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Kyrgyzstan - Lakes of the Sky

Trip Length

Trip Code

14 days PCKL

Countries Visited

Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China

Start City

End City

Kashgar, China Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Kyrgyzstan - Lakes of the Sky

Join us on this journey as we travel from the ancient trading hub of Kashgar, in the footsteps of Silk Route merchants and over high mountain passes into Central Asia. With its spectacular Pamir Alay and Tian Shan peaks, Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian gem waiting to be discovered. Staying in simple traditional yurts, travellers move alongside friendly nomadic people, enjoying unrivalled hospitality and witnessing a culture little-changed for centuries. Travel through this unspoilt country offers adventures and surprises in equal measure - traverse the Torugart Pass, swim in Son-Kul and Issyk-Kul Lakes, or simply relax into life as a Kyrgyz nomad.

Why we love it:

Kyrgyzstan - Lakes of the Sky


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Kashgar

Accommodation: Tian Yuan International Hotel or similar , Kashgar

Activities:

Day 2: Kashgar

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Tian Yuan International Hotel or similar , Kashgar

Activities:

Day 3-4: Torugart Pass - Tash-Rabat

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Accommodation: Yurt Camp ( Dostuk) or similar, Tash-Rabat Valley

Activities:

Day 5-6: Son-Kul Lake

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Accommodation: Yurt Camp ( U Baisha ) or similar, Son Kul Lake

Activities:

Day 7: Kochkor

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Kochkorka Village Family Home stay or similar, Kochkorka

Activities:

Day 8: Barskoön Gorge - Tamga

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Village Guesthouse or similar, Karakol

Activities:

Day 9-10: Lake Issyk-Kul

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Accommodation: Village Guesthouse or similar, Karakol

Activities:

Day 11-12: Chong-Kemin - Bishkek

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Accommodation: Asia Mountains or similar, Bishkek

Activities:

Day 13-14: Tashkent

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Accommodation: Uzbekistan Hotel or similar, Tashkent

Activities:


Your Trip

What to know

Venturing well away from cities and remote areas, this trip takes you right off the beaten track. Accommodation and facilities may be basic but the rewards are immeasurable.

What's Included

Transport

Not Included


What to know

Fitness

There are optional day-treks in Kyrgyzstan of medium grade and between 4 and 6 hours in duration. Please ensure you have comfortable walking boots or shoes.

This is a journey involving long periods of driving on rough, unsealed roads, basic accommodation and simple food. The vehicles used are 4WD vehicles - perfect for exploring these remote areas and coping with unpredictable road conditions.The greater your personal fitness level, the more likely you are to enjoy this journey. Due to the bumpy road conditions and number of nights using basic accommodation (mattresses at floor level) this journey is not suitable for those suffering from back or knee problems or similar.

Please ensure that you are carrying adequate supplies of any medication you require, and that you have discussed with your doctor any special requirements about their storage. It is highly recommended that you have a back-up set of essential medication (carried separately) since it will be impossible to replace any medication lost or damaged once we enter Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan has poor medical facilities and a shortage of basic medical supplies. Medical facilities outside Bishkek are quite basic and in some locations almost non-existent.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.  We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.

Visas and Permits

Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.

Kyrgyzstan

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

Many nationalities no longer require a visa to travel to Kyrgyzstan for up to 60 days, including Australia, Belgium, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, USA and Switzerland. Other nationalities should check with their nearest embassy. If you do require a visa we strongly advise that you obtain it in advance.

Peregrine Adventures have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.

Nationals of other countries not listed above should check their requirements at their nearest embassy. A LOI is rarely needed, but should it be required by your embassy please get in touch with The Visa Machine by going online at:

http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/

Or you can contact The Visa Machine on hello@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.

Uzbekistan

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

Peregrine Adventures have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.

By logging onto The Visa Machine website via the links below you will be able to access checklists of what information and documents you will need to prepare as well as apply for the visa support documents you will need. More specific information is provided below for your trip, however for all countries we advise that you start your visa support application with The Visa Machine no later than 3 months before your trip is scheduled to enter each country in order to allow for the lengthy process, and where applicable, to apply for your visa in advance.

If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend submitting a single application to The Visa Machine which contains all the information necessary for visiting each country. This will allow The Visa Machine to provide you with the most efficient customer service.

Please remember that applying for the necessary supporting documents as well as the visas is the responsibility of the traveller. Once you have submitted your application to The Visa Machine you will be contacted by their customer service team along with any further instructions.

The following country specific visa information was current at the time of writing. Please check with your local Embassy/Consulate for the most up to date information and requirements before applying for your visas.

All visitors to Uzbekistan require a visa. Most nationalities will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) in order to apply for your visa. Citizens of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK & USA do not currently need a LOI to apply for a tourist visa if applying within their home country; however this information is subject to change at short notice so we recommend checking with the embassy before you start your application. If applying for a visa outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required.

Please be aware that LOIs take an average of 15 days to be processed but this can be longer, so you will need to allow a minimum of 20 working days. This does not include the time it will take to apply for and receive your Uzbekistan Visa which will vary depending on place of application. Both LOI and Visa processing times are out of our control and can be unpredictable. Once the LOI has been processed a copy will be sent to you or your tour leader. You can then begin the process of applying for your visa if you are getting it in advance. LOIs are valid for a 3 months period so you must apply for your visa within 3 months of the LOI being issued.

Instructions and Information:

Please check with the Embassy for up to date information and requirements. If you do require a LOI to enter Uzbekistan, please follow the below link to get the process started in obtaining your supporting documents with the Visa Machine.

http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/

Firstly please look at the Central Asia ‘CHECK LIST’ and make sure you have everything you need with you so you can start the process. The system doesn’t let you save your progress for later, so you must finish the entire application at the one time. If you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, the same information and documents may be required for different visas. Please make sure you carefully read the check list in order to eliminate any double up.

The Visa Machine will apply for the letter of invitation on your behalf. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for you visa support, click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.

http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/visa-support

If you have any trouble with the online form please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.

Other Information:

WARNING – REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN:

All visitors to Uzbekistan must register with the local department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within 3 working days after arrival. When staying at a hotel, you will be registered automatically. Please ensure you keep any registration documents issued by the hotel until you exit the country.

LAWS & HEALTH:

Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. You should declare all prescription medications and other restricted items on arrival in Uzbekistan, and carry a copy of the prescription with you.

China

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

MAINLAND CHINA & HONG KONG:

Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival and Chinese visas can be difficult to obtain outside your country of residence. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong If you have time here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days. Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:

Itinerary:

Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.

Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
606 InterChina Commercial Building
33 Dengshikou Street
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100006
+86 10 6406 7328

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:

* Hotel List - this will be sent to you by your booking agent. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that your trip visits.
* Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not.
* Itinerary – please print off a copy of your specific trip itinerary from our website and include it with your application, listing the dates you will visit each destination.
* Photocopy of your passport.
* Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required).
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS

We require you to send the following at the time of booking, or no later than 60 days prior to travel: Clear, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport
Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip as well.

Insurance

You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.

Responsible Travel

Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.

Customs and Culture

Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.

Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.

Further Reading

Kyrgyzstan

Uzbekistan

There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are:

The Great Game - Peter Hopkirk

Setting the East Ablaze - Peter Hopkirk

Land Beyond the River: The Untold Story of Central Asia - Monica Whitlock

The Lost Heart of Asia - Colin Thubron

Central Asia: A Travellers' Companion - Kathleen Hopkirk

Central Asia - Lonely Planet

China

There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are: Wild Swans-Jung Chang The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices-Xinran Riding the Iron Rooster-Paul Theroux From Heaven Lake-Vikram Seth One’s Company-Peter Fleming Red China Blues-Jan Wong Mr China’s Son: A Villager’s Life-He Liuyi China, Renaissance of the Middle Kingdom-Odyssey Guide China-Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrase Book-Lonely Planet. The following are recommended for travellers on the Silk Road: The Great Game-Peter Hopkirk Foreign Devils on the Silk Road-Peter Hopkirk.


Important Information

2015 Changes

Please note for 2015 we will be changing the starting point of the trip from Kashgar to Urumqi as Urumqi is an International Airport.  Trip length remain the same at 14 days however the starting day will change from a Saturday to a Thursday, due to combining this with a larger combination trip which includes China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (PCGX).

Local Emergency Contacts

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Peregrine's local ground representative Fantastic Asia can be reached on +996 555 30 30 25 and +86 13279717711.

Single Supplement

Please note a Single Supplement is available to purchase for this trip, however single rooms cannot be confirmed whilst we are staying in traditional Yurts and Homestays. Please also note that single rooms across Central Asia are generally smaller and may not have windows and/or balconies.

Local Travel

Central Asia is a developing region whose infrastructure, values, customs and standards differ from what you are used to at home. Please bear this in mind as you are travelling in this exciting area and respect the fact that you should not impose your standards and expectations on the culture there. Roads outside the main towns are poorly-maintained and often only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles. The terrain of the region can mean delays due to road conditions and extreme weather. Kyrgyzstan's borders with neighbouring countries are subject to closure without notice. You will need to be prepared for unforeseen changes to the itinerary and to be flexible with daily schedules. Although a high level of physical fitness is not required, travellers should be comfortable with the realities of an "out there" adventure, and prepared for very basic conditions in the countryside. The roads in the region are rough and often unsealed, with some sections travelling on single-track roads above river valleys. We use highly experienced drivers, however this itinerary may not be suitable for those who suffer from heights or are nervous passengers! This is truly an adventurous itinerary for the experienced traveller.

Facilities

There are no bathroom facilities at our yurt stays and home stays often have outdoor toilets and limited plumbing. If having a hot shower every night is important for you, then you will be uncomfortable on this tour. Be prepared for squat toilets outdoors, some days without access to running water and sporadic plumbing in hotels.

Other Travellers

As this tour forms part of a number of itineraries you may be joined by other travellers at different stages of your trip. Your group leader may also change throughout this tour.

High Altitudes

High altitudes may be experienced during this trip. Please refer to our Altitude Sickness document for more info.

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

13 August 2014


General Contact Details

Peregrine AdventuresPhone: 1-800-663-5132
E-mail: sales@peregrineadventures.com
Web: Visit Peregrine