Beginning with the Buzkashi Horse Games (or “dead goat polo”) in the National Hippodrome in Bishkek, this tour kicks off with Kyrgyzstan’s unique Independence Day events. After experiencing some amazing national music, dance, and food during the celebrations, we’ll leave Bishkek, and make our way into the phenomenal countryside of Kyrgyzstan, experiencing mountains and lakes and having the unique opportunity to spend a couple of nights sleeping in traditional yurts.
Despite Kyrgyzstan’s natural beauty and nomadic culture though, we can’t forget that like the rest of Central Asia, this amazing country was part of the Soviet Union and there are still some fascinating relics of this to be explored. On the shore of Lake Issyk Kol, we’ll have the chance to visit an old Soviet heavy water factory, a Soviet brewery that is now responsible for Kyrgyzstan’s best-selling beer and a YPT exclusive outing to the Soviet Meteorology Station.
Crossing the border into China, we’ll begin exploring this part of China that a lot of people don’t even realize exists, Uyghur Xinjiang, following the Silk Road from the ancient city of Kashgar, which is closer geographically to Tehran and Damascus than to Beijing, and the site where traditional Uyghur life hits the Chinese state head-on. As well as visiting the old town and the main bazaar, being YPT we can’t miss out on the huge statue of Chairman Mao in People’s Square.
We check out small Uyghur towns that haven’t been developed along with the Kashgar model, yet, and skirt the Taklamakan Desert as we go. On the north of the desert, we spend a day at Kuqa’s amazing Thousand Buddha caves, reminding us that before the spread of Islam southern Xinjiang was the place where Buddhism entered China.
Lastly, we hang out in the Turpan, China’s Death Valley, the lowest and hottest place in China. In the countryside outside the city, it’s surprisingly green though and we wander the ruins of ancient cities and stop in an Uyghur holy village for lunch.
If you’d like to see some more of Central Asia while you’re here, why not join us for the Silk Road Summer Tour, which visits Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well?
Friday August 30th – Bishkek
Saturday August 31st – Bishkek, Independence Day
Sunday September 1st – Bishkek, Kok Boru Horse Games, Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs, Karakol
Monday September 2nd – Karakol, Valley of the Flowers, Jetty Ögüz Gorge, Kyzyl Suu
Tuesday September 3rd – Institute of Glaciers Foundation, Issik Kol
Wednesday September 4th – Issik Kol Lake, Son Kol Lake
Thursday September 5th – Son Kol Lake, Naryn, Tash Rabat
Friday September 6th – Tash Rabat, Chinese border, Kashgar
Saturday September 7th – Afaq Khoja, Grand Bazaar, Kashgar
Sunday September 8th – Kashgar, Yarkand
Monday September 9th – Kashgar, train to Kuqa
Tuesday September 10th Kuqa, Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves, Overnight train to Turpan
Wednesday September 11th Turpan, Yarkhoto, Tuyoq
Thursday September 12th – Turpan, Urumqi, End of Tour
Want to extend your YPT adventure? Join one of our great tour extensions
•All transport according to the itinerary
•Accommodation according to itinerary
•Entrance fees to all sites outlined on the itinerary
•Breakfast every day
•Lunch and dinner where specified (lunch in Xinjiang every day)
•Travel arrangements to Bishkek and from Urumqi
•Visas or LOIs for Kyrgyzstan and China
•Meals other than those stipulated
•Drinks and personal expenses
•Single supplement for accommodation ($165, not available in the yurts)
•Tips for guides
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.