Lake hopping: Issyk-Kul and Song-Kul

Discover Issyk-Kul and Song-Kul!

Lake Issyk-Kul and Lake Song-Kul – the pearls of Kyrgyzstan, are the must-see places in the country! Experience the second biggest mountain Lake on this planet: Issyk-Kul, its surface covers 6,236 square kilometers. Besides you can go for an adventurous raft on the river Chong-Kemin. Followed by the jewel of the jailoos, the stunning Song-Kul with its sparkling waters. As if it wasn´t enough, the jailoo is surrounded by massive summits 3700 m high! During this 7-day trip, you will be given the opportunity to have some extraordinary views. High mountain ranges, calm planes and waters like diamonds, experience the heart of Central Asia to the fullest!

Are you up for some astonishing views and clear lakes?

Kyrgyzstan is a very mountainous country (96% of its surface is covered by Mountains) with remote areas and astonishing views. Here you can experience the jailoos, the pastures where Kyrgyz shepherds tend their flocks in summer. Such as Lake Song-Kul at 3016 m above sea level, surrounded on all sides by mountains dotted with snowfields. Enjoy homemade jam, fresh cream, bread still warm from the oven, and the best kymyz (fermented mare’s milk) at a local shepherd´s family. Topped with wild nature, blooming flowers and ancient rock paintings. The roads, especially to some remote villages and hidden valleys are windy, dusty and adventurous but nevertheless beautiful and worth a ride! Wild Kyrgyzstan is a stunning adventure of nature and the old nomad´s culture.

  • Itinerary: Bishkek – ChongKemin – Karakol – Bokonbay – SongKul – Bishkek
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Best Season: June – September
  • Category: Auto
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Medium
  • Group Size: 2-26 pax
  • Highlights: Kemin national park, Issyk-Kul Lake, Altyn-Arashan, Eagle hunting show, Song-Kul, Nomad’s life.
  • Requirements: weatherproof warm clothes, trekking boots, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.


Arrival at Manas airport. We will pick you up and transfer to Bishkek. Hotel accommodation. (Optional: city tour).

Transfer to the Chong-Kemin Valley (approx. 3 hours drive). On the way, visit the Burana Tower architectural complex (10-11th century, an important point on the Great Silk Road), 15 km from the main road. At lunch time, arrival in Chong Kemin, accommodation in the guest house. After lunch, there will be a rafting tour on the river Chong-Kemin (class 2 & class 3). Dinner and overnight stay in the guest house.

Continue the drive to Karakol. On the way, we stop in Cholpon-Ata to visit an open-air petroglyph (rock painting) gallery (5km from Cholpon-Ata, heading to the mountains). Lunch at a café. Arrival at Karakol. Dinner and accommodation in the guest house. (4-5 hours driving with sightseeing stops on the way).

On day 4 you travel to Altyn-Arashan mountain gorge. You will reach the place with a particular off-road truck adopted for passengers (Ural). The road goes along the river Arashan and up the hills, and you will get to the Arashan hot spring thermal bath valley. Enjoy the natural beauty and take lunch in the wild! In the afternoon you will hike down to Ak-Suu. The terrain is easy to hike and takes about 4 hours, walking average speed. The vehicle will follow you behind in any case, to pick up the tired or because of sudden changes in the weather conditions. Tonight’s accommodation will be in the guesthouse.

After breakfast, your travel continues to the Bokonbay region, following the road on the southern lakeshore of the famous Issyk-Kul. On the way, you will be visiting the Jeti-Ögüz Gorge (Seven Bulls Gorge) for 1 hour. Further, you will attend the Kök-Jaik area (Valley of Flowers) for 2-3 hours. Picnic lunch en-route and driving on to the southern shore of the Issyk-Kul (3-hour drive). Dinner and overnight stay at a guest house in the village. (3-4 hours driving with sightseeing stops on the way).

Having enjoyed breakfast you will be transferred to the sparkling, crystal clear mountain lake Song-Kol through Kochkor village. In the village, you can visit a local family for lunch and participate in a workshop to make the traditional handmade felt carpets. It is worth a try! After lunch we continue the journey to Song-Kol, crossing the high pass Kalmak-Ashuu (3400m). The pass takes us to the northern lakeshore where you will be welcomed in a yurt camp. You will dine and sleep in the yurt camp. (3-4 hours driving, stop at Kochkor).

In the early morning after breakfast, you will get to hike a bit! Our drivers will drop you on the slopes of the mountain range Song-Kol. From there starts a trek crossing the pass Tuz-Ashuu that leads at 3300m altitude to the Jumgal region. You will be accompanied by local guides and pack horses to carry your luggage and all the things needed. The trail leading downhill most of the time and after descending to the river Bazar-Turuk, you will be picked up again by cars. From here you will be transported back to Bishkek, where a farewell dinner at a local restaurant will be waiting for you. Accommodation in a hotel.  (4 hours trekking time, 3-4 hours transfer)



The tours start upon request. The itineraries can be adjusted individually to fit into your schedule and provide you with the best experience. Furthermore, we are happy to create tailor-made tours according to your wishes.

After having solved all the questions and programs confirming we issue an invoice for payment. You can make a bank transfer or pay upon your arrival time in Bishkek before the trip starts.

The price of the tour depends on the number of people and the season. According to the request and interest, we can negotiate the optimal price for your budget.

Kyrgyzstan is a mountain country and some point you prefer to do walking and hiking. We recommend you train with sport or jogging 2-3 times a week in the run-up to your trip

We offer hospitality local guest houses, homestays in the villages. In the cities Bishkek, Karakol you will have a hotel. The yurt stays at Song-Kul valley. All the accommodations have bathroom facilities (western toilet, hot shower) except the yurt camp accommodations (basic toilet conditions).

Kyrgyzstan has a free-visa entry for many countries.

For more information about Kyrgyzstan visa link to

The basic hints for travelers.

  • During your travel time, please respect local culture, customs, traditions, and religion.
  • Try to buy local products and make a benefit for the local economy.
  • Always give fair prices for lodging, food and other services.
  • Take off your shoes, when entering home or yurt stay.
  • Smoking is prohibited at home.
  • Please share your ideas on food and accommodation preferences.
  • Ask people for photographing them.
  • Be friendly and try to get in contact.
  • Be careful during the evening and night time and aware of mass meetings.
  • Be careful with your documents, money and valuable items.
  • Be aware of pickpockets and strangers at bazaars and streets.
  • If someone asking for documents, wallets or cameras, saying that they are from the police, ask them to go police together.
  • Never give your belongings to strangers.
  • Wear good hiking shoes for outdoor activities.
  • Bring warm waterproof clothes even in summer.
  • Have your torch sunscreen and repellent.
  • Do not drink very cold water from unknown sources.
  • Drinking alcohol at high altitudes is unsafe.
  • If the food fat or not acceptable for you can taste a bit and say thanks.
  • Do not drink cold water after eating out, better hot tea or c It helps in high altitude digestions cases.
  • Wear warm clothes in the mountains, usually after eating out.
  • Bring your medicines and first aid kit.
  • If you feel unsafe or have issues to discuss, please share with your staff, host or tour manager.
  • Collect your litter. Pack up all non-biodegradable rubbish.
  • Please don’t drop cigarette butts or litter.
  • High altitude vegetation is very fragile. Save the environment.
  • Use toilets in nature wherever available. Where are none, stay at least 40-50 m from streams and water sources and bury all waste and paper.
  • Leaving footprints, take just your photographs.

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