Song Kul, an ode to a fierce and nomadic Kyrgyzstan
Song Kul cannot be described in words. Vast green summer meadows between the mountains (called jailoos), crystal clear waters, majestic snow-capped peaks and, spead over the landscape, couple of yurts and some grazing horses. When the sun sets, a casts a golden glow shines all over its beauty. Here you can imagine yourself in a paradise somewhere at the end of the world. The name Song Kul would therefore mean “The Last Lake”, which is very appropriately chosen.
This large and beautiful lake is rather difficult to reach. There is no public transport, so arranging your own transport is necessary. Also keep in mind that you have to go “off road” quite a bit. The lake is only accessible from June to September, as there is too much snow in the rest of the year (the lake even freezes completely between November and March). The weather is every day different, all year round, due to the high altitude (it can actually snow every day of the year). With that taken into consideration, it is adviced to prepare every trip to Song Kul very well.
In summer a number of shepherd families tend to let their livestock graze here. There are no facilities at the lake, but the shepherds are more than happy to provide you with shelter, food and a horse ride. The area (in the middle of the Tian Shan Mountains) is perfect for horseback riding and hiking. Therefore, you should try renting a horse with these shepherds.
In the last weekend of July and August, various tour operators usually host traditional Kyrgyz Horse Games there. Interested? Contact us if you would like to attend.
Small note on fauna and flora: the bird watchers among us will looked amazed at the golden eagles, falcons, storks, and cranes that soar over the lake. And if they’re really lucky, they might even spot a Bar-headed goose, the bird that could fly over the Mount Everest.
Song Kul, facts & figures
- Song Kul, also called Song Köl, Son Kul, Songköl, Song-Kö or Соңкөл in Kyrgyz.
- The lake is a freshwater lake in the Tian Shan Mountains in central Kyrgyzstan, in Oblast Naryn.
- Coordinates: 41° 50′ 0″ N, 75° 10′ 0″ E.
- The lake is located on an altitude of 3016 meters, is 29 kilometre long and 18 kilometre wide, with a maximum of 13 meters deep.
- Song Kul is partly located in the Zapovednik Karatal-Gapyryk Nature Reserve (Каратал-Жапырык мамлекеттик коругу) and has been recognized as a Wetland of International Importance in the Ramsar Convention since 2011.
- Reachable from June till September.
- Average Temperature: -3,5°C.