Issyk-Kul Lake

Exploring the Area

Issyk-Kul Lake is the second largest mountain lake in the world at the altitude of 1,607 meters above sea level, depth of 668 meters asl. Lake is situated at the territory of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve. Issyk-Kul Lake is 182 kilometers long and about 60 kilometers wide, with an area of 6,236 square kilometers.

Issyk-Kol is translated as a “warm lake” from the Kyrgyz language. It is true that it never freezes. Lake is surrounded by snow-capped high mountain ranges – Kungoi Ala-Too (“sunny” slopes) on the North and Terskei Ala-Too (“shady” slopes) on the South part. These high mountain ranges give the lake mild microclimate year around. About 118 rivers and streams flow into the lake (Jyrgalan, Type and even mineral hot springs), and no rivers coming out. So that it gives healing creativeness for the waters and salinity of 0,6%. The biggest towns and villages around the Lake are Karakol, Cholpon-Ata, Balykchy, Bosteri, Kyzyl-Suu, Bokonbaevo.

Where to Stay

From the Soviet times, all Issyk-Kul region was famous for sanatoriums with hot springs as Jyrgalan, Jety-Oguz, Ak-Suu, and others. Many of the vacation resorts situated at Cholpon-Ata town and nearest north shore villages. Today some of them work well mostly in summertime. Some of them belong to the government, some of them at the actives of trade unions. Privatized Resort Areas are good enough, with comfortable accommodation places, meals, and entertainment. Most of the private homes during the summer season became guesthouses and could be rented for the summer season for the different price ranges. Most of them now available to book by online platforms.

Eating and Drinking

Most of the big towns and villages around the Lake have interesting places for eating out. Local cafes, restaurants, and home-based cafes are available. Possible to buy local fruits, vegetables and cook at the kitchen of guesthouses and homestays.

What to See and Do

There is a wide range of interesting sightseeing places around the Lake. Local ethnographical museums are available exactly in every big town and village. Famous Museums are Cholpon-Ata Museum, Przhewalsky Memorial Museum in Karakol, Stone Museum in Bokonbaevo, etc. Plenty of gorgeous exactly in every village goest to the slopes of Ala-Too Ranges as Grigorievsky, Semenovskiy, Jety-Oguz, Barskoon. Places with hot mineral spring exactly in every village of Issyk-Kul, making natural hot springs ring with Tamchy, Chok-Tal, Oruktu, Jyrgalan, Ak-Suu, Jety-Oguz, Saruu, Bar-Bulak villages.
Legend about Issyk-Kul.

How to Get Around.

Good highway road around the Lake gives an opportunity for self-driving, biking and using public transport. Minibusses go from Western Bus Station in Bishkek by two routes Bishkek-Karakol-Bishkek by North shore, and Bishkek-Karakol-Bishkek by South shore. Shared taxies are also available.

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