In the western Tien Shan Mountains, between the Chatkal and At-Oinok mountains ranges, sits the Sary Chelek Biosphere Reserve. Inside the reserve is Lake Sary Chelek (1878m), a freshwater lake located 500km outside of Bishkek and 300km from Osh.

Lake Sary Chelek

Lake Sary Chelek’s shoreline is blanketed with trees and there’s very little shallow water available at the water’s edge.  The lake is fed by various rivers, one of which is the Sary Chelek River itself, as well as subterranean waters. Any runoff from Lake Sary Chelek flows into the Tuskual River. 

The literal translation of the name “Sary Chelek” is “yellow ladle.”  As legend goes, the lake received its name from a beekeeper that was tending bee hives near its shore.  He found the honey’s yellow shades so captivating that he named the lake “yellow ladle.”  Of course, some people think the origin of the name comes from the reflection of the golden leaves that decorate the trees in autumn, making the water’s surface look like it’s got a brilliant, gold veneer. 

You can approach Lake Sary Chelek via the steep gorges to the north and the Talas Pass, or you can approach from the village of Arkey 20km to the south.  If you want to get to the northern shore of the lake, you can reach it via boat or horseback if you’re starting out at the base of the reserve. 

Tours, where you will visit Lake Sary Chelek:
19 days

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The price depends on a group size. The price 3224 USD per person is available for groups of 4 people.
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