Why travel to Kyrgyzstan ?
With 90% of its territory covered by mountains, Kyrgyzstan is a country where the landscapes are surprisingly varied: green and flowery steppes, wooded valleys, canyons, lakes and snowy mounts.
Kyrgyz people hospitality is unforgettable. Their yurts’ door is always open to you and they’re always willing to share some heat, a cup of tea, hot bread or a bowl of vodka… despite the language barrier (main spoken languages there are Kyrgyz and Russian)!
Given the topography of the country, the use of 4×4 is essential: stony tracks, rivers to cross, snowy passes… Nevertheless, these are the same tracks that will allow you to access beautiful, rarely visited areas and locals for whom you will be a curiosity. It is also possible to do horse trekking, which is a funny way to experience nomadic life in the mountains.
The route shown on the map below is the one we have travelled during 9 days by 4×4 (Toyota Prado) and motorcycle (BMW 750). We just improvised day after day, according to the weather, the road conditions and the advice of the locals we met along the way. We then spent 3 days doing horse trekking in the Song-Kul Lake area.
Our itinerary for a two-week trip in Kyrgyzstan
To plan your route, we recommend you to buy a map (the GIZI map KYRGYZSTAN is perfect for this) and to get a functional GPS. Main roads are very good but not numerous. You will soon come across uncertain conditions for driving (because of river flooding, landslides, closed passes). Once there, contact the CBT (Community Based Tourism Association) to find out what’s the condition of these roads. Access to the southern region of the country, bordering China, requires a special permit. You can get it in any tourism agency for a 30 dollars fee in 48h.
Practical information to plan your trip
– English is rarely spoken
Tip: have a small glossary with you
No visa required if staying less than 60 days
From Paris : € 300 – 400 round trip
Best season: Spring for the green plains and transhumance. Watch out howether for possible river floods.
Cost of living
– Local currency: 1 euro = 79 soms
– Food: €2 – 3 for a meal at the restaurant
– Homestay (Yurt): 2 – 5€/pers with breakfast
– Wild camping allowed throughout the country
– Fuel: €0.6/L (0.26 gallon)
– Vodka: € 2 a bottle of 1L
– Price: 70 – 90€/day
– Vehicle: Toyota Prado
Bring a map of the country and check road conditions (contact CBTs)
Find your 4×4 here:
– Price: 85€/day – See our article abour Motorbike Rental in Kyrgyzstan HERE !
– Motorcycle: BMW 750
Warning: there are very few motorcycles and garages in the country. It’s better to book in advance and have good mechanics basics.
Our budget for a road-trip to Kyrgyzstan
Our budget for a group of 6 people – 9 days by 4×4 & motorbike + 3 day horse-riding (May 2017)
|Price||Days||Group Total||Indiv Total|
|4×4 Rental (Toyota Land Cruiser)||75 € /day||9||675 €||112.50 €|
|Moto Rental (BMW 750)||85 € /day||9||765 €||128 €|
|Horse trekking (horse man, guide, accommodation & food)||170 € /day||3||510 €||85 €|
|Accommodation in hotel (Bishkek & Kochkor towns)||36 € /day||2||72 €||12 €|
|Accommodation in Yurt||12 € /day||1||12 €||2 €|
|Food||25 € /day||15||375 €||63 €|
|Fuel||25 € /day||9||405 €||68 €|
|Vehicle repairs||120 €||-||120 €||20 €|
|Flight tickets||400 €||-||2 400 €||400 €|
|Others (camping equipment, taxi)||150 €||-||150 €||25 €|
|Border Pass||25 €||-||150 €||25 €|
|TOTAL||-||-||5 334,00 €||940,50 €/person|
Our favorite places to explore
Tosor-Ashuu pass and Uch-Emchek valley
Snowy and rocky, we never thought we would make it through this pass (3893m) since the road was difficult, but the view from above remains our best memory. A valley of a thousand colors, where we came across hundreds of wild Yaks and horses. An incredible feeling of total change of scenery. We experienced some scares when crossing rivers in 4x4s and motorcycles, but we made it! You will find hot springs on the way… which are very appreciable.
After driving for several hours on a rocky and dry path, an immense valley shows up: a grandiose gradient of green crossed by dozens of streams. The steppe as we imagined it. We met several nomadic families there who invited us to drink vodka in the evening and then to have breakfast with them the next day. We tasted the bread, just out of the wood fire, the Mare’s milk cream and the homemade raspberry jam! A sweet memory…..
Song Kol lake
Although this lake is becoming (slightly) touristic, we were able there to enjoy the pleasure of horseback riding. We went out galloping and reached Song Kol lake, which melts with the sky there. A feeling of escape and freedom engraved in our memories! Our guide allowed us to swim in the lake with the horses. Do not hesitate to ask for it! We spent two nights in a yurt and had typical Kyrgyz meals served by families. A very nice escapade!
A beautiful turquoise lake suspended at 3400m of altitude in the middle of steep rocks composed of several caves and cavities. It can be reached only on foot or horseback. A true gem!
We had a horseback ride and we negotiated the price with the nomads living there. We made a deal for about 10€/pers to hire two of them as guides.
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