15 FEB - 24 FEB 2020

Kel Suu Winter XOL (SOLD OUT)

Kel Suu Final

  • Dates: Starts on 15th Feb 2020, arrival in Bishkek, ends on 24th Feb 2020, fly out of Bishkek
  • Mode: Self-drive
  • Vehicle make and type: Will consist of a combination expedition ready 4WD SUVs – UAZ Patriot, Ford Ranges, Toyota Sequoia; all vehicles are outfitted and geared for extreme winter
  • No. of vehicles: 6; each vehicle to seat maximum of 4 people (2 member upgrade available)
  • Total distance: Approximately 1500 kms
  • Level of difficulty: Intermediate
  • Total no. of days: 10
  • Driving days: 8
  • Approx. drive time each day: 5-6 hours
  • Drive style: Self-reliant, this is team drive where in participants will take on team roles
  • Total no of participants: Max 16
  • Terrain: Snow based – mix of frozen flat with soft snow, deep snow sections, ice roads; very few paved roads, some gravel sections
  • Start and end point: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Weather: Very cold and chilly; average temperature on this drive to be -15 to -20 degree centigrade, can go to as low as -40 degrees; accounting for the wind chill factor, the apparent feel will be much lower in temperature
  • Exciting winter terrain that offers many challenges for the avid driver – varied combination of snow and ice
  • Astounding mountain views and very picturesque landscape
  • Insight into nomadic life – meet a hunting eagle and his master, game of Kok Boru – a traditional game played by Kyrgyz nomads, also called dead goat Polo
  • Issyk Kul, the world’s second largest salt water lake
  • Kel Suu – a remote high altitude lake with virgin landscape
  • A 9-day extreme terrain drive in the peak of winter, that traverses old roads, that have been frequented for centuries in some of the remotest parts of Kyrgyzstan, a land locked country located in the Steppes of Central Asia. Kel Suu Winter XOL accesses remote corners that are blessed with incredible natural beauty and offers some of the stunning views of the Tien Shan mountains that branch out from the Pamir knot. This XOL also intends to gain insights into the lives of nomadic people who have inhabited this region for centuries. Kel Suu is a small hidden lake tucked away virtually right next to the Kyrgyz Chinese border; the area is also punctuated by other small salt water lakes that freeze partially in the winters (don’t freeze completely thanks to the saline content).
  • The route starts from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan towards the Anshu pass in the south to enter the Suusamyr valley (one of the coldest inhabited parts of Kyrgyzstan); driving past burial mounds from the Scythians who used to inhabit the area 2000 years ago, it enters the red gorge leading to the remote village of Kyzyl Oi. Usually the road through Suusamyr is fully covered in snow and ice; sometimes the road into Kyzyl Oi through the gorge is also snow covered with some gravel patches in between. Kyzyl Oi is one of the only pre-collective Kyrgyz villages; this village has decent guesthouses with running water in the place where we’ll stay. Watch a game of Kok Boru (an ancient sport involving teams on horseback and a dead goat) played in the snow.
  • Further driving through the remainder of the stunning gorge and through the Kyzart pass (this section is full of snow again), it reaches Kochkor (which typically receives little snow and is reasonably dry) and proceeds on a smooth asphalt section with intermittent snow across the Dolon pass to reach Naryn. Then comes the big day when the XOL route cross the village of At-Bashi (the large major town before China), and begins to run parallel to the Chinese border fence. This road varies widely in quality – from narrow points to snow drifts to ice and river crossings.
  • This whole large valley region has a population of about 3000 shepherds in the summer, and almost no one in fall and winter. The route again turns south again toward China following small dirt roads (covered in a layer of snow) and across frozen rivers (where you drive on the ice) to stay in one of the last houses before the Chinese frontier. Primitive conditions with an outhouse, but stunning views. After some exploration, driving and hiking around in the Kel Suu vicinity, we begin the return towards Bishkek.
  • On the return, comes up Issyk Kul, virtually a sea, infact the second largest salt water lake in the world only to be smaller than the Caspian Sea! Post meeting a hunting eagle with his master (a traditional Kyrgyz form of hunting, very popular in the winters), we head back to Bishkek having driven through some of the most spectacular natural areas in the Tian Shan ranges of the Himalayas. The mountains feel remote and lost, given how sparsely they are populated. The people are friendly; but the terrain, heights, depths, vastness included, characterize the highlands of Central Asia in all their glory and spirt. The roads in the winter are a challenge no doubt!
  • Rs. 2,20,000/head (assuming there are 4 people in the car; all members may or may not drive)
  • Rs. 2,60,000/head (assuming that you would like to be just two members in the car; both may drive or just one driver)
  • Air fare (economy class by Air Astana: Delhi – Bishkek – Delhi)
  • Rental SUV (4WD Ford Ranger SUV or equivalent) completely outfitted for off-road drives, well maintained with third party insurance
  • Fuel
  • Airport transfers in Bishkek
  • Food (all meals during the trip – breakfast, lunch and dinner – both veg & non veg options, whatever is locally best available)
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis in clean, homely guest houses and budget hotels or equivalent; single accommodation upgrade is possible at additional cost
  • End to end trip planning and research
  • On road guidance, navigation and leadership
  • Basic support for on-road recovery Medical Emergency First Response – on-field patient assessment & stabilization
  • Local SIM Card
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fee
  • 5% GST
  • International Driving Permit (available in your nearest RTO; we can guide you to procure one)
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned above
  • Traffic fines or parking penalties
  • Vehicle repairs or damages (those not covered under insurance), towing charges if any such arise
  • Any cost arising out of unforeseen circumstances like ill-health, vehicle breakdown or repairs, delays due to road blocks, bad weather etc
  • Additional accommodation charges incurred due to unforeseen delays
  • Medical, personal expenses incurred during the trip
  • Hotel, subsistence or other costs incurred prior to the official start date of the drive and after the official end date of the drive
  • Book your seat by paying up a 25% advance asap.
  • Max group size for this drive is 12
  • Complete paperwork and procure visa
  • Pay up remaining amount latest before 60 days prior to start of the drive
Cancellation Charges: Any cancellation from side of participant due to any reason: • 30 or less than 30 days prior to start of event – no refund • 31 – 60 days prior to start of event – 75% refund • More than 60 days prior to start of event – 90% refund


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