The great quantity of mountain rivers and sunny days has been attracting fans of white water to Kyrgyzstan since the second half of the last century. Due to the unique natural environment of the republic, there are enough rivers to provide routes of all different categories of complexity suitable for both experienced sportsmen and beginners.
Rafting tour is the most exciting kind of adventure. In our republic, the best rivers for it are the Chu, Chatkal, Chon-Kemin, Kekemeren and Naryn. Everything that is necessary to make your holiday unforgettable is here...rivers quietly flowing through the beautiful landscape, and rapids that will take your breath away and excite even the most callous extreme sports fans. Period from April to October is the season time for rafting on these rivers. The level of complexity on the six-point scale depends on the season, since the thawing of glaciers ensures a high level of water in the rivers; and in hot summer months the waterline can fluctuate daily. Thus, the most favorable time for water tours for some rivers is the end of August, and September.
The river Chu is the most appropriate for commercial rafting. Parts of the river lie at over 1,500m above sea level. The climate and temperature of the water (15°-18° C) from June till mid-September means rafting can be done even without diving suits, and the complexity of obstructions does not transcend five points. The section of the river passing through the Bohom gorge is the national ‘white water arena' and a unique training site for the whole Central Asian region. Here in ancient times there lay one of the northern routes of the Great Silk Road. By reason of its location near Bishkek - the capital of the republic and communications development over the years, the reputation of rafting in the Bohom gorge is steadily growing both among the population and foreign guests.
Rafting in the republic began to develop a quarter of century ago. In 1992 rafting accepted a commercial direction by receiving the category of strategic objective for the development of tourism in Kyrgyzstan.
Very popular many-day tours were on the Chatkal, Kekemeren, Naryn rivers at the times of the Soviet Union. The Chatkal river was one of five most popular rivers in the USSR. Regularly, during August and September, there used to be 60 or 70 tourist groups here. For the last several years, one-or two-day tours on the rivers Chu and Chon-Kemin have gained the same popularity.
Despite the half-century history of discover the Kyrgyz rivers by the white water lovers, lots of rivers still remain unaware of rafts and kayaks. There are lots of opportunities for pioneers to travel down the rivers, starting from their source. The most impressive is the rafting tour from Inylchek, the second biggest glacier in the world (59km), through the almost impassable Sarydzhaz canyon, 30km long. Or from the source of the Naryn which is the upper course of the second longest river in Central Asia the Syr-Darya. The most popular among tourists, through their mild climatic conditions, are the rivers floating not higher than 1500m above sea level.