Lakes of Kyrgyzstan

Loca­tion: Kyr­gyzs­tan
Sea­son: July — August
Days: 15
Dif­fi­cul­ty: medi­um

Tour price:
from $ USD per per­son.

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.

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. In this beau­ti­ful pic­turesque place you can try fish from Sonkul Lake, Kyr­gyz cheese and a drink of nomad kumyz.

Merzbach­er lake — this amaz­ing lake is sit­u­at­ed at the junc­tion of South Inylchek and North Inylchek glac­i­ers. The lake fills with ice and melt­ed water every year and then breaks under the Inylchek glac­i­er, mak­ing flood. And as a result water lev­el of Inylchek Riv­er ris­es in 2–3 times. Water breaks a tongue of the glac­i­er tak­ing away huge ice blocks with.


Tour program “Lakes of Kyrgyzstan”

Day 1
Bishkek. Arrival to Bishkek. Trans­fer to the hotel. Accom­mo­da­tion. Rest. After lunch city-tour: vis­it­ing Nation­al Muse­um, “Ala-Too” cen­tral square, walk along the cen­tral park of the city. Din­ner.
Day 2
Issyk Kul Lake. Trans­fer at the Issyk-Kul lake – “pearl” of Kyr­gyzs­tan, one of the high­est lakes of the world-182 km long, 64 km wide and 702 m depth. It is sit­u­at­ed in tec­ton­ic gul­ly between Kungei and Terskei Ala-Too ranges. The cool air, warm water and hot sand of beach­es make this spot as favourable place for voca­tions and hol­i­days not only for Kyr­gyz cit­i­zens and for neigh­bor as well. The arche­o­log­i­cal com­plex “Burana Tow­er” (XI cen­tu­ry) and rock-draw­ings (pet­ro­glyphs) will be vis­it­ed en route sit­u­at­ed on the destroyed place of ancient Bal­asag­yn city. Accom­mo­da­tion at the hotel. Rest. Dis­tance – 300 km, time‑5–6 hours.
Day 3
Begin trek. Inilchek Val­ley. Trans­fer to Inylchek to the begin­ning of the trek. We’ll stop in Karakol town for short time to make excur­sion in the town. Vis­it remark­able wood­en Dun­gan mosque built in 1910 in style of Bud­dhist pago­da. Vis­it an ancient Ortho­dox church. Lunch at a restau­rant in the city of Karakol. After lunch, dri­ve along the moun­tain road cross the mag­nif­i­cent Tur­gen val­leys Ak-Su and Ottuk and the pass Chon-Ashu (3822 m) to the Inylchek val­ley, from where we start the trek to Lake Merzbach­er. Camp in the Inilchek val­ley. Dis­tance 280 km, trav­el time 7–8 hours.
Day 4
Hike to the begin­ning of the Inylchek glac­i­er. On this day, you will climb up the Inilchek val­ley along a good trail with a small climb. The beau­ti­ful panora­ma of the Enilchek val­ley will not leave you indif­fer­ent. Dis­tance 10 km, 3–4 hours are on the way. Overnight in a camp at an alti­tude of 2900 m.
Day 5
Hike to the camp called Gli­na. Mov­ing up the glac­i­er along its south­ern slopes. This does not require the use of ropes and oth­er climb­ing devices. Mag­nif­i­cent views of peaks with a height of more than 5000 m and glac­i­ers accom­pa­ny us all day long. Behind the glac­i­er Putevod­nyi stopover for an overnight stay in a place called “Clay”. Dis­tance 8 km, trav­el time 5–6 hours. Overnight in a camp at an alti­tude of 3220m.
Day 6
Merts­bakher glade. Con­tin­u­a­tion of trekking up the Inylchek glac­i­er along the ter­race between the glac­i­er and the slope of the Inylchek-Too ridge to the Merzbach­er glade. Dis­tance 10 km, 4–5 hours are on the way. From the glade of Merzbach­er a view of the South Inylchek glac­i­er and Lake Merzbach­er vis­i­ble in the dis­tance opens. Rest in the glade. Overnight in a camp at an alti­tude of 3460m.
Day 7
Radi­al hike to the Merts­bakher Lake. This amaz­ing lake is sit­u­at­ed at the junc­tion of South Inylchek and North Inylchek glac­i­ers. The lake fills with ice and melt­ed water every year and then breaks under the Inylchek glac­i­er, mak­ing flood. And as a result water lev­el of Inylchek Riv­er ris­es in 2–3 times. Water breaks a tongue of the glac­i­er tak­ing away huge ice blocks with. Time in the way – 6 hours.
Day 8
Altyn Arashan gorge. Heli­copter flight to the Karkara base camp or Mai­da-Adyr base camp then moved to the Altyn-Arashan gorge. In the gorge Altyn-Arashan beau­ti­ful fir for­est and abun­dance of green col­or all this is con­trast in com­par­i­son with Inylchek glac­i­er col­ored in white, brown, and gray. On top of it all group will enjoy bathing in ther­mal springs. Dis­tance-180km, time in the way – 6 hours.
Day 9
Ala-Kel pass. Radi­al hike to Ala-Kel pass (3860 m). The path goes along Altyn-Arashan Riv­er then turns to the right and goes out of for­est area into alpine mead­ows zone. Fur­ther trail goes up the grassy hills to the steep scree slope and then on the top of the pass. From the pass you can see mag­nif­i­cent panora­ma of cen­tral part of Terskei Ala-Too range with its peaks: Karakol­skiy (5281 m), Djig­it (5170 m) and Oguz-Bashi (5168 m). And the turquoise Ala-Kel lake is spread out at the bot­tom of the pass. In the sur­face of mat water the sur­round­ing glac­i­ers and peaks are reflect­ed. Return to the camp, the small rise en route. Time in the way‑7–8 hours.
Song-Kul lake. Trans­fer to Song-Kul lake (400km, 8 hours) along south side of Issyk-Kul lake. The group will enjoy see­ing of land­scapes of Inter­nal Tien-Shan chang­ing like in kalei­do­scope. Song-Kul Lake is sit­u­at­ed at the height of 3016 m in inter-moun­tains non-for­est gul­ly sur­round­ed with not steep ridges (heights no more than 4000 m). From the ear­li­est time this val­ley attracts lots of Kyr­gyz nomads who bring in their flocks in sum­mer time.
Day 11
Radi­al hike to Mol­do-Too ridge. From the range in south direc­tion there is panoram­ic view of Inter­nal Tien-Shan ranges, which stretch­es on all sides as long as pos­si­ble, and in north direc­tion Song-Kul lake. Return to the camp. Acquain­tance with nomad’s life. Horse-rid­ing if clients wish.
Day 12
Kurt­ka pass. Trans­fer over Kurt­ka pass (3173 m) and descent into the Val­ley of Naryn Riv­er along sharply wind­ing road. After cross­ing this val­ley road begins go up and then after two pass­es we reach car­a­vansary Tash-Rabat. Tash-Rabat was built in X‑XI cen­tu­ry on the ancient trade route from Europe to Chi­na and back (Grate Silk Road) and served as guest­house for traders. It is undoubt­ed­ly the most impor­tant exam­ple of his­tor­i­cal archi­tec­ture. Camp near­by car­a­van saray. Dis­tance-240 km, time in the way – 6–7 hours.
Day 13
Radi­al hike to Tash-Rabat pass. Radi­al hike to Tash-Rabat pass (3464 m) along ancient car­a­van route. From the pass you can see Chatyr-Kul lake (the third biggest lake in Kyr­gyzs­tan) sit­u­at­ed at the height of 3530 m, Val­ley of Chatyr-Kul Lake and Toru­gart-Too range (the Kyr­gyz-Chi­na bor­der lays on this range). Return to the camp. Time in the way – 7 hours.
Day 14
Bishkek. Trans­fer to Bishkek (about 500 km, 8–9 hours) along pic­turesque road through the val­leys of Inter­nal Tien-Shan and via Naryn town. Overnight at a hotel in Bishkek.
Day 15
Fly home. Ear­ly in the morn­ing trans­fer to air­port. Fly home.

Tour price “Lakes of Kyrgyzstan” in USD

Group (per­son)
Per per­son
Sin­gle sup­ple­ment in hotels: $130 USD per per­son
Sin­gle sup­ple­ment in tents: $110 USD per per­son

The program price includes:

• Guide ser­vices
• All trans­fers accord­ing to the pro­gram
• Full meals accord­ing to the pro­gram
• Porter ser­vices
• bor­der pass
• Accom­mo­da­tion at a hotel in Bishkek — 2 nights
• Accom­mo­da­tion in a hotel on Issyk-Kul — 1 night
• Accom­mo­da­tion in Altyn-Arashan gorge — 2 nights
• Accom­mo­da­tion in Sonkul in yurts — 2 nights
• Accom­mo­da­tion in Tash-Rabat — 2 nights
• accom­mo­da­tion in 2 local trekking tents

Price doesn’t include:

• Visa
• Insur­ance
• Per­son­al expens­es
• Inter­na­tion­al flights
• Devi­a­tions from the main pro­gram

Additional Information

Required documents



Mov­ing is car­ried out:


In Bishkek, in a guest house.


In cities, dur­ing trips and in base camps — three meals a day.

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