Exploring of Tian Shan
Trekking in Terskey Alatau
|Country:||Kyrgyzstan, Central Tian Shan Mountains, Terskey Alatau mountain range||View the route map »»|
|Tour duration:||11 days / 10 nights|
|Active part duration:||9 days / 8 nights|
|Itinerary:||Bishkek - Karakol - Djhety-Oguz ice wall - Issyk Kul Lake - Bishkek|
Dates of the group tour In: 04.08 - 14.08.2019
The trekking area lies between the southern shore of the Issyk Kul Lake and the northern slopes of the Terskey Alatau (Ala Too) mountain range (central Tian Shan Mountains). The area belongs to the most beautiful and remote parts of Central Asia. This is the region where beautiful high mountains slope down to the very shore of Issyk Kul, an enormous freshwater Central Asian lake. Terskey Alatau Range forms a majestic wall that extends for 340km along the lake’s southern shore, separating this corner of the paradise from the rest of the mountain area with a severe climate.
The Terskey Alatau Range with an average altitude of about 4,500m is incredibly beautiful and diverse, its landscapes including pointed snow-capped peaks 5,000m and more in height, wild coniferous forests on the northern slopes, a ridge of red sandy rocks, the Djhety-Oguz, swift rivers and exceptionally delightful gorges.
As the trek goes in the immediate proximity to the highest part of the range, the trekker has a unique opportunity to continuously enjoy the views of its immense and severe peaks: Karakol Peak (5,218m), Djhety-Oguz Peak (5,181m), Djhigit Peak (5,172m) and Aksu Peak (5,020m). Travellers will immerse in the freshness of fragrant fir forests and experience the healing effects of hot mineral springs (Djhialisu, Altin-Arashan). Tourists will get to know the harsh beauty of nature during the round day trips to the foot of great summits. At the end of the tour you will spend a couple of days on the warm sandy shore of famous Lake Issyk Kul.
Best time for trekking is from July to September.
SERVICES & COST
- Useful information
- OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS
& LEISURE ACTIVITIES
|Day 1.||Arrival in Bishkek. Sightseeing tour around Bishkek.
Meeting at “Manas” airport. Transfer to Bishkek (30 km), check-in at hotel. Sightseeing tour around Bishkek: the central Ala-Too Square, Historical Museum, National hero Manas Monument, Kurmanzhan Datka Monument, Old Square with Parliament House, Victory Square. Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 2.||Transfer by bus from Bishkek to the Karakol.
Distance: 430 km, Travel time: 7-8 h; Altitude difference: + 900 m
Gradually gaining altitude, we drive along the fertile oasis of Chu River valley - once part of Great Silk Route travelled by merchants as well as hordes of Mongols of Genghis Khan (13th century AD) and armies of ruthless emperor Tamerlane (14th century AD). On our way we pass major towns Tokmok and ruins of Burana Tower (old minaret). Lunch en route. The road winds into the picturesque narrow Boom gorge (“shoelace” in Kyzgyz) and, halfway to Karakol, reaches Balykchi where Lake Issyk Kul (“warm lake” in Kyrgyz) starts from - a natural wonder of Central Asia.
The town of Karakol (population of 65,000) is set 8km away of the Lake Issyk Kul. Abundance of rains and deep mountain streams bring here a lot of water and make local climate extremely favourable for agriculture farming and cattle breeding. That is why the streets of the town are drawn in impressively thick and tall poplars as well as apricot, cherry, pear and apple trees. Local bazaars attract with its mix of Chinese, Dungan, Uighur and Russian faces and a diversity of local fruits and vegetables.
We get accommodation in shared rooms in a simple wooden chalet of the “Ala-Too” mountaineering base where one can also get, as extra, hot shower and sauna. Do not forget to enjoy panoramic view that opens up next morning: just beyond the base is Terskey Alatoo Range, the peaks of which reach heights over 5.000 metres - the area of your trekking
|Day 3.||Sightseeing tour around Karakol. Transfer by truck to the valley of Djhety-Oguz river .
Distance: 45 km, 1-1,5 h; Altitude difference: +900 m.
Sightseeing tour around Karakol: a wooden Orthodox Russian church and impressive wooden Dungan mosque, Prjevalskii Memorial Complex. Lunch in a local café. Transfer to Djety Oguz gorge located in the Northern slopes of Terskei Ala Too some 15km west from Karakol town. Here we can see an unusual formation of red sandstone cliffs that gave the place its name - Seven Bulls. Dinner and overnight at the yurt camp "Djhety-Oguz".
|Day 4.||Trek to the foot of Telety pass.
Distance: 16 km, 6-8 h; Altitude difference: +450 m.
We sort out our loads to be carried on horses and proceed with trekking. We trek a short way until turning left at the confluence of Djheti Oguz and Telety rivers to carry on by a good path on the orographically left hand side of a beautiful valley along the Telety river through the fir forest. One hour past we reach the confluence of Ayutor River and Telety River. We can see Archaly Peak at our front. Two hours on we cross the Telety river over a log bridge and start ascending on rather steep trail winding up on the mountain spur through a thicket of juniper shrubs. After lunch we ascend rather steeply approximately 400 metres to our camp. On the way we enjoy views of the picturesque valley. Camp is situated near small waterfall on the nice grassy spot in the packet between the neighbouring mountain spurs protecting out tents against strong highland wind.
Dinner and overnight in “Telety” tent camp at 3050m.
|Day 5.||Cross over Telety pass (3800 m) down to the Karakol River (2300 m).
Distance: 18 km, 6-8 h; Altitude difference: +750 m /-1300 m
We are awoken by whistles of eagles and marmots. It takes us 15 minutes to reach ancient moraine which we bypass on the right. Air is thickened with omnipresent sparrows and daws soaring around. Eagles and lammergeiers are patrolling the area hovering on the updrafts. We ascend on a good stony path - good for people and poor for horses. Two hours past the trail levels and we see the circ - cliffy and scree terrain - from where the pass becomes visible. These are rugged mountains and the views spectacular all around. To the other side of the pass is the Karakol valley, and our route now takes us down valley.
First the trail goes down on the stiff rocky terrain. Then it levels into green grassy spot, bypasses coarse-stone scree and runs down the mountain stream that is forded twice. Past first confluence (right hand side lateral) the trail reaches marshy glade covered in mountain garlic. We cross the stream here and follow the trail running on the left bank of the stream - a herder’s trail through juniper shrubs.
After lunch we carry on downhill on the alpine meadows till thick fir, spruce, larch and ash forest. There from we clearly hear rumbling of Karakol River flowing down at the bottom of the valley - we are close to our camp now. Camp (2600m) in the upper reaches of Karakol River valley is on the river bank near big bolder. Terrain around bears traces of human deforestation activity.
Dinner and overnight in “Karakol” tent camp at 2500m.
|Day 6.||Radial hike to the foot of Karakol peak (5216m).
Distance: 16km. 6-8 h; Altitude difference: +700 m /-700 m.
We trek up valley and in one hour past reach a large rock presenting memorial plates set to those mountaineers who perished on the most challenging sheer walls of Karakol Peak and Djigit Peak. We head than out of the tall fir forest and above the river to green meadows blanketed in flowers - poppies, daises, pansies, calendulas, jointweeds, mallows, motherworts - and clumps of juniper bushes. Just past the forest a view opens up to Karakol Peak - a white trapeze face adorned in hanging glaciers. The trail runs on a grassy slope to the top of the natural dam where small lake lies followed, further up, by the other bigger one. Here on alpine meadows Pink Roseola grows - an herb the roots of which possess curing properties similar to ginseng. The lure is not just to picnic beside the mountain stream, but to appreciate the grandeur of Djigit Peak (5170m) which commands a presence over the left hand side of the valley. We can also enjoy a view of the Hair Waterfall (on the right). After a picnic lunch we return back to our camp.
Dinner and overnight in “Karakol” tent camp at 2600m.
|Day 7.||Ascend from Karakol river up to Alakul Lake (3532 m).
Distance: 9 km, 6-8 h; Altitude difference: +1100 m.
Moving on now, we trek first down valley along a good road for a short while and, past mountaineering camp site, cross over a foot bridge into the thick forest. We follow a narrow winding trail upwards and soon get into open slopes of grasses and shrubs. We enjoy picturesque views across to adjacent valleys. We reach a small blue lake where we may take a picnic lunch and then trek on through the forest to a place where a climbers hut is located (2600m). We may set camp here, or trek on up for another two or three hours beside alpine stream and scree and boulders to a higher camp on the shoulder of the expansive azure blue Alakul Lake at approx 3200m. This will depend on logistic and weather conditions, and decision will be made by your group leader. Camp at 2600m in the green zone provides more warmth and comfort compared to camping at 3200m on the small rocky spot in the windy narrow bottleneck where the stream overflows the lake.
Dinner and overnight in “Ala Kol” tent camp at 3200m.
|Day 8.||Trekking over Ala Kol pass (3800m) passing Ala Kol Lake and descend to Arashan gorge (2600 m).
Distance: 18 km, 6-8 h; Altitude difference: +200 m/-1200 m.
We gain altitude moving along the trail running up and down the scree-rocky slope. We keep the lake on our right. The turquoise-blue lake stretches as far as the eye can see, and peaks and glaciers of the Terskey Alatau range (among which the 4900m-high Ekichat Peak is clearly distinguishing) provide the backdrop for the entire panorama. The climate is much cooler now and warm clothing, hat, gloves and waterproofs are essential items to have with you whilst in this locality through to the other side of Alakul pass. Nonetheless, it makes sense to top up your water bottles as there will be no sources of water till we cross over. It may take us up to 3-4 hours from the lake to top the pass. The views across to the Terskey Alatau span kilometre after kilometre. Looking to the south from the top we can see Djigit Peak (5170m) on the left and Karakol Peak (5281m) in the middle. The view of Alakul Lake is unmatched. After photos we commence our descent to the Arashan Valley. The trail first follows on the scree into alpine meadow zone of Kurgantor River fed by glaciers and down to forest of the main valley of Arashan River. It may take us 2-3 hours to reach to the bottom of the valley. We camp at Altyn Arashan hot springs. This place is very popular with local Kyrgyz visitors looking for opportunity to heal their body/muscle/joint-related illnesses by dipping in hot springs.
Possibility to take thermal baths (up to +50C). Dinner and overnight in “Altyn Arashan” tent camp at 2600m.
|Day 9.||Altyn Arashan gorge - Cholpon Ata town.
Distance: 155 km, 4-5 h; Altitude difference: -1000 m.
Next morning once everyone is loaded on the truck we head downstream alongside of Altyn Arashan river through thicket of fir forest back to Karakol city. We change vehicle, explore local bazaar and lunch there in Karakol. Then we carry on to Cholpon-Ata driving alongside of the northern shore of Issyk Kul Lake enjoying the views of Terskey Alatoo Range (south) and Kungey Alatoo Range (north). We end up the day in Cholpon-Ata - a 40 000-population big town and unofficial centre of resort area of Issyk Kul Lake where all spectrum of sanatoriums and rest houses is available.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
|Day 10.||Transfer Cholpon Ata - Bishkek.
Distance: 250 km, 3-4 h; Altitude difference: -800 m.
Those champions of early morning swimming can have a bath in the lake. And after breakfast we set off to Bishkek. In one hour or so we are in Balykchi, past which we are back on the road we were arriving by here - two weeks ago! We lunch on the way in a sideroad café. We arrive in Bishkek in the afternoon having enough time to explore more of the town, or to do last minute purchase, or simply to take shower and relax before dinner.
Overnight at the hotel.
|Day 11.||Transfer to airport. Departure.
Depending on your departure time you will be provided with a vehicle that, after breakfast, will take you to Manas airport or to Bishkek railway station where you will be seen off by our local guide.
|The cost of the tour includes:||The cost of the tour doesn’t include:|
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 on foot covers from 5km to 18km a day with altitude difference up to 1600m. The route runs at the maximum altitude of 3800m above sea level. 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.
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 porters who is responsible for proper packing of the loads.
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 camping mats.
- 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.
List of personal gear
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 Bishkek - 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.
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?
- 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?
- How are meals organized during the trek programme?
- How about communication facilities during trek travel?
- How good is Internet access?
- Visa, permits.
In case you can’t find the answer to your question on our site, please call our tour operators team for assistance.
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 Casket of 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 (167km).
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 (300km).
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 (300km).
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 (280km).
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:
• Tea testing in the "Silk Road Spices" tea house (Bukhara) - 5 USD/per pax; • Visiting the theatre of historical costume El Merosi (Samarkand) - 10 USD/per pax; • Wine testing in old winery named after Hovrenko (Samarkand) - 15 USD/per pax; • Folklore show in Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah (Bukhara) - 15 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:
• Tea testing in the "Silk Road Spices" tea house (Bukhara) - 5 USD/per pax; • Visiting the theatre of historical costume El Merosi (Samarkand) - 10 USD/per pax; • Wine testing in old winery named after Hovrenko (Samarkand) - 15 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:
Our video gallery:
Trekking to Lake Sary Chelek
In an off-road
vehicle across Kyrgyzstan
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