Clients depart from home towards the capital of Kirghizia, Bishkek. Clients need to be in the hotel in Bishkek before November 19 – 8am. We schedule for this time the introductory meeting with your tourleader in our hotel in Bishkek. This will give your leader the chance to introduce you with your fellow participants, give you the latest information on this trip and to tell you more about the daily routines. If you like to come in earlier please contact the RBT office which will gladly help with extra hotel bookings.
After an early morning arrival in Bishkek we depart immediately towards the splendid regions south of Issyk Kol. The drive will take most of the day but we will make several stops en-route to photograph the breathtaking scenery. Today we will have our first looks over the Issyk Kol Lake. Issyk Kol is the second largest saline lake in the world and although it is surrounded by snowcapped mountains the lake never freezes, hence its name ‘hot lake’ in the Kyrgyz language. Before reaching the lake we stop in some very interesting spectacular dry mountains which are perfect for some landscape photography as they contrast heavily with the nearby river with its green vegetation. In the first city at the Issyk Kol Lake we meet local salespeople selling dried fish, showcased beautifully on a wooden rack. Upland and Long-legged Buzzard together with Chukar will be most probably the first birds. In the afternoon we arrive in our lodge.
We enjoy breakfast in our lodge, after which we leave in the morning together with several hunters fully dressed in traditional clothing and marked horses for the first Golden Eagle hunt. We will have 3 days with these amazing hunters to photograph their hunts and ways of life. This will be an unforgettable experience!
These Berkutshi are hunting in traditional ways and are trained by their fathers from an early age. They tend to their cattle during the summer months but during the winter they hunt for rabbits, foxes and sometimes even wolfs. They sell the fur that they gain from their hunts to survive the winters and earn an extra income.
We continue our venture further east towards the largest city in eastern Kyrgyzstan, located close to the border with China. We arrive in this former Russian military outpost, now called Karakol, in the early evening. The amazing guesthouse in Karakol will be our home for the coming three nights.
Today we drive up to great heights with an excursion to the Chon Ashuu pass which is the highest pass we visit during this tour in Kyrgyzstan. With a dazzling 3822 meters we go today way past the tree line and look for a rather special set of flora and fauna. The nearby wild streaming river holds both White-bellied and Brown Dipper. Lammergeyers are patrolling the sky. The lush meadows are home to one of the strangest waders of the world; the elusive Ibisbill. Himalayan and Brown Accentor’s are quite common up here. The gorgeous White-browed Tit Warbler needs some more time to be found just as his colorful friend the Güldenstädt’s Redstart! In the evening we return to our lovely guesthouse in Karakol where we enjoy another flavorful dinner.
We start our day with a short drive towards the site of Yeti Oguz where the name derives from the rock formation’s resemblance to seven bulls and a legend about a khan’s, a Central Asian Lord, unfaithful wife! This unique geological formation of sheer cliffs composed of tertiary red conglomerates. The rock formation is a well-known landmark in Kyrgyzstan and is seen as a national symbol. Here we spend the day photographing the site. In the evening we return to Karakol.
Today will be mainly a transport day as we retrace our steps and leave Issyk Kol behind us to return back to the capitol Bishkek. En-route we make a stop at the Burana tower which is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. We arrive in the evening in Bishkek where a nice restaurant and bar will welcome to celebrate the end of a great and memorable trip. As is custom in this former Soviet Union country; a final toast will be drunk on a fabulous tour!!!
After a splendid holiday in Central Asia it is time for us to say goodbye. We say our farewells on the Bishkek Airport from where we fly back home.
**The tour schedule depends closely on internal flights, which may change from the itinerary listed. If so, the itinerary will be altered, with all of the special regions still being visited.DOWNLOAD TOUR ITINERARY IN PDF