Discover a part of the world that's getting noticed for its beautiful landscapes and its warm people. This 9-day tour takes you off the beaten tourist path and into the cultures of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Begin in Almaty and drive through the stunning Charyn Canyon. Spend one night in a traditional yurt and get to know the welcoming families of the nomadic Kyrgyz culture. Enjoy city time in Bishkek as well as optional activities like day hikes and horseback riding to get you closer to the stunning nature here.

 

Itinerary

Day 1Almaty

Arrive at any time.

There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

1h18:00

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Day 2Almaty

Take a city tour of Almaty including the historical centre, the Zenkov Cathedral and the Monument of Independence. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Opt to climb green hill for a panoramic view or visit the local market.
 

Free Time

AlmatyAfternoon

Set out to explore more of the city.

City Tour

Almaty

Take a city tour of Almaty including the the historical centre, the Zenkov Cathedral and the Monument of Independence.

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 3Almaty/Karakol

Drive via scenic Charyn Canyon to take in more of the Kazakh landscape. Reach the border and cross into Kyrgyzstan. Enjoy an evening in Karakol.

 

Private Vehicle

Almaty – Karakol7h420km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Charyn Canyon Visit

Charyn Canyon National Park

Enjoy the views of the beautiful Charyn Canyon. Breathe the fresh air and snap a few photos of this stunning landscape.

Border Crossing (Kazakhstan - Kyrgyzstan)

Ready for a little more ink in your passport? Grab your bags and get ready to check another country off your bucket list.

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 4Karakol/Kochkor

Visit the Prejevalskiy Museum then drive to Kizil Tuu. Stop en route for a swim in the lake. In Kizil Tuu learn how to built a yurt before continuing on to Kochkor.

 

Private Vehicle

Karakol – Kochkor5h315km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Przhevalsky Museum Visit

Karakol

Visit a fascinating museum dedicate to the Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky. The museum offers insight into his life and travels and displays some of the flora and fauna species endemic to the area.

Yurt Building Demonstration

Visit Kizil Tuu and opt for a swim in the lake. Learn how to build a yurt (portable nomadic tent) and hear a bit about life for nomads in the region.

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5Kochkor/Song Kul

Visit a felt-making workshop to learn more about this typical Kyrgyz craft. Opt to pick up a carpet or two. Continue on to the scenic Song Kul area and stay overnight in a traditional yurt for a true cultural experience.

 

Felt Workshop Visit

Kochkor

Visit a felt-making workshop to learn more about this typical Kyrgyz craft. Opt to pick up a carpet or two.

Private Vehicle

Kochkor – Song Köl2h30m130km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Local Living: Overnight in a Yurt

Enjoy overnighting in a traditional felt yurt. Get comfortable in this multi-share round tent and cozy up by the stove. Experience daily life of the nomads and sample some of their delicious cuisine.

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6Song Kul

Spend a full day soaking in this beautiful area. Opt to head out for some hiking or horseback riding. Enjoy another night in a yurt.

 

Free Time

Song Köl

Spend the day exploring this scenic area.

Local Living: Overnight in a Yurt

Enjoy overnighting in a traditional felt yurt. Get comfortable in this multi-share round tent and cozy up by the stove. Experience daily life of the nomads and sample some of their delicious cuisine.

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 7Song Kul/Chong-Kemin

Continue on into the scenic valley of Chong-Kemin. Stay in the local CBT (community based tourism) houses and explore the village. Soak in the stunning scenery.

 

Private Vehicle

Song Köl – Chong-Kemin4h230km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Local Living: CBT Homestay

Enjoy an overnight in some local village houses. Community Based Tourism helps villagers turn their houses into homestays. Savour home cooked food and make the most of time to wander the village.

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Dinner

Day 8Chong-Kemin/Bishkek

Depart Chong-Kemin and stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower. Learn more about the ancient structure (rare in a nomadic culture) before continuing on to the capital city of Bishkek for an afternoon city tour.

 

Private Vehicle

Chong-Kemin – Bishkek1h30m-2h160km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

City Tour

Bishkek

Check out some of the main highlights of this Soviet-esque capital city. Learn about the history of the city and daily life.

Burana Tower Visit

Bishkek

Visit the historical site of Burana and climb the stairs to check out the view from the top. A large miniaret about 80km from Bishkek, along with some grave markers and remnants of a castle and mausoleums, are all that remains of the 9th century city of Balasagun.

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch

Day 9Bishkek

Depart at any time.

 

Departure Day

Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure. 

Meals included:

 Breakfast

COST

Contact ben@photographerswithoutborders.org for pricing.

What's Included

  • Local Living: Overnight in a Yurt, Song Köl
  • Local Living: CBT Homestay, Chong-Kemin
  • City tour (Almaty)
  • Charyn Canyon stop
  • Karakol city tour (half-day)
  • Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu)
  • Felt-making workshop visit
  • Community-based tourism (CBT) stay
  • Burana Tower visit
  • Half-day city tour (Bishkek)
  • Transport to/from all included activities and between destinations

Accommodations

Hotels/guesthouses (5 nts), yurt (2 nts), CBT houses (1 nts).

Meals

8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
Allow USD 175-230 for meals not included.

Transportation

Private van, walking

Staff & experts

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.

My Own Room - From $349.00

If you're travelling solo and would prefer to have your own private room throughout your trip, select this option during the online booking process.