Trekking to lake Sary-Chelek
|Country:||Kyrgyzstan, Western Tien-Shan mountains||View the route map »»|
|Tour duration:||10 days / 9 nights|
|Best time to travel:||July - September|
|Itinerary:||Osh - Aflatun settlement - Lake Sary-Chelek - Arkyt-Sai river - Osh|
The Western Tien-Shan mountains is a real treasure of spectacular lakes including the grandiose lake Sary-Chelek. It is to this lake that the route of the trekking takes you through picturesque mountain passes, deep gorges, along the torrents of mountain rivers. In addition to Lake Sary-Chelek, you will encounter a number of other smaller lakes which look like a chain of crystal-clear diamonds scattered among the rocky mountain peaks.
Lake Sary-Chelek and its surroundings are full of enchantment. Located at the altitude of 1873m the lake is cupped in the basin among mountain ridges. With the length of 7,500m and the width of 2280m, the lake is 234 m deep. It was formed as a result of tectonism of the area about 2000 years ago. On a fair day the extreme transparency of the water makes underwater inhabitants as well as deep water landscapes clearly visible. The lake is located on the territory of Sary-Chelek biosphere reserve. Surrounding the lake and reflecting in its water surface are rocky cliffs and thick juniper, fir and spruce forests.
Don’t miss the unforgettable trip to Lake Sary-Chelek.
- Itinerary /
Services & Cost
- Itinerary in Detail /
- Useful Information /
- Optional Excursions & Leisure Activities
|Day 1.||Early arrival to Osh. Meet and greet in the airport. Transfer from Osh to Aflatun settlement - Camp 1 (1300m) at the confluence of the Aflatun and Utur rivers (350km, approx. 6hrs).|
|Day 2.||The beginning of active part of the tour. Trekking up along the Yushniy Aflatun river. Camp 2 (1700m) - 18km; approx. 6hrs; +400m.|
|Day 3.||Continue trekking up along the Yushniy Aflatun river and then further along Uyalma river. Camp 3 (2100m) - 12km; approx. 5hrs; +400m.|
|Day 4.||Trekking over Kuldambes pass (2750m) and then descent to Lake Sary-Chelek over Ashuu pass (2551m). Camp 4 (1900m) - 10km; approx. 5hrs; -850m.|
|Day 5.||Day’s rest on Lake Sary-Chelek. Walks along the lake banks. Retrace to Camp 4.|
|Day 6.||Trekking. Ascent along Lake Sary-Chelek over Makmal pass (2654m). Descent to the Kyzyl-Suu river. Camp 5 (2000m) at the confluence of the Kyzyl-Suu and Kurumdu rivers - 13km; approx. 6 hrs; +750m; -650m.|
|Day 7.||Trekking downstream the Kara-Suu river to lake Karakamysh (Kara-Suu). Camp 6 (1800m) on the lake bank - 12km; approx. 3hrs; -200m.|
|Day 8.||Trekking up to and over Kuturma pass (2446m) and then descent to lake Iri-Kol. Camp 7 on the lake bank (1800m) - 10km; approx. 5hrs; +650m; -650m.|
|Day 9.||Trekking from lake Iri-Kol to the southern part of lake Sary-Chelek in Upaly ravine. Continue trekking round lake Kely-Kol and further to the Arkyt-Sai river (1400m) where the vehicle will be waiting to pick you up - 10km; approx. 2hrs; -400m. Transfer to Osh (320km, approx. 5-6hrs). Accommodation in the hotel.|
|Day 10.||Osh. Departure. Subject to departure time there is leisure time in Osh when you can visit the Osh bazaar. Transfer to airport. Departure home.|
|The cost of the tour in USD for 1 person:|
|The cost of the tour for 1 person||1770 USD/person|
|*Group: from 10 to 50 persons.
*Please contact our operators for all individual requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
|The cost tour includes:||The cost tour doesn’t include:|
Team building programm
Let us prepare authentic pilaf (also spelled pilaff, plov, pilau, pilav, polow, pulaw, pulao) under the guidance of a competent cook oshpaz (a professional cook specialising in pilaf)!
Stage 1: Preparations. The group is divided into several teams, who start to compete in cutting onion and carrot.
The oshpaz checks the quantity and quality of vegetables cut by each team. The team that proved to be the fastest and most professional in going through this stage becomes the winner.
Stage 2. Making of zirvak. The oshpaz tells and shows how to prepare zirvak (the semi-fluid base of the pilaf): he fries meat properly, adds the onion and carrot, flavours the mixture with necessary spices and explains why this or that component is needed in pilaf.
Stage 3: Putting of rice onto the zirvak. This is a very important moment: one should be perfectly aware of the type and amount of rice to be put, as various kinds of rice have different absorbing properties. If you put too little rice, you will get porridge in the end. On the contrary, too much rice will result in too hard, badly boiled grains.
Stage 4: Waiting. So, the rice has boiled enough and is now saturated with the aromas of the zirvak. Only the oshpaz knows when exactly to form a rice hill in the cauldron, cover the cauldron tightly with the lid and wrap it in a cloth so that the rice can be finished steamed by the slowly boiling zirvak, which communicates all the richness of its flavour created by the spices, garlic, barberries, onion and carrot it contains to the rice grains.
Stage 5: The most delicious one! Tasting the masterpiece. As a culmination, the oshpaz removes the lid, takes out the meat, cuts it into small lumps and puts it aside, and then stirs the ready pilaf very carefully and puts it in a large dish or in small individual plates! Good appetite to all!
To be able to find a way out of a difficult situation during a trip is what distinguishes a true hiker from other people!
Task 1: Lay a fire strictly following all the fire making rules and make tea for the least possible time. Let all of us divide into teams again. Each team is provided with a necessary set: matches, a kettle and some wood. Using flammable materials is prohibited. The team that makes tea first will win.
Task 2: Put up a tent, spread mats inside and put yourself in a sleeping bag. This competition requires quick movements and a sharp mind. At first sight all seems quite simple, except that all this must be done with blindfolded eyes! Each team appoints three persons and the competition begins.
Task 3: Collect wild raspberries and bring them to the camp. We shall tell you the direction, in which the raspberry bushes grow, upon which you will be to find the bushes, collect the berries and carry them to the camp. The goal of each team will be to gather a bucketful of raspberries and deliver it to the camp, taking care not to lose a single berry! Our cook will make a wonderful dessert out of the collected raspberries, unless you want to eat them fresh, of course.
In this trek you will have a rare chance to see and, if you would wish, even participate in traditional Kyrgyz games, which people play at holidays, wedding parties and other important events.
Here are some of the games.
Tyiyn Engmei is a horse game played by men only for them to show their skills on horseback riding. Tyiyn Engmei means “Grab the Coin”. So there are few coins laid on the ground and a young man has to grab them while galloping on a horse in a full speed. This game was played a lot in former times in order to train their skills on horseback riding which was one of the most important skills used during the battles. This game taught the young how to be solid on a horse keeping good balance and develop flexibility.
Er-Oodarsyh (or called otherwise Er-Enish). Two tough and strong men on horses wrestle. They wear no shirts and cover their bodies with oil which makes it more difficult to pull down the opponent from horse. The rules do not allow them to punch on face, kick, bite, and whip. Technically they just have to use their bare hands for pulling each other down. The participants can show not only their strength but also skillful management of horses.
Arkan tartysh - the tug-of-war, a popular game among many peoples in the world. You can compete with local people in this jolly game, in which anyone can participate, from the strongest men of the area to ordinary people, who want to throw down the gauntlet and try to win them in the contest. For the spectators, it is a real amusement. When men finally find whose team is stronger, they give their place to local women, who prove themselves even fiercer fighters than the sterner sex: they clutch at the rope on both sides and none is going to give up! This is the time when their husbands and other men of the district laugh with all their heart!
Kurosh is a traditional wrestling event involving only the strongest men (baatyr), who are brave enough to challenge their opponent (he may be their best friend or neighbour). This fight should better be simply watched. It often attracts a lot of fans and spectators.
Ulak tartysh (buzkashi). This is an exiting team game, in which horsemen try to tear a goat’s carcass (ulak) from each other’s hands. The task of each team is to capture the goat’s carcass and throw it into a large cauldron – the opponent’s ‘goal.’
In former times the fight for a goat was not merely a game, but a kind of preparation and examination for prospective soldiers. In this way young people used to improve their skills of fighting on horseback and controlling horses in the extreme conditions of a real battle.
Ulak tartysh (or buzkashi) is a sports game requiring much strength and skill, as the usual goat’s carcass weighs about 60 kg.
According to the rules of the game, the horseman must not allow his horse to rear or ram into an opponent’s horse, hold an opponent’s horse by the rein, take the bridle off it, hamper an opponent’s move by holding his hand or waist belt, kick or blow an opponent or his horse with a hand, stirrup, whip, rein, tie the ulak to the saddle, place his horse on the way of the galloping horse of an opponent, shout or talk to other players or continue struggling after the carcass has been thrown into the cauldron.
According to a local belief, the meat of the goat that has been the game’s main object has a curative effect and helps overcome sterility, as among the thousands of hands that have held it in the course of the game there could be the hand of a holy person, who endowed the carcass with magic properties.
The Kyrgyz are nomads whose lifestyle of constantly changing the place of living has taught them to cook fast and nourishing meals. We would like to acquaint you with the cooking procedure for some traditional Kyrgyz dishes.
Beshbarmak (Turkic ‘five fingers’ or ‘palm,’ the name originating from the nomadic way of eating meat with their hands, not using any cutlery) is boiled meat with noodles cooked and served with the use of some special technologies. In the Kyrgyz kitchen beshbarmak (Kyrgyz ‘tuuralgan et’) is served at family holidays (toy) and when the home is visited by respectable guests. The cooking process is the following: a sheep is killed and the carcass is cut into pieces and boiled in a large cauldron. Men are responsible for preparing the meat, from killing the sheep to cutting the boiled meat into pieces, while women’s duty is to prepare noodles. The boiled meat that is then cut into thin slices and is mixed with the noodles (kesme), cut very thin and boiled in meat broth, and sauce chyk (made from fat meat broth with sliced onion and ground black pepper added into it). Before serving beshbarmak, each person is given a bowl (piala) of broth (‘shorpo/sorpo’) and a piece of meat on a bone, each sheep containing 12 bones of this type. Sometimes mutton is accompanied by horse meat, boiled, smoked or dried. On special occasions the head of the sheep is also put on the table. It is served to an elder or the most respectable guest, who then asks the others to help themselves with some of it, wishing them at the same time something good.
Damlama (‘dymlama’), a popular dish among Turkic people, is easy to cook and consists of various vegetables, such as cabbage, potatoes, carrots, sweet pepper, onions, aubergines and others stewed in their own juice together with meat and fat.
Kattama is traditional round flaky bread made of unleavened dough fried in oil. Kattama is usually served hot with tea.
The large Lake Sarychelek with crystal clear water is perfect for real sporting competitions, which will be organised on the mirror of its surface:
• a race on inflatable mattresses; • a swimming race for a short distance; • an obstacle course with the last phase in water.
On the gently sloping northern shore of Lake Sarychelek we shall organise interesting competitions aimed at raising the team spirit:
• football played in roped parties - ‘mambaball’; • a game with a rope called ‘disentangle us’; • ‘merry boxing’.
You will be pleased with the rich taste of these delicious foods and drinks.
Koumiss is a sour beverage made of mare’s milk with the use of a special fermenting agent, which nomads drink since ancient times. Koumiss is produced only with the use of environmentally friendly material. It is prepared in wooden barrels, where it is stirred with a special wooden stick. Authentic koumiss is rich in proteins, fats, vitamins (B1, B2, C and biotin, as well as pantothenic and folic acids), calcium, phosphorus and many other chemical elements and agents good for health. Microelements in koumiss help satisfy thirst and restore the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract. Sourish and sweetish, slightly intoxicating and instantly invigorating, smacking at once of kvass, kefir and even wine, authentic koumiss has a rather specific flavour, which may cause dislike in those who drink it for the first time. However, after you have tasted it several times you will appreciate this ancient beverage of Asian nomads, who knew a lot about horses and exhausting heat, and realize that there is no better thing to satisfy your thirst on a hot summer day, particularly if you are somewhere in a steppe or in the mountains.
Kaymak is thick and delicious cream, something between normal cream and butter. It is made of fresh unskimmed milk, which is boiled and cooled. Then the cream that has formed on the top of it is removed. Kaymak eaten with hot local bread is fabulously delicious!
Boorsak is a traditional food consisting of deep-fried pieces of leavened or unleavened dough.
Katik is yoghurt-like sour milk made of boiled unskimmed milk with the addition of leaven. Katyk is often added to various hot meals and cold soups, used as sauce for salads and served as a separate dish.
Kyrgyz mountain honey is aromatic, piquant, spicy, oily and very sweet! The widest range of flavours! Almost every family living in the mountains has an apiary, so the region is rich in honey, and you can even take a jar of it back home with you.
Itinerary brief description
This trekking is rather easy and is suitable for anyone with good physical condition. Tourist above 16 and under 65 years of age can join this tour provided they have no serious health problems and their doctor does not object to participation in such kind of tourist activities. Children above 14 can also join this trekking tour provided they are accompanied by their parents.
Trekking to high altitude lake Sary-Chelek and other lakes of the Western Tien-Shan.
Trekking on foot covers from 10km to 18km a day with altitude difference up to 850m. The route runs at the maximum altitude of 2654m above sea level (Makmal pass).
Each participant carries his own rucksack with personal belongings, supply of drinking water and first-aid kit. The rest of the gear (the weight of the gear should not exceed 15kg per person), as well as group camping equipment and supply of provisions is transported by pack-horses. Typically the region enjoys rather stable weather: it’s warm and sunny, though some rain is possible, which relieves the monotony of the trip. The daytime temperatures range between +15° to +30°С, whereas at night the temperature can drop as low as +8 or +10°С.
Equipment on route
- Tents are used for accommodation of two persons. The tents are wind-resisting and water-proof and are suitable for any weather conditions. For your comfort the tents are equipped with firm air-beds as well as comfortable sleeping bags with individual lining.
- Tent camp also has a big hangar-like mess tent with tables and camp chairs.
- Throughout the trek we provide quality tableware.
- To cook dishes during the trek we provide gas burner with gas cylinders or a supply of firewood.
- The tent camp is equipped with portable WC.
Any trekking group is provided with portable radio transmitters and GPS navigator.
We also offer the travelers small a flashlight for forehead with extra batteries.
List of personal gear
Throughout the trekking travel you will be escorted by high altitude guide, who is the tour manager and our authorized representative. He is responsible for the safety and security of the group as well as decision making, including any changes in the route due to unforeseen circumstances that could threaten the health and well-being of the participants.
The tour is serviced by a team whose responsibility is to pitch and take down tents, lay the table for meals, wash up, pack the loads on horses, make fire and the like.
The team also includes a dedicated professional cook and a horse handler who is responsible for proper packing of the loads on horses and porterage.
Throughout the trek programme you will be served hot meals three times a day. (Please note that in cities we provide only breakfast, whereas lunch and dinner, or any additional food extravagance and alcoholic beverages can be arranged extra.) Below you can find the menu of one of the trekking days:
First dish: cereal porridge (semolina, oats, rice).
Second dish: cooked eggs with sausages, omelette, pancakes, thick pancakes, toasted bread, cottage cheese pancake, etc.
Buffet table: cheese, sausage, assorted bread, butter, ketchup, marmalade, chocolate paste, sweets, cookies, wafers, dried cream, honey, sugar, halavah.
Drinks: selection of hot drinks, such as tea (black and green), coffee, cocoa.
Buffet lunch: assorted bread, fresh salads, canned fish, cheese, sheep cheese, assorted meat appetizers, tea (black and green) sweets, cookies, wafers, fruits (apples, pears), dried fruits (apricot, raisin, figs, etc.), assorted nuts.
*In case of camp lunch first course is added.
First course - soup (European or local cuisine).
Second course - various dishes of European cuisine with assorted garnish, as well as a choice of local dishes.
Buffet table: assorted bread, cheese, sausage, ketchup, spices (mustard, various dressings), sweets, cookies, wafers, sugar.
Drinks: selection of hot drinks, such as tea (black and green), coffee, cocoa, thin jelly.
Dessert: watermelon, melon, fruits.
Tourists should arrive to Osh - the starting point of the tour on the date the tour begins. All expenses connected with early arrival or late departure on completion of the tour should be covered by tourists themselves. In this case our company can arrange transfers to and from the airport as well as book the hotel.
Itinerary in Detail
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can attempt this trek? Should the participants of the tour have prior trekking experience or prepare themselves physically?
- Can people with health problems participate in this programme?
- Is travel insurance compulsory for this tour?
- What is the weather like in the mountains?
- Is it possible to swim in the lakes?
- What are the probabilities of encountering some dangerous creatures (besides relatively harmless mosquitoes) such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, mites etc.?
- Is it allowed to pick up mountain herbs and flowers? Which plants should be avoided?
- What should and what shouldn’t I take with me?
- How are meals organized during the trek programme?
- How about communication facilities during trek travel?
- How good is Internet access?
- Visa, permits.
Optional Excursions & Leisure Activities
«Resort in the Pamirs»
Amateur photographers, journalists, artists, travelers, romantics, bards, the young and the old, who knows no rest in this world, and everyone who has lost themselves - you all are going to get every thing here - the harmony, peace and balance. You are going to absorb all this beauty and feel the grandeur of this land, you will see the world in its new colors, you will be granted with new life energy, and you will get new powerful sources to live - live with fun, live joyfully, learn to be happy every minute of this wonderful stay at our small, single and unique planet - Earth!
«Tour to Uzbekistan»
|View the route map »»|
The Orient is a delicate thing: fine pattern, delicate silk, fine arts, graceful and charming dances… The tour across Uzbekistan called “The Oriental Adventures” will guide you through the most interesting places of this wonderful country. We understand that you wish to manage seeing the most impressive, eye-catching, important and unique things during your short vacation in order to be able to estimate true worth of magnificent monuments of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, in order to be able to enjoy surrounding nature and its generous gifts!
- read more »»
Itinerary Day 1. Osh - Fergana - Margilan (167 km).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. Overcoming the border. Transfer to Fergana. Arrival to Fergana accommodation and rest at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing in Margilan. Returning to Fergana. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2. Fergana - Rishtan - Kokand - Tashkent (300 кm).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to Rishtan. Visiting ceramic ateliers for the production of ceramics. After, visiting Kokand. Guided sightseeing tour around Kokand: Khudoyar-Khan Palace, Mausoleum Madari Khan, Jami Mosque. Transfer to Tashkent through the Kamchik pass. Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 3. Tashkent - Samarkand (300 km).
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to railway station. Departure from Tashkent to Samarkand by high-speed train «Afrosiyob» (08:00-10:10). Meeting at Samarkand railway station. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: Registan Square (Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah, Tilla-Qori Madrasah), Gur-e Amir Mausoleum (Tamerlane’s sepulcher), Rukhabad Mausoleum; after lunch: Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, Ulugbek Observatory. Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 4. Samarkand - Bukhara (280 km).
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: St. Daniel Mausoleum, Khazrat-Khizr Mosque. Leisure time: Siab Bazaar recommended. After lunch transfer to Bukhara, visiting Samarkand Paper Mill when leaving. Arrival in Bukhara. Leisure time. Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 5. Bukhara - Tashkent.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Bukhara: Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Ark Citadel, Po-i-Kalyan Complex (Kalyan Minaret and others), Ulugbek Madrasah; after lunch: Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Ensemble, Kukeldash Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah, domed shopping arcade. Transfer to railway station. Departure from Bukhara to Tashkent by night train. Overnight rest in train.
Day 6. Tashkent. Departure.
The cost of the tour in USD for 1 person Group 2 3-4 5-6 7-9 10-15 Single supplement Cost 559 487 429 397 366 45
*Please contact our operators for all individual requests.
The cost tour includes: The cost tour doesn’t include: • Hotel accommodation in twins / double rooms, with breakfast; • Guided sightseeing tours; • Comfortable air-conditioned means of transportation throughout tour, including airport transfer; • Ticket for the high-speed train Afrosiyob Tashkent - Samarkand (Economy Class); • Ticket for the night train Bukhara - Tashkent (Economy Class); • International airfares; • Sites entrance fees; • Meals; • Travel health insurance; • Uzbekistan visa support.
• Entry fees: - 47 USD/per pax; • Meals: - Half board (evening meals) - 75 USD/per pax; - Full board - 140 USD/per pax.
Hotels 3* - cozy private hotels, with traditional national interiors in many of them, providing all the necessary facilities for comfortable stays; notable for very warm hosting and home-like atmosphere.
This tour comes with the following accommodation:
City Hotels 3* Fergana Club Hotel 777 3* or similar Tashkent Samir Hotel 3*+ or similar Samarkand Arba Hotel 3* or similar Bukhara Siyavush Hotel 3* or similar
The cost of of additional excursions:
• Wine testing in old winery named after Hovrenko (Samarkand) - 15 USD/per pax; • Visiting the theatre of historical costume El Merosi (Samarkand) - 10 USD/per pax; • Folklore show in Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah (Bukhara) - 15 USD/per pax; • Tea testing in the "Silk Road Spices" tea house (Bukhara) - 5 USD/per pax; • The cost of the master class afloat with tasting for groups of 6 people - 25 USD/per pax. The cost of the tour in USD for 1 person Group 2 3-4 5-6 7-9 10-15 Single supplement Cost 751 679 621 589 555 90
*Please contact our operators for all individual requests.
The cost tour includes: The cost tour doesn’t include: • Hotel accommodation in twins / double rooms, with breakfast; • Guided sightseeing tours; • Sites entrance fees; • Folklore show in Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah; • Comfortable air-conditioned means of transportation throughout tour, including airport transfer; • Ticket for the high-speed train Afrosiyob Tashkent - Samarkand (Business Class); • Ticket for the night train Bukhara - Tashkent (Business Class); • Half board (evening meals); • Bottle of mineral water per day/per pax; • Souvenirs. • International airfares; • Lunches; • Travel health insurance; • Uzbekistan visa support.
Hotels 4* - very comfortable hotels providing excellent facilities and services; mainly located in or near city centers.
This tour comes with the following accommodation:
City Hotels 4* Fergana Club Hotel 777 3* or similar Tashkent Ramada 4* or similar Samarkand Emirkhan 4* or similar Bukhara Omar Khayam 3*+ or similar
The cost of of additional excursions:
• Wine testing in old winery named after Hovrenko (Samarkand) - 15 USD/per pax; • Visiting the theatre of historical costume El Merosi (Samarkand) - 10 USD/per pax; • Tea testing in the "Silk Road Spices" tea house (Bukhara) - 5 USD/per pax; • The cost of the master class afloat with tasting for groups of 6 people - 25 USD/per pax.
Photo of the tour:
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