3 days and an amazing lake Issyk-Kul


In the north-east of Kyrgyzstan among mighty mountain ranges that make up the Nothern Tien-Shan is located a big hollow of the Issyk-Kul Lake sometimes called “Kyrgyz Sea” because of its size. The hollow stretches from west to east over 275 km, from north to south over 146 km. Lake Issyk-Kul (in Kyrgyz “hot lake”, in ancient Turkic “Holy lake”) is regarded as a pearl of the country and whole Tien-Shan. The first record of the Issyk-Kul  Lake is found in the Chinese chronicles of the end of II century B.C.  where it is called “Dje-Hai” (“warm sea”).  The lake is located in the north-east of Kyrgyzstan in a wide tectonic hollow formed more than 50 milliard years ago. 

The surface square of this lake located at the altitude of 1607 m above the sea level makes up 6236 sq.km. According to its size it is on the 23th place among words biggest lakes. Moreover, it is one of the deepest lakes of the globe. It follows only the Baikal Lake, the Kaspian Sea, the Tanganika and Nyasa Lakes.  Issyk-Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world after the Titikaka Lake in South America. Its length  is about 178 km, and its width makes up 60 km, the coastline reaches to 668 km and the maximum depth makes up 668 meters.  The coastline of the lake is much  indented – there are about twenty picturesque bays and creeks. 

A narrow lakeside plain adjoins straight to the lake crossed b many rivers.  The lake has no outflow, but about eighty rivers and brooks flow into the lake. That is why the water in the lake is a bit salty, (almost 6 gr/liter), not drinkable but very transparent.  The main sources supplying the water to the lake are the Djyrgalan , Tup, Karakol, Djuuka, Ton, Djety-Oguz, Chon Ak-Suu, Ak-Terek, Barskoon, etc.  rivers.  

As a result of the climate changing and increase in using water of the rivers flowing into the lake for irrigation, the water level in the lake has decreased recently, but, according to the latest information, this process has begun developing it the opposite direction.

The Issyk-Kul Hollow is encircled by two massive mountain ranges – Kungei Ala-Too in the north (length 285 km, Chok-Tal – 4771 m), the Terskei Ala-Too in the south  (length 354 km, Karakol – 5280 m).  The mountain ring seems to fence the lake hollow from penetrating of the cold air from the north and the hot air from  the deserts of Central Asia that is why the climate here is pretty mild and makes the Issyk-Kul lake one of the biggest holiday centers of Central Asia. The water temperature in summer reaches +224 degrees, in winter - +4 degrees Celsius   (this is the reason of its name’s origin). The famous Russian explorer Semenov Tien-Shanskii called Issyk-Kul  “Aquamarine in a silver frame of the mountains”.

The name of the lake means “hot lake”  because it doesn’t freeze up all year round. The climate of the lake hollow is warm, dry, temperate, mountain-sea, favorable for  and treatment in sanatoria and health resorts, having holidays, tourism, water and mountain-skiing sports: few rainy days, many sunny days, high level of ultraviolet radiation, ionized air, good sandy beaches,  clean air, comfortable temperature (air temperature is +22-28 degrees, water temperature is +19-24), medicinal mineral waters and mud, plenty of fruit and vegetables – all this will create wonderful opportunities for rest and health recovering.    Various sanatoria, health resorts and holiday hotel concentrated mainly on the northern shore of the lake enable this opportunity . Cristal pure water, mineral springs together with mountain and at the same time mild, almost marine climate, enable a unique opportunity for resort rest with mud and thermal treatment. Lake Issyk-Kul is a true pearl of Central Asia.

Best time: May – October
Activity: historical-educational, cultural 
Duration: 3 days

1.Day Bishkek. Manas Airport. Excursion of the city yurt B/L/D 
2.Day  Transfer to the Issyk-Kul Lake.  Homestay B/L/D 
3.Day Transfer back to Bishkek Homestay B/L/D 

Price for groups:

2 – 3 pax - 535 USD per person

4 – 5 pax - 353 USD per person

6 – 7 pax - 311 USD per person

8 – 9 pax - 276 USD per person

10 + pax - 255 USD per person


Price includes:
1. Transport according to the program
2. English speaking guide
3. Accommodation:
                - Bishkek – yurt
                - Cholpon-Ata – House of Local family
4. Meals – full board (B/L/D)
5. Excursions according to the program
6. Water 1 l. per day per person

Price does NOT include:
1. Any changes in the program
2. Alcohol beverages
3. Excursions not included in the program
4. Tips for guide, driver and hotel personnel
5. Any personal expenses in hotel: international calls, bar, etc.
6. Visa (Please look over this information in case you need visa)



Duration: 3 days 
Location: Kyrgyzstan. Issyk-Kul. 
Best time: May - October 
Activity: Rest, Auto-tour, Excursions
People quantity: 2 - 12 

Day 1. Bishkek 

Arrival to Bishkek, meeting at the “Manas” airport, Transfer to Bishkek. Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan and the biggest city in the country. It’s a distinctive administrative unit and is a town of the Republican Submission. The very first name of it was Pishpek, then it was called Frunze and only in 1991 it finally got the name it has now - Bishkek . Its population is about 1 million people. The town is located on the north of Kyrgyzstan in Chu valley at the foot of Tian-Shan mountains about 40km from Kyrgyz ridge and about 25km from Kazakh border.

Bishkek has many places for you to see. There are some large museums, the most interesting are: the Historical National museum, the Arts museum and the museum of M.V. Frunze. The center of the town is dappled by the show bills of Opera and Ballet Theater, Russian and Kyrgyz theaters, Bishkek Theater of Drama and National Philharmonic of T.Satylganov.

There are many places reminding people of the Soviet Union period of time. The influence of that epoch is mostly felt in the center where you may still see the row of soviet architecture buildings: Philharmonic, Government building, Historical museum, Victory monument. But you will also be able to see the modern samples of Kyrgyz architecture: Manas monument, monument of Courage, the monuments of akyns (Kyrgyz poets), manaschi (Kyrgyz Manas legend tellers) and local rulers of different times. The interesting fact is that Bishkek is the only town in Central Asia that still has the monument of V. I. Lenin on the central square.

Bishkek remembers its history and will definitely tell it to everybody who wants to visit this small but cozy capital. The town is also known to be the most ecological town of the world due to a lot of green parks keeping the shadow and coolness even on the hottest summer day.


Day 2.  Bishkek - Cholpon-Ata 

This day we will be transferred to the town called Cholpon-Ata. On the way we will visit the historical-architectural complex of Burana Tower.

Burana tower (minaret) is located on the territory of an ancient settlement 90km far from Bishkek. The historians and archeologists proved that the settlement was once the capital of Karakhanid Khanate and was called Balasagun founded in 10th century AC. Burana tower is the central monument of this complex. After the excursion we will continue our tour to Cholpon-Ata – the town which is located on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan – Issyk-Kul lake. Issyk-Kul Lake is the second biggest mountain lake after Titicaca in South America; it is one of 25 biggest and 7 deepest lakes in the world. The length of this lake from west to east is 178 km, from south to north is 64km, depth is 668m. Issyk-Kul Lake ranks second in the transparency of water after Lake Baikal. The climate here is very soft, the average temperature of the summer is +17 C, it seems that at such a low temperature of summer the winters should be severe but vice versa the winters here are quite warm, average temperature in January is -3 C. The number of hours of sunshine is 2700 that is even more than at the Black Sea. The local people call this lake the “Pearl of Kyrgyzstan”. As a small bead put on the chain of mountain ridges it definitely justifies this name. The “Pearl” is located on the height of 1609 m above the sea level and enclosed from two sides by the ranges with the poetic names Terskey-Ala-Too (turned from the sun) and Kungey-Ala-Too (turned to the sun). Upon arrival our accommodation point is in one of local Families. Free time for rest and enjoying yourself, you may swim in the waters of the lake. 

Day 3.  Issyk-Kul – Bishkek 

In the morning we may visit Cholpon-Ata petrogliphs (stone inscriptions) left on the stones by ancient artists. On the territory of 42 hectares there is a great amount of stones of different size with petrogliphs, which were drawn by the ancient settlers of this territory. To see all the pictures in this open air museum one will need several days, each drawing is very interesting and contains the whole history of ancient people. There are many places like that around Kyrgyzstan and the one in Cholpon-Ata contains pictures of the Bronze Epoch. First tribes to leave their pictures were Andron (II mil. BC.), then Saki who left the pictures of the “animal style” and the very late stone inscriptions are dated by Turkic time (VI-IXc. AC.). The cotton copy of the biggest boulder we may see in the historical-cultural museum in Cholpon-Ata town. The artist put on the canvas which is of the same size as the real stone a herd of mountain goats, a group of hunters and tamed snow leopards. The stone inscriptions you will see have the pictures of leopards, single and pairs of deer, camels, riders which prove the fact that Great Silk Road was once going through these territories. We may also visit the historical museum of Cholpon-Ata.

The other option is to rest on the beach of the lake and enjoy swimming in the water. In the evening coming back to Bishkek. Farewell dinner. 

Day 4. Departure