Wild Kyrgyzstan – Silk Road by Horseback Trek
Journey to the Djetimbel Valley in the northern part of Kyrgyzstan and join a full-on wilderness expedition into this remote region! In 2019, the expedition will begin from Bishkek and trek thru multiple valleys, crossing the Soek range by the Sarytör pass (4050 m) before returning to Bishkek 8 days later.
This is remote wilderness riding, as wild as it gets. Participants do not need to be experienced horse-riders but must be physically fit and able to cope with up to ten hours riding along river valleys, alpine ridges, and high mountain passes.
Wildfire Expeditions has teamed up with a local provider to offer this exciting trek in August. Come join us to experience the beauty of the Kyrgyzstan on horseback, and also explore the heritage of this amazing region.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan|
|DEPARTURE DATES – AUGUST 2019||August 8th – August 18th|
|WEAR||Sturdy hiking boots, warm trekking clothes, comfortable trekking attire|
|COST||1900.00 SGD per person for 3 people.
1750.00 SGD per person if 4 or more people sign up.
|EXPERIENCE LEVEL||Riding Ability Required: From beginner onwards|
Day 1 Arrival – Acclimatise and Rest at Interhouse Bishkek (or similar)
The trek starts from the arrival to Bishkek where you will have a chance to start acclimatizing. This first day will allow you to rest and relax as you recover from the travel from your home place.
Day 2 Bishkek- Kyzyl Suu
Transfer to the village of Kyzyl Suu via Kochkor village (visit handcraft center) and Kyzyl Tuu village (visit yurt production center) by the wild South shore of the great Issyk Kul Lake, the second largest mountain lake of the world after Titicaca. Dinner and overnight in a family’s house. (1880m.)
Distance (By Car) 370 km. 5-6 hrs.
Day 3 Kyzyl Suu – Ashu Kashka Suu
Today, start your horse trek to the Djuuku Valley, between fields and semi-desert landscape. After lunch, the road goes into an alpine landscape mixed with red stones landscape on one of the old Silk Road tracks. Dinner and overnight in tent at the split of the Ashuu Kashka Suu gorge (2528m).
Distance – 35 km, 5 hours riding
Day 4 Ashu Kashka Suu valley – Djuuku valley
In the morning, you will ride along the long valley of Djuuku; the north side is covered by forest, and the south side is rocky and dry. The valley is dominated by the It-Tish peak, which means “the dog’s head” at 4808 meters altitude. There will be amazing views and camping by a small stunning mountain lake. Dinner and overnight in tent at the foot of the pass Djuuku (3140m).
Distance – 20 km, 6 hours riding
Day 5 Djuuku valley – Djetimbel valley
Today, you cross the Terskey Alatoo range by the Djuuku pass at 3670 meters altitude, the old track used by caravans. Then a flat high valley opens to your eyes. This part of valley was the site of war between Kalmyk and Kyrgyz around 1860, and there are still a lot of bones lying in the grass. You will pass near nice lakes of Chokoli and the Soek Too range with small glaciers. In the mid-afternoon, we will pass across this range by the Djetim Bel pass at 4015m and its small lake. Dinner and overnight in tent, on the South side of the pass. (3580m).
Distance – 27 km, 6 hours riding
Day 6 Djetimbel valley- Ekurgenkël Lake
You ride today along the South side of the Soek Too range and the Taragai river at 3500m and enjoy more stunning views. In the afternoon, you ride up along the Soek river till the Ekurgenkoel lake. Dinner and overnight near the lake. (3628m. alt.)
Distance –26 km, 5-6 hours riding
Day 7 Ekurgenkël lake – Arabel Suu – Tamga
During your last horse-riding day, we cross again the Soek range by the Sarytör pass at 4050m and ride down to lakes of the Arabel Suu high plateau, source of the great Naryn River. From there, transfer to the South shore of the Issyk Kul lake and enjoy a rest on the beach. Dinner and overnight in guesthouse. (1700m.)
Distance –15 km, 3 hours riding
Day 8 Tamga –Bishkek
After breakfast, you will make your way back to Bishkek with a few nice stops along the way. The first stop will be Issyk Kul Lake where you will be able to have a walk along the shoreline and capture the nice view of the area. The next stop will be in a small village where you will be able to see how Kyrgyz people are making yurts in the small village of Kyz Tuu. After lunch, you will pass by the beautiful Burana Tower from the 10-12th century that was built on the Silk Road. Arrival and overnight in guesthouse in Bishkek.
Distance – 330 km (by car) 4-5 hrs.
Day 9 Goodbye Kyrgyzstan
Departure from Bishkek (The individual may choose to extend). Transfer from your hotel to the airport and take the flight back home with the head full of memories…
At this point we will say goodbye to our gracious hosts as the trek is now completed.
|Min Pax||Minimum 3 People, Maximum 8 People. Cost is 1900.00 per person for 3 People. 1750.00 if 4 or more Sign up|
Central Asia is a region which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. The mixture of Soviet heritage and Islam, summer heat and winter cold, religious conservatism, traffic and crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge.
2. DRESS CODE
Though you can see lots of people in traditional clothes, Central Asia has adopted western style clothing as well. Don’t hesitate to pack your usual travel clothes: in summer it can be shorts and t-shirts, sandals etc. We recommend not to bring tank tops/singlets and any types of clothes with bare shoulders and backs – it is unacceptable in most areas, even in bigger cities. Our tour takes us to many religious sights, where dress code is very strict. We recommend women to have a headscarf in their day bags to cover up when going inside mosques (it’s also a great help in the heat in summer). Best things to pack for the hot Central Asian climate is loose, long clothing – long trousers and sarongs or long skirts for women. In colder months (from the end of October through the end of April) it can rain and snow – bring warm clothes, jackets and comfortable warm shoes for walking.
3. ALTITUDE CONSIDERATIONS
This trip operates at altitudes over 800m (max altitude around 4500 meters). Whilst we travel slowly allowing plenty of time to acclimatize you may experience headaches, nausea, lethargy, especially when visiting Song Kul & Iskanderkul. It is important to be aware of the affects of altitude on one’s tolerance especially on long driving days.
Due to the restrictions on changing money in Central Asia region, only notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition will be accepted for exchange. Usually 50 and 100 USD/EUR notes get better exchange rate. We recommend to bring smaller denominations as well – many vendors accept them if you don’t have local currency.
According to the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between May 5th and June 4th, 2019. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-Muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can’t at that time.
6. INTERNAL FLIGHT TIMES
Please be aware that domestic flight delays can occur.
7. VISA and ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
***PLEASE READ THE ENTIRETY OF THE TEXT BELOW AS THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOUR ENTRY INTO KYRGYZSTAN***
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself with the Embassy of Kyrgyzstan. Please, keep in mind that all countries require passports valid for at least 6 months from the moment of departure from the country.
Citizens of the following countries can enter Kyrgyzstan without visa for a stay up to 60 days:
Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Vatican, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.
Citizens of the following countries do not need an LOI, and can obtain a visa at any Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic or upon arrival at the Bishkek airport:
Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Indonesia, Israel, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Oman, Philippines, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TRAVELERS WHOSE ARE NOT LISTED ABOVE:
Once your trip is confirmed, at 90 days prior to your entry into Kyrgyzstan, you must submit an application for your Letter of Invitation. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. The details will be forwarded to our local agent in Kyrgyzstan and you will be emailed your Kyrgyzstan Invitation Letter about 60 days before the trip start date. Kyrgyzstan LOI’s cannot be rushed.
Kyrgyzstan visas can be used up to 3 months from the date the visa is issued, and once you have entered Kyrgyzstan, the visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days. Therefore, please time your application accordingly and do not apply for the visa more than 3 months in advance of your trip.
Input your name the same way it is in your passport. The information on the application form must match your passport (if you have 2 or more names – all of them have to be listed under “first name”). If you have an umlaut or other character not recognized in the english alphabet in your name (ie. ü), please enter it in the longer form (ie. ue).
If your country has an official Kyrgyzstan Consulate/Embassy, you must choose this as as your ‘Visa pickup Embassy’. If you do not see a local Consulate/Embassy on this list or you are unable to go there due to prior travel arrangements, please contact us for further assistance. Certain nationalities may be able to obtain a visa upon arrival at the Bishkek Airport, but you must make sure to check with your Embassy if this applies for your nationality before choosing this option.
At time of writing, the below documents will be needed to obtain your visa (however, we do advise you confirm this with your nearest Embassy):
1. A standard visa application form from the Embassy or Consulate where you will collect your visa
2. 1 colour, passport sized photo, taken within 14 days
3. Payment for the visa (this will be dependent on nationality and will sometimes need to be made at a local nearby bank – check with your Embassy to confirm details)
4. Passport with empty pages and at least 6 months validity
5. Kyrgyzstan Letter of Invitation/reference number
6. Flight tickets providing entrance and proof of onward travel
7. Copy of travel insurance in a hard copy
8. We also recommend bringing your vouchers and a copy of the itinerary, printable from our website. While this may not be needed, we recommend having a copy on hand if needed.
***Please carefully check all the information below prior to submitting***
Once you have received your LOI you can apply for your visa by going to the Kyrgyzstan Embassy you listed in the online application. Please remember that it is your responsibility to check whether passport details, name spelling and dates on the LOI are correct.
Information accurate as of September 12th, 2018
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The preferred currency for local transactions is the som, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. There are many of ATMs accessible in Bishkek and other larger cities such as Cholpon Ata and Karakol. Larger cities will also have money exchange locations that will trade EUR, USD, Roubles; some locations will trade GBP, and Chinese yuan.
In Central Asia It is not customary to tip service providers such as waiters, but it is very appreciated, depending on the service we recommend 3-5%. Tipping shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your we will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $2-$3 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask us for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt this was an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance, which we will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
It’s important to stay comfortable and bring the correct items, without overloading your backpack. At Wildfire we want to keep you prepared as well as comfortable on the trail. Central Asian dress is quite conservative (as mentioned above). Plan to pack loose-fitting light clothing appropriate for hot weather and plan to cover knees, shoulders and chest. For women, a hair scarf is recommended, though they are easy to buy in country.