Issyk-Kul Lake

Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul Lake is not only one of the world's few remaining ancient lakes, estimated to be an incredible 25 million years old, but also the second-largest alpine lake on the planet. Surrounding the lake are the snowcapped Tian Shan mountains, towering as high as 13,000 feet in the sky. The lake itself reaches depths of over 2,000 feet.

Boasting a long and storied history, the lake was once a stop along the ancient Silk Road. Issyk-Kul was also once used by the Soviet Navy as a torpedo testing site, during which time foreigners were not permitted to visit the area. The lake was a popular summer escape during the Soviet Era, and continues to attract sun-seekers from around the world, especially in the warm month of August. A mountain pass will soon connect Issyk-Kul and Almaty, allowing for easier visitor access to the beautiful lake.

Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul Lake is not only one of the world's few remaining ancient lakes, estimated to be an incredible 25 million years old, but also the second-largest alpine lake on the planet. Surrounding the lake are the snowcapped Tian Shan mountains, towering as high as 13,000 feet in the sky. The lake itself reaches depths of over 2,000 feet.

Boasting a long and storied history, the lake was once a stop along the ancient Silk Road. Issyk-Kul was also once used by the Soviet Navy as a torpedo testing site, during which time foreigners were not permitted to visit the area. The lake was a popular summer escape during the Soviet Era, and continues to attract sun-seekers from around the world, especially in the warm month of August. A mountain pass will soon connect Issyk-Kul and Almaty, allowing for easier visitor access to the beautiful lake.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Ancient Scythian Cemeteries

Issyk-Kul Lake, with its ancient and mysterious history, is home to huge burial mounds of historic Scythian Kings. These are marked with silent stone statues to commemorate the civilizations that once inhabited this area. It’s an enchanting sight, also dedicated to the legendary Ferghana horses and is decorated with symbols of solar representations and mythical creatures.

Beaches

Issyk-Kul Lake is home to beaches that stretch for hundreds of miles, perfect for enjoying some sun and swimming in the lake’s cool, refreshing waters. Those enjoying the sun should, however, be careful - due to Issyk-Kul’s elevated position, skin can succumb to sunburns much quicker than in lower-lying areas.

Bird-watching

Due to its salt content, Issyk-Kul Lake never freezes, making it an important stopover point for migratory birds. Bird-watchers can come to catch glimpses of the birds who graze and breed in the foothills of the lake, including the Common Redshank, Kentish Plover, Common Snipe, Little Bittern, Ferruginous Duck and Demoiselle Crane.

Fishing

With several species of fish, including Soman, Chebak, Carp and Trout, combined with the area’s incredible beauty, Issyk-Kul Lake is a popular fishing destination. Fishing should, however, be done with caution and moderation, as the lake has been a victim of overfishing in the past.

Hiking

There are many hiking routes in the steep mountains surrounding the lake, allowing visitors to get up-close and personal with the area’s flora and fauna. Rushing rivers and hot springs make wonderful stopping points along a hike at Issyk-Kul Lake.

Water Sports

In the lake’s most popular areas, like Cholpon-Ata, it’s possible to rent rowboats and even jet-skis, making the lake even more attractive for those who wish to have some fun in the sun. There are always plenty of sailboats on the lake as well, being a popular boating destination.

kyrgyzstan Regions

KYRGYZSTAN Regions

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

Multi-Country Specialists

kyrgyzstan Goes Well With

Remote Lands

Explore 400+ Journeys in
33 Countries Across Asia

Where to go

Choose Your Destination

What to do

Choose Your Interest

When to go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Brunei
Cambodia
China
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Macao
Malaysia
Maldives
Mongolia
Myanmar
Nepal
Oman
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Siberia
Singapore
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Thailand
Tibet
Turkmenistan
Uae
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
Amazing Landscapes
Architecture
Art
Beaches
Bicycling
Celebrations
Cuisine
Diving
Glamping
Heritage
Luxury Cruises
Luxury Trains
Motorcycling
Off The Grid
Responsible
Romance
Skiing
Spirituality
Sports
Trekking
Tribal
Unesco
Wellbeing
Wildlife
With Kids

Filter to Select Your Itinerary

Travelogues

Top 20 Travelogues Articles Of 2019

Author
Tyler Roney

With our second full year of coverage in 2019, Travelogues was proud to bring you hundreds of articles and even our very first print magazine this year.

Read More

Still Time to Book an Asia Winter Getaway with these 10 Hot and Cold Destinations

Author
Travelogues

If you missed our Hot and Cold Winter Issue, here is a round up of the best places to go in Asia in the winter; there's still time to book a vacation for the holiday season.

Read More

Remote Lands Cold Winter Pick: Kyrgyzstan for the Scenery and Skiing

Author
Travelogues

Kyrgyzstan is the destination skiers dream about: isolated, rustic, and full of off-piste options for adventurous types.

Read More

Building a Yurt on the Shores of Issyk Kul Lake

Author
Richard Collett

Richard Collett travels to Kyrgyzstan to build a yurt on the shores of Issyk Kul Lake with a traditional builder, from the wooden willow planks to the tunduk.

Read More

With the Eagle Hunters of Kyrgyzstan

Author
Richard Collett

Aidar and Nursultan, Kyrgyz eagle hunters, train their deadly predators on the edge of Issyk-Kul Lake, a window into the past and a demonstration of nature's raw power.

Read More

World Nomad Games: The Most Unusual Sporting Event of the Year

Author
Richard Collett

Richard Collett travels to the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan for an inspiring story of sporting greatness, cultural pride, and dead goat polo – also known as Kok Boru – in one of Asia’s most interesting competitions.

Read More

What Others Say

Two Couples from North Carolina & Florida

Two Couples from North Carolina & Florida

“All the logistics and ground transportation were executed flawlessly.”

Aman Jet Expeditions

Bali to Luang Prabang

Indonesia - Cambodia - Vietnam - Laos

May 9 - 24, 2021

Kyoto to Greece

Japan - Philippines - Indonesia - UAE - Turkey - Greece

October 1 - 17, 2020

Wait List Only

A Mindful and Cultural Journey

Vietnam - Laos - Bhutan - India - Sri Lanka

September 8-24, 2021

Venice to Utah

Italy - Morocco - Dominican Republic - Turks and Caicos - USA

February 16 - March 2, 2021

The Grandest Tour

Japan - China - Vietnam - Thailand - Bhutan - India - Greece - Montenegro - Italy

March 21 - April 11, 2021

Kyoto to Greece

Japan - Philippines - Indonesia - UAE - Turkey - Greece

April 16 - May 2, 2021

Stay Informed: Newsletter