Horseback riding along Song Kol Lake in Kyrgyzstan

Horseback riding along Song Kol Lake in Kyrgyzstan
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For centuries horses have been used as helpers for local nomads in moving yurts and cattle to higher pastures. The beautiful alpine steppes are the pantry for the yaks and the shepherds with their families moving higher and higher up in the Tien Shan Mountains. On this trek you will be above 2500 – 3000 m with the horses and enjoy the fantastic nature around the big glacier lake of Song Kol.
The nomadic life was everyday for most Kyrgyz well into the 20th century and the culture is still intact, although today the rhythm in life is semi-nomads and the families live in houses during the winter and the summer is spend in yurt camps . In the meeting with the nomadic families on this trek along the beautiful Song Kol lake right in the middle of the country, we enjoy the open attitude to foreigners and meet them in their home and we their lucky guests.
The needs of the animals and the whims of the weather are the focal points and both make the days unpredictable. The charm of being far away is the epitome of nomadic culture that is deeply rooted in people and animals. Here is only the entertainment you invent yourself and even though the nomads today have all electronic and technical aids, it is as if the world can continue to turn around - here you follow the course of nature. 

Tour highlights:
♦ Song Kol Lake - large alpine lake at an altitude of 3000 m in the Tian Shan mountain range
♦ The nomadic culture - a unique opportunity to sleep in real yurts and get close to shepherd families
♦ The grandeur of nature - endless steppes and towering snow-covered mountains


Day 1 Bishkek - Kochkor
Expected early arrival in the capital, Bishkek, and transfer to a hotel where you can have a breakfast and a rest. Then a short city tour in the center and transfer to the village of Kochkor. Lunch along the way. Possibility to visit a felt workshop. Dinner with a Kyrgyz family. Overnight. -/L/D
Driving: approx. 3 h

Day 2 Kochkor - Kyzart - Kilemche
Early breakfast and then drive to Kyzart for lunch. Here you will meet with the horses and when the luggage is strapped to the back of the saddles we set off towards Kilemche. The first part of the day's ride goes through a huge, relatively flat grassy area and you will have great views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Kilemche is located at 2500m and after about 3 hours ride we arrive at the shepherds' houses, where we will spend the night. B/L/D
Driving: approx. 1.5 h - riding: approx. 3 h

Day 3 Kilemche - Tuz-Ashuu mountain pass
The day offers an adventurous experience: First a challenging ride to TuZ-Ashuu in 3400 m. Here we arrive for a late lunch. The view of Song Kol Lake at 3016 m is breathtaking and the panorama fascinating. The afternoon is free for relaxation, photography, various local games and dealing with the horses. Lunch, dinner and overnight in yurt. B/L/D
Riding: approx. 4-5 h.

Day 4 Tuz-Ashuu - Tulpar Tash
We continue on the horses around Song Kol and along the way we get close to the exciting and alluring culture of the nomads in the area. After several hours we arrive at a nomadic family and we have lunch in the open air. The nomadic families are here from June to September, where the cattle are grazing on the huge meadows (jailoo). Opportunity to taste the famous Kyrgyz drink kymyz, fermented mare's milk. Evening meal and overnight in yurt. B/L/D
Riding: approx. 4-5 h.

Day 5 Kumdu Suu - Tulga-Tash
After breakfast we ride to Tulga Tash on the south shore of Song Kol Lake. "Tulga-Tash" means heart made of stone. In ancient literature, they are also called eight-stone memorial fences, as they consist of 8 altar-like stones arranged in a circle with a diameter of approx. 1 m, which distinguishes them from similar constructions known in the Altai mountains. An exciting acquaintance with the specific local history, dating to the 1st century. B/L/D
Riding: approx. 4-5 h.

Day 6 Tulga Tash - Kumduu Suu
Breakfast and the ride continues along the lake. Picnic with lake views near Song Kol River. The experience of the treasured freedom in the wilderness which is part of everyday life here, gets right under the skin. Once you reached the Kumduu suu jailoo you will be greeted by your hosts with tea and you will feel the hospitality in the summer-warm yurt. Overnight in yurts near the eastern shore of Song Kol. B/L/D
Riding: approx. 4-5 h.

Day 7 Kumduu Suu - Kochkor
After breakfast and the last cup of tea you will ride to Batay Aral, where lunch is arranged with a local family in a yurt. Here you will leave the horses and say goodbye to your friend. The trip back to Kochkor is by car. At arrival in the small village awaits a well-deserved bath. Overnight in a Guest House. . B/L/D
Riding: approx. 3-4 hours - driving approx. 3 h

Day 8 Kochkor - Bishkek
After breakfast we head off to Bishkek. There is time for sightseeing on your own, shopping or relaxing before having a farewell dinner at a local cafe in the heart of Bishkek. Overnight at a hotel. . B/L/D
Driving: approx. 3 h

Day 9 Bishkek - Mana Airport
Transfer (40 min) to the airport for flight departure. 

Good to know: Lake Song Kol or Son Kul is a high alpine glacier lake located at 3000 m. The weather is changeable even in summer and the night temperature drops drastically. There are four mountain passes leading to the lake, situated on a plateau surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks. The nature here and the interaction with the nomads is the ultimate experience of the trip. Bring a dry bag and sleeping bag that can be fastened to the saddle. Possible to leave your travel/city-dress in Kochkor while on trek.

Price Includes:
5 nights in yurt (3-4 people per yurt)
3 nights in guest house / hotel
Full board as per itinerary
Fully saddled horse
English speaking local guide
Transport to / from airport and from / to Bishkek

Not Included:
Flights to / from Bishkek
Meals not mentioned
Drinks and gratuities
Entry fees


Horseback riding along Song Kol Lake in Kyrgyzstan (Rated 4.81 / 5 Based on 94 Reviews.)

No special experience is needed; everyone who is in condition to cope with long Saturday walks in the forest can also cope with these tours. As a rule, the trips are short and at a low altitude. Often, it is your choice to join or skip a day-tour. The routes follow a hilly terrain without steep ascents and descents. Normally we walk 3/5h a day.

Most of you, who are used to walking/cycling during a long weekend, will be in condition to cope with a tour of this level. You should be in a good health condition. We have successive days of longer and more difficult walking and days of lighter walking/cycling. Some parts of the day routes are done at a higher altitude. The paths are in good condition. We walk/cycle for 5/7h a day.

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