Lakes of Kyrgyzstan

Most travelers vote this the most appealing, accessible and welcoming of the former Soviet Central Asian republics. This program combines elements of mountain hiking and vehicle transfers that allows discover the vast territory of Central and East Kyrgyzstan.

One of the interesting places to see is Issyk-Kul. Lake Issyk-Kul is basically a huge dent, filled with water, in the Ala-Tau ranges that form the northern arm of the Tien Shan. The name means “ warm lake”. A combination of extreme depth, thermal activity and mild salinity means the lake never freezes, its moderating effect on the climate, plus abundant rainfall, have made it something of an oasis down through the centuries. The Issyk-Kul region was off-limits to foreigners in Soviet times. Locals mention vast, officially sanctioned plantations of opium poppies and cannabis around the lake, though most of these had disappeared under international pressure by the early 1970s.

Another one is Song-Kul lake. Alpine lake Song-Kul, at (3013m), is one of the loveliest spots in central Kyrgyzstan. All round it are lush pastures favored by herders from the nearest villages, who spend summer here with their animals. Visitors are welcome, and this is sublime place to camp and watch the sun come up. The lake is jumping with fish, and you might be able to trade tea, salt, sugar, or vodka for milk, kurut (hard cheese) or full-bodied kymys.

Trip rating and details :

• 15 days

• 12 days trekking

• maximum height -4001 m

• 11 nights – camping

• 3 nights – hotels

• best time to visit- June 15 – Sept 20

• medium trekking, no special equipment is needed.

Day 1: Arrival to Bishkek.

Day 2: Issyk-Kul Lake. Sanatorium “Issyk-Kul”.

Day 3: Echkilitash

Day 4: Upper reaches of the Tyuz River.

Day 5: Tyuz pass (4001 m). Chon-Tash.

Day 6: Mertsbakher glade.

Day 7: Radial hike to the Mertsbakher lake.

Day 8: Helicopter flight to “Maida-Adyr” base camp, Altyn-Arashan gorge.

Day 9: Ala-Kel pass (3860 m).

Day 10: Song-Kul Lake.

Day 11: Radial hike to Moldo-Too range.

Day 12: Kurtka pass (3173 m). Tash-Rabat.

Day 13: Radial hike to Tash-Rabat pass (3464 m).

Day 14: Bishkek.

Day 15: Fly home.

Services :

All transfers; full board; double room accommodation at hotels and in tents during the trek; guide-interpreter; cook, cook-assistant and porters during the treks; sightseeing as noted in the itinerary; ecological and road fees; entrance fees and permits; helicopter flight; visa support, registration at OVIR.

More detailed itinerary

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