Sayakat Song-Kol

sayakat trekkingThe jailoos are the pastures where Kyrgyz shepherds tend their flocks in the summer, and Song-Kol is the jewel of the jailoos, a stunning 270 km2 of sparkling water at 3016 m, surrounded by 3700 m mountains on all sides. For the fullest jailoo experience, approach the lake via the mountains enclosing the western end of Kochkor Valley, moving from jailoo to jailoo and staying with shepherd families in remote meadows far off the beaten path. Enjoy homemade jam, fresh cream, bread still warm from the oven, and the best kymyz (fermented mare’s milk) around. The route traverses remote Jumgal rayon, and reaches Song-Kol via Jalgyz-Karagai (Lonely Fir) Pass on the north shore.

 

The best time to tavel:  End of Juni till Mid September

Level / Height:               Moderate to difficult / 4 passes above 3400 m, the highest is 3600m

Price:                            1710 € p.p for a group of 4 persons
                                      2150 € p.p. for a group of 2 persons

Day Route

Altitude

Short description

1 Manas – Bishkek  900 m Arrival in Bishkek. Have a rest in a hotel. A brief information about the whole tour and places to be visited. After lunch make a city tour in the center of Bishkek, visiting open air gallery, historical museum, Osh bazaar, etc. Welcoming dinner at a restaurant. Overnight stay in hotel.
2 Bishkek – Burana – Chyrpykty Breakfast, then head to Chyrpykty village, north side of Issyk-Kul lake. The tour includes a visit to the Burana tower on the way (15 km from the main road), an architectural complex dating back to 10 – 11thcenturies (the Great Silk Road). Lunch en route. Arrive in village afternoon. Stay at home by local family.
3 Chyrpykty – Cholpon Ata – Karakol After Breakfast, head to Karakol. On the way make a stop in Cholpon – Ata to visit a museum. Arrive in Karakol afternoon, city tour: visit the Dungan Mosque styled as a Chinese pagoda, the Russian Orthodox Church and museum. Visiting local bazaar, shopping. Dinner is at restaurant. Overnight is at CBT guesthouse (a gueshouse organized by Community Based Tourism Association in Kyrgyzstan).
4 Karakol – Djeti-Oguz – Saruu Breakfast, then transfer to Djeti-Oguz Gorge, seven large red rocks known as “Seven Bulls” and the “Broken Heart” a huge rock in a form of a broken heart with plenty of ancient legends about a sad love story. Here you can also visit a sanatorium of Soviet period.  Have a picnic in area of Kok Jaiyk after which you can also hike up to a waterfall.  Arrive in next destination – village Saruu by dinner time. Overnight is by a local family.
5 Saruu After breakfast leaving for Juuku – Suu Gorge, to hot mineral springs. This is a popular place among local people.  Hiking to waterfall through a pass covered with fir trees and rocky mounts along a mountain river.  Enjoy peaceful nature during a picnic lunch. Come back to village for dinner. Overnight is by the local family.
6 Saruu – Skazka – Bokonbaevo Almaluu jurtcamp Breakfast up to your wishes, head to Bokonbaevo with an en-route visit of a fantastic place called Skazka (Fairytale). Sandy clay rocks shaped mysteriously by nature – through wind, rain, sun, throughout centuries. You will have an impression of being in a tale if you give a freedom to your imaginations! Arrive in Almaluu yurt camp by the lunch time. Afternoon go to the beach and have a swim. Stay in the yurt camp.
7 Bokonbaevo Almaluu jurtcamp Breakfast, relax, go to the lake, beach time, and swim. Walk around, communicate with local people or go to Bokonbaevo village where you can visit local workshops, witness process of making Kyrgyz national carpets and other handicrafts made by local people which you can also buy. Accommodation is at the yurt camp.
8 Bokonbaevo Almaluu jurtcamp – Kochkor Breakfast, transfer to Kochkor village. Visiting local bazaar, the biggest felt making shops “Altyn – Kol” and “Kyal”. Lunch and dinner in café. Prepare for the forthcoming trekking. Overnight is at CBT guesthouse.
9 Kochkor – Sarala Saz jailoo – Iri Suu

Begin of trekking

After breakfast transfer to Sarala-Saz jailoo, where the trek starts. The jailoo Sarala-Saz offer beautiful views of the Kara Moinok and Sandyk mountains to the south. This day you spend crossing wide-open pastures till Iri Suu area. Eat dinner in Iri-Suu jailoo, and then take an evening walk over the hill into the beautiful Kashka-Suu River valley, where you can eat wild rhubarb and watch the alpenglow on the southern mountains. Overnight stay in a yurt. Trek time: 5-6 hours
10 Iri Suu – Kichi Saryk Valley  3400 m After breakfast at Iri-Suu, gear up for a long day through nearly-empty country. Begin by traversing the western end of the Kochkor Valley through scrubby dry terrain. After crossing the fast Karakol River, climb 1000 meters over the Buchuk Pass (3400 m). On the other side, after a brief break for lunch on the trail, descend into the beautiful Sook Valley. Wild onions cover the high cold ridges, while lower down whole hillsides of wildflowers bloom. Eagles soar and marmots cry and scurry about. At day’s end, ford the Sook River and climb the green Kichi Saryk Valley. Overnight stay in a yurt. Trek time: 7-8 hours
11 Kichi Saryk Valley – Kum Bell – Koldu Suu jailoo  3 600 m

3656 m

After breakfast at Sook, detour to the next valley west, the Kum Bel, for the best approach to the 3 600 m Kum Bel Pass. From the pass, follow a ridge eastward and upward to the peak, 3656 m above sea level, with breathtaking 360 views and sheer drops to the north. Continue east, testing your walking skills down scree-covered hillsides, and eat lunch in a sheltered notch. Descend at last into the Kolduu Suu valley, and follow it down between dandelion-covered mountains to your yurt, in Kolduu Suu jailoo. Trek time: 6-7 hours
12 Koldu Suu jailoo – Kilemche jailoo After breakfast in Kolduu Suu, head south to the Kochkor – Jumgal road. Follow the road a short ways east to the Kyzart Pass, then strike south again. Within sight of the road, cross Kyzyl-Kiya jailoo, an enormous, relatively flat sea of grass. Continue over the Chaar-Archa Pass (3 061 m) into the Chaar-Archa Valley and eat a tasty lunch by the racing river, with views of holy 4400 m Baba-Ata Mountain. Sated, ford the river and follow the trail over verdant hills to Kilemche Jailoo. The name means “like a carpet,” and this swathe of grass covers whole mountain ranges, with shadings as subtle as any shyrdak (shyrdak is a Kyrgyz felt carpet). Dine and sleep in a yurt, naturally. Trek time: 6-7 hours
13 Kilemche Jailoo – Batai Aral Son-Kol

End of trekking

  3 400 m After breakfast at Kilemche, spend the morning climbing to Jalgyz Karagai pass (3400 m), over the Song-Kol Mountains and into the lake’s basin. The morning climb affords wonderful views of Kilemche jailoo, and the pass itself is rocky and exciting. From the pass, Song-Kol is still distant, but as you traipse down the slopes, it gets larger and larger; the mountains on the other side get higher and higher, until finally the lake fills most of your field of view and the southern mountains tower above it. After lunch at Jaman Echki, follow the lakeshore east to the yurt at Batai Aral. Upon arrival meet your host family of Kyrgyz shepherds. Meals and overnight are in a yurt of shepherds. Trek time: 6-7 hours.
14 Son Kol  ca 3020 m Spend the day enjoying well-earned rest at the lake side. Watching and/or participation in everyday life of shepherds: milking mares; making national milk products like kymyz (a fermented mare’s milk) or airan (a sour dense milk product); tending cattle. Eat a delicious lunch here, stroll along the lakeshore, and hope the legendary Song-Kol weather is kind. Meals and overnight is in yurt.
15 Son Kol  – Bishkek Breakfast, head to Bishkek.  Lunch en route, arrive in Bishkek afternoon. Farewell dinner is at restaurant. Overnight is in hotel.
16 Departure  Transfer to Airport and say goodbye to Kyrgyzstan.

 

The price includes all services such as full pension, transport and guidance from arrival at airport till departure EXCEPT the costs for flights and alcoholic beverages.