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Five days of trekking around Sary-Chelek reserve

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Sary-Chelek lake

Sary-Chelek lake
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Sary-Chelek reserve 

Sary Chelek lake is located 500 km from Bishkek and 300 km from Osh, in the territory of the Sary Chelek State Biosphere Reserve. The lake lies on the boundary of At-Oinok and Chatkal ranges, at an altitude of 1940 meters. The lake covers an area of ​​507 hectares, has a length of 7.5 km, and a depth of 234 meters. It is the second and third deepest lake in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, respectively. The coastline is covered with dense forests and rocky places in some areas. Sary Chelek is fed by several mountain rivers. 

The water temperature in summer does not

exceed 19 °C and in winter ranges from 0 °C to 4 °C. Sary Chelek in Kyrgyz means 'yellow barrel.' According to legend, there was once an old beekeeper who, one spring, decided to place hives on the shores of an unusually beautiful lake. When the time for harvest had come, the beekeeper was so mesmerized by the golden color of honey, he named the lake Yellow Barrels referring to the barrels full of honey on the shore. Additionally, there is also another explanation to the name of the lake. As autumn rolls around, the golden color of the trees on the coastline reflected in the water form a fabulous whole golden landscape. The Sary Chelek State Biosphere Reserve (area 23,8 ha) is included in UNESCO’s international network of nature reserves. It was established to preserve the flora and fauna of the walnut forests and alpine landscapes.


Category: horseback/trekking 

Duration: 5 days trekking

Level of difficulty: Moderate 

Best season: May 25 – September 30 

Requirements: trekking boots, weatherproof warm clothes, hat, sunscreen, torch, sleeping bag, tent, and sleeping pad.

Itinerary: Karasuu village, Bordu, Okun valley, Karasuu lake, Kotormo pass, Sary-Chelek Reserve – back to Kara-Suu village or Arkyt village

Day 1: Transfer from Osh or Bishkek to Kyzyl-Kol village. Welcome to your guesthouse in Kyzyl-Kol. Dinner.

Day 2: The beginning of the active part of the tour. Trekking up along the Karasuu River and crossing the small hill. Following the river, you can visit nomadic life from the Bordu jailoo(where people live only summertime holding animals). And camping at Bordu(1700m; 18km; approx. 6hrs).

Horseback riding tours

Day 3: Breakfast. Starts the trekking hours following the river. Short picnic lunch. By the way, you can see wild animals, birds, and many kinds of flowers, crossing over Bordu pass and then descending to the Okun jailoo. Camp 2 (1900m; 11km; approx. 5,6hrs). 

Sary-Chelek travel tours

Day 4:  Breakfast. Tour crosses the Toktogul Range over the Kuugandy pass (3000 m). Cross steep and stony. On the top perfect panorama view, you can see the Chatkal range and the Talas Ala Too range. Pass by shepherd’s yurts and animals. Short picnic lunch. Supper and overnight in a Yurt camp near the Kara-Suu lake. Trekking duration – 6/7 hours.

Kara-Kamysh Yurt Camp
Trekking to the Sary-Chelek

Day 5: Breakfast. Cross Kotormo pass (2446 m) into Sary-Chelek National Reserve. Observe stunning panoramas, trees, and wild animals. Visit different lakes. Short picnic lunch. Walking hours – 6/7 hours.


Day 6: Breakfast. Walking through Sary-Chelek orchards and forests. Arrive at Kara-Suu village. Acquaintance with local lifestyle and habits. Short picnic lunch during the day. Shower, supper, and overnight in a local homestay. Trekking hours – 6/7 hours. 

lunch time
Walnut forest

Day 7: Breakfast. Morning departure.


Attention: The above description is given for trekking is 5 days! 

Tour map

Sary-Chelek travel tours
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