Trip Leader: Mr Ian Hunter
Please note that parents are responsible for the arrangement of visas if required. Please ensure that your child’s passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of departure from their destination.
Students are highly recommended to have the following vaccinations : Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Typhoid. Please talk to your GP to see if your child has had these vaccinations or needs an update and for any further recommendations/information.
Visit the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on this Central Asian adventure and cultural tour.
Fly directly from Hong Kong to Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan. From there overland to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan where we will hike and ride horses in the Ala Archa mountains. From Bishkek we will continue to Lake Issyk Kul, the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, where we will sleep in a yurt, visit hot springs, learn how to make felt and how to hunt with eagles. From Lake Issyk Kul we will return to Almaty for the return flight to Hong Kong.
Day 1: Airport pick up at 14:55 pm. Almaty city tour (2-3 hours) . Dinner. Hostel accommodation.
Day 2: After breakfast Almaty – Bishkek. Hostel accommodation in Bishkek. Lunch. Bishkek city tour (2 – 3 hours). Dinner. Traditional Kyrgyz Concert
Day 3: After breakfast – Hike to the waterfall in Ala Archa National Park (small lunch boxes will be prepared for each person) + Tashtar Ata Holy Shamanistic Place. Dinner. Overnight in a hostel.
Day 4: After breakfast – Bishkek – Burana Tower – Chon Kemin. Lunch in a homestay. Horseriding in the Chon Kemin National Park. Dinner. Homestay.
Day 5: After breakfast in Chon Kemin – head to Tamchy – visit a kyrgyz family for a felt-making masterclass – lunch – visit Petroglyphs in Cholpon Ata – hot springs in Chon Oruktuu – Karakol. Overnight in a guesthouse/yurt camp.
Day 6: After breakfast -Karakol city tour + lunch – Jeti Oguz valley + Fairytale canyon – Bokonbaevo guesthouse. Dinner. Overnight.
Day 7: After breakfast – Eaglehunting show – lunch on the way to Bishkek – cross the border Kordai – arrival to Almaty. Dinner. Drop off at the airport. Flight is at 00:20
The food in Central Asia is heavily meat-based, and vegetarian options are not generally available. Any vegetarian wishing to join this tour would have to be open to eating a very plain diet for a week. Special dietary requirements cannot be accommodated.
All meals are included in the trip price. Kyrgyz specialities include: beshbarmak (shredded horse meat with noodles and coriander or parsley), plov (a rice dish with shredded pork or mutton and carrots), manty (large dumplings with meat and onions), laghman (dry noodles with bell peppers, vegetables and a spicy, vinegary sauce), naan bread (a thicker version of the Indian bread).
The weather in November will be cold (0-5 degrees), with a high chance of snow in the mountains. Students must bring appropriate winter clothing. All buildings will be heated, and even the yurts we stay in have underfloor heating.
The official languages of Kyrgyzstan are Kyrgyz (a language related to Turkish) and Russian (the lingua franca of the former Soviet Union countries). No prior knowledge of these languages is required, but being open to learning some basic words in Kyrgyz and Russian is desirable.
Kyrgyzstan is a majority Muslim country, with a large Russian Orthodox Christian minority. The Muslim majority practise a moderate form of Islam, culturally quite different to Arab countries in the Middle East.
Flight time between Hong Kong and Almaty is about 6 hours. The only airline on this route is Air Astana, the national airline of Kazakhstan. Air Astana is a very comfortable, professional airline.
No visas are required for most nationalities. Exceptions are Indians who will need visas for both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and Hong Kong passport holders who will need visas for Kyrgyzstan only. EU, UK, US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore passport holders do not need visas for these countries.