Alexander Bickov
Started a budget 1 year, 6 months ago

14 Amazing Days in Kyrgyzstan

In the summer of 2015, I ventured out into Kyrgyzstan’s incredible mountain ranges where I experienced breathtaking sights, rich local culture, and one of the most amazing vacations of my life. The local currency was the Kyrgyzstani Som, an absolute bargain with an exchange rate of 1 Som - 0.013 Euro.
  • €2,546.63
7 places
Alexander Bickov
March 23, 2015, 6:12 p.m.
Using the tools at Momondo, I booked round-trip flights from Estonia to Kyrgyzstan. During a four-hour layover in Istanbul, I was able to stop in the city and enjoy some local cuisine.
Alexander Bickov
June 22, 2015, 9 a.m.
Using the amazing services of AdventureLab, I didn’t have to worry about any aspects of organization. Our amazing guides, Gatis and Andis, were prepared at every step of the trip. Included in the cost was ground transportation, entrance to national parks and other attractions, lodging, food, and rafting.
Alexander Bickov
June 23, 2015, 9 a.m.
  • Equipment
  • €1,500.00
The most expensive cost of the trip by far was all the equipment necessary to hike safely. Equipment: 3 pairs of trail socks, Super lightweight sleeping pad, Ultralite towel, Set of dishes (fork, spoon, dish, mug), Sunglasses, Swiss pocket knife, 70L backpack, Waterproof mountain shoes, Sleeping bag, Head lamp with extra battery, Power bank (16000 mAh), Sandals, 4 t-shirts, Waterproof and windproof, jacket, Thermo clothes, All-in-one pants/shorts, Cap, Gloves, Medical: Patch, Gel for joints and muscles, Sun cream, Premanganic acid, Toothbrush and toothpaste, Activated charcoal, Wet wipes, Vitamins, Amino acid
Alexander Bickov
July 4, 2015, 4 a.m.
  • Private Bus Journey: Riga -> Tallin Airport
  • FREE
Ground travel from Riga to the airport in Tallinn was included in the AdventureLab price. It gave group members an opportunity to meet each other at the beginning of a long experience together.
Alexander Bickov
July 4, 2015, 9 a.m.
  • #Coffee Double Espresso in Tallin Airport
  • €6.00
Alexander Bickov
July 4, 2015, 6 p.m.
  • Kebab in #Istanbul
  • €6.00
  • Furkan Döner
Our layover in Istanbul ended up being a great opportunity to take some photos, walk around the city, and enjoy a good Turkish kebab.
  • Kebab in #Istanbul
  • Kebab in #Istanbul
Alexander Bickov
July 5, 2015, 5:55 a.m.
We arrived in Bishkek and spent the night in the USSR Hostel - designed in the style of Soviet apartment buildings. The hostel was clean, in a good location, with friendly staff. AdventureLab covered the cost of the lodging. Street vendors nearby sold Kymyz mare’s milk.
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
  • Day 1: USSR Hostel
Alexander Bickov
July 5, 2015, 9:30 a.m.
  • Beeline mobile local SIM
  • €9.00
It took about 30 minutes to register for a local SIM card for mobile service. It was required to register with passport.
Alexander Bickov
July 5, 2015, 11:30 a.m.
  • #Lunch in Bishkek
  • €4.42
Our first lunch in Bishkek was a great deal. Lagman, brizzole, salads, and a dry fruit compote for just 340 som.
  • #Lunch in Bishkek
  • #Lunch in Bishkek
  • #Lunch in Bishkek
  • #Lunch in Bishkek
  • #Lunch in Bishkek
Alexander Bickov
July 5, 2015, 12:10 p.m.
  • Wild apricots
  • €1.30
An even better deal was the wild apricots being sold on the street - just 100 som!
  • Wild apricots
  • Wild apricots
Alexander Bickov
July 5, 2015, 4 p.m.
  • #dinner in Bishkek
  • €10.14
  • Kemel Ata
For dinner, we ate at Kemel Ata. 780 som altogether for manti, lamb ribs, and some nice red wine.
  • #dinner in Bishkek
  • #dinner in Bishkek
  • #dinner in Bishkek
  • #dinner in Bishkek
  • #dinner in Bishkek
Alexander Bickov
July 6, 2015, 3 a.m.
AdventureLab arranged for a private bus to take us to the Ala Archa park trail. We would spend three days there, getting acclimated and then exploring this beautiful national park.
  • Day 2: Private bus to Ala Archa
Alexander Bickov
July 6, 2015, 1:48 p.m.
Once we arrived in Ala Archa, we started our journey with an incredible six-hour hike. What a first impression!
  • Ala Archa Hiking
  • Ala Archa Hiking
  • Ala Archa Hiking
  • Ala Archa Hiking
  • Ala Archa Hiking
  • Ala Archa Hiking
  • Ala Archa Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 7, 2015, 11 a.m.
Ala Archa gave us the chance to see tons of local wildlife including horses, sheep, and wild mountain goats. We recovered in cold springs found around the park. The temperatures vary wildly in this area - cold at night and in the mornings but hot throughout the day.
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
  • Day 3: Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 8, 2015, 7:53 a.m.
We visited the Ak-Sai glacier without backpacks and took in an incredible landscape of snow-capped mountains. We came back down to the valley near the entrance of the park and spent the night in tents. Sun cream was no match for the hot rays in Kyrgyzstan!
  • Day 4: Hiking
  • Day 4: Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 9, 2015, 10 a.m.
Rafting on the Chu River was included in the AdventureLab price. We took a private bus for then 125km journey from Bishkek to the river and spent a couple hours on the rafts. The guides were great and had an excellent sense of humor.
  • Day 5: Chu River #rafting
  • Day 5: Chu River #rafting
  • Day 5: Chu River #rafting
Alexander Bickov
July 9, 2015, 1 p.m.
After we finished rafting, we stayed in traditional Yurts at the Bailanysh Hostel in Karakol. The staff was great, including an old man that told us traditional Kyrgyz stories.
  • Bailanysh hostel
  • Bailanysh hostel
  • Bailanysh hostel
Alexander Bickov
July 10, 2015, 8 a.m.
  • Day 6: Local market
  • €15.60
  • Базар
We took a day to rest in Karakol and visited a local market. I tried fresh fruit, shashliks, sweets, traditional food, and mountain flower honey. We also checked out the Old Russian Church in town. Altogether, I spent 1200 som in Karakol.
  • Day 6: Local market
  • Day 6: Local market
  • Day 6: Local market
  • Day 6: Local market
  • Day 6: Local market
  • Day 6: Local market
Alexander Bickov
July 10, 2015, noon
  • Marshrutka to Yssyk-Kol lake
  • €0.13
We spent 10 som to get from Marshrutka to Yssyk-Kol Lake. The car was packed full and we were more than happy to escape and swim in the amazing water.
  • Marshrutka to Yssyk-Kol lake
  • Marshrutka to Yssyk-Kol lake
  • Marshrutka to Yssyk-Kol lake
  • Marshrutka to Yssyk-Kol lake
Alexander Bickov
July 11, 2015, 2 a.m.
We got up early in the morning, enjoyed a great breakfast, and then transitioned to the Teleti Pass. We saw the red rocks at Jeti Oguz and then went through a grueling hike at 3759 meters. We spent the night in tents by the river.
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
  • Day 7: Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 12, 2015, 5 a.m.
This was one of the most amazing days of the trip, as we hiked to the hidden pearl of the Terksey Ala-Too mountains: Ala-Kul Lake. Located at a height of 3532 meters, the lake changes in color to reflect changes in lighting - from emerald green with white clouds to dark grey or turquoise blue. The reflection in the early morning was absolutely amazing - 1:1 quality.
  • Day 8: Hiking
  • Day 8: Hiking
  • Day 8: Hiking
  • Day 8: Hiking
  • Day 8: Hiking
  • Day 8: Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 13, 2015, 6 a.m.
On one of the toughest hikes, we overcame the Ala Kol mountain pass at 3860 meters. We slid down an unconsolidated rock trail to reach the Keldike valley, a picturesque landscape dotted with herds of cattle and sheep. We reached the Altyn Arashan valley which is known for its sources of medical sulfur. Our guide was a local boy who led us on the grueling expedition - it was almost impossible to find time to recover throughout the hike! We rewarded him with some sweets we picked up at the market - I’ve never seen a happier boy!
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
  • Day 9: Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 13, 2015, 4 p.m.
  • Camping
  • €10.40
We spent 800 som for a camping spot, dinner, and bath. The sulfur bath was great for relaxing our exhausted legs. We enjoyed the local tradition of going back and forth between ice cold water and the camp’s hot baths. The night ended in the mountain bar - a unique atmosphere!
  • Camping
  • Camping
  • Camping
  • Camping
  • Camping
  • Camping
Alexander Bickov
July 14, 2015, 10 a.m.
Another full day of hiking took us to Altyn Arashan where we were surrounded on either side by mountain ranges with peaks exceeding 4000 meters. This was even more beautiful than the valleys we saw before - tons of wildflowers and sunlit meadows. We ended up in the village of Teploklyuchenka and then headed back for Karakol. Accommodations were again at the Bailanysh hostel.
  • Day 10: Hiking
  • Day 10: Hiking
  • Day 10: Hiking
Alexander Bickov
July 15, 2015, 9 a.m.
  • #lunch on the road cafe
  • €4.68
Our lunch in a road cafe cost just 360 som. A note about Kyrgyzstan: 90% of WCs here don’t have a toilet - just a gap in the ground!
  • #lunch on the road cafe
  • #lunch on the road cafe
  • #lunch on the road cafe
  • #lunch on the road cafe
  • #lunch on the road cafe
Alexander Bickov
July 15, 2015, 11 a.m.
The Burana Tower Museum has an interesting collection of carved headstones. Entrance was less than 1 Euro at 60 som.
  • Burana Tower #museum
  • Burana Tower #museum
  • Burana Tower #museum
Alexander Bickov
July 15, 2015, 1 p.m.
We were almost delayed visiting the Skazka Canyon as our bus got stuck in sand before we arrived. However, it didn’t affect our trip and we got to experience this beautiful landscape.
  • Skazka Canyon
  • Skazka Canyon
  • Skazka Canyon
  • Skazka Canyon
  • Skazka Canyon
Alexander Bickov
July 15, 2015, 5 p.m.
  • Bishek Goodbye #Party
  • €11.18
  • ussr hostel
We ended our amazing journey back in Bishkek with a Goodbye Party for 860 som. The party included traditional snacks and drinks as we shared our experiences. We headed to the airport without sleeping and traveled over 14 hours to return home to Riga. While it was sad to leave Kyrgyzstan behind, every member of our AdventureLab group now has an unbelievable collection of memories that we will never forget. AdventureLab took us off the beaten path to some of the world’s most jaw-dropping locations, and we pushed ourselves to our physical limits exploring heights of almost 4000 meters.

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