Ride through the Mountains of Kyrgyzstan with Alexandra Tolstoy
“To follow the Silk Road is to follow a ghost. It flows through the heart of Asia, but it has officially vanished leaving behind the pattern of its restlessness: counterfeit borders, unmapped peoples. The road forks and wanders wherever you are. It is not a single way, but many: a web of choices.” So writes Author Colin Thubron in his dynamic biography of the world’s greatest overland trading route.
The Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, lying at the heart of the old Silk Road, is one of the least-known and yet most fascinating of landscapes. Join us and explorer Alexandra Tolstoy on a unique riding tour across the utterly picturesque Sary Chelek region. Alexandra has been riding across the country for the last 20 years, having co-written the bestselling book The Last Secrets of the Silk Road, recounting her equine journey with three friends across Central Asia. The two tours taking place between 5th-14th June and 14th-23rd June 2020, will see guests riding through the meadows and peaks of what the horsewoman calls “perhaps the most spectacular scenery I have ever encountered”. Mounted on Kyrgyz horses, which are among the most hardy and sure-footed in the world, the group will be accompanied by one guide for every three guests on horseback and housed in comfortable English-style camps in spectacular settings.
Beginning in Osh, the oldest city in Kyrgyzstan and once a pivotal Silk Road trading post, the tour will explore the local bazaars, which still retain an old-world atmosphere before dinner at a local tavern. The ancient city, said to be founded by Solomon or Alexander The Great, is also home to UNESCO World Heritage Site the sacred mountain, Sulaiman Too. The following morning will see a guided tour of Uzgen, once the capital of the 12th-century Turkish Karakhanid Khanate and filled with minarets and bathhouses from its golden era. After lunch in the colourful town of Djalal-Abad, the first camp will be set up near the hamlet of Dharik Tash beside an aquamarine river and encircled by mountains.
The next morning will see the group ride through the breathtaking panorama of alpine meadows and flower-filled villages stopping for a picnic lunch and breathing in the freshest air in the world. The next day’s riding will head towards the Sary Chelek Golden Hollow Reserve via the Tas Bel Pass and spirited canter through a carpet of wildflowers and a swim in the crystal clear waters. The reserve sports the largest walnut forest in the world which will be explored before settling down next to a turquoise alpine lake for the night. The next three days will be a kaleidoscope of scenery that can hardly be imagined with dreamlike views. There will be visits to local yurts and a memorable chance to watch a game of Ulak-Tartysh, reminiscent of polo but using a dead goat, on a plateau next to the dramatic Lake Kara-Suu.
Following the sun-dappled River Kara-Suu downstream past waterfalls and cascades, the ride will close with a driver to the impressive Susamir Valley, the home of nomads and their herds. Saddle-stiff bodies will find blissful comfort in the swimming pool and soft beds of the family-run Asia Mountain Hotel! The tour’s final day will be spent in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. This little-explored city was once a Silk Road caravan resting stop before becoming a mud fort of the Uzbek Khan and a Russian garrison town. The Soviet-era buildings make for an interesting visit including the vast Ala-Too Square, scene of the largest protests of the Tulip Revolution of 2005. There will also be a chance to buy some jaunty colourful Kyrgyz felt rugs and hats before flying back home.
We hope that you will join us and Alexandra on this one-of-a-kind adventure into some of the most pristine and untrammelled landscapes on the planet. It is sure to produce a lifetime of memories and be a unique bonding experience with both fellow travellers and horses!
For more information about this tour, please contact us:
firstname.lastname@example.org // +44 (0) 207 819 9770