Khosh Kedirniz – Start your journey with a Kazakh Welcome! On arrival you will be received and transferred to your hotel. Afternoon Almaty city tour.
Kazakhstan is the largest of the Central Asian Republics that are often referred to as the ‘Stan Countries’. City tour of Almaty includes visit to:
The Museum of Folk Music Instruments is a unique collection of traditional musical instruments, each with a recording of its sound.
Panfilov Park is the most central park of Almaty, a pleasant place full of greenery and flowers. Here one can see one of the eight most unique wooden buildings in the world – the Zenkov Cathedral.
Zenkov Cathedral, one of tsarist era buildings, named after its architect was constructed in 1904 without a single nail. During the Soviet times for many years it was used as a concert and exhibition hall. It was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1995 and is now a functioning place of worship.
Kasteev Art Gallery and the city bazaar, where everybody is always on the move.
Overnight at the hotel.
Drive to Ala Archa. Cross the border into Kyrgyzstan and proceed to the pristine resort village of Ala Archa. Later afternoon arrival and transfer to your resort hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
Full day visit which includes some hiking. The Ala-Archa canyon is located in the highest, central part of the Kyrgyz Ridge which is famous for its eternal snow-stretching plot for almost 200 km – and such peaks as Dvurogaya (4,380 m), Korona (4,860 m), Baylyanbaish (4,700 m), and the highest peak of the Kyrgyz ridge – Semenov-Tian-Shansky (4,875 m).The Ala-Archa canyon is the center of the Ala-Archa National Park, one of the main tourist attractions in Kyrgyzstan. The national park (at the height from 1600 m to 4860m) is situated 45 km from the capital of Kyrgyzstan – Bishkek. The total area of the Park is 19,500 square kilometres. The name of the national park, Ala-Archa, means “many-colored juniper”, which suggests the abundance of this tree here. A river with the same name crosses the canyon. This river, like all the rivers in Kyrgyzstan, originates from mountain glaciers. The Ala-Archa, the Adygene, and the Ak-Sai are the largest rivers in the national park.
There are 160 species of birds in Ala-Archa. Local fauna also includes the snow leopard, a butterfly called the Night Peacock Eye, wolves, snakes, owls, and many others. The Ala-Archa canyon has about 1,100 species of plants: wormwood in the steppe zone at the mountain foot, different grasses, bushes, and juniper forests on mountain slopes that are replaced with alpine meadows.
This grand, rugged but very accessible gorge is offering dozens of walking and trekking possibilities, including hikes to glaciers and, for the serious mountaineer, treks to the region's highest peak. There are basic shelters scattered throughout the park but the best way to enjoy the area is to bring your own tent and supplies. You can use the Upper Ala-Archa Mountain Ski Base (2100 m) as a starting point from which to ski on glaciers, even in summer. Overnight at the hotel.
In the morning drive to Bishkek. Remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
City tour. Bishkek, founded in 1825 is the Capital of Kyrgyzstan. During the Soviet days it was known as Frunze. The tour includes visits to:
The State Historical Museum. Lenin still stands on his pedestal in former Ploshad Lenina. Behind him there is the State Historical Museum with two yurts, a small archaeology exhibit and a beguiling display of Kyrgyz carpets, embroidery and other applied crafts. Highlights of the history section include giant koumis skin, photographs of Kyrgyz victims of the Stalin era purges in the 1930s and the exhumation of their mass grave at Chon Tash near Bishkek.
The Osh Bazaar on Kievskaya Ulitsa is the biggest market in Kyrgyzstan. It is a typical eastern bazaar, which is noisy and full of local color.
Kyrgyz State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet is the cultural centre of Kyrgyzstan. The construction of the building began before World War II but was completed in 1955.
The central department store "ZUM" is the main shop super market of the city. Philharmonic Hall near Manas Square. People come here to see the folk show. Overnight at the hotel.
Drive to Issyk-Kul Lake. On route visit the Burana Tower Complex.
The Burana archeological and architectural complex is situated 12 km to the south of Tokmak. The name Burana is believed to be a corruption in a local dialect of the Turkic word munara "minaret": for centuries, all that remained of Balasagun were the topless, 25-meter minaret and the overgrown mound of the old citadel. Originally, minaret was 37 to 38 meters high, but in the 16th century an earthquake badly damaged the memorial. Near the minaret there are the ruins of three mausoleums, only their basements were preserved.
Burana is on the site of an ancient settlement of the 10th century that is identified with the historical city Balasagun, which was the capital of the Karakhanids State during the 10th to 12th centuries. Balasagun was so important that Genghis Khan's Mongol Horde spared the city from destruction when they began to conquer the world in the early 13th century.
Only central ruins of inner city (shakhristan), measuring 570 to 600 meters, were preserved from the primary square of the medieval city, which used to be 30 square km. A cultural layer of the city hides numerous remains of building of the 10th to 14th centuries.
Later proceed to Cholpan Atta located on the shores of Issykul Lake. Overnight at the hotel.
Full day circle the lake tour.
Issyk-Kul means “hot lake” in Kyrgyz and confirms this name by not freezing in the winter. It sits 1609m above sea level and has an area of 6 206 sq. km (179 km long and 60 km wide), making it the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America.
About 134 rivers flow into the lake. No rivers flow out of Issyk-Kul, so the lake accumulates all mineral substances carried here by the rivers and rains. The water is very light and transparent; in clear weather one can see the lake’s bottom. Since ancient times, Issyk-Kul has been famous for its curative mineralised water, hot springs and medicinal mud used for treating many diseases.
The lake is encircled with high mountains. The powerful ranges of the Kungei Ala-Too and Terskei Ala-Too round the lake from the South and North and form a hallow 2-3.5 km deep, which extends for 240 km west to east.
The area of Lake Issyk-Kul keeps a lot of secrets. At present at the bottom of the lake archaeologists have discovered the ruins of an ancient city, Chigu, which sank many centuries ago. It was a capital of the Usuni State since the second century BC, and the trade centre of the Tian Shan on the Great Silk Road.
Overnight at the hotel.
Transfer to the Bishkek airport for your departure flight.