The heart and soul of this nomadic culture is, we think, found in the saddle. You could choose to read about the Kyrgyz, you can visit the country and even participate in their cultural events, but to truly comprehend them – perhaps the best vantage point for that is a saddle, looking out over their mountains. To the Kyrgyz, the horse is not only transport, but also a source of milk and even food. It is a measure of wealth, a warrior’s comrade in years past and a hunter’s companion today; above all, however, the horse is the nomad’s symbol, security, and freedom, all at once.

Horse Trekking

Lunch break on a horse trek in the Song Kol Lake area.

Itinerary – Half Day Train Ride: South of Bishkek: (April to mid-November)

Are you looking for a quick day outing, and you’re already in Bishkek? We can provide transportation and a 3 hour trail ride, in the beautiful Ala Too mountains south of Bishkek, Monday through Saturday. Cost is $50 for the first rider and an extra $15 for each additional rider, up to a total of 3 guests. You’ll be with an experienced trail guide and translator, so no fear about not knowing where you are going or wanting to ask questions about what you’re seeing but not being understood. Write us at jwstamp@taiganexpeditions.com today and we’ll set it up for you.

Itinerary – Horse Trekking Tour 1: Song Kol Lake: (summertime, June to mid-September)

Total, 9 days and 8 nights in Krygyzstan: $1850 USD per person

Note: Prices are based on 1 traveler. There will be a discount for multiple guests, as the cost of the guide and vehicle can be divided among the party. Please let us know how many travelers there are in your group, as parties of more than 3 adults may necessitate an additional vehicle and guide. Also, any and all ‘expedition packages’ are merely suggestions of what is available in Kyrgyzstan, they can be customized in any number of ways.

Day 1: Arrive Bishkek, travel via automobile and see Burana Tower which is on the way to Kochkor guest house, spend night.

Day 2: Following breakfast, drive to meet our local guides and get fitted for our horses. We’ll ride that day and spend the night in a yurt in a “jailoo,” a high alpine pasture – quiet, beautiful, and “off the beaten path.”

Horse trek by Song Kol Lake

Trekking on the way to Song Kol Lake.

Day 3: Horse trek day 2, arrive at a lovely, high alpine lake and have an evening yurt stay.

Day 4: Horse trek day 3, return to the Kochkor guest house for one night. Witness shyrdak (local felt rug) making process.

Day 5: Horse trek day 4, enjoy rugged mountain horse paths, see local families in their summer jailoo homes, tending sheep. Spend the night in a yurt.

Rugged horse trek

Crossing a narrow alpine pass on horseback.

Day 6: Horse trek day 5, arrive at Song Kol Lake and again, have a pleasant time eating the local foods and talking with your hospitable hosts.

Day 7: Enjoy the morning walking by the side of the lake, taking photographs, and then by automobile we’ll return to Kochkor for one night at the guest house.

Yurts along Song Kol

Crossing the jailoo, approaching the yurt camp in the distance.

Day 8: Return to Bishkek via automobile, visit a bazaar or shop for souvenirs as the client might desire. Final night lodging in Bishkek.

Day 9: Depart Kyrgyzstan via Bishkek airport.

Itinerary – Horse Trekking Tour 2: Saruu: (summertime, June to mid-September)

Total, 11 days and 10 nights in Krygyzstan: $2100 USD per person

Note: Prices are based on 1 traveler. There will be a discount for multiple guests, as the cost of the guide and vehicle can be divided among the party. Please let us know how many travelers there are in your group, as parties of more than 3 adults may necessitate an additional vehicle and guide. Also, any and all ‘expedition packages’ are merely suggestions of what is available in Kyrgyzstan, they can be customized in any number of ways.

Day 1: Arrive Bishkek, travel via automobile and see Burana Tower which is on the way to Saruu guest house, spend night.

Day 2: Following breakfast, meet our local guides and get fitted for our horses. We’ll ride that day and spend the night in a yurt in a “jailoo,” a high alpine pasture – quiet, beautiful, and “off the beaten path.”

Horse Trek by way of Saruu

On the trail out of Saruu.

Day 3 – Day 9: This expedition can then be either an advanced horseman’s dream, another 7 days in the saddle (3 up and 4 back down, after a yurt stay up at at the ‘high’ jailoo!), through Colorado-like forests and mountains, or you can spend the rest of your week in this first yurt camp, learning about how the local kumis (a drink similar to kefir) is made, how to milk a horse and care for sheep, how to prepare local cuisine, and take more local, shorter day trips on horseback.

High alpine yurt camp

Yurt camp in a ‘jailoo,’ high alpine meadow.

Day 10: Return to Bishkek via automobile, visit a bazaar or shop for souvenirs as the client might desire. Final night lodging in Bishkek.

Day 11: Depart Kyrgyzstan via Bishkek airport.

Donkey ride in yurt camp at Song Kol

Riding on a donkey at the yurt camp by Song Kol Lake.

Our expedition packages do not include:

  • Travel to and from home country, or excess luggage fees.
  • Alcoholic beverages (clients may provide their own at their own expense, but are requested to please be respectful of local customs regarding consumption. ie. there is some alcohol consumption locally, but you should still be in control of yourself and stop before you are intoxicated.)
  • Gratuities.
  • Any kind of insurance, medical or otherwise.
  • Visas or other legal documents needed to enter Kyrgyzstan (although we can provide an “Invitation Letter” for clients at an additional fee, if required.) Most countries have a free 60 day tourist stamp agreement with Kyrgyzstan. See the Visa policy of Kyrgyzstan.
  • Meals and optional touring while in Bishkek.
  • Any other expenses of an incidental or personal nature, including telephone calls and shopping for souvenirs.

Deposits and refunds:

A non-refundable deposit of 25% via bank transfer (we do not accept credit cards at this time) is required at the time of booking an expedition, with the balance due no later than 30 days prior to the scheduled arrival in Bishkek. If for any reason the client wishes to cancel their visit, after final payment is made, they will receive a refund less the non-refundable deposit.

Flowers at a yurt camp

Jailoo summer flowers.

General Notes:

Breakfast and dinner are provided for guest house stays, and lunch is included as well for yurt stays, featuring local cuisine with the specific menu selected by your hosts. If you have specific food concerns, e.g. an allergy, please let us know in advance and we can make appropriate arrangements as needed. If the client wishes to go fishing, they are responsible for bringing necessary tackle. Also, while our tours involve several multiple-hour horse trips, the pace is gentle and the guides are very good at monitoring client safety, and even comfort. In particular, the horse trip to the hot springs near Saruu can be shortened, or even omitted, if the client requests and a vehicle can be used to arrive at the hot springs. Suggested packing lists and general descriptions of climate and terrain can be provided upon request.

Lastly, please rest assured we will do everything in our power to ensure a safe and enjoyable (and hopefully even educational!) journey for our clients. If you like what we do, tell your friends. If for some reason you don’t, then tell us – and we’ll do what we can to “make it right.”

Tea at Guest House in Saruu

Tea time at the guest house in Saruu.

Stay tuned to this page for further opportunities to visit the southern Osh and Batken regions of Kyrgyzstan, coming soon courtesy of Taigan Expeditions! As always, if you don’t see what you’re interested in, just ask, we can customize a package for you.

River by Saruu

River that winds through Saruu and feeds into the Issyk Kul.