Daytrip Cholpon-Ata

Visit to open air museum Petroglyphen and market

Cholpon-Ata is about 25 minutes drive from Bel-Zhan. We start this excursion by visiting the open air museum, this is also known as the 'Stone Garden'. Here you can find remains from the pre-historic times, such as graves, remains of a stone limes wall, petroglyphs of hunting scenes with reindeer, goats and horses with arches. Many of the petroglyphs are examples of the Saka-Skythische style.
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To round of this impressive excursion we will visit the local market in Cholpon-Ata. This market has as much to offer as a usual market: vegatables, fruit and clothes. You can also find a variable choice of typical Kyrgyzstan souvenirs: felt hats and caps, felt slippers, silk scarves, handmade chess games, Kyrgyz musical instruments, ceramics and frills. They also sell on the market a variety of local delicacies such as dried fruit, honey and many other products.
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Hot springs Ürüktü

Relax with breathtaking views

The hot springs Ürüktü takes about 20 minutes drive from Bel-Zhan. On one side the mountain peaks of Tien-Shan and on the other side the Issyk-Kul lake, this place provides an ideal setting for a relaxing day out. There are thermal and hot mineral springs of different temperatures. You can also let yourself be pampered by a professional masseur. The Issyk-kul lake with its sandy beach is within walking distance. A great excursion after a tiring hike.
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Day tour Grigorevka gorge

Nomads living in the mountains

The Grigorevka gorge is easy to reach on foot from the Bel-Zhan yurt lodge. In the gorge you are faced with all kinds of economical activities that makes the nomadic life so special. A part of the activities are specifically for tourists : There are traditionally furnished yurts where you can eat freshly caught trout, Kyrgyz boys on horseback can offer you a ride on their horse for a small fee. local young people will offer to photograph with caught eagles and buzzards (an activitiy that we do not welcome!) (Bel-zhan is opposed to this activity! We are in discussion with the municipality and the Ministry of Tourism for this practice to stop). If you walk a little further, you may see a shepherd with his flocks of sheep and the yurts where the families live with their cattle in the summer. In short: a good introduction to the nomadic culture.
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Day trip Karakol

Eastern and Western culture in Karakol

From Bel-Zhan it is a two hour drive to the town of Karakol at the eastern end of the Issyk-Kul lake. The city, formerly called Prhvalsk, to the first Western descriptor of the flora and fauna of Central Asia, a number of places of interest. The beautiful wooden mosque built by Chinese craftsmen between 1907 and 1910. And the equally sensational wooden Russian Orthodox Church, Holy Trinity Cathedral, completed in 1895. The church was during the Soviet era used as a club for officers, but it has now been restorated and is in use again. The Regional Museum has exhibits on the cultural history of the region and the history of geology and mineral exploitation in the region. On early Sunday morning there is cattle market, an absolute spectacle!
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Bel-Zhan is a foundation in Kyrgyzstan, founded by Jacobiene Ritsema and Ludmila Gromova.
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