Kyrgyzstan Photography Tour

20th – 30th August 2023

LODGING
Yurts / Tents / Hotels

DATE(S)
20th – 30th August 2023

DURATION
10 Nights

GROUP SIZE
Maximum of 10

ACTIVITY LEVEL
Challenging

8 Days, 7 Nights

Kyrgyzstan Photography Tours

I’m teaming up with Richard Watson for what is quite simply going to be our tour of the year for 2023. Often referred to as ‘The Most Beautiful Country in the World’.

Kyrgyzstan, to give it its proper title The Kyrgyz Republic is an incredibly beautiful country. Richard has had the pleasure of visiting it multiple times over the last few years and he has described it as a photographers dream.

It’s a country that is over 90% mountainous

This Kyrgyzstan photography tour has it all; amazing mountains in every direction, breathtaking lakes, beautiful valleys, canyons, sleeping in yurts and tents – the true nomadic experience!

During this small group Kyrgyzstan photography tour we’ll get you to the right place at the right time and if required will personally help you build on your knowledge of light, lenses and filters, while giving you free rein to unleash your own creativity.

Kyrgyzstan photography tour

Trip Highlights

  • Canyon of Forgotten Rivers
  • Peak Yeltsin
  • Mars Canyon
  • Sleeping in Yurts
  • Sleeping in Tents
  • Karakol
  • Karakol Animal Market
  • Issyk-kul Lake
  • Horse Riding (optional)

Itinerary

DAY 1: Meeting in Bishkek

Arrival in the capital city of Bishkek and transportation to the hotel. You’ll have the opportunity to relax upon arrival or explore the city. Bishkek is a modern, bustling city with lots of parks, green spaces and Soviet era architecture. We’ll have a group welcome dinner in the evening, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet fellow guests & our tour team and discuss the upcoming schedule. Richard and Tyler will run through the tour itinerary with you and answer any questions you may have before the real adventure begins!

Accommodation: Hotel

DAY 2: Bishkek – Canyon of Forgotten Rivers

After breakfast we’ll hit the road. Today will start our exploration of some of Kyrgyzstan’s incredible canyons. On the way we will visit Kok-Moinok Canyon. On arrival at our final camp we will hike 20 minutes on foot for sunset overlooking the Canyon of Forgotten Rivers. This location from a drone is just mind blowing but there are also fantastic compositions from ground level in all directions!

Accommodation: Yurt Camp

DAY 3: Canyon of Forgotten Rivers – Peak Yeltsin

This day will be packed with epic mountains and canyons. Guests can either take sunrise shots by drone from camp, take shots of the yurt camp in front of the canyon or head back to the main vantage point.

After breakfast in our yurts we will drive to Jety-Oguz valley. On the way we will visit Mars Canyon where we can shoot a traditional Kyrgyz eagle hunter against this incredible backdrop. We will also visit Skazka Canyon (Fairytale Canyon) which is also an amazing landscape to explore and photograph.

Finally we will switch to our Soviet military truck and make the bumpy journey (our first real taste of Kyrgyz roads) to our overnight camp with amazing views to Peak Yeltsin which towers at an altitude of 5128 meters.

Accommodation: Tent

(Our tent nights are based on 2 sharing a tent and come complete with porters, chefs, kitchen tent and toilet tent – it really is a fantastic set-up)

DAY 4: Peak Yeltsin – Karakol

Sunrise shot of Peak Yeltsin. We’ll have the opportunity to meet local shepherds and photograph them on their horses with the mountains as a backdrop, before heading back to the valley and driving to Karakol city. Today you will stay in a nice hotel and prepare your gear for the next days adventure. We can drive back to Jety-Oguz gorge for sunset above Seven Bulls or another location at the mouth of the Tyup River.

Accommodation: Hotel

DAY 5: Karakol – Karakol Peak

Now things begin to get really interesting. Our military truck will transport us through the stunning Karakol Valley to Alp Camp, which is located at an altitude of 2500 meters. Here we will complete a simple 2 hour hike and set up camp in front of the beautiful Karakol Peak. This huge mountain with glacier sits at over 5200 meters and is a towering sight. We will spend the night in tents in front of the glacier and watch out for starry skies.

(Optional – Horse riding if you would prefer not to hike. We can discuss this option before you arrive in Kyrgyzstan)

Accommodation: Tent

DAY 6: Peak Karakol – Ala-Kul (Optional)

After a good nights sleep (and hopefully shooting) under the stars, we will pack up and make our way to the spectacular Ala-Kul lake. This will be the most challenging day of the trip but also the most rewarding – it will be no problem for someone with an OK level of fitness. We will make it up to this beautiful lake for sunset and camp overnight. This turquoise lake is one of the most beautiful in the world, situated at 3560 meters. It’s very possible that temperatures drop to freezing point this night but when the sun rises it will soon start to warm up.

Accommodation: Tent

DAY 7: Ala-Kul – Karakol

You’ll be awake early ready for an amazing sunrise. We can then hike to Ala-Kul pass where the views are stunning – perfect for those epic drone shots. After this we will hike down to Alp Camp and our military truck will return us to our hotel in Karakol. We can then refresh for the evening as we recover from our couple of days in the mountains, have a great meal and discuss our adventures. This will be a great opportunity to back up images and have a look together at what you’ve already captured.

Accommodation: Hotel

DAY 8: Karakol – Sary-Jaz

We’ll begin the day with an early morning visit to Karakol animal market which is a photographers dream – full of hustle & bustle and perfect for street photography and soaking up the local culture. Next we’ll hit the bumpy road to Sary-Jaz valley in our comfortable 4×4’s. We’ll be surrounded with views of mountains at over 7000 meters which are snow capped all year round. We will shoot these epic peaks at sunset before setting up camp for the night. We’ll be looking out for local shepherds and horses for photography opportunities.

(For this area you will require a special permit which we will obtain before the trip for you, this is due to the location being on the border of China)
Accommodation: Tents

DAY 9: Sary-Jaz – Karakol

Driving back to Karakol through Karkara valley on the border with Kazakhstan. We’ll rise from our tents to shoot sunrise and see the first light hit the mountain peaks. You can even shoot from your tent if you prefer! We’ll take a different route back to Karakol so we can explore some different valleys.

Accommodation: Hotel

DAY 10: Karakol — Bishkek

Driving to Bishkek by the north shore of lake Issyk-Kul – the second largest alpine lake on the planet. In the evening we can enjoy a city tour in Bishkek and have a well deserved meal at our hotel. A welcome taste of luxury!

Accommodation: Hotel

DAY 11: Transfer to airport

After a farewell breakfast at the hotel you will be provided transport for your journey to the airport. Final goodbyes, lots of hugs and leaving with memories to last a lifetime.

Your Guide(s)

Photographer, Light Chaser, Aurora Guide, Web Dev, Biker, Daddy and I’ve got a very understanding girlfriend in no particular order.

What you’ll learn

On this Kyrgyzstan photography tour, both myself and Richard will be at your complete disposal to help and teach you everything we know about photography if it’s desired.

Here are a few of the key skills that we can cover:

Camera Settings: It starts with the basics. RAW, Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. Learn how and when to use the various modes on your camera to get the shot you want.

CompositionComposition is everything in landscape photography. Learn how to compose a landscape photograph.

Long Exposures: Learn how to use long exposures so you can create dramatic and interesting photographs.

Histogram: Learn how to read your histogram so that you’re exposing correctly and capturing maximum data with no clipping.

Low Light: Learn how to photograph the night sky.

Editing: Learn how I edit my photographs using Adobe Lightroom Classic with final touches in Photoshop.

What’s included?

  • Airport Transfers from Bishkek (FRU)
  • All Transport throughout tour
  • Accommodation each night in yurts/tents/hotel
  • Breakfast/Lunches/Dinners all included
  • Entrance Fees
  • Special entry permits
  • Photographic guidance from Richard Watson & Tyler Collins
  • Local Guides & Porters
  • Flights/Travel to/from Bishkek (FRU)
  • Any alcohol or snacks.
  • Travel & Equipment Insurance
  • Visas (if necessary)

Good to Know

Packing List – A full packing list will be emailed after booking.

Accommodation: This Kyrgyzstan photography tour will be a mixture of accommodation. A few nights in hotels, camping in tents to staying in traditional Kyrgyzstan yurts.

Flights – Fly to Bishkek (FRU).

Outbound 20th August:
Dublin (DUB) > Istanbul (IST): 16:50
Istanbul (IST) > Bishkek (FRU): 01:05

Return 30th August:
Bishkek (FRU) > Istanbul (IST): 06:05
Istanbul (IST) > Dublin (DUB): 13:15

Meeting Point: We will be meeting at the airport after our flight lands at 01:05am. We will be in constant contact with you in our private group so you don’t feel as if you’re travelling alone.

If you are flying in before hand, we will let you know the hotel we’ll be staying at so we can meet you there.

Hiking – Many of the locations do require hiking. You don’t need to be an athlete but you must be able to walk on uneven, sometimes steep and slippery ground for maybe up to 3 hours one way.

All Exclusive – This tour includes all meals, breakfast, lunches and dinners.

Travel Adapter –  Kyrgyzstan uses types C and F plugs.

Kyrgyzstan Photography Tours Dates & Prices

Prices quoted are per person. Only a 10% deposit is required to secure your spot. Remainder balance is due 8 weeks prior to start date.

Date

Duration

Price

Places Left

20th – 30th August 2023

10 Nights

£2950

10 Spots Left

August 2024

10 Nights

£3500

10 Spots Left

Coming Soon

Don’t just take my word for it…

THE REVIEWS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

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Just back from a fantastic trip with Tyler to the Lofoten Islands. The trip was managed expertly from start to finish, and the small group size meant you got as much or little tuition as you wanted. Tyler clearly knows the area intimately, and the right time to visit, and really enjoys the ever changing landscapes, he isn’t simply going through the motions. We even got woken late at night when Tyler spotted the lights and given the option to go out and see. You can tell he wants to get you the best experience, and photographic opportunities possible. I think it’s fair to say we all come back happy with our images and shared adventure, and I for one will be re-booking sometime soon. Life is all about getting these type of amazing experiences so if you get the chance, go for it. Thanks Tyler.

Paul Young October 28, 2022
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I was on the 7 nights Lofoten Islands photo tour with Tyler and 3 other photographers in October 2022. Tyler knows the Lofoten Islands very well and knows landscape and Northern Lights photography very well. He took us to many great locations. The weather was somewhat challenging with rain, some high winds and snow. But we were able to go out 3 nights for Auroras and got some nice photos. He provides help with camera settings to get the best captures. Group size is kept small. Follow his guidelines for clothing (make sure you have waterproof gloves and pants) and you can be comfortable in the weather. I can recommend Tyler to help you get the most out of a photography trip to the Lofoten Islands.

Arthur Beesley October 27, 2022
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I have always wanted to visit Lofoten to take landscape photographs. A friend suggested Chasing Light Tours. I was not disappointed even though there were several rainy days. Tyler Collins was an outstanding tour leader. Apart from being a very competent photographer, he had expert knowledge of the area and took us to the best locations for the weather conditions. Tyler gave technical and composition advice where needed, in an pleasant and friendly manner. Tylor has years of experience in this field which is very apparent.

Ron Campbell October 26, 2022
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recommends

Recently back from a trip to Lofoten Islands with Tyler and could not recommend him enough. We had an incredible time, Tyler was always on hand to give advice or suggestions on how to improve our composition or image. His driving skills in the snow was amazing always felt safe when travelling from location to location even though the conditions were terrible. His knowledge of the local area was super answering any questions we had and always had an interesting few facts to share.. Having small group sizes meant that we all got as much help as we needed and he would make sure to go round the group multiple times on each location., He made the week fun, enjoyable and one to never forget. If you are considering a photography workshop look no further and get yourself booked. You will not regret it!!

Peter Beagan March 25, 2020