"Issyk Kul - world's second largest mountain lake" Ysyk-Kol Oblasty by Eish

Ysyk-Kol Oblasty Travel Guide: 51 reviews and 165 photos

The developed North shore

The North shore is accessible from Bishkek and used to be the playground of the Russians in USSR days. There are sanitoria along the shore, and it is here that tourism has developed. Other places we visited included
- the petroglyphs at Cholpon Ata (carved between 8BC and 5BC),
- many gorges to walk in (Altyn Arashun and its hot springs is one),
- Karakol - 15km away from the lake on its eastern-most point, and its mixture of religions and cultures (see the Dungan Mosque and the Russian Orthodox church) as well as the Przevalsky museum. This is also the gateway to the Tien Shan mountains.
- Jety Oguz gorge to see the 7 bulls and hike or camp
Of course, there is the lake itself - swim, windsurf, and boat.

The arid and poor South shore

Here we soaked up deserted beaches, with no concrete structures in sight. The shore is arid and bare, often with reeds or wind-beaten rocks. Apparently this is one of the poorest parts of Kyrgyzstan.

We stayed in a yurt camp run by Dostuck.

From here we visited Barskoon gorge - magnificent!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lake is fun, good walking nearby, interesting history
  • Cons:The Russian sanitoria - not the sanctuary we wanted
  • Last visit to Ysyk-Kol Oblasty: Aug 2003
  • Intro Written Oct 29, 2007
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