What was to be a promotional visit to the guys of www.fly.kg we can not in all honesty recommend to other as they won’t deliver what you will end up begin overcharged for. During our stay with them at pretty much every step what had been promised was far from delivered and at every step we were more and more out of pocket. I won’t go through all the things that had been promised as the list would be long.
Don’t get me wrong, we will be going back to Kyrgyzstan at some stage as the area has amazing potential and space for exploration we simply won’t be making the same mistake of trusting the guys from www.fly.kg ever again.
So lets put the bad initial experience behind us, once separated from the above mentioned guys we discovered during this trip that there are other cheaper and more reliable options for those interested in a trip to KG wether it be for normal flying, bivouac, not to mention ski holidays in the back country during the winter months.
Once we completed blowing off the bad juju from the earlier experiences we decided to hire a car and go out and explore the country, we drove in the areas between the two main lakes of the country which are Toktogul and Issyk Kul, here is some of what we saw along the way.
a great place to relax in one of the highest “larger” lakes in the world, amazing views of the surrounding mountains both to the south and the north. A place that when your not flying you can go kite boarding or swimming (the water is pretty cool so you will be limited to the amount of time you want to spend in it), tourist activities are limited but if your not too bothered by having a day or two off due to weather then a nice place to spend the time walking around and relaxing.
a nice ridge line extending east-west with around 300kms of possible flying to be done, again very limited infrastructure if you choose to drive without a 4×4 your going to need a spinal surgeon to work his magic on you as the roads apart from the main highway are sub-par and not only the car will suffer from them.
This is the main flying region for both the locals and visiting pilots, as its the closest launch, north facing takeoff which starts working around 1030-1100 during summer, with the flats out the front feeding it warm air rolling from Kazakstan. You have a couple of possibilities here, you can fly south further into the bigger mountains, fly east towards issyk kul or west towards the Kazakhstan boarder, make sure that you have it marked on your device as an accidental landing on the other side of it may cost you some time in lockup and some interesting negotiations.
looking back towards the ridge line that the takeoff “1000” belongs to.
evening view of Bishkek from one of our camp sites.
almost zero infrastructure and a very low (where any) population in the back country. So you need to be very clear about one thing, you are on your own out there, even with a spot you might not get the assistance you require out here. (during our time in KG we heard of a kayaking trip (from memory) in Tajikistan where someone had pushed the SOS button and no one came so relatives had to hustle money and resources while being abroad to organise search and rescue themselves).
we got used to getting our days cut short by over development or high level clouds not to mention the gail force winds, non the less we will be back a little wiser as to what to do, where to go, who to trust and more importantly who not to. The country is amazing and i hope that we get to discover more of it one day.
rent a car: we found a really good company with Russian owners based in Bishkek that had really nice cars in their fleet and very good prices, we were paying around 20eur per day for a honda odyssey. We wanted a vw sharan that they had for 15eur as its a soft 4×4 van but it was already rented out. Fuel is relatively cheap and doing around 1500kms we spent 170usd. (the link to the car rental company is autoprokat)
after around 1200kms the only problem we had with the car was a slow puncture which was a quick fix at one of the roadside repair workshops.
rent a driver with 4×4: you’ll pay around 50usd per day for a driver with their own car (some come with a mountaineering background, others are more than happy to drop you off, pick you up and go fishing in the meantime), we scored a really good one that spoke english and is a professional mountaineer/climber with knowledge of local weather, mountains and most importantly rescue procedures etc, additionally he was a great cook preparing awesome dinners for us every night, thanks Dima. If your interested in his contact number please send a private message.