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Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek

Trek in the 'celestial mountains' with views over Kyrgyzstan's Lake Issyk-Kul

Trip CodeTXL
Duration15 Days
ActivityWalking & Trekking
Group Size6-16
Minimum Age16
Challenging
Challenging
Prices (excl. flights & transfers) from

R62,952

To book   call us on 074 340 4587 or email info@earthwanderer.co.za

Trek in the 'celestial mountains' with views over Kyrgyzstan's Lake Issyk-Kul

Spectacular trekking through alpine meadows and wild pastures inhabited by Kyrgyz nomads - past gushing rivers and waterfalls, taking in panoramic views of Lake Issyk-Kul and the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan Range, meaning 'Mountains of Heaven'. The first part of the walking route crosses a series of rugged, seldom-visited gorges, which only the most intrepid of outsiders have laid eyes on. Whilst the latter part of the trek crosses into Jety-Oguz Gorge, famed for its immense beauty. There's also the chance to hike to the foot of Karakol Peak (the highest in the region) and there are all sorts of other delights besides the trek itself: rejuvenate in the thermal baths of Altyn Arashan, learn to make traditional 'lagman' noodles in a family home, take a guided tour of Bishkek, and visit ancient sites including the Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs.

Highlights

  • Views of Lake Issyk-Kul and Aka-Kul
  • Hike through 6 different gorges, including the famously beautiful Jety-Oguz Canyon
  • Chance to bathe in Altyn Arashan hot springs
  • Discover Bishkek, Burana Tower and the Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs
  • Panoramic views from Telety Pass (3,800m) 
  • Learn how to make traditional 'lagman' noodles in a family home in Karakol
  • Daywalk to the foot of Karakol Peak, the highest in the Terskey Ala-Too Range

Key Information

  • 15 days land only/16 days flight inclusive
  • 8 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Altitude maximum 3,800m, average 2,730m
  • 4 nights hotels, 8 nights full-service camping and 2 nights basic yurt camp (multi-share)
  • All breakfasts, 12 lunches and 12 dinners included
  • Optional single supplement (excludes yurt camps)

What's Included

  • All accommodation 
  • All listed transport and activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers (group flights only)

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Day 1

Arrive Bishkek; afternoon city tour

The tour starts in Bishkek. The group flights are scheduled to arrive into Bishkek in the morning; those on the group flights will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel (approx. 40km/1hr drive). We have requested early check-in for all clients so the rooms should be ready for when you arrive. Land only clients who have booked their own flights should join at the start hotel no later than midday as we have a city tour in the afternoon.  Bishkek is Kyrgyzstan’s modern capital city and industrial centre and this afternoon we'll have a guided tour to explore its wide avenues and Soviet heritage. We visit the Frunze Museum and Museum of Fine Arts (please note that the National History Museum is closed for maintenance at the time of writing) as well as the city's main sites (on foot and using transfers where necessary), taking in Manas Monument, Lenin Statue, Ala-Too Square (where we witness the ceremonial changing of the guard), Kurmanzhan Datka Monument, and the Government buildings. We end the tour at Victory Square.
  • Hotel Asia Mountains, or similar

Day 2

Full day excursion and warm-up walk in Ala-Archa N.P.

Today we take an excursion to Ala-Archa National Park, located about 40-60 minutes (40km) north of Bishkek and go for a gentle warm-up walk, usually to a waterfall which takes approx. 4-5hrs for a round trip / 3.75km each way.
  • Hotel Asia Mountains, or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Distance travelled: 7.5km

Activity hours: 4-5

Day 3

Drive via Burana Tower to Tosor Village on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul; overnight in a yurt camp

We begin our journey towards the Tian Shan, or more specifically, the Terskey Ala-Too Range. Our destination is Tosor on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul (the drive is approximately 310km/6-7 hours). We break up the journey with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site - Burana Tower, an 11th century minaret and the first of its kind in Central Asia and an important point along the Great Silk Road.  Issyk-Kul is the second largest salt lake in the world, after the Caspian Sea (and fast becoming the largest as the Caspian Sea recedes), it measures 70km by 180km and is almost 700m at its deepest point. Its name translates as 'Hot Lake' and was given as, even in the depths of winter and despite being just above 1,600m, it never freezes. The area around the lake is a mixture of forest and meadow with a backdrop of towering mountains.  Tonight, we usually sleep in a yurt camp but as space is limited, occasionally we may have to stay in a guesthouse in Tamga village instead.
  • Tosor Yurt Camp, or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 4

Free morning by the lake; transfer to Juukuchak Gorge

We have a free morning to take in the scenery, perhaps swim in the lake or sunbathe on its shores. After lunch at the yurt camp, we drive for around 1.5hrs (70km) to Juuku Gorge and onwards into a smaller branch of the canyon -  Juukuchak Gorge. Upon arrival, our tents will be ready and waiting for us. We'll meet our trekking guides and camp staff, stretch our legs around the camp, and this evening there will be a full trek briefing. 
  • Full-service wild camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 5

Trek over Orto-Bulak Pass (2,540m) to Kichi-Kyzyl-Suu Gorge

After breakfast we set off walking along a trail from the foot of the mountains up and over Orto Bulak Pass (2,540m) in the Kichi-Kyzyl-Suu Gorge. The scenery is pristine which adds to the beauty. 
  • Full-service wild camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 9km

Activity hours: 4-5

Altitude gain: 440m

Altitude loss: 240m

Day 6

Hike through nomad pastures to Djili-Suu; option to visit nearby hot springs by jeep

This morning we begin following the trail to Chon Kyzyl-Suu Gorge. Chon Kyzyl-Suu Gorge is popular with Kyrgyz nomads, as there are many green pastures and mountain rivers. We will usually see several nomadic families along the way, together with their livestock and yurt settlements. We'll reach our campsite at Djili-Suu in the early afternoon. After reaching our camp there is an opportunity to take our jeep to the nearby hot springs. There are several small pools with hot springs and the waters are believed to have good health properties. 
  • Full-service wild camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 8km

Activity hours: 3-4

Altitude gain: 300m

Altitude loss: 600m

Day 7

Trek to Jety-Oguz Canyon via Kok-Jaiyk Pass (2750m)

We continue our hike to the Jety-Oguz Gorge, one of the most beautiful and famous canyons in Kyrgyzstan. To reach this gorge, we have to cross the river and cross the Kok-Jaiyk Pass (2750m). It's quite a climb but the view from the top of the pass will give us a new appreciation of these so called 'celestial mountains' as we're rewarded with an unforgettable mountain panorama. During today's walk, we will also get magnificent views of Lake Issyk-Kul. At the end of the day, we reach the yurt camp - a chance to grab a shower. 
  •  Jety-Oguz Yurt Camp, or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 15km

Activity hours: 5-5.5

Altitude gain: 700m

Altitude loss: 500m

Day 8

Ascend via a narrow, wooded river gorge to the base of Telety Pass

This morning we meet our team of porters who will carry our main luggage for the remainder of the trek. We follow a path along the bank of the West Telety River, through a very narrow wooded gorge (Bay Tor), and eventually emerge in alpine meadows. We usually stop for a picnic lunch in the meadows, which are awash with colour in spring as the wild flowers bloom. After a rest, we continue the trek to our tented camp (approx. 3000m) at the foot of Telety Pass. After settling into our tents there is the option to take a short 1km walk to the nearby waterfall.
  • Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 12km

Activity hours: 5-6

Altitude gain: 700m

Day 9

Cross Telety Pass (3800m); descend through alpine meadows to Karakol

Today is a challenging day with a reasonable amount of ascent and descent and some tricky terrain. The route over Telety Pass follows a narrow path which ascends gradually for the most part. There are however, two steep slopes, which require considerable effort. From the top of the pass (3,800m) the views are spectacular. The descent is along a wide slope covered with talus, which gives way to alpine meadows and then follows the East Telety River. One of the latter sections of the trail passes through woodland, where you will need to concentrate on your footing to avoid the overgrown tree roots. Tonight's camp is situated at about 2,500m elevation.
  • Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 14km

Activity hours: 8-9

Altitude gain: 750m

Altitude loss: 1300m

Day 10

Daywalk to the foot of Karakol Peak, the highest in the Terskey Ala-Too Range

Today we go on a return daywalk up and along Uyun Tor River to the foot of Karakol Peak. We have a chance to see Tien Shan blue spruce forest, underwood (dog rose, honeysuckle, black barberries, mountain ash, black currents, etc.) and wild mushrooms. In the summer flowers are in bloom in the meadows, such as snowdrops, tulips, primroses, and edelweiss. We trek to a point from where we can see Karakol Peak, the highest of the Terskey Ala-Too Range.
  • Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 14km

Activity hours: 6-8

Altitude gain: 600m

Altitude loss: 600m

Day 11

Ascend through forest to a waterfall by Lake Ala-Kul (3600m)

Although the distance today is not great, this is a tough walk due to the amount of ascent, especially if it is hot. We firstly descend along the gorge for about a kilometre, and then cross the river by bridge to follow the trail into a forest. A long ascent brings us to a grassy slope, from where the path snakes its way onwards, passing by a river overflow, to finally arrive at a log hut, known locally as Sirota mountain hut. There's a table, benches and a fireplace inside - the perfect spot for a rest and a snack. There are some sculptures of animals and idols carved in wood in the area surrounding the hut, like something out of a fairy-tale. From here, the trail climbs up higher, and leaving the forest behind, we hike along the river and reach a beautiful waterfall, flowing down from Ala-Kul Lake. Tonight's camp is situated at approx. 3,600m elevation.
  • Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 9km

Activity hours: 6-8

Altitude gain: 1100m

Day 12

Long descent with fine mountain views to Altyn Arashan; option to take a dip in the thermal baths

As we ascend we enjoy wonderful views of the lake - in the Kyrgyz language Ala-Kul means "colourful Lake", and its water can appear in different colours depending on the light. As we get closer to its shores, we see the main Terskey Ala-Too Range, including Aksu, Djigit, Karakol and Oguz Bashi Peaks. From the lake edge, it will take us another hour and a half to the pass. The initial descent from the pass is on a steep scree slope, and then through the picturesque Keldike Valley, where we'll encounter herds of cattle and flocks of sheep grazing. Later the trail brings us into a forest again and descends into Arashan Valley.  At the tent camp in Altyn Arashan, there's the option to relax in the hot springs (there are thermal baths of up to +50degC).
  • Full-service camping (fixed tented camp)

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 18km

Activity hours: 6-8

Altitude gain: 200m

Altitude loss: 1200m

Day 13

Military truck to Karakol for sightseeing; traditional home-cooked ‘lagman’ noodle dinner

This morning we spend some time admiring Altyn Arashan and the surrounding area, especially the fir forest in contrast with the snowy mountain backdrop. We then descend to Karakol town by military truck (approx. 1 hour).  Depending on the 'road' conditions we may walk along the river as far as the national park gates before continuing by truck.  We'll have a short sightseeing tour of the town, visiting Dungan Mosque, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Prjevalskii Memorial Complex. Tonight's dinner will be taken in a Dungan family home in Karakol town, where we can see traditional cooking methods and learn how to make lagman noodles, before sitting down to eat together.
  • Hotel Amir (Karakol), or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 14

Drive to Bishkek visiting Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs en route; optional Kyrgyz folklore show

We drive back to Bishkek, stopping to visit the Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs along the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul en route. The drive is approximately 250km and takes 5-6 hours - we'll stop for lunch at a road cafe on the way.  Close to Cholpon Ata are Scythian burial mounds, as well as the 'stone forest' or petroglyphs which are between 4,000 and 1,400 years old. They are located at the foot of Kungei Alatau Ridge at a scenic spot overlooking the lake. A farewell dinner is included in Bishkek and if you wish, there is the option to arrange a Kyrgyz folklore show. The talented musicians and singers wear traditional Kyrgyz costumes and play a wide range of national musical instruments – including a Komuz (a three-stringed wooden musical instrument) to Chopo Choi (wind instrument made of mountain reed).
  • Hotel Asia Mountains, or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 15

End Bishkek

The tour ends in Bishkek after breakfast. Those who are travelling on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for the flight back to London. The group flights are scheduled to depart early in the morning and arrive into London the same day.

Meals included: breakfast

Trip for You

This trek has been graded level 5 (Challenging) and involves 8 days point-to-point walking and 8 nights full-service camping. Please refer to our https://www.exodus.co.uk/activity-levels" target="_blank"> activity level guidelines. You should expect to be walking for between 5 and 8 hours each day and covering a distance of approximately 16-18 kilometres (10-11.2 miles) each day. Whilst you may be comfortable doing a daywalk of this nature, you should also consider the impact of doing this on consecutive days, which can take its toll. You should ideally have previous experience of multi-day point-to-point trekking.  The route crosses numerous mountain passes as we cross from one gorge to the next. Two of the passes are at an altitude of 3800m, which is the maximum altitude reached on this trek. 3,600m is the highest sleeping altitude. Please refer to the 'Altitude Warning' within the Trip Notes for further information. The trail is undulating with considerable ascent and descent on some days, particularly when we cross Telety Pass (750m ascent and 1300m descent).  The terrain in the Tian Shan is rugged and the region is remote - both factors add to the challenge - for this reason this trek is not recommend for novice walkers. If you are an experienced hiker with steady footwork and a good level of fitness who loves wild landscapes, then this spectacular trek should appeal There will be rocky sections of trail, descents on scree slopes, some narrow paths (not suitable for vertigo sufferers), trails with tree roots, and the possibility of snow cannot be entirely ruled out. This is a fully supported camping trek with full porterage (jeeps and porters) throughout; you need only carry your day pack. You may find our  https://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf" target="_blank">Fitness Training Guide a useful reference. Walking distances and hours are given as approximates only and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Group Description

The group will be made up of between 4 and 16 clients, plus tour leader and local staff. There will be a Western leader for the tour duration who will be supported by a local guide, plus other staff where needed. There will be camp staff, cooks, porters and drivers, and a local sightseeing guide for the tour of Bishkek. For groups of over 8 clients, there will be an additional local assistant trek guide.

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 12 lunches and 12 dinners are included.  During the trek, breakfast will comprise of porridge or an alternative dish. The alternative will usually be one of the following: omelette with bacon/cheese, fried sausages, pancakes, scrambled eggs with sausage, boiled eggs. Lunch on trek will be a box lunch. There will be a buffet selection for you to fill your lunch box from each day. The type of foods available will be: bread, cakes, various types of sausage and cheese, pate, canned fish, boiled eggs, vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, as well as cookies and chocolate, plus a soft drink. Dinner during the trek will consist of salad, soup, a main dish and a dessert. Salads: funchoza (starch noodles), rice with crab sticks, eggs with fish, cabbage with carrot, Greek salad, beans with onion. Soups: minestrone, kesme (egg noodle), lentil, rice soup, pumpkin soup, fish soup or soup with dumplings. Main dish: kuurdak (meat stew), pilaf (rice cooked in broth), stew with spaghetti and cheese, dymlyama (potato and meat stew), stuffed pepper, lagman (noodles), beef stroganof with rice. For dessert a selection of sweets and biscuits are available.  

Transportation

For the main road journeys, we use air-conditioned mini-buses which seat 8-9 clients each. For larger groups we will use 2 vehicles. From the trek end point we travel by military truck to Karakol: there are no seatbelts in the military truck but with their high ground clearance, they are well-suited for the terrain (the journey duration is approx. 1 hour). Jeeps will be used to transport camping equipment for the first few days of the trek. 

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 Days
The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.
Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of Turkish Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.
Travelling land only: 15 days starting and ending in Bishkek
Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Bishkek in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary - please ensure that you arrive no later than midday in order to join the afternoon city tour. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Transfer Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Weather Info

Although Kyrgyzstan's overall climate is continental, there can be huge variations in temperature between seasons, different geographical locations and elevations. Summer can extend from May to September, but some mountain passes can remain blocked by snow until June. Snow persists in the high mountains year-round. For this reason, the trekking season in the Tian Shan is short - we only schedule departures in July and August when the temperatures are at their mildest. Kyrgyzstan gets surprisingly little rain and has over 300 days of sunshine a year. In summer, mornings are characteristically clear, but afternoons can sometimes be hazy with occasional rain. Even in summer, there can be occasional snowfalls above 3000m. At lower altitudes (around the tree line) summer temperatures usually range from 16-28°C (61-80°F) in July/August and it can feel very hot during the day. In the highlands, the temperatures in July/August range from 8-12°C (46-54°F). Night times will feel cold and at the higher camps temperatures may hover only a few degrees above freezing. Bishkek and the lowland areas around Lake Issyk-Kul will be hot in the day times and mild in the evenings.

Essential Equipment

The porterage weight limit on trek is 12kg per person. Jeeps will transport your luggage and the camping equipment for the first few days of the trek but when we reach the fixed camps, we'll meet our porters who will carry your main luggage for the remainder of the trek. A soft duffel bag will be provided locally on a loan basis for the duration of the trek - the capacity of the bag is 50 litres. Your porters will each carry 2 of these duffel bags inside a backpack. We ask that you use the bag provided locally as larger bags or Exodus kitbags may not fit inside their backpacks. Anything that you do not want to take with you on the trek can be stored free of charge in Bishkek - your leader will assist with this.  The following is not an exhaustive list but includes the essential items for the trek: 4-season sleeping bag (liner optional) Walking boots (waterproof, with ankle support, and worn in) Several pairs of walking socks Waterproof jacket and trousers Fleece jacket or similar T-shirts, shirts, thin base layers Warm hat and gloves 3/4-season down jacket Trainers/sandals for the evening (and any river crossings) Daypack of around 25-35 litres Head-torch and batteries 2/3 x 1-litre water bottles (you will need to carry enough water for the whole day's trek) Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve with sun protection Walking pole(s) - highly recommended Dry bags or plastic bags (bin liners) to line daypack and duffel bag Toilet paper Hand washing gel Biodegradable soap/shampoo Travel towel Small personal first aid kit including rehydration salts, blister plasters, pain killers, antidiarrhoeal medicine and any medication you regularly take. A polyurethane sleeping mat is provided locally so you do not need to bring one. 

Spending Money

On trek, there is not a lot to spend money on but you should take enough with you for tipping your trekking crew, the hot springs in Djili-Suu and Altyn Arashan, for any extras in the yurt camps, and spending money for Karakol and the travelling day back to Bishkek. It is also possible to buy drinks and snacks in the fixed camps on trek - payment is accepted in Som or USD cash (beer approx. USD3/KGS200, soft drinks: approx. USD2/KGS140). We would suggest allowing in the region of USD80-120 spending money for the two weeks.
Bishkek:
Folklore show ‐ USD150 per group (optional)

Tipping

Tipping is customary in Kyrgyzstan in recognition of good service but is entirely at your own discretion. Tipping can often be an awkward affair, especially when in an unfamiliar country where you are not sure when or how much to tip. As such, your tour leader will usually offer to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty which will be used to tip porters in hotels, local sightseeing guides, trekking guides, porters, and the drivers. Your leader will suggest how much to contribute, depending on group size but this is usually between USD70-90 per person. Tips for the trekking crew are usually given on the last night of the trek or the final morning of the trek. Please try to tip local staff in local currency. Tipping of the leader is also at your discretion. If you would like to give a tip, we suggest you send an envelope around the group at the end of the holiday so that each person can put in whatever they see fit. A nominated spokesperson from the group may then like to present it to the leader on the last evening. As a guideline, we suggest somewhere in the region of USD4-5 per person per day (USD60-75 in total per person).

(Please note, visa information cannot be guaranteed and should be checked with the relevant country's embassy prior to departure.)

Hotels, Camping & Yurts

On this tour we spend 4 nights in hotels, 8 nights full-service camping and 2 nights in yurt camps (multi-share). The hotels usually used in Bishkek and Karakol have a 3-star local rating. The hotels are chosen for their location and all bedrooms have en suite facilities.  Yurts are traditional housing of nomadic tribes across Central Asia - facilities are basic but they are generally quite cosy. The number of yurts is limited and you should come prepared to share with 3-4 people of the same gender per yurt. There are only a couple of toilets at the yurt camp. The first three nights of the trek are the most remote and there are no fixed camps or facilities - these nights are wild camping. For the remaining five nights' camping, our local partner in Kyrgyzstan sets up fixed camps for the duration of the season. All eight nights camping are on a full-service basis, meaning that the staff will cook and do all the camp chores for you (in the wild camps they will also erect and dismantle the tents). In the fixed camps there are toilets, wash basins, and shower facilities as well as a dining tent. When wild camping, the camp staff will erect a dining tent and toilet tent and will provide a bowl of warm water for washing with each day. Foam sleeping mats are provided but if you want extra comfort you may wish to bring your own 'top up' mat. A generator will be available in all camps (inluding the wild camps) for charging, lighting etc. 
Additional Accommodation
If you wish to extend your stay, it is possible to book extra nights in Bishkek before or after the tour through Exodus - please request this at the time of booking. 
Optional Single Supplement
A limited number of single supplments are available on a first-come first-serve basis. This includes a single room in the hotels and while camping but it is not available for the two nights in the yurt camps (the yurts are 3-4 people to a yurt regardless).


Vast landscapes and stunning scenery

A fantastic trip! When I told people that I had been hiking in Kyrgyzstan, nearly everyone immediately asked 'where?' It is a remarkable country, and a trip that has been planned to ensure absolutely stunning days of walking in the Tien Shen mountains. The cities have their own charm and fascinating history and they bookend the trip.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Opening the tent every morning to see sunshine and blue sky with a backdrop of hills or peaks was quite special. Walking for several days and seeing only our crew, nomadic farmers and their animals was wonderful. This is not yet, but likely will become, far more popular as a walking destination so it was a privilege to be able to see the natural rhythms of summer life in the mountains. The food and hospitality in some of the more remote camps was surprising, delightful and gratefully appreciated. A particular highlight was watching and taking part in the 'first' Highland Games in Kyrgyzstan - a brilliant opportunity for the group and the porters to compete together!
  What did you think of your group leader?
This inaugural trip had a few different leaders, each playing important roles. Overseeing everything was veteran trip leader Suzy who has a deep knowledge and love for the country and its mountains. The local city guides had great English and brought the local history to life. Ilya and Asa are tremendous guides, bringing confidence, competence and laughter to each day (all day). It was a really good group!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Some of the details within the trip notes were not accurate, though it was the first time this trip had been offered so the growing pains and unforeseen issues were to be expected. Not all the walks were as long as noted, but there are so many opportunities to continue to explore around the camps. Or relax and read. Or bathe in the icy rivers, swim in Issyk Kul Lake, or soak in the thermal pools. The porters are hardworking - get to know them if you can - athletic competitions do not require a shared spoken language. The camps and equipment are of very good quality and very comfortable - you do not need to bring a sleeping mat. The food is plentiful and tasty, and there are hot drinks and snacks awaiting the group upon arrival at camp every day!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I require a gluten free diet and therefore the advanced planning and discussions about the ability of local operators and their teams to accommodate such a dietary need is important. The Exodus staff were brilliant in asking the questions prior to booking. The local city guides were helpful and responsive, particularly in Karakol. The camp cooks did remarkably well in their remote settings. The lead guide Ilya even carried packages of rice cakes for me. I never went hungry but it was important that I also brought food along with me. It is also important to continue to ask questions and seek clarification along the way.
Sun 05 Jul 2020 to Sun 19 Jul 2020

Guaranteed (Available)

R 62,952

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,531)
Sun 02 Aug 2020 to Sun 16 Aug 2020

Guaranteed (Available)

R 62,952

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,531)
Sun 04 Jul 2021 to Sun 18 Jul 2021

Available

R 64,818

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,997)
Sun 18 Jul 2021 to Sun 01 Aug 2021

Available

R 64,818

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,997)
Sun 01 Aug 2021 to Sun 15 Aug 2021

Available

R 64,818

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,997)
Sun 08 Aug 2021 to Sun 22 Aug 2021

Available

R 64,818

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,997)
Sun 15 Aug 2021 to Sun 29 Aug 2021

Available

R 64,818

(Optional Single Supplement +R6,997)