Exploring the Area
Bokonbaevo village or Bokonbay, a center of the Tong district, the South Shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. The village was established in 1912 and named Koltsovka. The locals tell the story about Russian immigrant Koltsov, who lived at the valley near the shore at the area of Kok-Kytan and Kun Chygysh. Mostly Kyrgyz villages Tash-Dobo, Dong-Talaa, Kara-Suu located at the mountains and slopes. Later on, all villages grew and merged into one big settlement. In 1944 the village was renamed after Joomar Bokonbaev, famous Kyrgyz poet and dramaturge.
Local saying “Tondun topuragy altyn” – “The Ton’s soil made of gold” – explaining such an incredible natural and cultural heritage of the area. In comparison to most of the Issyk-Kul region villages, in spite of the big number of Russian immigrants, Kyrgyz tribes in this area keep all traditions and cultural uniqueness as it is in 19 century.
Where to Stay
Guesthouses and home-stays in Bokonbaevo village can be found by famous booking platforms. These are popular and main accommodation sites. As usual, the type of stay is Bed and Breakfast. The price range of 350-1500 soms per person per night. Some hostels just opened. Yurt stays available in nearest mountain slopes, at the lakeshores and gardens of the guesthouses. Yurt staying is one of the main highlights of traveling in Kyrgyzstan. If you have your own tent and want to settle up your tent that is also welcomed by the notifying of the hosts.
Eating and Drinking
Always possible to eat out at guesthouses by giving an order in advance. At the village center, you can find local cafes and bistro with the menu list of the local, Asian and European cuisine. The village center has plenty of grocery shops Azat, Eldik, Tuura-Tam. Aydyn Kol. You can buy and cook yourselves in the kitchen of your guesthouse.
What to See and Do
Bokonbaevo is a gateway for most of the adventure activities as trekking and horseback riding tours to the slopes of the Terskey Ala-Too.
Salbuurun – traditional Kyrgyz hunting, combining horse, eagle and taigan- hunting hound. Traditional archery is also popular among the hunters. Ancient times hunting was a part of the livelihood, the number of getting known hunters made a joint group huntings and bring the stock for the whole community. A number of strict rules keep and protect nature and people. These days possible to join for real hunting in a wild.
Eagle hunting demonstration will show how to keep and make hunting with a Golden Eagle. Hunter will show the skills of a trained eagle on a rabbit or dummy.
Yurt construction demonstration located at the famous Kyzyl-Tuu village near Bokonbaevo. The whole village makes a production of yurts – traditional nomads dwelling. Wooden carcass handmade and interior designed by felt and patterned weavings.
Shyrdak show and traditional handicraft workshops demonstrate the production of Kyrgyz felt carpets – Shyrdak and Ala-Kiyiz – listed at the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Within one hour you have a chance to see and participate in old nomadic skill to make a thing from the wool. You can create your small carpet and get it with us as a memory from your holidays.
Issyk-Kul Lake swimming beaches. The southern shore is less fed up as northern. You can enjoy the wild and stony beaches, for walking and enjoy the views. For swimming, the nearest beach is Keklik, near Tong village. Need to be careful of stones and underwater currents.
Panoramic view of Shatyly – the best one-day trekking or horseback riding tour to see the panoramic view of the whole are and Issyk-Kul water area.
Boz Salkyn – the slopes of the Terskei-Ala-Too and winter pastures for the local shepherds, popular with alpine meadows – jailoo and fir tree mixed forests. The tasty ever kymyz, mushrooms and enjoy staying in a yurt with local shepherds.
Bar-Bulak, Kaji Sai, Juuku, Jety-Oguz Hot Springs – Tien-Shan mountains are young ones, thus the ring od the tectonically active hot sources around the lake. You can go for mineral hot waters in these spots. Some have a modern stone made bath with better facilities, some at the very basic soviet styled old resort areas.
Salt Lake – Tuz Kol – located only 400 m near the Issyk-Kul Lakeshore and contains 132 grams of salt per liter. The water and muds of the lake have unique therapeutic properties.
Skazka Canyons (Fairy Tale) – red sandstone formations, bizarrely making shapes of the camel, snake, giants, dragons and more. Stunning views can be caught during the sunsets.
The nearest gorges as Barskoon and Jety-Oguz with alpine meadows and waterfalls.
How to Get Around
Bokonbaevo can be reached from the Western bus station from Bishkek for 5-6 hours and 300 km. Marshrutka or mini-bus is the most popular public transportation in Kyrgyzstan. One seat costs 250 soms. Shared taxi will charge 350-400 soms per person per seat. Private taxi for 4 sits gets 4000 soms.
Also, you can take a transport going to Karakol by the southern side and ask for a drop at Bokonbaevo. But the price would be higher.
Transportation is available from Karakol and from Balykchy for 120-150 soms.