You can be offered to travel in the most breath-taking nature of all the Central Asian countries. Kyrgyzstan occupies the endless mountain ranges, small villages and mountain lakes, pure lake in mountains, impassable paths, wide steppes where nomads used to wander as well as lots of herds of wandering horses.
The only and the best way of getting most of remote destinations around Kyrgyzstan, is 4 WD off-road tour as the road net in the country is rather poor, 70 % of which with dirt and gravel. Self-drive routes can be suggested for those who desire to explore Kyrgyzstan.
A long 4 WD tours can be taken for travelling from the north to the south of it.
In 45 km from Bishkek Ala Archa National Park is situated for travellers to visit it as the beginning of the trip The Ala Archa gorge is on the bottom of Tian Shan mountain range. It's possible to see a panoramic view of the gorge, taking a short hiking. In case you don't have a desire to hike, it's possible to have a walk along the paved path to enjoy the beauty of the park itself.
The fascinating trip of horse riding can be taken in the other destination Chon Kemin gorge, just like true nomad did. Your road trip will lie high in the mountains, in the mountains forest to see a panoramic view of the gorge.
The tour will be going along northern and southern shore of the famous great Lake Issyk Kul. Issuk Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca in South America. Never freezing Issyk Kul is surrounded by mountains, the name of which is translated as "Hot Lake". The Issyk Kul region is famous for treks, shores and spa with hiking. We advise you to visit this region and the lake at first, with visiting the places, that are connected with each other as other Grigoryevskoe and Semenovskoe gorges, Jeti Oguz gorge, Barskoon waterfalls and Skazka (Fairy Tale) Canyon.
Karakol, the small town with green paths and timber cottages, is situated at the far eastern edge of Issyk Kul Lake. In this town you are recommended to visit the Russian Orthodox Church, Dungan Mosque and Memorial Museum named after N. M. Przhevalsky. Visiting Karakol on Sunday you can feel the culture and Kyrgyz people from inside on the Sunday animal market.
Small village Kochkor is the site where it is possible to feel the nomadic life. There you have the opportunity to know how to make national carpets, taste traditional Kyrgyz cuisine and watch demonstrations from masters, everything accompanied with traditional Kyrgyz music.
The places necessary to visit in Kochkor are Tash Rabat and Son Kul Lake. The ancient caravanserai Tash Rabat used to be a shelter for merchants crossing the Great Silk Road, and travellers surely like this place. Son Kul is the mountain lake in northern Naryn Region is situated at the altitude of 3016 m (9895 feet) above the sea level. The lake is surrounded by wide pastures and plains that can be visited only in the summer (from June to early September). In other periods of the year the roads can't be passed because of snow and ice. In the summer it is possible for the travellers to live in nomadic houses - yurts. Even in the summer it's rather cool there by the reason of the high altitude and temperatures of 11 ˚ C (52˚ F) and below at night.
Then continues along the Kazarman village, that is the most ancient city in Central Asia. Osh city is located near the border with Uzbekistan right at the head of Fergana valley. Very often travellers of the Silk Road use the nearby situated Dostuk border crossing.
Visiting the city Jalal-Abad, it is desired to visit mausoleums and Uzgen minaret, where luxuriant green vegetation location with the largest walnut forest of lakes and waterfalls can be found. The forest is Arslanbob, where except the walnut such trees as apple, pear, cherry plum, cherry grow, as well as tasty fruits which are widely used among the people.
The Toktogul water reservoir, located on the Naryn River is considered to be the other water pearl of the country. This reservoir is the largest in whole Central Asia, of 284 square kilometers. At the very end of your tour there will be seen one of the most beautiful valleys of the northern Tien Shan - Suusamyr valley. The valley is located between Talas Alatau and the Kyrgyz Range. The whole surface of it is covered with thick, emerald green grasses of mountain meadows that will be in hearts of all travellers.
Many different regions can be covered with this route.
Most picturesque self-drive routes in Kyrgyzstan
Day 1: Bishkek - Ala Archa - Bishkek
Day 2: Bishkek - Chon Kemin
Day 3: Chon Kemin - Issyk Kul lake northern shore
Day 4: Issyk Kul northern shore - Grigorievskoye - Karakol
Day 5: Karakol - Jeti Oguz (can sleep here) - Issyk Kul southern shore - Kochkor
Day 6: Kochkor - Kichi Naryn - Naryn (or drive directly to Tash Rabat via Dolon pass)
Day 7: Naryn - Tash Rabat
Day 8: Tash Rabat - Son Kul
Day 9: Son Kul - Kyzyl Oi
Day 10: Kyzyl Oi - Bishkek
If you can spend more days, additional routes are:
Day 09: Son Kul - Kazarman
Day 10: Kazarman - Osh
Day 11: Osh - Arslanbob
Day 12: Arslanbob - Toktogul
Day 13: Toktogul - Bishkek
Day 14: Flight
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