Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan overland tour
Description of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan overland tour
|Day 1:||DAY 1- 9: BISHKEK TO SEMENOVSKRE GORGE We head northeast to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis and capital until 1997. Almaty is the largest and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. Set in the foothills of the Trans Lli Alatau mountains, the area has a ski resort (Shymbulak) at an elevation of 2,200 meters and enjoys a great amount of snow from November through to May. The city has many sights and attractions, including Ascension Cathedral in Panfilov Park; Abay Opera House; Golden Warrior Monument in the Republic Square and the giant Almaty Tower. Or for adrenaline lovers, why not ride the ‘Fast Coaster’ roller coaster, which is located on the side of a mountain and reaches speeds of 45 km per hour. We continue east looking for amazing camping areas to explore, before crossing back into Kyrgyzstan and the area of Lake Issyk-Kul, a mountain lake in the northern Tien Shan Mountains, once used by the Soviets to test their submarine torpedoes! The area of Altyn Arashan and its surroundings offer the outdoor lover many hiking and horse riding opportunities and we spend a few days here to take in the amazing scenery. We visit the vast red stone cliffs in Jeti-Oguz and visit the town of Karakol with its attractive houses and tree-lined streets. Behind it are the Terskay Ala-Too Mountains, an unspoilt wilderness populated only by nomadic shepherds. Continuing around the lake to Semenovskre Gorge the adventurous can hike through lush terrain, following the rivers that wind through the national reserve. As we travel around Kyrgyzstan we camp, but we also may have the opportunity to use some family homestays, where we are welcomed into a local home for the night. These are subject to availability, but if we can arrange them they offer a fantastic experience, allowing us to feel part of the family for a night and make some new friends!|
|Day 10:||DAY 10-13: SEMENOVSKRE GORGE TO TASH RABAT Travelling south and leaving behind Lake Issyk-Kul, we make our way to the isolated and breathtaking Lake Song Kol, where we stay in traditional felt Yurts. There will be an opportunity to either hike or horseback ride and explore the surrounding area. If we are lucky we may even see a game of Ulak Tartysh - a Kyrgyz version of polo. We spend a couple of days driving south through the mountains towards the border with China. On the way, we cross vast high plains where Kyrgyz nomads, living in their traditional yurts, practice a lifestyle that has changed little over the centuries. We will stop off at Tash Rabat, an ancient Caravanserai on the old Silk Route.|
|Day 14:||DAY 14-15: TASH RABAT TO BISHKEK We retrace some of our steps and head north to Bishkek, seeking out scenic camping spots as we go. DAYS 16 BISHKEK Your trip ends after breakfast. Bishkek is a well-connected city, with the airport serving destinations throughout Asia with connections for onward travel further afield. For those with some time to spare it’s a pleasant city to spend a few days at the end of your trip, with some excellent bars, cafés and restaurants dotted around to relax and reflect on your trip through Central Asia.|
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetWaste: at the point of booking a tour with us, all our travellers receive detailed pre-departure information which contains a large section on travelling responsibly. This includes advice on minimising the amount of waste they create on the trip. This informs travellers on what they can do before they go, for example removing toiletries from unnecessary packaging and taking a reusable water bottle and gives advice on what they should do whilst on the tour, for example, disposing of litter appropriately.
All of this information on waste reduction is re-iterated at the pre-departure meeting at the start of the tour, with specific advice for the areas we visit on the tour. As a company we have a big commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling in our UK office. We are very aware of the environmental impact of our office in the UK, so we recycle and compost as much of our waste as possible. We try to reduce paper usage ,but when necessary we use recycled paper and stationery. Our brochure is available to view or download online and the paper version is printed on stock produced from sustainable sources and vegetable based inks.
Accommodation: Approximately 90% of the nights on this trip are spent, sleeping in tents or yurts. This obviously involves minimal use of electricity and if we're out in the bush we can only use the water that we carry-no chance to leave taps running, the air conditioning or heating or lights on! Filling up and carrying jerry cans of water helps concentrate the mind on how much water you consume!
PeopleFriends and Neighbours: On all of our trips we try to ensure that as much of the trip costs as possible are spent locally and at a grass roots level-helping to sustain local communities. On this trip we do a Home Stay with a family in Kochkor and then spend a few nights, in a yurt, alongside a family at Lake Song Kal. We also organise horse riding with the local community at Lake Song Kal. There are very little other employment options for the community here so this helps them sustain their traditional way of life. We generally do most of our food shopping in local markets and encourage visits to local restaurants and craft centres-including a woman's felt co-operative in Kochkor.
Travelling with Respect: In our detailed pre-departure information travellers are advised on travelling with respect and what they can do before they travel, to help achieve this and what they can do while they are travelling. We recommend for example, that they learn some of the local Kyrgyz language before they travel, to help them interact with the local people and read up on it's history and culture; that they do not take photos of local people without asking for permission first and are respectful in terms of their behaviour and dress during their trip.
This is a fairly new trip for us and we look forward, as we do with all our trips, in building relationships with local suppliers and providers. On our more established trips we also have a number of social projects that we support, including a school for refugee children, Children's Homes and a community led child-care facility for working parents. We hope that as we build relationships with communities on this tour we will be able to support specific projects in this region also.
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