Lake Issyk-Kul Classic Tour

2
Days
Issyk-Kul, Cholpon-Ata, Burana Tower, Museum of Petroglyphs, Issyk-Kul State Museum, Rukh Ordo Cultural Center

The allure of Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk-Kul isn’t confined to nature lovers alone, as numerous cultural treasures await discovery near its mountain shores. Consider the open-air Museum of Petroglyphs, which beckons exploration of its enduring stone sketches, or the Issyk-Kul State Historical and Cultural Museum, housing over 15,000 exhibits spanning the Stone and Bronze ages through the 20th century.
On the Lake Issyk-Kul Classic Tour you’ll delve into Kyrgyzstan’s history and culture amidst the breathtaking backdrop of one of the country’s most scenic locales. This two-day tour, which includes transportation to and from Bishkek and an overnight stay at Issyk-Kul, will take you through the Burana Tower Complex, Issyk-Kul Historical and Cultural Museum, a field of petroglyphs and the Rukh Ordo Complex, a modern spiritual center designed for cultural understanding and interreligious peace.

In the morning we head to Issyk-Kul Lake from Bishkek. On the way we’ll make a stop in the town of Tokmok (80km, 1.5hrs) for an excursion to Burana Tower and Museum Complex to see the following:
  • Burana Tower (11th-12th centuries), a 25-meter-high minaret and the only remaining structure from Balasagun city. Climb its dark and winding stairwell to enjoy the spectacular view from the top.
  • Balbals (6th century), round stone figures used as grave markers and memorial stones of the deceased.
  • Museum containing items found in Balasagun including jewelry, pottery and religious objects.
  • Mausoleums (9th century), a trio of partially- intact tombs discovered during archaeological excavation.
  • Petroglyphs (2nd century), discovered in the greater Chuy Region and deposited here for safekeeping.
Continue driving to Lake Issyk-Kul (190km, 2.5hrs). Arrive to Cholpon- Ata, a small town situated on the northern shores of the mountain lake.
Roam the Museum of Petroglyphs (app. 500BC-100AD), a sprawling open-air museum full of grave markers and ancient drawings. Wander through this stone garden, discovering the balbals and sketches for yourself. After the tour, transfer to the hotel in Cholpon-Ata. Free time in the evening to take in the fresh mountain air with a walk along the beach or a dip in the lake’s naturally warm waters.
Overnight in Cholpon-Ata.
After breakfast, visit the Issyk-Kul State Historical and Cultural Museum to become acquainted with the region’s flora and fauna and view a range of exhibits, including possessions of 10th-20th century Kyrgyz nomads, Buddhist artifacts, , ancient coins, weapons and a display dedicated to the Epic of Manas.
Continue your tour with a visit to the Rukh Ordo Cultural Center, situated along Lake Issyk-Kul’s calming waters. The complex holds many points of interest, including a Kyrgyz Art and Culture Hall with murals and photo exhibits, a house and statues dedicated to Kyrgyz author Chingiz Aitmatov’s life, and four distinct chapels representing the world’s major religions.
In the afternoon, drive back to Bishkek for drop-off at your hotel (260km, 4hrs). End of Lake Issyk-Kul Classic Tour.