Trekking in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Kyrgyzstan
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TXL
Activity Rating - Challenging
Challenging

You have a good level of fitness and are looking for a physically challenging holiday.  Previous experience is essential for activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 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)

Trip 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

Is This 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 activity level guidelinesYou 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 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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

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.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

TXL Trip Map

Land Only

Start City:
Bishkek
End City:
Bishkek

Land Only Itinerary

  • 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 covered: 7.5 km / 4.7 miles
    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 covered: 9 km / 5.6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    440
    Total descent (m):
    240
    Activity (hours):
    4-5
  • 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 covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    300
    Total descent (m):
    600
    Activity (hours):
    3-4
  • 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 covered: 15 km / 9.3 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    700
    Total descent (m):
    500
    Activity (hours):
    5-5.5
  • 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 covered: 12 km / 7.5 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    700
    Activity (hours):
    5-6
  • 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 covered: 14 km / 8.7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    750
    Total descent (m):
    1300
    Activity (hours):
    8-9
  • 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 covered: 14 km / 8.7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    600
    Total descent (m):
    600
    Activity (hours):
    6-8
  • 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 covered: 9 km / 5.6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    1100
    Activity (hours):
    6-8
  • 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 covered: 18 km / 11.2 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    200
    Total descent (m):
    1200
    Activity (hours):
    6-8
  • 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
Altitude charts
TXL Altitude Chart

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Please note: it is possible that the order of the itinerary listed above will be changed to ensure the best possible conditions for each activity during the trip. All listed activities and services will be included. Your leader will inform you of any changes locally after assessing conditions.

Accommodation

Hotels, Camping & Yurts

Yurt camp, Kyrgyzstan

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).

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £300.00

Food & Transport

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. 

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Bishkek

Bishkek

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.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers 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.

Location start:
Bishkek
Location end:
Bishkek

What to Take

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. 

Environmental Considerations

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impacts wherever possible, this goes for when you need to spend a penny in the great outdoors! If no facilities are available there may come a time when you need to go to the loo behind a tree/bush/rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind we recommend taking biodegradable dog poo/sandwich bags with you. Once you have done your business you can pop the used toilet roll in here and take it off the mountain or trail at the end of the day and dispose of it when there are appropriate facilities available.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Jeti-Oguz, Seven Bulls Canyon, Kyrgyzstan

Practical Information

Visa

Kyrgyzstan

British, most European and most other nationalities, including Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Canadians do not require visas for visits of under 60 days. All other nationalities should contact the nearest Kyrgyzstan Embassy if in doubt.

IMPORTANT: You can be arrested if you are not carrying ID in Kyrgyzstan.  You should carry your passport or a copy of it with you at all times.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry Lyme disease, Tick-Borne Encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Vaccination

Kyrgyzstan

No vaccinations are compulsory, but vaccination against typhoid, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A and diphtheria are recommended. The risk of Malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or Travel Clinic for advice.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 3500m above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches and shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent will be made immediately.

On some days this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk assessment process, we consider the ascent rate is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude safety standards that minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring whilst travelling at altitude.

A number of medical conditions or medications can reduce your body's ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition, or the onset of AMS.

Please note: that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition, or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure that your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Kyrgyzstan's Timezone:
Asia/Bishkek +06 (GMT +06:00)

Electricity

Kyrgyzstan's Electricity:

Kyrgyzstan uses Continental European style 2-prong plugs type C/F.

A generator will be available in all camps on the trek, which you may use to charge cameras and other devices.

Money

Kyrgyzstan's Currency

The national currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyz Som (KGS), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 91 to the UK£ and 69 to the US$.

There are money change facilities in the main cities in Kyrgyzstan, including Bishkek and Osh. You need to bring US Dollars or Euros in cash as these are easy to change. GB Pounds can be changed in a few places but most money changers will not accept them. Please bring brand new notes as most money changers will not accept old notes. Larger denominations ($50 or $100 notes or Euros50 or 100) attract a marginally better exchange rate but we recommend that you bring a mixture of denominations so that you can change just a small amount of money at a time if needs be. In Kyrgyzstan, smaller denominations of Kyrgyz Som are very useful.

ATM Availability

There are ATM machines in Bishkek but some machines may not accept foreign cards. Credit cards are rarely accepted so it is wise to take most of your money in cash. You may be able to use your credit card in the gift shops and exchange bureau at large hotels, and at some of the larger stores. 

Extra Expenses & 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).

Ala-Kul Lake, Terskey Ala-Too Range, Kyrgyzstan

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.