Photo travel “Unknown Tian-Shan” all over Kyrgyzstan for 21 days

Photo journey “Unknown Tien Shan” is a journey all over Kyrgyzstan for people who are keen on photographs of rare and great natural monuments. “Unknown Tien Shan” or “Unknown Kyrgyzstan” is a project, the purpose of which is to visit little-known places in the Tien-Shan.

This journey is for those who have a photo and video camera as a must on every journey, and great photo and video footage is their main point of journey.

Photo and video is a great way to learn and discover a new world through the camera lens.

This journey takes place in difficult natural, climatic conditions and hard-to-reach places. Choosing the right time of year, day and angles allows you to get unique shots of natural landscapes and geological formations with minimal loss of time and resources.

Hard-to-reach natural places in the Tien-Shan have always been out of reach of camera lenses. As a rule, these are rare, outstanding, aesthetic mountainous or semi-desert landscapes, beautiful landforms, or individual geological monuments. Photographing of desert or alpine landscapes or individual natural monuments is worth a lot, since during a regular tour, access here is limited or these places are not visited by tourists. But, a trip to the wild, untouched, little-known places of the Tien-Shan will allow you to make rare, unique photographs.

Our route is about 4000 km. We will reach the highest peaks in the Central Tien-Shan, we will see contrasts between the glaciers of the Pamirs and green glades under Lenin Peak, we will be in the wild nature of Chatkal (UNESCO site) and semi-desert landscapes of the famous Madigen in the South-West Tien-Shan, we will see one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Central Asia – Issyk-Kul Lake.

Transport for travel: off-road vehicles for 4 seats and a large army vehicle for 20 seats.

Travel duration – 20 days

The optimal number of participants is 15  pax.



Day 1. Arrival in Bishkek

Briefing. Acquaintance with the guide. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2. Bishkek - Ala-Archa National Park

Ala-Archa is located 40 km south of Bishkek. Ala-Archa is a beautiful gorge with tall pine or spruce forests. Famous mountain peaks and magnificent waterfalls are located here. Return to Bishkek. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3. Bishkek - Karkara

After breakfast, the path continues to the easternmost edge of the country. We will pass  Issyk-Kul Lake, popular resorts and attractive mountain gorges.

Karkara is a wonderful place with a magnificent mountain landscape (2100 m). On the slopes of the mountains, there are numerous grasses and spruce forests. From here begins the further journey by helicopter towards the Khan-Tengri and Pobeda peaks. Night in tents at the base camp of climbers.

Day 4. Karkara - Sary-Jaz

We begin our journey to one of the harshest and wildest regions of the Tien Shan. On the way, we will see wide mountain valleys, high peaks and amazing alpine landscapes. This trip is in the heart of the Central Tien-Shan. The path lies through the Tuya-Ashu pass (4000 m). We will see seething mountain rivers and grandiose canyons. Night in tents in the valley of the Sary-Jaz river.

Day 5. Sary-Jazz - Karakol

We will take an extreme trip along the mountain roads. You will see how, in one day, the alpine landscape will gradually turn into woodlands of the mid-mountain zone, which then, rather quickly, will be replaced by foothill valleys. Arrival to the Karakol Сity. Karakol is a historical city with architectural monuments. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6. Karakol - Kochkor - Naryn

The path lies along the southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake. We will visit the “Skazka” Valley. There are amazing geological forms that create aesthetic landscapes. Further, the road runs along the wild beaches of the lake. In Kochkor village we will visit a museum and a felt shop. There will also be a lunch with national dishes. Further the way to the Naryn city. The city is located in a mountain valley at an altitude of over 2000 m. One of the routes to China begins from here. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7. Naryn - Kok-Kiya - Lake Kol-Suu

The further path leads us south. After several tens of kilometers, we find ourselves in the wide At-Bashi valley. Further, the road leads to the very beautiful Kel-Suu lake, sandwiched in a narrow canyon. Altitude over 3500 m. Overnight in yurts.

Day 8. Kel-Suu - Kok-Kyya canyons - Chatyr-Kul lake - Tash-Rabat

Our amazing journey throughout Kyrgyzstan continues. We will visit the grandiose canyons of the Kok-Kya river. These places are best photographed with a drone. Further path along the At-Bashi valley through the Chatyr-Kul lake to the ancient Tash-Rabat temple. It is believed that Tash-Rabat is an ancient structure that served as a resting place for passing trade caravans on the Great Silk Road. However, many historians consider it to be an ancient Christian temple. Overnight in yurts.

Day 9. Tash-Rabat - Baetovo - Kazarman

The further path lies through semi-desert, hot landscapes, high passes and alpine meadows. In the vicinity of Baetov you will see badlands, and from the Kara-Koo pass, amazingly beautiful landscapes of the badlands. These landscapes are especially beautiful at sunset. Our task is to have time to capture these magnificent panoramas. Overnight in Kazarman in guest house.

Day 10. Kazarman - Jalal-Abad - Osh

The path passes through the Kara-Bulak pass. Several photos can be maken from the pass. On the way, visit the architectural and historical complex in the Uzgen city – the ancient capital of the Karakhanids. Here is the minaret and the mausoleum of the rulers of the ancient state. Overnight at the hotel in Osh city.

Day 11. Osh

Excursion around the ancient Osh city. Visiting the bazaar, as well as the holy mountain Suleiman-Too (a UNESCO site). Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12. Osh - Khoja-Kelen

The natural beauty of the Khoja-Kelen tract is amazing. Here we can observe a combination of red conglomerate rocks and gray smooth limestones against the background of the snow-capped peaks of the Alai ridge. Dense thickets in the gorges and an incredibly beautiful waterfall. Overnight in yurts.

Day 13. Khoja-Kelen - Batken

The road to Batken runs through both densely populated areas and desert areas. On the way we will pass through the Khoja-Gair canyon, then we will find ourselves in the Batken desert. On the way, you can see how new villages appear in the desert area. It depends on the availability of water, which is produced by wells or carried through new channels. Overnight in Batken city.

Day 14. Batken - Madigen

Madigen is a famous paleontological and geological region. This is a photographer’s paradise. The multi-colored mountains create different landscapes depending on the time of day. When the sun is at sunrise or sunset, the colors of these mountains change. Especially, here you can take excellent panoramic photos. Overnight in tents in a poplar grove.

Day 15. Sightseeing tour of Madigen

Semi-desert landscape – badlands, rare oases in the background of deserts, rare species of animals listed in the Red Book, a grand canyon, historical monuments can be seen in one place in a short time. But, Madigen is endless. Each time Madigen gives more and more unknown places. Rare paleontological finds were found here. Overnight in tents in a poplar grove.

Day 16. Madigen - Batken - Osh

Our route continues in the opposite direction. In the Osh city, visiting a national restaurant. Local food. Recreation. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 17. Osh - Tash-Kumyr - Kyzyl-Dzhar savanna

Our path lies along the eastern part of the Fergana Valley, past cotton fields. Endless strips of mulberry trees grow along the roads. In the area of ​​the Tash-Kumyr city, we will cross the Naryn River and find ourselves in a real savannah. Pistachio trees give the savanna look.
Driving through agricultural fields, we will observe the endless Fergana Valley in the west. Overnight at a guest house in Kerben.

Day 18. Kyzyl-Dzhar - Padysha-Ata gorge - Sary-Chelek lake

Further journey to the gorges of the southern slopes of the Chatkal ridge. We will visit UNESCO natural heritage sites – Padysha-Ata and Sary-Chelek reserves. This is a Night at a guest house in the village of Arkit.

Day 19. Sary-Chelek - Toktogul reservoir

On the way we will see several geological monuments. After Tash-Kumyr, our path lies along the largest river of the Tien-Shan – Naryn. We will climb the Kok-Bel pass and descend into the Ketmen-Tube valley, which is now occupied by the largest artificial reservoir in Central Asia – the Toktogul reservoir. Overnight at the hotel on the bank of the reservoir.

Day 20. Toktogul - Chichkan gorge - Bishkek

The highway passes through the very picturesque Chychkan gorge. On the way we will visit the Saz-Kol lake in a very beautiful valley. Further, we will get to the high-mountainous Suusamyr valley (2800 m). Here in the valley there are magnificent alpine meadows. Local nomads graze sheep, horses and other livestock here. Next, the Too-Ashu pass (3300 m), and then a dizzying descent to the Chuy valley and the Bishkek city. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 21. Bishkek - Airport

Airport transfer.

The program price includes:

  • – Meeting and seeing off at the airport
    – Accommodation in 3 * hotels according to the program (double occupancy),
  • – Accommodation in yurts and tents,
    – Tents for living,
    – Large tent for kitchen and dining room,
    – Three meals a day throughout the program,
    – Transport according to the program,
    – Expert guide,
    – Chef,
    – Entrance fees to reserves and museums

Price doesn’t include:

  • – Visa,
    – Insurance,
    – Personal expenses,
    – International flights,
    – Deviations from the main program

Price on request

According to the request and interest, we can negotiate the optimal price for your budget.

The price of the program depends on the number of participants


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