South Shore Cultural Tours
The best way to experience nomadic culture.
Let us guide you through our living nomadic heritage.
Every moment in South Shore is an opportunity to experience the beauty and heritage of Central Asia's fascinating nomadic culture. Once you've found a place to stay — and if you haven't tried a yurt camp yet, you should — book one of our unique cultural tours. You'll join a local guide who speaks fluent English and discover the history of our most beloved crafts and activities. We offer a range of experiences: a fun handicrafts workshop, a yurt-building workshop, a remarkable demonstration of Salbuurun (an ancient form of hunting using eagle, horse, and hound), the opportunity to watch and engage with horse champions, and even a mobile sauna on the shore of the lake.
Join one of our tours and allow us to show you why we wouldn't choose to live anywhere else in Kyrgyzstan.
Experience the nomadic spirit of Kyrgyzstan with a demonstration of Salbuurun, an ancient form of hunting that uses a taigan dog, Kyrgyz horse, and golden eagle in tandem. There's no other form of hunting like it in the world, and each animal works in rhythm with the hunter — riding on horseback with a bow and arrow — to complete the mission. Join our English-speaking tour guide and watch a fascinating demonstration of Salbuurun while learning its importance to Kyrgyz culture.
Handicrafts (Shyrdak) Workshop
Felt-making traditions play as important role in modern Kyrgyz culture as it did during ancient times. Woven into each shyrdak (Kyrgyz felt carpet) is a record of histories and traditions specific to each family, as well as broader symbols and legends. Join our handicrafts workshop to learn felting from world-class, UNESCO-certified craftswomen. You'll learn techniques and styles that you can apply to your own unique shyrdak souvenir.
Yurt Building Workshop
There's nothing more iconic of nomadic culture than the yurt. And our yurt-building workshop allows you to learn the art and craft from master builders. You'll work together with the builders to construct a yurt from the ground up — learning at every stage the intricate yet simple process that allows a yurts to work so well for nomadic cultures. When you're finished, you'll enjoy tea and snacks in the comfort and cover of your newly built yurt!
Horse Champions Tour
Spend any time in Kyrgyzstan and you realize the importance of horses to its culture, and the people's love for horse racing. On this two-hour tour we take you to one of the three key stud farms in the country where Zamirbek, the proud owner, will show you through the entire process of owning and training these thoroughbred horses. The South Shore of Lake Issyk-Kul is the only such place where you can meet several of Kyrgyzstan's favorite horseracing champions. You'll have an opportunity to enter a world that few tourists see and get up close with the with the Horse Champions of Central Asia.
Mountain Bike Tours
What better way to explore the South Shore than by taking part in an adrenaline-fueled and incredibly scenic day- or multi-day biking adventure? With some of the most unique landscape in Central Asia, the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul is the ideal mountain biking destination for travelers seeking challenging routes over a fascinating terrain — some routes even offer onward travel to neighboring regions. What’s more, cycling offers a unique vantage point that you just won’t find from a car window, and it offers a race of adrenaline that’s just not as evident on one of our many nearby trekking routes.
South Shore's culinary traditions pull inspiration from the region's long nomadic heritage, and combine traditional dishes with a fascinating array of spices and flavors that merchants brought on their journey along the ancient Silk Road. Generations of nomads and Kyrgyz people have carried on these culinary traditions in their homes and at festivals and celebrations. Several yurt camps and guest houses offer cooking classes so travelers can learn how to make traditional Kyrgyz dishes themselves. Please have a look at the various food tours at unique locations.
Trekking and Horseback Riding
What better way to explore the South Shore than by taking part in an adrenaline-fueled and incredibly scenic day- or multi-day horseriding or trekking adventure? With some of the most unique landscape in Central Asia, the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul is the ideal horseriding and trekking destination for travelers seeking challenging routes over a fascinating terrain — some routes even offer onward travel to neighboring regions. What’s more, horseriding or trekking offers a unique vantage point that you just won’t find from a car window, and it gives you the chance to be close to the nature on one of our many nearby trekking routes.