The city itself a main hub for tourism in the region, Karakol describes its rich history through the monuments, museums, and religious institutions that line its city streets. Whether used as a homebase for a mountain trek or as a city break destination, Karakol has much to offer all kinds of visitors.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
Visitors may also wish to check out the local history museum located in the western part of town, which reflects the history of the city, major developments and also famous people of the region, for unique insight into the city’s past.
Issyk Kul Lake
Issyk Kul Lake - the world’s second largest saline lake - is located near Karakol and is one of the main attractions to the city. Originally a Soviet torpedo testing site, the lake is named “Hot Lake” in Kyrgyz because - thanks to its high salinity - it never freezes. Today, the lake is a popular destination to swim, beach, and fish.
Learn about Russian Exploration
For more history lessons, pay a visit to the grave of Nikolai Przhevalsky - one of the original explorers of Central and Eastern Asia - which is located just north of the city. Also nearby is a museum dedicated to the early exploration of the area.
Taking in Karakol's unique architecture, with influences ranging from Chinese to French, is a great way to view the different cultures and traditions that have inhabited the city.
Worth a visit within the city center are two buildings, very similar in structure: one, a wooden mosque, the other, a wooden Russian Orthodox church - the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The mosque was built by Chinese artisans in the 20th century, and the cathedral, built before the turn of the century, has undergone a restoration.
The snowcapped Tien Shan mountain range is a great place to go skiing in Central Asia. In fact, the Karakol ski base is one of the most popular ski resorts in the region, boasting both cleared and forested trails.
The Regional Museum
To learn about local and regional history, focusing particularly on the physical landscape, explore the Regional Museum, which includes an exhibit of the area’s geological history as well as one detailing the Issyk Kul Lake petroglyphs.
The Tien Shan, a large mountain range running along the border of Kyrgyzstan and China, is located to the south and east of Karakol, making the city an excellent starting point or homebase for a mountain trek.
Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.
- 7 days / 6 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $5,900
- 8 days / 7 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $5,300
- 14 days / 13 nights
- Price Per Person
- From $8,600
In the northern Kyrgyzstan town of Karakol, it’s hard to find any better place to stay than the award-winning, family-run Green Yard Guest House. Take its location for starters. Set in the foothills of the majestic Tien-Shan mountains, the area offers spectacular views and trips to the nearby ski resorts or majestic gorges are only minutes away. The rooms too, are bright, warm and comfortable, with a choice of ‘luxury’ or ‘standard’ to cater for different tastes and budgets. All rooms come with satellite TV, refrigerators, Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with bathtub - perfect for a long hot soak after a day of enjoying the slopes or mountain adventure. The hotel’s restaurant downstairs cooks up both national and European dishes whilst also providing a cozy and family-friendly atmosphere.
Argo Guest House
With Lake Issyk-Kul to the west and with the hiking, mountaineering and skiing in the Tian Shan mountains to the south and east, Karakol is a great city for adventurous travelers to base themselves. Cozy and friendly accommodation can be found in Karakol at the charming Argo Guesthouse. It is conveniently located in the city center, near to the sights, with a private car park and easy links to the surrounding areas of natural beauty for those outward-bound guests. This compact little haven can accommodate up to 14 guests across its five rooms with single, double and suites for four people. All are simply and pleasantly furnished with comfortable beds, fresh linens, satellite television, WiFi and and en-suite bathrooms with toiletries. Tasty, home-cooked meals featuring local dishes are available on request and guests can complete the authentic experience in the guesthouse's Russian Spa - known as a ‘Banya’.
Kyrgyzstan Goes Well With
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.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
- Jay Tindall
Karakol is unlike any other part of Kyrgyzstan. Its scenery, its diversity of people, its attractions, and even its cuisine are all unique and have a wonderfully authentic feel. And after my kitschy Issyk Kul lake experience, unique and authentic were two traits I was craving.
- Dave Stamboulis
Dave Stamboulis travels through the wildly verdant Jyrgalan Valley and over the Sary Mogul River to discover a Kyrgyzstan that is quite different than one might expect.
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