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!
There's nothing quite like our mobile sauna experience, where you can relax on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in a former Soviet military transport vehicle that has been refurbished and kitted out for your comfort. This three-hour sauna session is best enjoyed with friends or a group of other travelers, and you can add a lakeside barbecue for a truly complete half-day experience. Book it after a long trek to ease your sore muscles, or plan it as a part of trip meant to de-stress. No matter when you enjoy it, you won't soon forget this quirky, offbeat Kyrgyz sauna experience.
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.