Fly with Korean Airlines to Seoul. Arrive and transfer to our hotel for overnight accommodation.
This afternoon continue with Korean Airlines to Istanbul. Upon arrival transfer to our hotel for overnight accommodation. Full day free in Istanbul to explore on our own before we return to the airport for our early eveining flight to Bishkek (B)
Arrive at Bishkek early morning where we are met by Evgeniy and transfered to our hotel. After breakfast we visit the Ala Archa National Park where we will see beautiful mountains and gorgeous nature. The Ala-Archa State Natural Park is located 41 km from the capital on the northern slope of the Kyrgyz ridge (Kyrgyz Ala-Too) at an altitude of 1600–4860 m. It covers an area of 2280 ha. It starts from the high center of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too and extends north to the Ala-Archa gorge River A flows through the park la archa. We return to Bishkek for a city tour followed by dinner. Overnight Bishkek (B,D)
This morning we drive along the north side of the beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake and enjoy excellent views. We will also visit the Burana Tower a 10th century heritage of the Karakhanid empire. Upon arrival in Karakol, we will see an old Russian Orthodox church, and also a chinese mosque of the 18th century. Overnight in Karakol (B,D)
Today we visit the beautiful region of Altyn Arashan in its southern part. Altyn Arashan is a high-altitude gorge in the eastern part of Kyrgyzstan offering stunning views. It lies along the trekking route from Teploklyuchenka set in an alpine valley, containing the 5020 metre Pik Palatka. We twill take an unforgettable trip on a Russian military SUV to places where the snow leopard and other wild animals roam. We will take a short walking tour and try to spot some wildlife, followed by a swim in the hot springs. These hot springs are found in the high-mountain gorge in the eastern part of the Terskey-Ala-Too ridge, located near the city of Karakol. This gorge is one of the most beautiful places in Kyrgyzstan, due to its unique nature, hot springs, vast fir forests and stunning views. We return to Karakol for accommodation and dinner (B,D)
After breakfast we have a 6-hour journey along the southern coast of Lake Issyk Kul, where we will stop to see how the local nomads hunt with the help of eagles. Then we travel through the mountains to the alpine lake Sonkul, which is located at an altitude of 3000 m above sea level. Son-Kul Lake is located in a basin in the heart of the Inner Tien Shan, 90 km north-west of Naryn. This basin is 57 km long and 29 km wide and is located inside imposing mountains. In the center of this basin lies the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan - Son-Kul, which has a length of 29 km and a width of 17 km, its surface is located at an altitude of 3016 m above sea level, the mirror area is 270 sq. Km, and the maximum depth is 13.2 m. Lake of tectonic origin and filled with fresh water. We will spend the night in yurts and see and experience the life of the nomads. (B,D)
After breakfast we drive to Kazarman city along one of the most beautiful mountain roads in Kyrgyzstan, where we can enjoy the scenery and take gorgeous photos. We will stop for lunch in yurts on the Sonkul Lake. Overnight in the home style hotel (B,D)
Today we travel through a mountain pass, which is open only 3 months a year, offering unforgettable views. A picnic-stop on the way at one of the most scenic spots before arriving in the 3000 year old Osh city. Upon arrival in Osh we will visit the sacred mountain "Sulaiman too" which is under the protection of UNESCO. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in Osh. (B,L,D)
After breakfast we go to the Pamir mountains (4 hour drive) we will rise and spend the night at an altitude of 3500 m in the base camp for climbers, at the foot of Lenin peak, which sits over 7000 meters. Here we will take a walk to the famous "Onion field" from where all climbers start climbing the peak, as well as viewing glacial lakes offering a great photo opportunity the famous mountain in the back-ground. We will see the life of shepherds in the summer pastures, as well as herds of horses and Yaks (B,L,D)
After breakfast we take a short walk in an ‘Edelweiss field’ and then leave to the border with Tajikistan. This trip will take 3 hours and we will climb a pass that’s over 4200 meters high. At the border we say goodbye to Evgeniy we greet Davood our next guide and our drivers for the Tajikistan portion of our adventure. We then continue on a wonderful drive towards one of Tajikistan’s most fabulous places, Karakul. This drive will see us enjoying some of the most dramatic scenery of the trip, with the lunar-like landscapes and bright blue lakes providing plenty of opportunities to take our breath away. We descend to Karakul Lake, the highest lake in Central Asia and at 3915 meters above sea level, too high to support any aquatic life. Overnight at a guesthouse. (B,D)
Today we will continue our trip towards Murghab and we get a chance to explore the amazing landscape of the area. We will again cross a high-altitude pass Ak-Baital Pass (4655 meters above sea level) which is the highest section of road in the former Soviet Union. We leave for Murghab the center of East Pamirs. This small town bestrides Murghab at an altitude of 3500 m. A traveller visited it in 1890 and wrote “It is a dreary, desolate spot… with a certain amount of grassy pasture and a few scrubby bushes by the river but surrounded by barren hills and bitterly cold. How these Russian soldiers can support existence there is a marvel…shut up in dreary quarters, with nothing whatever to do-week after week, month after month passing by in dull monotony…” Over a century later nothing much has changed. We anticipate arriving in Murghab in lunch time. Murghab (3670 m.) itself has few attractions but it will serve as our base for one night as we explore the area a little. The 7546 m – high Chinese peak of Mustag Ata is visible to the Northeast of the town, 110 km away in a direct line. Overnight in a hotel or a guesthouse. (B,L,D)
Today we will leave behind the lush valleys of Murghab and enter Wakhan Valley, The Wakhan Valley (also pronounced Vakhan) is a majestic alpine valley in the Badakhshan Region of Afghanistan and Tajikistan (the “Wakhan Corridor” refers to the part of the valley in Afghanistan). Its upper reaches consist of two wide, hilly plains surrounded by alpine peaks, beginning near the Chinese border in one of the most remote regions of the world. Further down where the Pamir and Wakhan rivers join to form the Pyanj River, the valley narrows, finally becoming a severe canyon with roaring river rapids at its end in Ishkashem. Its muddy rivers are fed by water from huge glaciers on some of the highest mountains on the planet, fantastic views of which are visible throughout the area. Overnight in a guest house (B,L,D)
Note: the guesthouses which are in all small settlements in Pamirs are family houses and the rooms consist mostly of two beds.
Driving along the Wakhan Valley and visit detour to the nearby village of Vrang the 4th century Buddhist stupas, reminders of the ancient pilgrim caravans that passed through the region. Nearby the village visit the Yamchun fortress perhaps the most impressive of them. We take a break at the Bibifitima hot spring. In Namadgut settlement visit Kahkaha Fortress. There are a number of these ancient fortresses in the area and date back to Kushan period era of the 3rd century. Overnight in a guesthouse. (B,L,D)
From Ishkashim we leave for Khorog along the river Pyanj, border of Afghanistan. We have reached the capital city of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). The capital of Gorno¬-Badakshan. Accommodation in a family run hotel (B,L,D)
Autonomous Oblast Khorog is a small town that at various times has been under the control of the Russia, the Emirate of Bukhara and Afghanistan. The Russians built a fort here in the Soviet era, with Khorog being in a highly strategic location on the border with Afghanistan, but today it languishes and is one of the least developed parts of the country, with the Aga Khan Foundation contributing to the bulk of the local economy. It holds the distinction of being home the second highest botanical garden in the world, at 3900 m. We have a little time to explore Khorog including the bazaar and the lovely botanical-garden which is perched high above the town, affording some great panoramic views. Overnight at the hotel (B,L,D)
We set off west towards the Pamirs highway and Kalaikhumb, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting villages en route. This small town which has one small avenue for the whole town diverts the attention of all foreigners by its beauty. The town has approximately 23 000 population historically the town once was a semi-independent statelet ruled by an Amir. Arrive to Kalaikhumb in the early evening. Overnight in a hotel (B,L,D)
Today we will drive out towards the capital city of Tajikistan Dushanbe, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting villages en route. This area is a little more conservative, and we will see many men with beards, and women wearing traditional dress. We will cross the Shurabad Pass (2200m high) On the road we will visit to the ancient fortress Hulbuk dated by VIII century recently restored under the decree of the president. The local guide will talk interesting stories about the life in the fortress, shows outlines of the bases of rooms, halls and harems of the local governor’s palace. We will reach Dushanbe in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Up early after breakfast, we transfer to Dushanbe airport and fly to Istanbul where we will connect with Korean Airlines overnight flight to Seoul and onward flight to Auckland.