12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons

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Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
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Available:
May

Discover the hidden beauty of a paradise still unexplored on this 12-day photography adventure into the heart of Kyrgyzstan!

This small country in Central Asia has a lot for the discerning traveller to unpack. From epic mountains to glorious lakes, undulating valleys and rugged canyons, the natural landscape offers an abundance of photographic opportunities that will no doubt leave you breathless.

This tour is guided by award-winning landscape photographer, Albert Dros, who has made it his mission to take you to some of the most incredible locations in Kyrgyzstan which have only recently come to attention. He has spent years scouting the terrain, looking for unique and photogenic places to capture. Aside from teaching you in-field, he will provide a series of post-processing masterclass sessions to ensure that you'll have a great educational experience.

For the duration of the tour, you'll be accompanied by Albert's local team, who will provide expert knowledge in the way of the history and culture. While you will stay in the best hotels by Kyrgyz standards in the cities, you will move on to more modest accommodation in tents and yurts when you are in the countryside. All of your meals will be provided, meaning that you can spend time focused on improving your photography skills.

Do not miss out on the opportunity to experience the wild and rugged nature of Kyrgyzstan! Places are limited. Check availability by choosing a date.

Included

All accommodation
All transfers
All meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Snacks
Guidance by a professional team (Albert Dros + locals)
Permits to access specific areas

Activities

Hiking
Horse Riding
Sight Seeing
Cultural Activity
Photo Tours
Photo Workshop

Daily itinerary

Day 1
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 1

Bishkek (Arrival Day)

The adventure begins when you arrive in Bishkek. You will then take a transfer to your hotel, where there will be some time to rest and to freshen up before you meet with the rest of the group at 7pm in the hotel lobby to head to your welcome dinner.

Over dinner, your guides will discuss the itinerary for the days ahead as you enjoy the delicious local fare. It's the perfect time to get to know your fellow travellers and to ask any questions that you may have.

You'll then retire for the night to your hotel.

Day 2
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 2

Karakol

On day two, you will rise bright and early to begin the journey to the eastern part of Kyrgyzstan. This is known as the Karakol region, home to Issyk Kul, which is one of the biggest lakes in the world.

Along the way, there will be plenty of photographic opportunities, as well as short stops to pick up food and other supplies. You'll then make your way to the Boom Gorge, an historical pass from the days of the Great Silk Road.

Your sunset session will be at a location nearby to Karakol. Thereafter, you'll head to dinner as a group before checking in to your hotel for a rest.

Day 3
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 3

Karakol Peak

After breakfast on day three, you'll journey on an old Soviet bus to the basecamp of Karakol Peak. At 5000+ metres, this will not be an easy journey, so you'll be riding horses for the rest of the way until you reach the summit over the course of a few hours.

The scenery along the way will no doubt keep you focused, with lush green vegetation interspersed by gorgeous blue streams, meandering throughout the valley. The majestic peak of Karakol will become nearer as you get closer to the base of the mountain, where you will stay for the night in a tent.

After a sunset shoot, you'll settle in for a lovely dinner prepared by your private chefs, before heading out for some night sky and Milky Way photography.

You'll then retire for the night in your tent.

Day 4
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 4

Karakol Peak

The morning of day four will begin with a sunrise session capturing the morning light over Karakol peak, before you descend the mountain on horseback down to the village below. The journey back to civilisation will be easy-going, as you take in the sounds and scents of the wilderness all around you.

You'll reach Karakol village by the afternoon, after which you will have some time to rest at your hotel. Thereafter, you'll have the chance to go over your images during a valuable feedback and critique session, as well as to begin post-processing.

Day 5
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 5

Peak Eltcin

On day five, you'll make a day trip to the Jety Oguz valley, where you'll catch a glimpse of the extraordinary Eltcin peak in the distance. This day will be full of beautiful views with epic mountains and canyons.

Your first shooting location will be at the famous 'red rocks'. Thereafter, you will travel by jeep towards the Eltcin mountain, before hiking for around 1.5 hours to an incredible viewpoint where you will be able to capture the peak in all its glory.

Once the sun has dipped below the horizon, we'll hike back to our jeeps and return to Karakol village for dinner.

You will retire for the night in your hotel.

Day 6
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 6

Sary-Jaz

On day six, you will check out of your accommodation in Karakol and continue the journey onwards to an area called Sary-Jaz, near the border of China.

This remote destination has been visited by very few. Access is by permit only, though we'll take care of all of that for you. Once inside, you'll realise why it is so protected. This unique landscape is home to eagles, unique landscapes and a military base.

We'll cross the Chon-Ashu pass and Echkilitash gorge in order to reach the Adyr-Tor mountains in the distance. The plan is to stay the night in camps, after witnessing the sunset behind these snowcapped peaks. We'll be perfectly-placed to see the first light of the day hitting the peaks once again in the morning. It is truly an experience that you will remember for years to come.

Day 7
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 7

Sary-Jaz

On day seven, you can either sleep in or rise early with the rest of the group for a sunrise session, catching the first light on the mountain peaks. Once we are ready, we'll get back into our jeeps and head back to Karakol via a different route to explore the diverse scenery.

While the journey may take a while, we will break it up with stops along the way to shoot and arrive back in Karakol by late afternoon. Once there, we'll have dinner and rest so that we'll be fresh for what's in store on the next day.

Day 8
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 8

South Issyk-Kul Area

On day eight, we'll have breakfast at the hotel before heading out to the southern part of Issyk Kul lake, in search of valleys and canyons. Depending on the conditions, we may have a sunrise session at the Skazka canyon or head straight to the Arabel Plateau in our jeeps.

There is a lot to take in around this region, from glaciers to rivers and of course, the lush green rolling valleys.

We'll return to our hotel in the evening for dinner before retiring for the night.

Day 9
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 9

South Issyk-Kul Area

Day nine will be an exciting one, as we'll take our time exploring numerous canyons within the region. Our sunrise shoot may be at 'The Canyon of the Forgotten Rivers', where the soaring cliffs seem to reach all the way to the Tian-Shan mountain range.

Another canyon that we will visit today is the 'Mars Canyon', which resembles the desert features best known in Utah. This canyon is perfect for aerial photography, with many abstract shapes and shadows cast by the light above. You'll also have the incredible opportunity to have a private photo shoot with a traditional eagle hunter here, as he handles his eagle surrounded by the wild and rugged beauty of nature.

We'll stay in the area until the night, with the plan to capture the Milky Way rising over the Mars Canyon.

Day 10
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 10

Bokonabevo to Son-Kol Lake

On day ten, we'll continue the journey to Son-Kul Lake. This beautiful body of water stands at around 3000 meres above sea level, with mountains all around. It's an extraordinary sight and is unique in the way that it has its own climate. The weather conditions here can change rapidly, so it may freeze overnight, making for incredible photographic opportunities in the morning. For this reason, we will stay in yurts with a local family so that we can shoot during the sunset and at night, as well as to be perfectly placed for a sunrise session the next day.

Day 11
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 11

Son-Kol Lake to Bishkek

We'll rise early in the morning on day eleven for a sunrise shoot at the 33 Parrots pass, which offers a breathtaking view from the top. Thereafter, we'll have breakfast before heading back to Bishkek.

The return journey may take a while, though we'll make stops along the way to shoot, including at the Konorchek canyon.

Once we arrive to Bishkek, we'll check in to our hotel. There will be some time to rest and freshen up before we meet for our final dinner as a group.

Day 12
12 Day Kyrgyzstan Photo Tour | Mountains, Lakes & Canyons - day 12

Departure

This will be the final day of our photography workshop. After breakfast, you'll take a transfer back to the airport, where you will catch your flight home or onwards to your next destination – no doubt with memory cards full of spectacular images to remember the trip of a lifetime to Kyrgyzstan!

Comfort and Shape

During this tour, you will be sometimes sleeping in tents and yurts. Kyrgyzstan does not have luxury hotels in many places, especially the mountains. When you are in the villages, then you will be staying in the best hotels but in the mountains, you will live the real Kyrgyz lifestyle. Tents and yurts will be supplied. There is some basic horse riding involved during this workshop. Even if you have never ridden a horse before, we will teach you how to do it. Regarding hiking, we will occasionally walk but you will never be expected to do any whole day hikes. Most of the walking will be max 1-2 hours, so you don’t need to be extremely fit but if you have issues with basic hiking, then this tour might not be for you.

Disclaimer

We highly recommend that you get a travel and medical insurance. Your own domestic medical insurance and private health scheme will not cover you whilst you are overseas. The tour is always dependent on weather, as the weather can indeed be highly unpredictable. Likewise, wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Departure Schedule

17-28 May 2020 – Guided by Albert Dros + local Kyrgyz team 19-13 May 2021 – Guided by Albert Dros + local Kyrgyz team

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Guides

Albert Dros

Albert Dros

English, Dutch
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Albert is a Dutch photographer with an extreme passion for landscape photography. He aims to capture places and certain moments in the best way possible by using his own vision and unique style. His style consists of strong vibrant, sometimes fairytale like images in which he expresses himself. Albert has a background in Design, Video and Animation. He has worked for himself his whole life and has as a Master Degree in Multimedia & Entertainment Technology.

Albert loves to travel. Next to photo tours and workshops he likes to explore the world on his own or with friends. He has a passion for visiting the most beautiful spots in the world, whether known or unknown. Challenging himself is what keeps him motivated. Albert loves planning his shots carefully.

He does this with great detail to make sure his efforts have the highest chances of success. He sometimes plans days, weeks, months or even years to get that particular shot he wants. Challenging himself combined with planning and writing a story of the whole process is Albert’s specialty. He is always looking for new challenges and adventures. He is able to find beauty anywhere in the world: from misty mornings in the forests minutes away from his home to rooftops of the highest buildings in Dubai to remote locations in Iceland or the US. Next to taking photos, Albert also likes to teach and write about photography.

He occasionally writes for the most well known Photography magazines both on - and offline. Along that he has worked with many brands in the photography industry and is an official Sony Ambassador of Imaging.

His work has been featured in some of the biggest news outlets & magazines worldwide, like TIME, National Geographic and Adobe.

Albert is a Dutch photographer with an extreme passion for landscape photography. He aims to capture places and certain moments in the best way possible by using his own vision and unique style. His style consists of strong vibrant, sometimes fairytale like images in which he expresses himself. Albert has a background in Design, Video and Animation. He has worked for himself his whole life and has as a Master Degree in Multimedia & Entertainment Technology.

Albert loves to travel. Next to photo tours and workshops he likes to explore the world on his own or with friends. He has a passion for visiting the most beautiful spots in the world, whether known or unknown. Challenging himself is what keeps him motivated. Albert loves planning his shots carefully.

He does this with great detail to make sure his efforts have the highest chances of success. He sometimes plans days, weeks, months or even years to get that particular shot he wants. Challenging himself combined with planning and writing a story of the whole process is Albert’s specialty. He is always looking for new challenges and adventures. He is able to find beauty anywhere in the world: from misty mornings in the forests minutes away from his home to rooftops of the highest buildings in Dubai to remote locations in Iceland or the US. Next to taking photos, Albert also likes to teach and write about photography.

He occasionally writes for the most well known Photography magazines both on - and offline. Along that he has worked with many brands in the photography industry and is an official Sony Ambassador of Imaging.

His work has been featured in some of the biggest news outlets & magazines worldwide, like TIME, National Geographic and Adobe.

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