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How to get to Burana Tower & Tokmok Animal Market
Updated April 2021, How to get to Burana Tower & Tokmok Animal Market was originally written in September 2019
A great day trip if you’re in Bishkek on a Sunday is to visit the Sunday Animal Market in Tokmok and combine it with a visit to Burana Tower.
Plan your time in Bishkek: Bishkek Travel Guide + 10 Best Things To Do & Day Trips
Tokmok Animal Market
Each Sunday in the early morning shepherds from all over Chuy Valley come together to buy, sell and trade livestock at the lively Sunday Animal Market in Tokmok. Make sure and get there early as most the trading is done by 10am.
Tokmok is conveniently located near to one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous attractions, Burana Tower.
Once you arrive to Tokmok, head north on Sultan Ibraimova Ulitsa if you’ll be coming from the bus station. If you get dropped off along the M07 you’ll be able to enter from the gates along the highway.
Burana Tower is the last remaining structure of Balasagun, the capital of the Karakhanid Khanate which ruled the area from the 9th to 11th centuries. Ancient Balasagun was destroyed by the Mongol Horde in 1218, shortly after the Mongols ransacked both Shahr e Gholghola and Shahr e Zohak in Central Afghanistan.
By the 1300’s Balasagun was almost completely destroyed, the only piece remaining was Burana Tower. In the early 1900s Russians began taking bricks from the remains of Burana Tower to use on other building projects and by the 1970s reconstruction efforts began in an effort to rebuild the destroyed minaret.
At its zenith Burana Tower stood at 44 meters, it now measures in at 25 meters in height.
But Wait There’s More…
In the field surrounding Burana Tower with its sweeping views over the snowcapped Tien Shan Mountains in the distance are a scattering of stone figures dotting the golden grasses abound. These stone artifacts are called Balbals. Balbals are ancient grave markers left behind by those that wandered these lands hundreds of years ago.
In this field you’ll also find collections of petroglyphs on rocks laid along the path that have been brought from around Kyrgyzstan.
There is also a little museum worth visiting on your trip to Burana Tower with a small collection of artifacts found around the Burana Complex.
How To Get To Burana & Tokmok Animal Market
How To Get To Tokmok
Take Marshrutka #353 from East bus station in Bishkek to Tokmok for 50 KGS (there are reports of travelers being charged 300 KGS, but 50 KGS is the actual price). As mentioned above the Animal Market is just a short walk up Sultan Ibraimova Ulitsa.
How To Get To Burana From Tokmok
Take a taxi from Tokmok to Burana Tower. Expect to pay 200-300 KGS for a return trip including wait time at Burana. Once back to Tokmok head back to the bus station and take Marshrutka #353 back to Bishkek East Station.
Heading to neighboring Kazakhstan too? Plan the perfect trip with my Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan itinerary
How To Do It By Taxi
Don’t want to deal with the logistics of public transport? No problem! It’s super easy to set up a taxi to take you to Tokmok and Burana, and back to Bishkek.
Download the Yandex App on your phone where you can enter your planned stops on the trip. You can expect to pay about 4000 KGS for the return trip, however, your cost will increase depending on your wait time for your driver at each site.
Entrance for Burana
Don’t forget that there is an entrance fee to be paid at the gate when arriving to the tower. The cost is 150 KGS per person. Note that the tower is open from 9 am-5 pm.
Have Any Questions About This Day Trip From Bishkek?
Ask in the comments section below!