Cultural Valley of Tian Shan

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5 Days
Jyrgalan, Kyrgyzstan
Tian Shan

Through the cultural traditions and valleys of Jyrgalan

A valley nestled between the Tian Shan with a rich history and culture

Why this experience is unique?

  • Best of local Culture
  • Hike to the Tian Shan mountains
  • Hear the history from the locals
  • Cook the local dishes of the region
Experience Details

The Kyrgyz history dates back to 1st Century BCE. The nomadic tribal culture has been a native to the country since the 16th century until annexation by Russia and the spread of capitalism muted the local customs. Gradually the population is shifting back to its cultural roots and are delighted to showcase their traditions to travelers across the world. Know more about the lifestyle of the native people of the Tian Shan during your trip to Jyrgalan.

Your Day by Day Journey
Day 1: Arrive and Explore
  • Arrive in Jyrgalan
  • Explore the village

Day 1Explore the Village

Jyrgalan valley is a pretty laid back town. Arrive and get accustomed to the calmness and slow pace of life in the town. Meet your fellow hosts Emil and Gulmira and know more about the rich history of the valley and how tourism has turned around the fortunes of the people living there.

Day 2 and 3: Through the history
  • Visit the Jyrgalan coal mine
  • Horseback ride to the Tian Shan
  • Culinary lessons with the locals

Day 2Mining and culinary experience

Jyrgalan was the second richest mining town during the Soviet era. After the breakup of USSR, the mine was privately operated until 2015. Take a tour of the much talked about mine in the Jyrgalan valley for a unique experience. The evening awaits you with a culinary cooking class. You will be learning how to make Chymchyma -the signature dish of Jyrgalan, made of dough, meat, and vegetables. Jyrgalan has a culture with a strong influence from both the 16th century and the Soviet Russian era.

Day 3 Horseback ride to Turnaly-Kol Lake

The Turnaly-Kol lake is located 6 km to the north at an altitude of 2600 meters above sea level under the picturesque Chaar-Zhon mountain (3028 m). The name of Turnaly-Kol literally means Crane lake as the lake is home to rare cranes during the summer months and is a must-visit for bird lovers and nature lovers alike. Horseback riding holds cultural significance within the Kyrgyz community and the members of the region have long used horses to commute through the silk route making it an integral part of their lifestyle.

Day 4 and 5: To the Tian Shan
  • Hike to Kok-Bel falls
  • Hike to Robbers Canyon
  • Through Kyle Pass

Day 4Hike to Kok-Bel Waterfall

The Kok-Bel waterfall has a height of 2,600m and feeds directly into the Kok-Bel River. The waterfall is a vital water source for various herds in/around the Jyrgalan Valley. During your hike to the falls, do stop by at the nearby Jailoos to have a chat with the local shepherds and know more about the region.

Day 5Hike to the Uruu-Tor Gorge

Today’s morning set out for a one-day hiking tour to the Uruu-Tor gorge (Robber’s Canyon) and the Kylepass pass. The Robber’s Canyon is famous for being a place for the ancient horse thieves to hide their catch. The length of the track is 18 km. You would gain an altitude of 860m during your hike. This will happen at the Kylepass, which is 3120 meters above sea level. From this point, a slow descent begins, with magnificent views of the Jyrgalan Valley. The journey ends with a lavish banya (sauna) at your guest house.

What it includes?

4 nights at the homestay in Jyrgalan
Local guide
Banya (Sauna)
Culinary lessons
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Lunch can be packed to be taken during the hikes)
First Aid Kit

What it excludes?

Travel visa and insurance
Any private expenses
Any extra demands during the trek

Is this experience right for you?

Are you traveling because you need some time away from your urban life? Does living a village life excite you? Are you ready to truly live the local lifestyle? If your answer is yes, take up this experience that will transport you to a different world. You might not get the internet here but you will also not feel the need for it as you will be busy exploring the unique sites, mountain views, and village life. The luxury here is living at the beautiful mountain destination, getting freshly cooked local food at every meal, and have happy locals offer their warm hospitality.

Hear from communities

  • Guests like to eat our Ladakhi food. They say it is delicious, even when it is prepared by an elderly ama (mother) like me. I always make sure I serve them the cleanest and healthiest food. My husband is a copper artist. When guests leave us, they say ‘Julley’, and hug us. It makes us feel happy.

    Tsering Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Sumda Chun
  • I became a Mountain Homestay Host in 2018, and I have hosted many travellers since then. Running a homestay has helped me and my family a lot. Not only is the solar set up in our house useful for us, but even travellers prefer to stay in our homestay because of it.

    Rigzin Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Photolalok
  • The training we got in astronomy turned out to be a life-changing experience for our village. I felt happy and proud while mapping the position of the planets and sharing the secrets of the universe with the tourists. Tourists told me that even they didn’t know so much about the dark skies!

    Tsewang Dorjey
    Astropreneur - Maan
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