Kyrgyzstan is a unique and beautiful country that is overlooked by travelers. The main reason people do not visit as much as other countries is because they don’t know how to explore the area.
That is why a 14-day itinerary is important to break down what not to miss on the Great Silk Road. So keep reading to know exactly what to add to your Kyrgyzstan Itinerary.
Make also sure you read our Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide.
DAY 1: Arriving in Bishkek and exploring the city
Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan and is the most popular entry point in the country. Most international flights fly into the airport of Manas.
A convenient option for international travelers, located only thirty minutes from Bishkek. Bishkek is recommended as the best place to kick off your Kyrgyzstan adventure. It is a cultured area and is infamous for its stunning architecture.
Spend your morning walking around Ala-Too Square. An area was built in 1984 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic. A small but powerful square that still showcases the remains of Soviet Architecture.
Visit the State History Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Both buildings still display this unique architecture.
Afterward, indulge in the local food scene in Bishkek. The streets are lined with local cafes and restaurants, allowing you to learn about the culture firsthand. Cultural meals include meat dishes such as horse-meat sausages and roasted sheep’s liver.
Noodles and mantys, steamed dumplings filled with ground meat and onions, are popular with locals. Samsas, which are meat and vegetable pockets, are delicious and found in local restaurants.
For the less adventurous, try their bread and tea. Their nan, which is a central Asian flatbread, is known to be out of this world. Accompany it with jam or kaymak, a creamy dairy food similar to cream cheese.
Where To Stay in Bishkek?
It is best to stay within walking distance to Ala-Too Square since it has many walkable options. The Hyatt Regency Bishkek is across the street.
Also rated one of the top accommodations in the area. Averaging about $177 a night with top-notch customer service. This gorgeous hotel has stunning city views and even an outdoor pool to relax by.
Day 2 Bishkek Day Trip: Ala Archa National Park
Located forty minutes away from Bishkek is Ala Archa National Park. An Alpine national park that sits in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
The national park was established in 1976 and named after the bright-colored jumper in the park. The park is two hundred square kilometers and has many peaks and glaciers.
It takes days to fully explore the park, which is why it’s recommended to stay there for two nights.
Hike in Ala Archa National Park
There are many options in Ala Archa National Park. A favorite is to take a walk at the start of the Ala Archa River Trail. The full trail is 19 miles, but most visitors do the shorter version. A 3.2-mile trail that brings you to the river and then back.
Once you get to the river, lay out a blanket and start a BBQ. This spot is perfect for those wanting to picnic and take in the stunning views. Pick up food to cook at one of the markets on your way from Bishkek. Wildlife is also commonly spotted in this area. Making it a fun and exciting day on your Kyrgyzstan Itinerary.
Where To Stay near Ala Archa National Park?
Supara Chunkurchak is a popular place to stay when visiting the park. This unique accommodation allows you to stay in yurts or a hotel. The Yurt Hotel offers double or single beds and your own dining area.
If yurts are out of your comfort zone, you can stay in the Beshik Bungalows. This is a more enclosed option resembling a bungalow. Beshik Bungalows are Kyrgyz national cradles made of eco-friendly materials.
Day 3: Discover more about Ala Archa National Park
Enjoy your second day in Ala Archa National Park hiking. There are over five recommended hiking trails in the park. Which makes it great for all skill levels.
For an easier option, Hike to Ak Sai Waterfall. A 4.7-mile hike that takes anywhere from four to six hours. A cascading waterfall that is forty meters high.
Ala-Archa to Ak-Sai Racek Hut and Glacier
For those seeking more of a workout, continue to the Ratzek Hut and Ak Sai Glacier. If you are in good shape, you can make this a full-day trip. It is a steep climb up the waterfall and can take an additional three to four hours.
Plan on getting to Ak Sai Glacier early in the morning since the full hike can take around ten to twelve hours. Be sure to bring snacks and a meal for your hike since you will be out and about all day.
For dinner, eat at one of the local restaurants. Boyrok Cafe-Restaurant. Ala-Archa National Park is a popular dining spot. Located inside Alp-Camp Ala Archa.
The food is local and fresh. Devour spicy meat, vegetables, and warm potatoes. Hot teas are also available here on those colder days.
Where To Spend the Second Night in Archa National Park?
Ala Archa Hotel, averaging about $30 a night. An adorable guest house that has quiet and cozy rooms. The stunning mountain views of the park will be seen from the window of your comfortable hotel room. A great place to rest after a day of hiking.
DAY 4: Head to Cholpon Ata, Issyk Kul
Cholpon Ata is a resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk Kul. Located four hours east of Ala Archa National Park. You can drive or get a shared taxi for $5 per person to get here from the park. Private taxis are anywhere from $35 per car. Visiting this stunning area makes a great addition to any Kyrgyzstan Itinerary.
Rukh Ordo Cultural Center
Spend the day visiting the Rukh Ordo, an open-air Cultural Center that features ten mini museums. Featuring dozens of sculptures and artwork that use techniques that were passed down from generations.
A guide at the museum can bring guests through an hour and a half interactive excursion. Learn all about the history of Kyrgyz and its culture. Singing and dancing the national dance is included in this tour.
Shop at Cholpon-Ata Market
Afterward, go shopping at the main bazaar at Cholpon-Ata market. Offering a variety of bread, fruits, and vegetables. A local market that showcases authentic local eats and products. Enjoy dinner at some of the food stands.
Clothes include wool garments or felt, at a very low price. Even electronics are sold in this market. So bring home a little piece of Cholpon Ata back home with you.
Where To Stay in Cholpon Ata?
Kapriz Issyk Kul Resort. Averaging about $90 per night. This stunning resort sits on the northern shore of Issyk-Kul lake. The resort has pools, beach access, entertainment, and more.
Room accommodations range from twin beds to family suites.
Day 5: Issyk Kul
Issyk-Kul lake is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the tenth-largest lake in the world by volume. Located in the Northern Tian Shan mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan, The waters are crystal clear and relatively warm. The beaches around this area are ideal for spending the day relaxing on the sand.
Have A Beach Day at Khadzhi-Sayskia Plyazh
Kadzhi-Sayskiy Plyazh is one of the top-rated beaches in the area. Located in the southern area of the lake. There are boats for rent for those wanting to spend the day out on the water. The beach is known for being clean and beautiful. Perfect for those wanting to add a beach day to their Kyrgyzstan Itinerary.
Grab dinner and drinks at Barashek. A top-rated local restaurant featuring an extensive alcohol menu and delicious dishes. Shashlik, a grilled skewered cube meat dish, is popular on the menu. It is also a widespread food option in Russia. In addition, they offer live music during the week and weekends, depending on the day.
Where To Stay near Khadzhi-Sayskia Plyazh?
Sanatoriy “Goluboy Issyk-Kul’.” A lakefront hotel facing a private beach along Issyk Kul. This hotel features an inclusive spa near the Tian Shan mountains. All meals are included in your stay. Their wellness treatments are also included. Mineral baths and irradiation are a few to name.
DAY 6: From Issyk Kul to Karakol
Begin the journey from Issyk Kul to Karakol. You can either take a cab or bus for this two-hour trek. Cabs range from $35, and bus tickets are about $10 per person. https://www.rome2rio.com/ is a helpful website for an average of cab and taxis prices in the area.
Karakol is the fourth largest city in Kyrgyzstan and sits at the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul. A town popular for its skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
When you arrive in Karakol, visit the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Learn all about the history of the Cathedral while gazing at the stunning structures. Then head over to the Dungan Mosque. The historical architecture of a mosque that was built with no nails.
Afterward, visit the Bugu-Ene Zoo in Karakol. A small zoo that is known for its personal encounters with the animals. Animals include lions, bears, and lynxes. You only need a few hours at this zoo. A unique experience that should gain a spot on everyone’s Kyrgyzstan Itinerary.
For dining, stop by Local Karakol Food. A hidden gem that features piping hot and delicious soups. Some soup options are kimchi noodle flavored soup and vegetable hotteok. This restaurant is recommended by locals for its mouthwatering flavor.
Where To Stay in Karakol?
Gostinitsa Karagat is a four-star hotel located in central Karakol. A good option for walking to restaurants and museums. It is a large hotel with spacious and clean rooms. It only costs around $50 per night. However, you will need to call to book as they do not have an active website or booking engine.
DAY 7: From Karakol to Altyn Arashan
Only an hour away from Karakol is Altyn Arashan. Altyn Arashan is a nature preserve famous for its valleys and mountains. Animals in this area include over twenty endangered snow leopards. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to spot one of these beauties.
Altyn Arashan Hot Springs
Take a trip out to visit the Altyn Arashan Hot Springs. A hot spring that is famous for its healing radon waters. These springs can be used to treat cardiovascular disease.
Spend your morning soaking and taking in the healing energy. The hot springs reach a temperature of 50°C. /122°F. Perfect for when the colder days of Altyn Arashan arrive.
Horseback Riding in Altyn Arashan
Add horseback riding to your Kyrgyzstan Itinerary. Sign up for a tour with Bulak Say Horseback and Trekking. A fantastic company that hosts tours through Altyn Arashan. They even offer an included car service that brings you from Karkoal to the trailhead. You can get more information about their tours on their website http://karakolhorsetrekking.blogspot.com/.
Where To Stay near Altyn Arashan?
Altyn Arashan has very few accommodations. Eco Yurt Camp Arashan & Guest House “Gulnara” is a cozy guest house. With comfy beds and hot meals. Ideal for those planning on doing longer day hikes. You can either stay.
DAY 8: Exploring the area of Altyn Arashan
There are many different trekking tours available in Altyn Arashan. One of the most sought-after activities when visiting this location.
Ak-Suu Arboretum Trek
If you are feeling adventurous, hike the stunning mountains. The Ak-Suu Arboretum Trek is eight miles long and makes a great day trip. Hike through the entire valley and return via the route in the forest. You can either hike back or return by their minibus. Learn about this trail here https://www.asia-hikes.com/ak-suu-arboretum/
Peak Palatka Hike
Another great day hike is trekking to the foot of Peak Palatka. You can do this hike with or without a guide. It is rated an easy walk with stunning views. Peak Palatka are twin peaks that are symmetrical and stunning. This peak is over 15,000 feet high, making it hard to miss.
How To Get to those trails’ starting point?
To do either of these hikes, you will need to start at the trail in Ak Suu village, also known as Teploklyuchenka. Then, you will take a minibus from the main street and ask the driver if he goes to Altyn Arashan. If yes, you stay on the bus until you reach the sign that says Altyn Arashan. From there, you can begin your hiking adventure!
All hikes can either be done solo or guided. There are many guides in the area which can bring you to the trailheads and take the trek with you. Recommended for those who are not comfortable with solo hiking. Guided tours are ideal for beginners Kyrgyzstan Itinerary. Visit https://destinationkarakol.com/tours/hiking-trekking/ for all guided hiking and trekking tour options.
Where Else to Stay in Altyn Arashan?
Another great accommodation option in the area is the “Ala-Kul” guesthouse in Altyn-Arashan. Resembling a hostile that has a shared kitchen and lounge. The accommodations are yurts or shared rooms. Rooms start at $38 a night.
DAY 9: From Altyn Arashan back to Karakol
Began your two-hour trip back to Karakol. Once you arrive, enjoy your second day in Karakol, appreciating the delicious food options. The Meeting Point is a pizza restaurant that has a lot of American food options. They have vegan and non-vegan dishes, from pancakes to burgers. Visitors also rave about them having the best internet in the area.
Another option is Cafe Dastorkon is a modern cafe that showcases ancient traditions. Their dishes include fresh vegetables, herbs, and meats. Local bread and salads are just some of the items offered. Finally, try their Brand Snack “Dastorkon,” a national snack with kazy karta, smoked horse meat, ram fat, and beef tongue. A foodie’s dream.
After fueling up, visit the historic Przewalski Museum. Nikolai Mikhailovich Przewalski was a 19th-century explorer who was one of the first people to explore Central Asia.
He fell in love with the area and stayed there until the day he died. He is now buried in Karakol. The museum features a tribute to his life. With gorgeous sculptures and over five hundred exhibits. A cultural and educational museum to spend a few hours at.
As the day winds down, get ready to explore some nightlife in the area. Rent your own private billiards room while enjoying some ice-cold beer at Green Club. A pub is one of the only nightlife options in the area.
Where Else to stay in Karakol?
Hillside Karakol B&B is a beautiful resort located on the piedmonts in Karakol. The hotel has European decor and is similar to a Chalet. It is located in the quiet part of the city. Recommended for those looking to relax and disconnect after a busy day in the city. A popular resort to add to your Kyrgyzstan Itinerary. This hotel averages around $40 a night.
DAY 10: From Karakol to Tash Rabat
Tash Rabat is located seven hours southwest of Karakol. The easiest way to accomplish this journey is to take a taxi from Karakol to Tash Rabat for $95 per car. Renting a car is an additional option.
Break up the drive by stopping in Bokonbayevo, Kyrgyzstan. A town that is the center of the Tong District of the Issyk-Kul Region. It is the largest village on the south shore of Lake Issyk Kul. Next, stop at Kolomto, a sushi restaurant that offers fresh fish and yummy rolls. Salad and meat options are also available here.
Afterward, continue your drive to Tash Rabat. There are not a lot of accommodations near Tash Rabat. It is recommended to spend the night an hour and a half away near Naryn.
Where to stay in Bokonbayevo?
Char Hotel is a gorgeous property nestled in the mountains. They offer lunch or dinner during your stay. A perfect place to rest after your long drive and before exploring Tash Rabat.
DAY 11: Exploring Tash Rabat area
Continue on your journey from Naryn to Tash Rabat, about an hour and a half taxi ride. Tash Rabat is a 15th century caravanserai. Which is a place where travelers would spend time resting during their road trips.
Similar to an inn or motel. The structure includes over thirty rooms, including a hall and chamber. This area is in a very remote location, making it a gem to see in real life.
You can spend your whole day exploring Tash Rabat. It is rated the most magnificent monument in all of Kyrgyzstan. Sitting at 10,498 feet above sea level. There are local tour guides who can teach you all about the history here. A bucket list item that earns a spot on every Kyrgyzstan itinerary.
Accommodations near Tash Rabat are slim and mainly consist of yurt camps and hostels. Therefore, after spending your day at Tash Rabat, you can get the full Tash Rabat experience and stay in the yurt camps nearby.
Where To Stay in Tash Rabat?
Stay at Omurbek’s Yurt Camp in Tash Rabat. A yurt camp that is prided on being clean and neat. A fantastic way to connect with other travelers that are exploring the area. You can book a yurt on their booking website at https://yurt-camp-omurbek-tash-rabat-bangkok.booked.net/.
Day 12: Tash Rabat to Naryn
Located two hours north of Tash Rabat is Naryn. A city that is in the foothills of Naryn-Too. It is one hundred miles from the Chinese border, making it a great tourist attraction. It is also home to the longest river in the country, the Naryn River. In addition, this area has stunning mountains and scenic views.
Raft The Naryn River
Take a rafting tour! Raft down the iconic Naryn River. Go down the crystal waters that provide natural rapids. If white water rafting is a hobby of yours, tackle the Naryn Falls canyon. A specific part of the river that provides intense rafting. The area is not recommended for those to take on alone, so a rafting guide is important.
If rafting is too intense, take a day visit to Son-Kul Lake. A fifty-six-mile drive west from Naryn. This is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. It is known for its rare animal sightings and birds. It also provides tranquil scenery, perfect for relaxing.
Naryn Walking Tour
In the afternoon, walk around Naryn and take in the gorgeous architecture. Naryn was discovered over a century ago as a Russian garrison town. As a result, the town spotlights post-war buildings.
Walking tours are offered for those who want to learn about the history of this town. In addition, the Naryn area is filled with culture and beauty. This is why it is a must-have on any Kyrgyzstan Itinerary.
Where to stay in Naryn?
Отель “Хан-Тенгри.” A stunning property that has hotel accommodations as well as yurts. Averaging about $40 a night, depending on room category.
DAY 13: From Naryn back to Bishkek
Spend your day exploring the towns on your way back to Bishkek. A six-hour journey that can be done by cab. At this point, you may think you have crossed off everything on the Kyrgyzstan Itinerary. But there is still so much of Kyrgyzstan to see.
A little over an hour outside of Bishkek is the Burana Tower. A very famous historical site in Kyrgyzstan. It is a large tower that exists in the ancient city of Balasagun. Visit the gravestones that sit next to the tower, which are called the bal-bals. This spot is a history lover’s dream.
Kyrgyz National Opera
If performances and art interest you, then get tickets to the infamous Kyrgyz National Opera. The shows are mostly performed by students who are locals in the area. However, there are also Russian and Kyrgyz performers and artists. Some of their shows include concerts, an evening of Kyrgyz opera, and even a gala concert. Which includes famous artists and performers. You can look up tickets and showtimes at https://www.operabase.com/.
For those looking to dance the night away, Bishkek has fun and lively clubbing options. A famous club in the area is Promzona Club. Which has live music and nightlong dance parties. The club is known to stay open all night with never-ending entertainment options. Promzona is underground and is a best-kept secret unless found. This would be the perfect way to spend your last night in Bishkek.
Where to stay in Bishkek?
Sheraton Bishkek is a top-rated hotel. Perfect for your last night in Bishkek. It is located in the center city, close to dining and nightlife. A higher-end option averaging $160 per night.
DAY 14: Oak Park and Osh Bazaar
Before heading back to Manas airport, grab some much-needed breakfast. Spend the morning at Sierra Coffee Manas Ave. A cafe that showcases delicious American breakfast options. Including pancakes, waffles, french toast, and oatmeal. During lunch hours, they offer Mexican dishes, salads, and wraps. Don’t forget to indulge in their delicious coffee and lattes.
After breakfast, take a walk to Oak Park. The park is located near Ala-Too square and is known for its gorgeous scenery. Spend some time viewing the sculptures from artists. Get a game of ping-pong in at their complimentary ping-pong tables. Or, just lounge under a shaded oak tree. Most importantly, take in the beauty of Bishkek.
End your trip at the Osh Bazaar, a three-thousand-year-old market and bazaar. This is one of the most sought-after places to visit and add to your Kyrgyzstan itinerary. It is a highly photographed place in Bishkek. Drawing locals and visitors from all over the world. You can barter with the vendors and buy local gifts to bring back home with you.
If you take a taxi from downtown Bishkek to Manas Airport, your cost will be around $10 per car. Lastly, spend some time at the airport reflecting on your trip.
Final Thoughts about Kyrgyzstan Itinerary
Kyrgyzstan is a unique and cultured country that most travelers overlook. Spend fourteen days exploring this historic and majestic area, from the mountains and lakes to the historic buildings.
Kyrgyzstan has something for everyone. Learn from the locals and indulge yourself in the lifestyle. You will leave Kyrgyzstan with more culture and history than you can imagine.