
The culmination of your trek will be Son-Kul Lake located over 3000 meters above sea level reflecting the blue sky and the emerald green hills surrounding it. Here, from early summer to mid-October modern nomads live in their yurts grazing cattle on the jailoo.
Here is a different life - measured, calm, no one is in a hurry and you should not be. All you need is to breathe deeply forgetting about problems and affairs, forgetting about the bustle and city chaos, enjoying the beauty of nature and its perfection. The Tien Shan Mountains are waiting for you to give you energy and leave amazing memories!
Full board meals are included.
The Kyrgyz food used to be seasonal. In the summer it was vegetables, berries, and fruits, and in winter the diet was mainly of dairy food and meat. Kyrgyz people eat mutton, horse meat, beef, camel meat, goat meat, and yak meat. Mutton and horse meat are especially appreciated.
At the moment, many tourists come to Kyrgyzstan and the local population, adjusting to it, cooks more lenten dishes. You can easily find vegetarian food, but you should definitely try national dishes such as Besh-Barmak, Manti, Shorpo, Dymlama, Kazy, Pilov, Ashlyam-Fu, Samsa and Kuurdak.
Nowadays there is no problem with finding drinks. You can easily find all you want in shops: from water to coca-cola lite. But usually, people drink tea in families. In such destinations as Son-Kul, Tash-Rabat, high in the mountains you will be offered kumys (traditional drink from horse milk) or shoro (grains drink).
There is no problem with alcohol. You can easily find beer or more strong drinks in shops. The only thing is that alcohol drinking in public places is forbidden.
Manas International Airport
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