Photo Expedition “Natural heritage of Kyrgyzstan” July 2024

Natural Heritage of Kyrgyzstan is a project where we organize annual photo expeditions and explore new hard-to-reach and poorly known places in the Tian-Shan. This time we want to carry out photo research in the eastern and southern parts of Kyrgyzstan. These are the most mountainous and harsh places of the Kyrgyz Tian-Shan.

Kyrgyzstan is a country of amazing contrasts. More than 90% of the country’s territory is the Tien-Shan mountains. In the south of the country, the territory is occupied by the northern part of the Pamirs. This tour is through magnificent natural landscapes, geological monuments and historical sites.

More and more, European travelers and tourists are looking for exotic holiday destinations, located far from roads and civilizations. In this respect, Kyrgyzstan is in a good position. Kyrgyzstan is remote from the main tourist centers and has many little-known wild places. Its reputation in this respect is very successful – a mysterious and exotic country: untouched beauty of the Tian-Shan mountains, unconquered peaks and untapped canyons and caves. Alpine pastures and horse breeders living in yurts are former nomads, mysterious and alluring alpine lakes. Underwater cities and traces of the Great Silk Road.

But, in the Tian-Shan there are other, more untouched places, where there are not even shepherds, roads and any kind of civilization. Some territories adjacent to the border with China have been closed to tourists and foreigners for a long time. This circumstance made it possible to preserve vast territories in conditions of uncertainty and wild nature.

These areas include: the Ak-Sai valley and the Kokshaal-Too ridge (South Tian Shan); Barkoldoy Ridge (Southern Tian-Shan); Sary-Jazz (Central Tian Shan); Korumdy (Pamir-Alai), where the wildlife factor can become the main motive to spend a vacation with a photo and a movie camera.

Photo research is the first step for further scientific geographic and other research. Photos of untouched places are very rare in our time.

This project is for photographers and filmmakers who want to see wildlife and reflect it in their photography work. We want to show you amazing places that the usual classic tourist routes do not pass through. These aesthetically beautiful places are outstanding natural heritage sites of Kyrgyzstan. Usually these places are hidden from the eyes of tourists.

We will drive through almost all of Kyrgyzstan, from north to south and from east to west. We will see semi-deserts and glaciers, canyons and alpine lakes, local life color and life of the ancestors of nomads. Especially if you’ve bought a new camera, you need to put it to the test in some of the wildest and most outstanding natural landscapes.

Project goals:

  • – Creation of a photo album about Kyrgyzstan and the great mountain system Tian-Shan,
    – Development of ecological tourism,
    – Show foreign tourists all the beauty of the nature of Kyrgyzstan,
    – Save outstanding, wild, unspoiled natural landscapes as Geoparks,
  • – Photo of the exhibition,

After this project, some participants – photo authors can receive public recognition and high praise from experienced photographers. You can become the first photographer to take the best and rarest photographs of the outstanding natural heritage sites of Kyrgyzstan.

  • Travel duration – 14 days
  • The maximum number of participants is 15 pax.

For this trip we use an army off road 6WD vehicle


Day 1. Arrival in Kyrgyzstan

Briefing. Acquaintance with the guide. Expedition presentation. Hotel accommodation.

Day 2. Bishkek - Karkara

We will pass Issyk-Kul Lake and get to the most eastern part of Kyrgyzstan. Night in yurts.

Day 3. Karkara - Sary-Jazz

From a very pleasant forest landscape, we will go to the harsh high-mountainous places of Sary-Jaz. Sary-Jazz is a wide floodplain of the river of the same name. On this day we will find ourselves in the Central Tian-Shan – an area that was first discovered by European travelers. Night at the field camp.

Day 4. Sary-Jazz - Ak-Suu valley - Ak-Bulun - Karakol

This day we have a difficult route. We want to explore high altitude valleys. After the Sary-Jaz valley, we will overcome the Chon-Ashu pass (3822 m) and begin our descent to the Ak-Suu valley. In a few hours we will descend to 2500 m. During the descent, we will see how quickly the mountain landscapes change, how the vegetation and colors of the Central Tian-Shan mountains change. Overnight in the Karakol city.

Day 5. Karakol - Barskaun - Kaji-Sai

From Karakol to Kadji-Sai, the road lies along the southern coast of Issyk-Kul Lake. On the way, in the Kyzyl-Suu village, we will visit a home factory for the production of yurts (Nomad dwelling). Next, we will see the magnificent Barskaun Gorge. And also, the “Skazka” valley – where the forces of nature have created aesthetic forms of relief.Overnight at Kaji-Say.

Day 6. Kaji-Sai - Burkan valley - Toragay valley

This day we have a difficult path. Most of the way passes along field mountain roads. We will overcome the Uch-Emchek valley and the Tosor pass. The epic valleys of Tosor and Burkan will gradually lead us to the wide high-mountainous Toragay valley. Here are the sources of the Naryn River – the largest river in the Tian-Shan, which carries its waters westward to the Fergana Valley. Overnight in yurts or in a field camp.

Day 7. Toragay - Ak-Sai valley - Kel-Suu lake

From the Toragai valley along the Karakol river valley, then bypassing the Kubergenti pass (3907 m), we will find ourselves in the Ak-Sai valley. The width of this alpine valley is impressive. These are huge alpine spaces. It is hard to believe that the valley is located between two mountain ranges. In the evening we will reach Kel-Suu Lake – the beauty of these harsh places. Night in yurts.

Day 8. Kol-Suu Lake 

Excursion to the Kel-Suu lake. We use the boat to take a tour of the lake. Night in yurts.

Day 9. Kol-Suu - Bosogo

Next we will visit the Kok-Kiya canyons. The canyons are impressive! They are formed in the form of deep meanders cut through the thickness of the limestone rock. Further descent to the Ak-Sai valley. Overnight at a field camp in the Bosogo Valley.

Day 10. Bosogo - Naryn - Son-Kul

The path lies through the beautiful Naryn valley. Then we will climb to the alpine Son-Kul lake (3013 m). On the way we will see magnificent panoramas of the Karatal-Dzhapryk valleys. In a few hours we will overcome the height of 1000 m. Night in yurts on the shore of the lake.

Day 11. In the vicinity of Son-Kul

On the shore of the lake, you can take great photos of the sunset and sunrise. Those who wish can take a horse ride in the vicinity of the lake. Night in yurts.

Day 12. Son-Kul - Chaek - Kyzyl-Oi

The road from the Son-Kul lake will lead us to the mountain village Kyzyl-Oy. Our route lies along the Jumgal and Kokyemeren rivers. The magnificence of these places will allow you to take many photos. Overnight at the guest house.

Day 13. Kyzyl-Oy - Suusamyr - Bishkek

On this day, we will climb to Alpine valley Suusamyr, to an altitude of more than 2500 m. Then we will overcome the Tuya-Ashuu pass and find ourselves in the Northern Tian-Shan. Overnight at the hotel in Bishkek.

Day 14. Bishkek - Airport

Transfer to Airport.



Our email: