Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country of astounding natural beauty and proud nomadic culture. One of the best ways to experience the country is a trek to Song-Köl Lake where you will get to stay in shepherds’ yurts and enjoy breathtaking views of rolling summer pastures (jailoos) amidst Tian Shan mountain range. With visa-free travel available for most countries, there is little reason not to visit Kyrgyzstan today!
BISHKEK – KOCHKOR
Pick up by our friendly local representation from Biskek (capital of Kyrgyzstan) by private vehicle to Kochkor Village (Naryn region, about 3-4 hours). En route, you will visit the Burana Tower near the town of Tokmok. The minaret, together with grave markers, earthern works and mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun. You will have a chance to climb up the 25m tall minaret which according to local legend was built to protect the king’s new born daughter. Continuing the drive, you will stop by Orto-Tokoy Reservoir to admire its beautiful turqoise color water. In another half hour, you will reach the village of Kochkor for lunch and rest. For the rest of the day, you can roam around the compact village to visit the handicraft shops, Lenin statue or simply chill out in the comfortable homestay.
Overnight: Guesthouse/Homestay in Kochkor (1767m)
KOCHKOR – KYZART – KILEMCHE
After breakfast, you will depart for Kyzart Village (1.5 hour drive) where you will start the 2-day trek to the Song-Köl Lake. Song-Köl is a mountain lake located in the Tian-Shan Mountain Range at an altitude of 3016m used by the shepherds from Kochkor, Jumgal, Naryn and At-Bashy regions as a jailoo (summer pasture). The road to Song-Köl winds through mountainous terrain until it seems to disappear into the very sky itself. This is probably why Song-Köl is translated from Kyrgyz as “the final lake”. The trek from Kyzart Village starts with a upslope climb to Kyzart Pass and then Kyzyl Kyia Pass. At Char Archa River, you will have a pinic lunch. The trek after lunch is mostly downhill. Around mid-afternoon, you will arrive at Kilemche Jailoo . Spend the rest of the day exploring the pastures, admiring the scenery and experiencing the life of a shepherd. The trekking time for today is around 7 hours.
Overnight: Yurt/Tent in Kilemche Jailoo (2535m)
KILEMCHE – BATAY ARAI (SONG-KOL)
After breakfast at Kilemche, continue the upslope trek to Jalgyz Karagai pass (3400m). The terrain can gets rocky towards the top but perserve and you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Kilemche jailoo and Song-Köl lake in the distant. As you trek down the pass, the image of Song-Köl lake with its surrounding mountains gets bigger and you know that you are getting closer to completing the trek. When you reached the plains, you will have lunch and a much needed rest at Jaman Echki jailoo. The terrain from here to Batay Aral jailoo at Song-Köl lake is mostly flat. Upon arrival at Batay Aral jailoo, meet your host family of Kyrgyz shepherds. Dine and sleep in a shepherd’s yurt. The trekking time for today is around 7 hours.
Overnight: Yurt/Tent in Batay Aral Jailoo (Song-Köl) (3016m)
BATAY ARAI (SONG-KOL) – KOCHKOR – BISHKEK
Spend the morning exploring the jailoo and the lake, watching the everyday life of shepherds – milking mares, preparing traditional Kyrgyz milk products like kymyz (a fermented mare’s milk) or airan (a sour dense milk product), tending cattle. After breakfast, pick up by our private vehicle from Batay Aral back to Bishkek via Kochkor.
- Private car transfer from Bishkek to Kochkor and Kilenche and from Batal Arai (Song-Kol) to Bishkek
- English-speaking mountain guide for 2D1N Song-Kol trek (includes meals and accommodations for the guide)
- 3 nights’ accommodations (1 night at a CBT Homestay at Bishkek, 2 nights at a yurt/tent on the mountains)
- 4 days’ meals (Day 1 – lunch and dinner, Day 2/3 – breakfast, lunch and dinner, Day 4 – breakfast and lunch)
- Return international air tickets
- Travel insurance*
- Kyrgyzstan VISA (Singapore passport holders can visit VISA-free, check your country’s eligibility here)
- Meals not indicated
- Airport transfer in Bishkek (can be arranged if required)
- Accommodations in Bishkek (can be arranged if required)
- Tips for guide and driver (optional)
- All expenses of a personal nature
*AIG Travel Guard Insurance can be arranged on your behalf.
Trekking Season: During the dry and non-winter months from late June to mid September.
Temperature: It can get very cold and windy in the highlands. Warm and Wind-proof clothing are necessary. As there is still a possibility of rain in the dry season, rain gears (e.g. poncho) are required.
Difficulty Level: The Song-Köl trek is of easy to moderate difficulty. Anyone with average fitness and hiking experience should be able to cope. Terrain is mostly gradual slopes. No rock climbing or technical climbing skills are needed.
Instead of doing the 2D1N trek on foot, we can arrange a horse trek.
If you are in Kochkor on a Sunday morning, you will have a chance to visit the Sunday Animal Market.
We can also arrange accommodations, airport transfers and activities (e.g. visit Ala Archa National Park) in Bishkek.
Coordination with IWT was a breeze. Ying was quick in responding to queries and very helpful, giving tips according to her own experience climbing Pelapah Falls. Prasanth, the driver, was on-time, friendly and skillful. Despite the hours of driving and waiting for us, he always wore a smile on his face. Nan, our guide, was very experienced. He was like a fatherly figure who knew exactly what he was doing and that brought a lot of assurance to us. Pelapah Falls has its challenges but it was such a good experience for my friends and I. We had to tread through cooling rivers, climb using ropes, avoid giant ants and manage a few leeches but the amazing and therapeutic waterfalls made it all worth it. All of us were counted as beginner hikers and we all made it. So don't worry. Just do it!
– Xiuqing (Group of 5 on a Pelepah Falls & Kota Tinggi Trip in Feb 2017)
Guide and driver were very nice people. Caring, considerate, conscientious, patient, nice and fun people. Car was driven with care so that we were comfortable and did not feel car sick during the long rides. I enjoyed the trips to ijen, bromo and the waterfall at batu. Views were very scenic. Our guide Vinda and the local guides which she got along the way brought us to scenic spots (esp @ the waterfalls) and helped to take great pictures.
– Alexia (Group of 3 on a 5D4N Ijen Crater, Mount Bromo & Batu in Sep 2016)
Everything was great! From planning til the end of the trip, everything was organised. The activities were fun and itinerary was well planned. We did not feel that we were rushed at all and we get to enjoy Borobudur and Mount Bromo in our own pace. Our guide, Bayu, was very friendly and helped us a lot especially when it comes to ordering food :). This is the most relaxing, hassle-free trip I've ever had! Thanks Iwannatravel 🙂
– Sunshine (Group of 7 on a 4D3N trip to Bromo & Borobudur in Aug 2016)
I really enjoy the whole travel experience. The driver is always contactable and prompt, and transport it’s quite comfortable. The mountain guide is friendly, and is knowledgeable and ensures that the last person is not left behind, and there are 2 guides provided to us for a group of 10 which I think is quite good. The accommodation at Melaka is quite clean and it’s within the tourist attraction; Jonker Street and there’s also some free and easy time to explore with driver provided.
– Xian Ying (Group of 10 on a 2D1N trip to Mt Ophir in May 2016)
I liked how fast HS was able to plan the itinerary for our group, making it flexible to suit our preferences and how he was very prompt to answer our questions and give suggestions on things that we can do. We only ask assistance for bookings on our Vietnam trip (Mt. Fansipan trek, Lao Cai- Hanoi train tickets and Halong Bay Day Cruise). However, upon knowing that we are also traveling to Laos, HS has gone an extra mile and help us map out our Laos itinerary too. Transport provided both for Fansipan trek and Halong Bay Day Cruise were awesome as they picked us up from our hostel right on time. Our Fansipan guide was very helpful and patient and ensured everyone's safety during the trek. While our Halong Bay Cruise guide was quite informative and very entertaining as she makes us laugh without even trying. Our group was very much satisfied with the food served to us both during the Fansipan trek and Halong Bay cruise. And of course, we definitely enjoyed all the activities we did: trekking up to the summit of Fansipan, riding a sleeper train from Lao Cai to Hanoi and kayaking in Halong Bay. Organization of our trip is superb knowing that we were IWT's first customers to book for their Fansipan trek and Halong Bay Cruise trip. *^_^*
– Michelle (Group of 3 on a 4D3N trip to Mt Fansipan & Halong Bay in Apr 2016)
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