Kyrgyzstan Cycle Tour
Cycle tour the intriguiing Kyrgyz Republic
Step out of your comfort zone and into a true adventure, cycling through rugged mountainscapes, over alpine passes and through stunning valleys; and catch a glimpse into the intriguing life in the ‘Land of the Kyrgyz’.
The Kyrgyz Republic was one of the first of the ‘Stans to become independent from Russia and travel the sometimes turbulent road to find its own identity. Kyrgyzstan, often referred to as the Switzerland of Central Asia is a land of rolling high altitude grass-lands, endless snow capped peaks, huge lakes, and raging rivers. Add to this an intriguing history, a friendly and unique culture of people who have learned to thrive in hot summers and freezing winters; great (and not so great) vodka and you have the perfect recipe for a fantastic and adventurous cycle tour.
You will gain a real insight into the 'Land of the Kyrgyz' while challenging your legs over high alpine mountain passes, across endless rolling grasslands, alongside raging rivers and tranquil lakes. Spend the night in traditional yurt camps, local home stays and camp in wildflower filled valleys. Sample sensational regional food, locally brewed kumys (fermented mare’s milk) and Russian beer and join us on our newest ‘favourite’ cycle tour.
Jill Burrows, 25/11/2019 10:25am
Most amazing & culturally diverse experience ever!
For me, this Cycling Tour was the most amazing & culturally diverse experience ever. Our group of ten NZ cyclists all loved the tour, while having so much fun and keeping fit. I personally really enjoyed the biking, although a bit challenging with the rough roads & altitude, but all doable. It was so great to be out in the country air on our bikes, soaking up the local culture, which is fascinating. The landscape is BIG and very diverse and beautiful. The Kyrgyz people are soulful, generous and very honest. I found that really interesting given their past history under communist rule. The accommodation was variable – tents, Yurts and guest houses – all really good. The food was fresh and delicious. John is obviously a pro at what he does as tour guide, because he managed to smooth over any issues & problems without us ever knowing (we’d hear later) - he’s got an awesome sense of humor, and full of surprises. Bruce (new as tour guide and awesome) was very efficient at changing flatties, and sorting out any bike issues. I highly recommend this tour.
Nick Dunbar, 07/11/2018 8:27am
Love these trips!
I've now done both the Kyrgyzstan and China trips with Escape Adventures. Both times I've done the trips with Dad. They've both been very well organised and really take you off the beaten track. Both trips have taken us to some amazing spots and biking there means you really get to experience the place and it's people. I would definitely recommend Escape Adventures to anyone wanting to experience well organised bike touring in some amazing less trodden places =)
Stephen Finch, 28/09/2018 8:13pm
Want to see what an amazing world we live in
Hi to all the prospective travellers! When you check out the Escape Adventure web site I have assumed that you have a wonder lust. Well lucky you you have arrived. I have done three trips with Escape Adventure and I really cannot put into words all I have seen. I’m not a person who likes going to the places that are typical tourist spots...that said I do enjoy a certain comfort level, I also enjoy people. Escape Adventures trips tick every box for me. The places I have seen the life long friends I have made and getting the opportunity to see how people live in the world is for me is priceless. I’m not going to ramble on but I do urge you to book a trip (put your toe in the water) give these guys a go you will be safe, comfortable and amazed at how good these trips will be. Hopefully I’ll meet you on my next trip, and there will be more trips for me. Hasta lueago amigos.
"I loved every minute"
"Thank you John (and of course Mandy as the organiser back at HQ) for the amazing two weeks on the bikes. I loved every minute of it and it was definitely the unforgettable experience of a lifetime so thank you for superb organisation, supervision and making it all happen so smoothly and making it such fun. I know how much work you all do in the background to make it seem so seamless for those of us on the trip. I was very impressed with the organisation and systems of Escape Adventures – well done."
Peter Worsp. Christchurch, New Zealand
"You've nailed it"
"For you guys as business owners – Thank you heaps for all the organisation and time that you put into research and planning of the trip, we feel that you have nailed providing an authentic, fun and safe trip in what we are sure isn’t an easy country. Congratulations too, on developing an amazing culture among your team leaders where they are passionate about the trips and providing the best experience for your clients."
Jenny & Roger Brown. Invercargil, New Zealand.
"Another special Escape Adventures journey"
"Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country. I took great photos of the mountains, valleys and farming lifestyle. However, the best you cannot catch on film. This is the warmth of the people; particularly those in the isolated mountain valleys where John and his team led us. Beautiful families who made us welcome and showed us how much they valued their family lifestyle and so wanted to share hospitality, humour and time with us. We felt that we were the first ever tourist to have biked past their yurt.
Excellent personal care, clear and concise daily briefings, great bike care, good food and timely sharing of protocol, finance and personal expectations in this new country. I always felt comfortable and was given the guidelines to cope in a new culture. The enthusiasm and warmth of both leaders made this another special Escape Adventures journey."
Karen Savage. Golden Bay, New Zealand
"There are few opportunities to bike tour in Kyrgyzstan for obvious reasons - isolation and degree of challenge. This is frontier riding in a landscape with Genghis Khan character, town locals who remain a tad wary, rural herders and their families who are inquisitive, welcoming and reserved; food including fermented mares milk that will test your taste buds, and steppes and passes busy with life, mostly herds of horses, meaning you always have company. There are no fences, no boundaries. Accommodation in yurts, tents and private homes round out the adventure. Recommended."
Michael Sidey. Wanaka, New Zealand
"We all had an amazing time"
"We all had an amazing time! I choose to travel with Escape because I know I am going to have an adventure, in a remote location AND be safe. The latter aspect was what encouraged me to take the kids to Tanzania in 2008. Pre-departure information was excellent and thorough. Trip leaders 10 out of 10. The food was delicious, and such a treat it was presented to us at the end of a tiring day’s cycling. Loved the local home-cooked food."
Sukie Southern & Sam, Max & Claudia, Australia
"The trip was great. The scenery was so varied and probably a lot more spectacular than I had expected. The colours I loved. The group was far the best that I have encountered on any trip. Everyone gelled really well and John, the bonding feature of it all---excellent!! John - I'm sure the others would all agree that your great good humour and companionship was responsible for a lot of that. Having such an insight into a developing country with a history as Kyrgyzstan has, is a great educational feature of a trip like this. The people were mostly very welcoming and pleasant and they seemed relatively happy in themselves with a strong family commitment. There's lots more I could say, but I'm sure that you have got the gist that as far I am concerned, the trip was very worthwhile and congratulations on putting such a great experience together for us to experience."
Di Stead. Nelson, New Zealand
"High, Hot & Happy"
"High, Hot and Happy. I had a really good time and the more I reflect on it the more I shake my head. It was so different from anything I've ever seen and the fact that we were so much off the beaten track made it all the better for me. The other thing I really like is getting a close look at how the farmers do what they do as I'm understandably interested in farming. I'll have memories for the rest of my life which is the reason we do these things. Also I really enjoyed the team of people we went with John, Brian and the local crew made this trip a success in my eyes and I enjoyed their company."
Stephen Finch. Christchurch, New Zealand
"The trip was awesome!"
"The trip was awesome. :) I really enjoyed it. Everything was really well organised so I never had to worry about a thing except show up and ride. It's a great way to see Kyrgyzstan so thank you for putting on such a great trip. Our tour leaders Ash and Brian were great too"
Nick Dunbar. Dunedin, New Zealand
"A very special trip"
"As an intermittent road cyclist used to cruising round the Wellington bays, the Kyrgyzstan trip was a major challenge for me. But thanks to Mandy and John's support and encouragement - low key but always in the right place at the right time - I achieved something pretty awesome for me - my own personal Outward Bound.. It's a stunning and remote part of the world which is a privilege to visit. This and the insight into her country from the gorgeous Nurai, the young Kyrgyz woman who travelled with us, made it a very special trip."
Kirsty Hazeldine. Wellington, New Zealand
"I say: Do it"
What advice would you give to anyone considering doing the trip that you did?
"I would say do it.... It was fascinating to see a meld of Russia verses Asia...The landscape was amazing. I suggest to people not to do too much research prior to their trip. I don't. That way it is all a wonderful surprise. Definitely do not look at photos of Kyrgyzstan prior to the trip."
Hilary Heath-Caldwell. Napier, New Zealand
"The best cycle tour I have been on"
"Thanks... especially to John, Ash and Nurai for always being approachable, fun and concerned for our well being. Ash's sense of humour was wicked, and contributed to the harmony of the group. When people are asking about my trip I am hoping to promote your great company and organisation skills as I can truthfully say this was the best I have been on."
Pam Thompson, New Zealand
"I really want you to know how much your company meant to me on my two week adventure in Krygyzstan. Maybe if I had read the information more carefully I would have been better prepared? But then I may not have had the courage to come. Ash thank you for getting me down the hills and my riding lessons and your great lunches and friendly being. John when you learn the difference between up and down you will be just great in the meantime thank you for a wonderful experience."
Robyn Watson, New Zealand
Start: Bishkek City
Finish: Bishkek City
Your tour itinerary offers 30-75km biking per day; a total distance of up to 580km spread over 11 days of biking.
The Terrain is mostly on dirt and gravel roads with very little traffic. The terrain varies from gentle meandering river valleys, some sustained climbs and lovely long valley descents. The majority of the tour is between 800m and 3000m above sea level with the highest point being a 3467m pass, with moderate gradients. The road surface can be rough at times, loose or corrugated. This tour is suitable for bikers with gravel road riding experience, a good level of fitness, an adventurous attitude, and perfect for a hard-tail mountain-bike.
Support: Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water at hand, and is there if you need a break from the saddle.
Group Size: 6-12 bikers.
Your tour leaders will take care of your meals and snacks throughout your journey with us. This excludes one lunch and one evening meal which are at your own cost to give you the opportunity to explore eating options of your own choosing. We are able to cater for vegetarians* and special diets and if this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies.
Typical meals include:
- Breakfasts - Vary from oat or semolina porridge, muesli & fruit, local traditional breakfasts, and hot drinks.
- Lunches - Meat & Vegetable dishes in cafes** / and Picnic style lunches of fresh salads, cold meats, cheese & bread.
- Evening Meals - A range of delicious traditional meat and vegetable dishes.**
*Vegetarians - Please note that in Kyrgyzstan meat is considered staple and vegetarianism is not widely understood. We will be doing our best to request dishes with plenty of vegetables (and meat-free dishes) however vegetarian options are limited and hence can be repetitive.
**Kyrgyz traditional food consists of meat and potato dishes, rice, vegetables, eggs, traditional round breads and boorsok (delicious donuts). We will do our best to supplement with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
All accommodation for the duration of your tour is included - four nights in hotels, seven nights in local guesthouses/home stays and yurts, and two nights camping in tents. Guesthouses, home stays and yurts are mostly on a twin-share basis, however at times it may be necessary for up to four to share in home stays and yurts. The camping is ‘real camping’ in remote locations with basic facilities, but there is always the opportunity to wash at the end of the day. We supply dome tents which we will show you how to erect. You will need to bring your own 2-3 season sleeping bag, sleeping mat (thermarest or similar) and a small travel pillow.
Singles: We do not charge a single supplement!
If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room. If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply!
Preparing for your Cycle Tour
Your cycle tour includes rides of up to 75km per day, but should not be judged by distance alone! Please do read about the daily riding distances taking note of the riding terrain in the itinerary below and prepare accordingly. The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure! Heat, hills, altitude and road surface combine to offer a good challenging cycle tour...
- Heat is usually only an issue on the first day’s ride out of Bishkek, but may be up to 35-40 degrees C.
- For most of your cycle tour the altitude will range between 1500-3500m above sea-level with plenty of ups and downs. Some of the bigger days offer 5-10km climbs.
- The roads are mostly dirt or gravel and the surface can be anything from smooth, fast and flowing to gravelled and corrugated depending on when the grader last went through.
You should be comfortable riding 3-5 times a week with regular rides of 30-60km in length. Preparing for your cycle tour should involve plenty of gravel, dirt and off-road riding, with some good sized hills. Please do contact us if you would like some help with a detailed training plan.
Bishkek to Bishkek
DAY 1: Arrive in Bishkek. Free day. Meet your fellow bikers and first meal together. Hotel
DAY 2: A ride to get aquainted with your bike as we explore a nearby mountain valley. 35km. Hotel
DAY 3: A transfer into the mountains gives us a huge change of scenery and climate followed by a stunning valley and river ride. 55km. Homestay
DAY 4: Cycle down valley through a continuously changing landscape from barren rocky gorges to lush green farmland. 45km. Homestay
DAY 5: We gain altitude today up the first part of a 3000m plus pass and camp in remote river valley. 40km. Camping
DAY 6: We conquer our first mountain pass at 3380m then descend through rolling open grasslands to Lake Son-Kol. 60km. Yurt camp
DAY 7: Up and over a 3467mpass before dropping down to camp beside a mountain stream. 75km. Camping
DAY 8: Ride through alpine meadows and small farm-lets that look like something out of a ‘Sound of Music’. Afternoon transfer. 50km. Homestay
DAY 9: A well earned rest day. Check out felt making or sit with a beer in the main street and watch life go by in this bustling market town. Homestay
DAY 10: We continue around Kyrgyzstan’s largest lake, Issyk Kol, then up towards the mountains into open grasslands. 70km. Yurt camp
DAY 11: Ride through small farming villages under a backdrop of snowy peaks. Later we descend to the shores of Issyk Kol. 38km. Homestay
DAY 12: Ride through a moonscape of eroded hills and valleys alongside the shore of Lake Issyk Kol. Swim in the lake and transfer to our hotel. 38km. Hotel
DAY 13: Morning transfer towards Bishkek before riding into the heart of the city. 30km. Hotel
DAY 14: Our final breakfast together. If you are flying out today we’ll arrange your transfer to Bishkek Airport.
New Zealand Dollars $6,550
+Bike Hire if required: NZD $450
Singles: You DON'T have to pay a single supplement!
- If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room.
- If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply! Single Supplement if requested: NZD $770
*Please note: single rooms are only available on first and last night hotel in Bishkek and only at some of the guesthouses. When staying in yurts and at some of the guesthouses sharing is required due to restricted rooms. When camping single tents will be supplied.
Included in your trip
- Airport transfers and all land transport.
- Accommodation & meals as per detailed itinerary.
- Activities for the duration of the trip as per detailed itinerary.
- Two Escape leaders
- Local bilingual interpreter
- Support vehicles & drivers.
- All group entrance fees.
Trip Price does NOT include: airfares, visas, airport taxes, optional activities &excursions, vaccinations, personal equipment & a couple of meals as per the detailed itinerary.
In Kyrgyzstan we hire new mountain bikes through a local bike shop. Each season they are a brand new fleet of hard tail mountain bikes with hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Alivio/Deore 27-speed components and available in S, M, L and XL. These bikes are often not as highly spec’ed as we would like, but they will be serviced and maintained by our crew and are certainly up for the job! If you will be hiring a bike from us please let us know prior to your trip. Please feel free to bring your own saddle (as yours always fits best!) and your own pedals if you normally clip in.
You are also welcome to bring your own bike!