SOVIET NOSTALGIA AND CENTRAL ASIAN ROOTS
BISHKEK – KARAKOL – KOCHKOR – NARYN – OSH
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Please note: this tour has a strong focus on Soviet Heritage. If you are more into classic attractions (i.e. yurt camps, mountain treks, traditional villages), we will easily design a bespoke itinerary according to your own specific preferences. Get in touch for more details on our tailored routes in Kyrgyzstan.
Day 1/2 - Bishkek
Our guide will meet you at Bishkek International Airport and drive you to our hotel of choice (exact hotel name and address will be communicated well in advance per email).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Kyrgyzstan.
We will devote two entire days to the architectural and cultural exploration of Bishkek, visiting both the heavily Russified downtown, full of nostalgia and Soviet-era buildings, and the highly photogenic bazaars enlivening the archetypically Central Asian outskirts.
Architectural highlights will include: Museum of Fine Arts, State Circus, Lenin Library, National Museum, Wedding Palace, Zhyrgal Bathhouse, Frunze Museum, Sport Palace, National Radio Headquarter and a vast plethora of Soviet apartment blocs, socialist-realist mosaics and modernist shapes.
Meals and overnights in Bishkek.
Day 3 - Issyk-kul
Today we'll head to the Soviet-wide famous Issyk-kul lake, Kyrgyzstan’s own answer to a missing ocean.
En route to the lake we’ll stop at the quintessentially Soviet town of Tokmok, a little-visited urban construct with plenty of socialist architectures and memorials awaiting to be re-discovered by USSR-geeks like us.
Travelling along the northern shore of the lake, we will then visit melancholic Soviet-era resort villages (such as Balykchy and Chong-Sary-Oy) and traditional lakeside hamlets (like dusty Sary Kamish) before eventually reaching the loud and colourful party town Cholpon-Ata, the Kyrgyz Cancun (more like Blackpool in the Lancashire, to be honest).
Dinner and overnight in Cholpon-Ata.
Day 4/5 - Karakol
In the morning we’ll continue our drive along the northern shore of the Issyk-Kul and head to the market town of Karakol.
We’ll spend two days exploring both Karakol (bustling bazaars, Soviet architectures, old churches and bright-coloured mosques) and the surrounding areas, home to staggering natural sights, remote villages and semi-abandoned Soviet mining towns such as Enilchek.
Meals and overnights in Karakol.
Day 6 - Kochkor
Early in the morning we'll travel west skirting the southern shore of the Issyk-Kul and head for the traditional mountain town of Kochkor.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the journey to visit both the impressive Soviet memorials at Kyzyl Suu and Ottuk and the rough-and-ready and yet extremely atmospheric towns of Barksoon and Bokonboyevo as well as the surreal post-Soviet remnants of Aalam Ordo, the cultural and spiritual capital that never was.
Once in Kochkor we’ll spend the rest of the day walking around the dusty alleys and decaying concrete of this pleasant Soviet little town nestled in a majestic setting of high mountains and green pastures.
Dinner and overnight in Kochkor.
Day 7 - Naryn
After a lazy and rejuvenating morning in Kochkor, we'll head south for Naryn.
The road from Kochkor to Naryn is one of the most beautiful in the entire country and we will allow us plenty of time for photo stops and rural sightseeings.
In Naryn we will then visit the usual fair share of Soviet-era leftovers and newly built mosques and tour the chaotic bazaar full of Chinese goods.
Dinner and overnight in Naryn.
Day 8 - Osh
We’ll leave Naryn early in the morning for the longest drive of our journey following westwards the course of the Naryn river to the junction town of Kazarman.
The vistas here are breathtaking (albeit characterised by a barren landscape of arid foothills and deserted villages) and we will halt more than once to admire the endless vastness all around us.
Being this a Soviet-themed tour, we will also look for more hidden Soviet-era gems (bus stops, mosaics, memorials) lurking in the shadow of time.
We'll then leave the wild Kyrgyz hinterlands and turn south to the urban chaos of Osh, the country’s second biggest city, where we’ll arrive just in time for dinner.
Dinner and overnight in Osh.
Day 9 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Kyrgyz breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/station of choice.
For those flying out: transfer to either Osh International Airport or Bishkek International Airport for your flight back home.
For those wishing to take the bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the local bus station.
End of the tour.
3 to 8 participants: 1590 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region (car or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.