While Kyrgyzstan is known for its beautiful, overflowing mountains, travelers shouldn’t forget the gems resting within them: the alpine lakes of Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan contains over 1,900 alpine lakes, some gargantuan and some so small you won’t find them labeled on a map. Each and every lake is completely different from the others due to the massive diversity of landscape, elevation, and weather found in Kyrgyzstan. It’s impossible to list them all, but here are a group of 6 lakes that will give you a better idea of what the lakes in Kyrgyzstan are like.
LAKE ISSYK KUL, KYRGYZSTAN
In Kyrgyzstan Issyk Kul is by far the most popular and visited lake because of its fame and beauty. Lake Issyk Kul is the world’s 2nd largest alpine lake (6,236 sq km ; 2,408 sq mi), sports brilliant blue waters that never freeze even in the coldest winters, and is ringed in the majestic, snowcapped mountains of the Tien Shan. Lake Issyk Kul is so large that if you couldn’t see the mountains in the background, you would think it were an ocean!
LAKE TULPAR KOL
Lake Tulpar Kol (3,500 m) rests in the province of Osh in the area that skirts the bottom of Peak Lenin, one of Kyrgyzstan’s 7,000+ meter peaks. This Kyrgyzstan lake is surrounded by soft green mountain swells that extend up into sharper green peaks, then are immediately followed by snow laden mountainsides reaching up into the clouds. Horseback rides to the lake are available from a nearby village and the lake is also close to a base camp for those interested in summiting Peak Lenin.
LAKE KEL TOR
Lake Kel Tor (2,700 m) located near the Kegety Gorge is a gorgeous brilliant blue lake bordered by spruce forests, tall meadows, and rippling green mountains. The mountainsides bleed a deep, rich green color and are covered in wildflowers in the spring and summer.
LAKE SON KUL
Lake Son Kul (3,016 m) is a large, tranquil Kyrgyzstan lake the sprawls gracefully in the midst of green, high altitude pastureland that’s considered the most beautiful in Kyrgyzstan.
Around the lake are random yurts and herds of horses, yaks, and sheep with young shepherd boys directing their way. There are no buildings or hotels in the area, just yurts, the land, and the peacefulness of the lake.
Translated as “the disappearing lake,” Lake Mertzbacher is the phoenix of Kyrgyzstan lakes. Located at an altitude of 3,304 meters, this lake has 2 pools, an upper and a lower. Twice a year, the lower pool empties into a connecting river and is gradually reborn by glacier run-off.
LAKE KEL SUU
Of all Kyrgyzstan lakes, Lake Kel Suu (3514 m) has the most mysterious atmosphere. A small lake surrounded by sheer rugged cliffs with hidden caves, Kel Suu’s waters radiate a vibrant turquoise color that offset the surrounding dark rock. This lake is extremely remote and can only be reached in July and August. The best way to explore the crevices and caves of the cliffs is by boat.
When traveling in Kyrgyzstan, everyone will tell you that Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk Kul is a must see, and it is! But don’t stop there. All the lakes in Kyrgyzstan are gorgeous and picture worthy, especially the ones that are more remote and harder to reach. Recommended ways of reaching Kyrgyzstan’s alpine lakes are by 4×4, trekking, cycling, and horseback riding tours. Just pick a tour that interests you and dive in. You’ll have no regrets exploring the alpine lakes of Kyrgyzstan!
Photo by Daniel Korzhonov, photo by Michael Schmelev, photo from source: www.mountpix.livejournal.com