Issyk Kul Lake is one of the biggest lakes in Asia. Over 180 km long and 70 km wide is biggest lake in Kyrgystan and of course in central Asia. Location of the lake and amazing landscape around make this lovely place to be magnet for a adventuress like me. Long time was thinking about going to Issyk Kul Lake and finally one spring day 2013 i booked my flight to Kyrgyzstan and start my trip from the dreams.
Thanks to Fly Pegasus low cost airliners from Turkey i was able to find very reasonable price for the flight. Symbolically i start my trip on 2nd of May for my birthday. After some journey i got to Bishkek International Airport .
Pass the control and all that procedures and head to my hotel , place that was located in the city center. Nice and lovely building with cool deco and i would say wonderful service . But as i was going to fall a sleep i was thinking about how gonna be the adventure on the Issyk Kul Lake.
Next day i rent car and head to the lake. 229 km from the capital to Issyk Kul Lake was a journey that we will remember. Great landscape and sometime pure wilderness just prepare us for what we will have later that day.
The Issyk Kul Lake adventure
The area was basically unknown to the Western world until Russian “explorers” like Tianshansky Semeyenov ventured into the mountains nearby. There was greater contact with the East, however, and the Chinese traveler Jan Chan Tzan reached the lake in about 128 BC as part of a 6-year journey of exploration (138-126BC). The first written account of the lake comes from another Chinese traveler, Suan Zsan, when describing his 16-year journey of exploration. The first written example of the use of the name, Isi-kul, dates from an anonymous work – “The boundaries of the world from East to West” – written in Tajik in 982 AD. It also accurately states the size of the lake.
A large part of inhabitants are farmers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, almost all industries ceased to exist. Main means of transportation is with horses and donkeys pulling wooden carriages. Due to the mild climate fruits grow in abundance, and trees filled with apricots, pears, apples and peach are inviting us to try the sweet and on the spot. As there are too many fruits anyway, nobody cares to let a passing by visitor steal a few. Towards the larger city of Karakol, peasants are also selling the sweetest and best quality of their fruits: a kilogram of apricots costs 1 Som (about 2 cents). Melons, dried fish from the lake, grapes and chestnuts are very popular here as well. Prices for us are unbelievably low. Still with an average monthly salary of 25 dollars, a kilogram of apricots at 2 cents must be expensive.
Some dealers also buy in large quantities and transport the fruits over rough roads into 700 km close capital Bishkek or even further into Kazakhstan.
Every Sunday morning, the city of Karakol, with 90000 inhabitants the largest dwelling at the lake’s shore, features a famous animal market. Already at 5 a.m. in the morning, farmers from the nearby region bring their cattle, sheep, milk cows, donkeys, horses and pigs to the market place in order to sell their beloved farmer’s animals. The picture must remember medieval times, with hundreds of wooden carriages lining up, the animals to be sold tied on top or chained to the carriage. Many farmers come from very distant places and have taken several hours to arrive here. Naturally, the richer farmers transport their animals with tractors or by cars.
Issyk Kul Lake with its magnificent sandy beaches, crystal-clear water, mineral sources, a combination of mountainous and sea climate is a fine resort zone making for an ideal holiday. Get healthy, there are many factors, which will help you. Mud and thermo mineral treatments can be booked at the spa but there are natural healing factors too. The steep angle of the sun in the summer at 22C and in the winter with -4C gives you the best of rays. Humidity of the air is an important climatic factor that can make a tremendous difference in a person’s health. With 68% humidity, you get ideal conditions. Clean air, iodized like on the Atlantic shores combined with a low-pressure environment will regenerate you in no time.
People are super friendly in the area. If you need any help they will help you. Landscape is amazing and you can enjoy swimming in summer and of course hiking.
It was my best adventure , not just because was wild …just because was out standing and really beautiful mountain range . Water in the lake is clear and wonderful . Beaches are sandy and well prepare. In winter is great for winter sports but in summer is real resort city .
Kyrgyzstan is cheap country so 4-5 start hotel you can pay for 75-80 euros a night . Something that you pay in other countries for a 3 star hotel.
We leave the country with a smile and promise that lake will be visited once again.