Issyk Kul, the “Côte d‘Azur” of Kyrgyzstan
The Issyk Kul lake is a great place to stay a bit longer. Young and old, Kyrgyz and tourists, paddlers and party animals. Adventurers in search of the wild solitude of mountain peaks and plateaus, a solid chunk of local couleur, colorful cocktails in elegant resorts or deserted beaches. A lake the size of Denmark has something for everyone.
Facts about Issyk Kul that you have to know!
- Issyk Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world. Only Lake Titicaca is bigger.
- The lake is at 60 kilometre at its widest, 182 kilometre at its longest and 668 meter at its deepest.
- It ranks seventh among the deepest lakes in the world.
- The lake is somewhat salinated.
- At the bottom of the lake are the remains of a 2,500-year-old sunken city. Historians and archaeologists of all countries: Go over there!
- Even more fascinating: on the east side of the lake is a Russian test site for torpedo and submarine technology.
In Kyrgyz, Issyk Kul means warm lake, because it never freezes, even during the harshest winters. And in Kyrgyzstan it can get damn cold. Also remarkable when you consider that the lake is about 1,600m above sea level and is surrounded by mountains covered with eternal snow.
Throughout history, the Issyk Kul region has always been a place of rest. An oasis on the Silk Road and popular holiday destination during the Soviet era. The rest of the country still looks a bit condescending at the relaxed Issyk Kulians that still live in this region.
Nowadays many tourists find their way to the lake. In general: mass tourism (as far as we can talk about mass tourism in Kyrgyzstan – but think of resorts, clubs and cocktails) in the north mainly agriculture and deserted beaches in the south. The main towns that are build on the border of the lake are Cholpon Ata in the north and Karakol in the east. Cholpon Ata can be considered as the Lloret of Kyrgyzstan, The party city of Kyrgyzstan.
Points Of Interest along the Issyk Kul lake:
- Barskoon Waterfall: a beautiful waterfall in the Barskoon valley. A fun given fact is that here Yuri Gagarin trained to become an astronaut.
- Fairy Tale Canyon: also called Skazka Canyon.
- Bokonbayevo: Traditional eagle shows can be seen in Bokonbayevo.
- Solenoye Ozero: this is a salty lake where you literally float because of the high salt content. It is certainly a special experience!