Soviet Legacy Tour

Experience with Tenti Kyrgyzstan

Tour at glance

Best Time to Go

May, June, July, August, September, October

Cost of Tour per Person

Duration of the Tour

8 days

Difficulty Level


Type of Tour




Soviet Legacy Tour

Unlike other post-soviet countries Kyrgyzstan hasn’t started its’ de-sovietization process. Statues, mosaics, museums, murals, and brutalist soviet architecture are still around in present-day Kyrgyzstan. By joining this tour you will get to take a deep dive into countries Soviet heritage. Not only will you get to see soviet legacy, but also try soviet era cuisine prepared by cooks of that era, taste products that are still being produced by the same manufacturers. Haggle for soviet antiquities (cameras, coins, pins, watches) or shop for art and household items at soviet antique shops. During this tour you will have a chance to experience other aspects of Kyrgyz culture as you drive classic Soviet cars, adventure on horseback through picturesque mountain ranges, kick-back and relax in yurts, and revel in the beauty of Kyrgyzstan. Every tour is personalized when you choose from our range of soviet period cars, including: Jigulis, UAZs, Nivas, Buhankas, and Volgas. Swap cars as you go, so you can experience the unique design of each one. Let’s wander!

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Communist Chronicles in Bishkek

Delve into Communist history of Bishkek and begin your journey by visiting the morning flea market. Once you’ve tracked down your treasure at the market we’ll make our way through the city to visit the main Soviet heritage sites - Ballet and Opera Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, The White House, the circus and many other. Few hours of the walking tour will be dedicated to the history and sights of “Interhelpo” cooperative. The cooperative was formed on the initiative of communist workers in the Czech city of Zhilina in response to Vladimir Lenin's call to the entire international proletariat for help to the developing Soviet republics. Finish the day with a dinner consisting of typical soviet dishes as well as snacks and drinks that are still produced to this day.

Day 2: Motorcade Roulette and Yurt Serenity

Draw your car’s type and model out of a hat for you and your friends to drive. Don’t worry - cars are swapped every day. Drive on to the day’s destination, your yurt camp. Once everyone is settled in, you can relax on the beach. End the day with a traditional Kyrgyz dinner and a folk concert, performed by a local family of musicians.

Day 3: South Shore Discoveries

Start your morning with a trip to the derelict buildings, remains of an uranium processing plant of strategic importance during soviet era. Subsequently visit our winemaker friend to grab some homemade wine made from rose petals, cherries and various berries to have with dinner. In the afternoon, you will meet with fourth generation eagle hunters, hear their stories, and watch a demonstration of Salburuun. Next you’ll depart for an hour long hike to the panoramic viewpoint where you will watch the sunset over the lake.

Day 4: Canyons, Waterfalls, and Red Cliffs Adventure

Depart from the yurt camp at 8:30 and head for Karakol, with a few exciting detours along the way. Your first stop will be Fairytale Canyons. Keep your eyes peeled for the sleeping dragon of legend as you walk amongst the rocky pillars. Your next stop is Barskoon Waterfall. A short hike into the gorge will bring you to these astonishing cascades. Spend some time exploring the area before returning to your car for the next destination – Jeti – Oguz. These red sandstone cliffs, located just outside Karakol City are perhaps one of the most iconic images of the Issyk-Kul region. After lunch in Karakol, take a walking tour around the city to see some of its famous sites, including the Dungan Mosque and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Day 5: Jyrgalan Valley Horse Trek

Depart in the morning for Jyrgalan Valley. The village here was established in 1964 to house the employees of the local coal mine.  In the morning head to the Kok-Boru fields and watch a demonstration of this traditional Kyrgyz horseback game. Kok-Boru is often lovingly described  by foreigners as dead goat polo.  The game combines various elements of rugby, polo, and football as each team tries to carry a goat carcass weighing about 75lbs to their goal in an effort to score.  After your introduction to the game, saddle up your own horse for a much more leisurely ride through the valley.  In the afternoon, return to the village and take sometime to relax in a Russian sauna.  Once you're suitably relaxed, join the rest of your group and learn how to prepare traditional Kyrgyz snacks with some of the local residents.

Day 6: Enilchek Soviet Ghost Town Expedition

The dissolution of Soviet Union meant major ambitious project being left unfinished across former territories. One of these is now the abandoned city of Enilchek derelict buildings of which meekly stand surrounded by magnificent mountains. Travelling to Engilchek requires 4x4s’ and a border area permit which will be provided by us. Equipped with permits you’ll hop on board of soviet military minivans and head to today’s destination through picturesque mountain passes. After a full day we’ll make our way back to Karakol to spend the night.

Day 7: Cholpon-Ata Retreat

Today you will head to Issyk-kul’s famous resort town, Cholpon-Ata. Take the day to relax and soak-in the sun at the beach.  Finish the day, with a sunset cruise and a subsequent dinner party.

DAY 8: Train Ride and Farewell Pub Crawl

Start your day with a visit to Cholpon-Ata’s open air petroglyph museum after breakfast then travel to Balykchy.  There you’ll change mode of transportation from Soviet cars to a Soviet train for a joyful train ride with snacks and drinks back to Bishkek. Once in Bishkek we'll finish the tour with a pub crawl. End of Tour.

Highlights of the Tour

Drive Various Soviet Era Cars around Issyk Kul

Embark on a unique adventure by driving classic Soviet cars, including Jigulis, UAZs, Nivas, Buhankas, and Volgas. Swap cars daily to appreciate the distinctive design of each vehicle while exploring the stunning surroundings of Issyk Kul.


Ride in Soviet Trains

Experience the nostalgia of Soviet train travel, immersing yourself in the authentic atmosphere of Kyrgyzstan's well-preserved Soviet heritage. Enjoy a joyful train ride with snacks and drinks, traversing picturesque landscapes.

soviet era train en route to Bishkek from Balykchy through boom gorge

Visit Soviet Ghost Town

Explore the abandoned city of Enilchek, a poignant reminder of major Soviet-era projects left unfinished. Traverse the derelict buildings surrounded by magnificent mountains, gaining insights into the ambitious initiatives of the Soviet Union.

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  • All transfers; 1 car for every 4 people: groups will swap cars at each destination
  • English speaking guide to accompany the group
  • Accommodation based on double room sharing
  • Meals as per program
  • Entrance fees to sights according to the program
  • Mechanic and a support car
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for Kyrgyzstan tourist visa
  • Kyrgyzstan visa support
  • International airfares
  • Personal insurance and items not mentioned above
  • Moisture-wicking T-shirts
  • Moisture-wicking underwear
  • Quick-drying pants/shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirts (for sun, bugs)
  • Sun-shielding hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Boots or shoes suited to terrain
  • Socks (synthetic or wool)
  • Sleepwear
  • Rainwear (jacket and pants)
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  • Portable charger and adapters for electronics
  • Daypack for carrying essentials during excursions
  • Binoculars for wildlife or landscape viewing
  • Sunscreen
  • SPF-rated lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug Spray
  • Water bottles (preferably with filtration system)
  • Backpack
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Prescription medications
  • Toiletries
  • Anyone wishing to drive during the course of the tour must be legally licensed to operate a motor vehicle in their naturalized country and be able to provide documentation to that affect.

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