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Song-Kol Lake Pastures



The lake surface glimmers in the Sun by day and reflects the starlight by night. The white mountain tops emerge on the horizon while Summer camps dot pastures with clusters of yurts. The horses nicker anxiously while riders slowly sip koumiss. It’s a clear sign that we set off to ride through endless, green pastures surrounding the Song-Kol lake!

  • Days overall
    9 days
    Days in saddle
  • Group size
  • Standard
    yurt camps and wilderness (far away from civilization)
    no limit kg
    local cuisine
  • Skills
    walk, trot, canter

This trail takes us to one of the must-see-and-ride places if you are a true horse rider. The breathtaking trail runs through majestic Tienshan mountains and along the shore of the Song-Köl, a beautiful lake located at 3016 meters above sea level.

The green pastures of middle Asia are a totally different World. People have lived here already in the ancient times. Far away from busy civilization, time passes slowly here while seasons of the year regulate the way Kyrgyz shepherds live. Between Spring and Autumn yurts dot the pastures, marking the best spots to camp for shepherds and… riders, of course. Horses are the best way to get around as famously beautiful pastures spead across valleys in the tight embrace of the surrounding mountains. The Song-Köl lake glimmering blue at the horizon has been an important place for nomadic tribes for as long as humanity can remember.

We ride local, relatively small-framed, yet easy going, brave and hardy horses. They are very calm and have great coordination, so much needed on narrow mountain paths. While they stand little chance racing against our Moroccan, Romanian our Ukrainian horses, they are by far the safest and most comfortable means of transport in Kyrgyzstan.

The trail runs through high mountains, with the highest point at 3700 meters. Due local horses’ sizes riders shouldn’t be heavier than 90 kg/ 200 lbs.

What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Accommodation at a hotel in Bishkek and in yurts and tents on the trail
  • Full board
  • Transfer from and to the Bishkek airport (on the first and the last days of the trek)
  • Transport from Bishkek to Shamshy gorge and from Kyzart to Bishkek
  • Transport from Kolduu Suu to Kochkor and back
  • Tickets and entry fees (national park, protected natural areas, the Burana tower)
  • Kok-Boru game show
  • Eagle hunters’ show
  • Visit to local banya (sauna)
  • Local, English-speaking guide
  • Horse with full tack and equipment
  • Tourist insurance covering high-risk sports
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Flight ticket to and from Bishkek
  • Minor expenses (souvenirs, extra snacks, alcohol, etc.)
  1. Day 1 Arrival to Bishkek

    Riders arrive in Bishkek. Many flights land in the night and in the morning. From the airport we go straight to the hotel to refresh and catch a bit of sleep. In the early afternoon our guide will gather the group for a walk and sightseeing in Bishkek. We will have lunch in one of the local restaurants and in the evening the group will go to a welcome dinner together. We spend the night at the hotel.

  2. Day 2 On the Silk Road

    After early breakfast a minibus or cars will take us to Shamshy Gorge. We will see the Burana tower that have been guarding the Silk Road since the 10th century. We will arrive at our destination around midday. After lunch the guides will assign horses and we will embark on our journey. First we head to the Shamshy pass (3570 meters elevation). On the other side, a beautiful view of the Sarala-Saz pasture spreads out and in the South we will see Kara Moinok and Sandyk mountains. A local shepherd will welcome us with tea. We will spend the evening together and sleep this night in tents.

  3. Day 3 Summer pastures

    After breakfast we saddle up and ride out into the wild. We will traverse huge pastures and canter on the way. Surrounded by the beauty of wild nature we will enjoy our ride deeper into the mountains. We will reach the Iri-Suu village in the evening. After dinner we can take a walk along the Kashka-Suu river, taste wild rhubarb and see the mountain glow. We spend the night tenting.

  4. Day 4 The land of eagles and marmots

    The trail that day takes us through complete wilderness. First we cross the Western end of the dry Kochkor valley, then we have to cross the Karakol River and climb almost 1,000 meters to the Buchuk Pass (3,400 m above sea level). On the other side of the mountain range we will enter the fairy-tale Sook Valley. The slopes are covered with flowers and wild onions, eagles sail overhead, and marmots wail in their hiding places. We will cross the Sook River on a ford and reach the Kichi Saryk valley in the evening. We stay in tents for the night.

  5. Day 5 Mountain ridges

    After breakfast the group takes on the challenge of the Kum Bel Pass (3,600 m above sea level) and then heads East along the mountain ridge. From the peak, at an altitude of 3,656 m above sea level, wonderful view spreads across the entire area. In the second half of the day the terrain gradually lowers. Then we will cover part of the route, down the rocky rubble, on foot, leading our horses. We will stop for lunch in a sheltered rock gully. After a break we will descend to the Kolduu Suu valley and reach a local camp. Here we leave our horses for the night and go to Kochkor by car. We will spend the night in a local hotel, in beds, with access to hot water and electricity. After three days in the wild everybody will enjoy a hot shower.

  6. Day 6 A view to the lake

    In the morning we will return to our horses in Kolduu Suu. We set off towards the Kyzart Pass and soon reach Kyzyl-Kiya, a huge plain resembling… a sea of grass. We will cross the Chaar-Archa pass and ride down to the valley for lunch, right next to the rushing river woth a view to the sacred mountain Baba-Ata. Sated we will cross the river and ride again through the green pastures of Kilemche, which in the Kyrgyz language means ”like a carpet” as the area actually gives the impression of being covered with a green carpet. After crossing the spectacular Jalgyz Karagai pass (3,400 m above sea level), Song-Kol Lake will appear on the horizon. As we approach, the surface of the lake will become larger and larger until we reach Jaman Echki, where we will meet a local shepherd family. We will stay overnight in the yurt camp, where we will also be able to take a shower.


  7. Day 7 Along the lakeshore

    That day we will spend a little less time in the saddle, about 4 hours. After breakfast, we will go to… a game. We will watch the famous Kyrgyz national sport – Kok-Boru. Later, we will set off on horseback along the shore of Song-Kol lake. The route is easy, pleasant and delights the eye with views. In the afternoon, the group will arrive at a yurt in Tulpar Tash, where we will be welcomed by a local family. We will sit down for dinner on the guests’ seats of honor and have our last dinner on the trail. We spend the night in the yurt.

  8. Day 8 The last glance at Song-Kol

    After breakfast in Tulpar Tash we set off towards the Uzbek Pass (3,400 m above sea level). A beautiful view of the entire Song-Kol valley awaits us there. We will descend into the Jumgal Valley and head to the village of Kyzart. It’s time to thank our horses and say goodbyes. We will have lunch and head by cars to meet local hunters and their eagles. They will tell us a bit about their traditional hunting ways and show us some practical aspects of it. Then it’s time to drive back to Bishkek. In the evening we will go to a restaurant with traditional Kyrgyz cuisine to have a nice farewell dinner together.

  9. Day 9 Farewell to Kyrgyzstan

    This is the day we go home. All riders will be taken to the airport and leave Kyrgyzstan.

Przewodnik może zmodyfikować trasę w zależności od warunków pogodowych oraz umiejętności jeździeckich grupy.
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fot. z archiwum przewodnika

In Bishkek we stay at a small, local hotel, a typical one. During the first days of the expedition, the trail leads through secluded areas, far away from civilization. We will spend first nights of the trail tenting, with horses, marmots and eagles as neighbors. All participants of the expedition will be asked to help woth setting up tents. On the fourth day of the ride we will enter Summer pastures and spend evenings and nights in yurts.

Meals will be prepared by a cook and local hosts. The diet is a typical mountain and shepherding one: lots of meat and vegetables. Kyrgyz cuisine is generally quite high in calories and fatty, but very tasty. We will draw water from crystal clear springs.

Please not: during the proper horse trail sanitary conditions vary. On some days we have access to sanitation facilities, on others we do not. Wet wipes and dry shampoo will come in handy.



In Kyrgyzstan we use Eastern saddles, resembling a cross between a classical, English-type saddle and a Western-style saddle. Their most characteristic elements are a pillow-type seat and a horn. Local riders tend to use very short stirrup belts, but we can adjust them to suit individual preferences. Kyrgyz saddles are quite comfortable and very well suited for mountain riding and shepherding.

Due to the temperament of the horses (Kyrgyz horses are easy-going and sometimes a bit… lazy) it’s often a good idea to use a soft horse whip as the horses are used to them.

In addition, it is worth replacing typical riding outfits with mountain equipment. First of all, instead of typical jodhpur/riding shoes, good, waterproof trekking boots will be a better choice.


What you should take with you

Trasa rajdu w Kirgistanie wiedzie przez dzikie, górskie ostępy. Bagaże grupy przewozi samochód, przy czym warto spakować się możliwie kompaktowo. Sakwy osobiste są dostępne na miejscu, warto jednak zabrać niewielki plecak lub “nerkę” na drobniejsze rzeczy osobiste.

  • passport
  • cash, preferably USD or EUR
  • electronics, e.g. camera
  • small bags or a handy backpack (for documents, wallet, bottle of water)
  • canteen or any other handy water container (e.g. a plastic water bottle)
  • sleeping bag
  • flashlight, a headlamp is a good choice
  • sunscreen
  • headcover against the sun
  • waterproof trekking boots
  • raincoat
Date Trip Status Price Spots  
9 August 2024 - 17 August 2024