Ecotourism and Lakes in Kyrgyzstan


In Kyrgyzstan, you can not only actively relax with the whole family, but also enjoy the harsh beauty of the mountains and the wealth of fertile valleys. Here you can go hiking, cycling or horseback riding, go hunting or fishing. Lately in Kyrgyzstana new type of tourism is developing – photography. Due to the pronounced altitudinal zonality, in one or two days you can visit 4 climatic zones, which are distinguished by a variety of flora and fauna.

The infrastructure for outdoor activities is most developed in the Chui valley and in the vicinity of Lake Issyk-Kul . The Kungei-Ala-Too ridge rises above the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul; resort villages are usually located at the mouths of the valleys, from where you can go to the mountains or to the beach. Tourists will be interested in visiting the Semenovskoye and Grigoryevskoye gorges. The more massive Terskey Ala-Tau ridge rises above the opposite coast of Issyk-Kul. There are many beautiful gorges here: Altyn-Arashan, Ak-Suu, Karakol, Chon-Kyzyl-Suu, it is useless to try to list them all. The Jety-Oguz gorge (seven bulls) stands out especially, at the exit of which there are, like seven guards, seven remnants made of red stone.

In the Chui valley there are amazing landscapes of the Ala-Archa, Alamedin, Kegetinsky, Issyk-Ata and Ak-Suu gorges. There are many beautiful waterfalls in the vicinity of Bishkek, among them the most famous are Kegetinsky, Belogorsky and Golubinsky. On the basis of the Ala-Archa Gorge, the Kyrgyz State Natural Park “Ala-Archa” was created.

According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, the recreation area “Arstanbap (Arslanbob)” is located on the southwestern slopes of the Ferghana Range, 70 km from the city of Jalal-Abad . The territory has a complex relief. The Arstanbap zone is called a paradise due to the climate and the world’s only large tracts of walnut and fruit forests that grow at the foot of the Babash-Ata ridge. There are two very picturesque waterfalls in the vicinity of the Arstanbap village: The Big waterfall falls from an eighty-meter height among rocks hidden behind bright greenery. A small waterfall breaks down from a densely overgrown wall with a height of about 35 meters. Thickets of walnut, apple and cherry plum attract numerous animals and birds here.

Sary-Chelek Nature Reserve – one of the most remarkable places in Kyrgyzstan – is located in the Jalal-Abad region. The area around Lake Sary-Chelek has been a nature reserve since 1959. For many tens of kilometers there are continuous thickets of walnut and fruit trees. Some areas of walnut fruit forests are a kind of geobotanical museums. They combine tree species inherent in Siberia and typical for different places in the Tien Shan: walnut and wild apple, plum and Tien Shan spruce, fir and juniper.

In the Naryn region, there are the Kapchygai and Kyokyo-Meren gorges of strict and majestic beauty. Aksu-Dzhabagly State Reservelocated in the western tip of the Talas Ala-Too ridge in the Western Tien Shan. The reserve occupies a mountainous area at altitudes from 1300 to 4200 m above sea level. In a relatively small area of the reserve, there are animals characteristic of various landscapes in Europe, North Africa, Western and Central Asia. The rarest and most interesting predator of the reserve is the snow leopard.


Truly, Kyrgyzstan is not only a mountainous, but also a lake country, there are more than 1900 lakes, of which 84% are located at an altitude between 3000 and 4000 m above sea level. Most of the lakes are small, and only 16 of them are larger than 1 km2. Most of the lakes of Kyrgyzstan are flowing and freshwater, brackish waters are only near drainless lakes – Issyk-Kul and Chatyr-Kul. The weak salinity of these lakes can be explained by their comparative youth and the fact that there are few dissolved salts in the rivers flowing into them. The 3 largest lakes in Kyrgyzstan: Issyk-Kul, Son-Kul and Chatyr-Kul were formed tectonically. Among the lakes formed during mountain blockages or landslides, there are quite large freshwater ones: Sary-Chelek, Kara-Suu and Kulun. Among the lakes of Kyrgyzstan, there are several genuine wonders of nature – these are Issyk-Kul, Son-Kul, Chatyr-Kul, Sary-Chelek, Lake Merzbacher.

The largest lake and pearl of Kyrgyzstan – Issyk-Kul is the second deepest alpine lake in the world. It is located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level in a tectonic depression between the Terskey and Kungei-Ala-Too ridges. More than 80 rivers flow into it, of which the largest are Tyup (length 105 km) and Jergalan (length 81 km). The water in Issyk-Kul is surprisingly clear (can be seen to a depth of 20 m) and can change its color from turquoise to sapphire blue. The water in it never freezes, although it is covered with a crust of ice along the banks, for which the lake was called “hot”. In the mountains surrounding Issyk-Kul, there are many beautiful and relatively easily accessible mountain lakes. In the upper reaches of the Chon-Kemin valley, a bewitching sight opens – Lake Zhassyk-Kol, attracting with its blueness and flexible outlines of the coast. One of the well-known tourist routes along the valley of the Karakol River leads to the glacial lake Ala-Kol, in which ice floes float even in summer.

Lake Chatyr-Kul is the highest of the largest lakes in the Tien Shan. The bowl of the lake is located between the At-Bashi and Torugart-Too ranges at an altitude of more than 3500 m above sea level. The water in the lake is a beautiful yellowish-green color. It is drainless, the main tributary of the lake is the Kek-Aigyr River, 45 km long, which is fed by melting glaciers and snow. The south-east coast of the lake is a favorite nesting place for Indian mountain geese, listed in the “Red Book” and a variety of ducks.

Lake Son-Kul – the largest freshwater and second largest body of water in Kyrgyzstan. It is located within the inner Tien Shan at an altitude of 3016 m above sea level, 90 km northwest of the regional center Naryn. The water surface of the lake is very dependent on the nature of the lighting and cloud cover: it turns purple, then dark blue, or suddenly – unexpectedly bright red. In summer, different species of ducks, gulls and other waterfowl nest here. In July, a festival is held on the alpine lake Son-Kul, the program of which includes equestrian competitions and the preparation of dishes of national cuisine.

Sary-Chelek – one of the most beautiful alpine lakes, it is located at an altitude of 1873 m above sea level. Steep and, most often, almost sheer shores go into the blackening depth of the lake, reaching 234 meters. To the south of the lake there are picturesque pillars of weathering Kara-Dzhygach. To the north is the Kara-Toko area – a region of many high-mountain lakes. To the west of the Chatkal Range is a picturesque group of seven lakes Chunkurchak.

A real miracle of nature, Lake Merzbacher is located in the upper reaches of the Northern Enylchek glacier. It is about 4 km long and about 1 km wide, with a depth of 40 to 80 meters. Here you can observe the rarest picture, characteristic of the Arctic regions of the oceans. Blocks of greenish ice torn off from the glacier form icebergs of bizarre shape. The lake, filling up, raises icebergs and ice floes, which blocked the entrances to the ice caves at the bottom. With a roar, the water begins to leave the lake and, pulling the ice floes to the breakthrough, clogs it again. About 30 km she has to go through the ice in order to escape into the bed of the Enylchek River, where then the flood rages for 5-6 days. Glacial Lake Merzbacher is named after the famous German traveler who discovered it in 1903.

Lakes in Kyrgyzstan