Kyrgyzstan cycling holiday
Description of Kyrgyzstan cycling holiday
Explore wild and beautiful Kyrgyzstan on this unique 14-day cycling holiday. This is a country of fast-flowing rivers, lakes, endless grasslands and snow-capped mountains – no wonder it’s nicknamed the Switzerland of Central Asia. But there’s more than just stunning landscape to explore by bike. Factor in the friendly people, interesting history, rich culture and great (and not so great) vodka and it’s the perfect recipe for a truly unique and adventurous cycling break.
We spent time researching and exploring, to discover the best places and sights in Kyrgyzstan, and we have devised a cycle tour that gives a real insight into the ‘Land of the Kyrgyz’, one of the first of the ’Stans to gain independence after Soviet rule.
The scenery on this cycling adventure is unbeatable. You’ll pedal over high Alpine mountain passes, across wide and rolling grasslands, alongside rushing rivers and tranquil lakes. After a day in the saddle, relax in traditional yurt camps, local homestays or pitch tent in a wildflower-filled valley. Tuck into wonderful local food, locally brewed kumys (a fermented mare’s milk drink) and Russian beer. This is a cycle tour like no other.
This Kyrgyzstan cycling holiday covers between 30km and 65km each day, which is a total distance of 550km spread over 11 days of cycling. You will be cycling on mostly unpaved roads, avoiding major roads, and there is relatively little traffic. The terrain is varied. There are gentle meandering river valleys, some sustained climbs and lovely long valley descents. Most of the tour is between 800m and 3,000m above sea level. The highest point is a 3,400m pass, but most of the time the gradient is gentle. This cycling tour is ideal for bikers with a good level of fitness and an adventurous attitude, and perfect for a hard-tail mountain-bike.
Accommodation and practicalities
Bishkek city is the start and end point for this tour, which loops through a series of river valleys and high altitude (3,000m) grassy plateaus. There are 6-12 bikers in a group, who come from around the world, plus leaders, local interpreter and drivers. There is a support vehicle which carries luggage, and you’re welcome to use it on the hills, if you like. There is always a supply of lunch, snacks and water on board, too.
Accommodation is twin-share in a local hotel in Bishkek and twin-share or shared in guesthouses, homestays, yurts and tents. In the yurts and guesthouses there may be up to four people sharing the room or yurt. When we stay in yurts and camp out, the locations are remote with only basic facilities, but you’ll always get the chance to have a wash at the end of the day.
Most meals and snacks are provided, mostly taking advantage of the delicious food served up in local cafes, on homestays and in the yurt camps. One lunch and one evening meal are not included, so you can explore the local cuisine and eat where you choose.
Check dates, prices & availability
PlanetDuring this trip we predominantly use locally owned family home-stay and yurt camp accommodation which generates income directly to the families involved. We employ a local support company to supply support vehicles and drivers and visit and support village level industries creating hand made felt and leather products.
As a company we are committed to running our tours in a responsible manner as highlighted below:
- Small group size – Our groups really are small! With a maximum of 12 in any one group we minimize our impact on the small communities that we visit.
- Support local economies – buy locally made products, use local accommodations, restaurants, markets and support small businesses. (Buying locally made products also decreases the environmental cost of importing). We also employ local drivers and guides in the countries we visit.
- Encourage positive interaction and social exchange – again by supporting locally run businesses (and by travelling by bike!) we develop relationships with local communities and families on our trips where our clients from all over the world can meet and engage one to one with local folk; Also by learning the local languages.
- Educate our bikers – about the effects of buying products that come from endangered species, or products that are destructive to wildlife or the environment. We also like to think about – “What are the short and long term effects of aid/charity on local communities?”, “Who benefits?”
- Waste/rubbish management – when we travel we should treat our surrounding as we would treat our home (or better!). We do our best to avoid ‘single use packaging’ only using reusable or recyclable packaging. We recycle what can be, and manage any rubbish in the best possible way, and we always leave our campsites as we find them (or better!).
- Environmentally conscious office – To avoid paper waste we aim to use as much computer technology as possible in our office. We only produce a minimum of hard copy advertising/brochures/flyers etc… and we consider the source of materials used.
PeopleWhere possible we stay with accommodation owned and run by local families. As well as the fantastic social and cultural exchange experienced by visitors and locals alike, our visits also brings a regular income to the communities (by paying for accommodation and other services).
Social integration with the local people is a central part of our trips. Simply travelling by bike is a great start – a great way for our bikers and local people to meet and start a conversation.
We seek out local services and providers that share a similar ethos and we aim to develop long term, mutually beneficial relationships with them. This ranges from who we recommend for your morning coffee, to the accommodation you stay in, to buying fresh local produce for your picnic lunch. We believe that not only does this "keeping things local" approach build the local economy it also gives our clients a deeper experience.