Explore the vast array of music, architecture, and art of Kyrgyzstan, interact with the local people, taste authentic food, and gain unique memories you will never forget when you visit this country less traveled!

Need help finding flights? 

Turkish Airlines now offers great prices on flights to Bishkek, with a stop in Istanbul. Call us with any questions about extending your trip!
Tentative Itinerary

Please note this is a draft agenda, some changes may be made while implementing the final program.

May 22nd

Your adventure begins when you arrive in Bishkek, the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan. After checking-in to your hotel, jump start your cultural learning over dinner with local Kyrgyz IVCLA visitor alumni and learn about the culture of this Central Asian country that only became independent from  Russia in 1991. 

May 23rd

Enter into the world of Kyrgyz fine art with an exclusive tour led by Gulbara Abdykalykova, Marketing Manager, and Baktygul Kapalova, Scientific Secretary, at The Gapar Ayitiev Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts. Established in 1935, the museum is named after the world renowned Soviet Kyrgyz artist Gapar Aitievich.
Savor the flavors of authentic Central Asian cuisine during lunch at Zolotoi Restaurant.

Explore the fascinating  State Historical Museum with chief curator Nurhat Imankulova. The bronze copper reliefs and bold ceiling murals reflect its former days as a grand Lenin Museum; today, it boasts works reflecting upon the 2010 Revolution and a large collection of Scythian gold.

After exploring higher culture, enter into street life and shopping at ZUM Mall. ZUM is a typical shopping center formerly found in all Soviet cities, but today it boasts craftsman markets of handmade pottery and jewelry, and traditional Kyrgyz felt rugs. Your afternoon of shopping is topped off by a walking tour of Ala-Too Square, a favorite place for festivals in the downtown center of Bishkek.

For dinner, enjoy traditional cuisine of the nomadic Kyrgyz people at Supara Restaurant with IVCLA Kyrgyz Alumni to guide you through these regional delights.
May 24th

Day excursion to Ala Archa National Park in the Tian Shan mountains. The alpine national park was established in 1976 just 40 km south of Bishkek. The park, which includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River and the mountains surrounding it, is a popular destination for picnickers, hikers, skiers and mountain climbers looking for grand views and adventure.

After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime performance at the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, built in the 1950s as part of the Soviet emphasis on art and culture.
Dinner to be enjoyed at a picturesque restaurant in Bishkek.
May 25th

Your morning begins with a drive to the breathtaking Issyk Kul Lake, an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan Mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea, and although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes. Hence its name means 'hot lake' in the Kyrgyz language.

You'll then embark on a scenic drive to Tokmok to view Burana Tower; a minaret dating back to the late 9th century is a reminder of the ancient city of Balasugan. Located in the northern Chuy Valley, the city was the center of the great feudal state Kaakhanids until Mongols conquered them. The minaret, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums, are all that remains of the ancient city. A winding stairway inside the tower enables visitors to climb to the top.

Stop for lunch at the Ashu Complex,  set in the magnificent mountainous landscape Kyrgyzstan is renowned for. 

Following lunch, depart for Cholpon-Ata, a resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul with a small population of 12,000. It is the administrative center of the Issyk Kul District of Issyk Kul Province; this district occupies most of the lake's north shore.

Dinner at Fisherman's Restaurant, a popular spot for locals known for its seafood and regional dishes.
You'll spend the night at Avrora Resort, set on the picturesque Lake Issyk Kul.
May 26th

Meet with Nazira Usmanova, Leading Expert for Excursions, for a personalized tour of the
Isyk-Kul State Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve.  You will walk through centuries in this open-air museum, discovering the lifestyles and cultures of people living in the area from the 10 th to early 20 th centuries.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on the way to your next destination.

The excursion in Cholpon Ata ends with a visit to Ruh-Ordo Ethno-complex
"Ruh-Ordo" translates as "spiritual center." This cultural center was built in 2002 on the edge of Lake Issyk Kul in the city of Cholpon Ata to promote unity between members of various faiths as well as personal spiritual health.

On the return trip to Bishkek, have dinner at a charming local restaurant in the mountains.
May 27th

Meet with officials at the  U.S. Embassy in Bishkek.

Have lunch at a restaurant in the bustling capital city of Bishkek. Inspired by a chess board, the city's urban landscape features  tall, marble buildings with symmetrical rows of trees lining the wide roads. Bishkek's mighty oak trees, some of which are over a century old, are irrigated by narrow waterways that wind deep into the city. 
In the afternoon explore downtown Bishkek and have your last shopping opportunity before the journey ends.

A Farewell Dinner with IVCLA Kyrgyz Alumni will close your Kyrgyzstan adventure.
May 28th

Hotel check-out and departure.

Contact Janet Elliott at (213)388-1428 x 27 or jelliott@ivcla.org
The itinerary has been coordinated with assistance of our Open World Alumna, Cholpon Bakirova

IVCLA: 3540 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 910, Los Angeles CA 90010 T: 213-388-1428 F: 213-388-5879 www.ivcla.org