How close is Bishkek to Almaty

Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan - canyons, singing dunes and wild mountain valleys

Intended travel program

Day 1: Flight Zurich – Almaty

Departure from Switzerland to Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Day 2: Arrival in Almaty and sightseeing

In the early morning we land in Almaty and drive to the hotel. We enjoy some rest until noon before we set off on a city tour. We will visit the Ascension Cathedral, Republic Square and the authentic green market, among others. Overnight at the hotel in Almaty.

Overnight in the hotel (800 meters).

Day 3: Altyn Emel National Park

We leave Almaty and drive to Basshi in the Altyn Emel National Park. On the way we stop at the Bes Shatyr necropolis with its huge burial mounds, dolmens and mysterious altars. It dates from the middle of the 1st century BC. BC and is one of the most important monuments of the nomadic culture of Eurasia. Overnight in the guest house in Basshi.

Overnight in the guest house (400 meters).
Driving time approx. 4 hours

Day 4: Singing dunes

Today we drive to the singing dunes in the Altyn Emel National Park. The sand dunes, which are up to 180 meters high and 3 km long, produce a deep hum when there is wind. As if an airplane were flying just over our heads. On a hike we discover the natural beauty of the national park with mountains in orange, red and brown tones. Overnight in the guest house in Basshi.

Overnight in the guest house (400 meters).
Hiking time 3 hours, driving time 2 hours

Day 5: Charyn Canyon

After breakfast we leave for the Charyn National Park. Our hike takes us to the canyon of the same name. This is 150 km long and in some places up to 300 meters deep. It is therefore smaller than the Grand Canyon in the USA, but very similarly bizarre in shape. The “valley of castles” is particularly impressive. Over time, spectacular sculptures have formed from the red-brown rock over a length of approx. 2 km. They are reminiscent of the ruins of old castles, towers and palaces and seem to have been created by human hands. In the afternoon we continue to our guest house in Shaty.

Overnight in the guest house (600 meters).
Hiking time 1 hour, driving time 5 - 6 hours

Day 6: Kolsai Lakes

The three Kolsai lakes are idyllically situated at an altitude of 1700 to 2650 meters. The crystal clear lakes are surrounded by steep rock faces, snow-capped peaks and wooded slopes. During the hike we enjoy a well-deserved picnic. Overnight in the guest house in Shaty.

Overnight in the guest house (600 meters).
Hiking time 5 - 6 hours, driving time 1 hour

Day 7: Over the border to Kyrgyzstan

We reach Kyrgyzstan via the Kegen border point. On the way we make a stop at the cairn of San Tash. This is 4 meters high and has a diameter of 56 meters. According to legend, it was created because the Great Timur wanted to know how big his army is. Therefore, he asked all soldiers to lay a stone at this place. Continue to Jergalan and overnight in a guest house.

Overnight in the guest house (2300 meters).
Driving time 4 - 5 hours

Day 8: Trekking start

We start our 4-day trek right from the guest house. We gain altitude along the Jergalan Gorge and soon enjoy a magnificent mountain panorama. We reach our first tent camp through the Bulak Gorge.

Overnight in a tent (2900 meters).
Hiking time 4 - 5 hours

Day 9: Boz Uchuk lakes

On this fantastic day of hiking we cross the 3470 meter high Terim Tor Bulak Pass. The view of the surrounding peaks is breathtaking. Later we reach the Boz Uchuk lakes and set up camp at the lowest of these lakes.

Overnight in a tent (2900 meters).
Hiking time 5 - 6 hours

Day 10: Over two passes

The first pass to be mastered today is the 3524 meter high Boz Uchuk. From here we enjoy the panorama of the Tashtanbek Tor Bashi Mountains. We cross the Jergez Valley, pass two beautiful mountain lakes and tackle the second pass with the Ailanysh (3600 meters). Back in the valley we find an ideal place for the next night near a river.

Overnight in a tent (2850 meters).
Hiking time 6 - 7 hours

Day 11: Hot springs at the end of the trek

The day begins with the ascent to the Ortok Pass at 3616 meters. Once again we enjoy the fantastic mountain view. We descend through the Anyrtor Valley to Altyn-Arashan, where we treat ourselves to a relaxing bath in the hot springs. Then we drive to Karakol and enjoy dinner with a Uighur family.

Overnight in the hotel (1800 meters).
Hiking time 5 - 6 hours, driving time 2 hours

Day 12: Karakol

We visit the beautiful wooden Russian Orthodox church and the mosque of the Dungans, a Turkish-Tatar ethnic group from northwestern China who settled here in the 19th century. We also explore the Przewalski Museum of the Russian adventurer and geographer. In the afternoon we drive to the south bank of Lake Issyk Köl.

Overnight in the yurt (1600 meters).
Driving time 2 - 3 hours

Day 13: At Lake Issyk Köl

Free day at Issyk Köl to relax, swim and review the last days of trekking. As an alternative, we can visit the fairytale gorge. For years the wind has formed bizarre rock formations here, reminiscent of dragons, hippos, snakes and sleeping giants. The third option is a trip to the Barskoon Gorge with its step-shaped waterfalls.

Overnight in the yurt (1600 meters).

Day 14: Along the Issyk Köl to Bishkek

We enjoy the ride along Lake Issyk Köl back to the capital Bishkek. On the way we visit the Burana Tower and the ruins of the capital of the Qarakhanid Empire, the last witnesses of the Central Asian kingdom from the 11th century.

Overnight in the hotel (800 meters).
Travel time 5 hours

Day 15: Bishkek

A highlight of our city tour today is a visit to the Osh Bazaar. This still reminds of the heyday of the old Silk Road. We walk through the Oak Park with its many sculptures and can visit various museums. In the evening we enjoy the farewell dinner and look back on two impressive weeks in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Overnight in the hotel (800 meters).

Day 16: Return to Switzerland

Drive to Bishkek airport and flight back to Switzerland.

Driving time 1 hour