T-5. Reserves of Southern Kyrgyzstan. Sary-Chelek Lake.
Bishkek - Ala Archa - Sary-Chelek - Bishkek
Duration: 10 days
Best season: June - September
Accommodation: hotels, tents, yurts
Tour grade: moderate

The Western Tien-Shan is one of the most picturesque and beautiful parts of the mountains. The main features of this area are its geographical structure, natural and climatic contrasts and abundance of flora and fauna. There are Alpine meadows, mighty Tien-Shan blue firs, Semionov spruce, juniper, walnut, wild apple trees, sogdiana plum trees, almond trees and various bushes. The main tourist destination is Lake Sary-Chelek and the protected woodlands around it. The lake was formed as a result of an enormous landslide, which partitioned off a mountain river. The lake is located at an altitude of 1925 m above sea level in the center of the nature reserve. It is more than 7 kms long, 1.5 kms wide and the greatest depth is 240 m . In 1860, the Sary-Chelek biosphere reserve, which occupies more than 23,8 thousand hectares, was created in this part of the Chatkal mountain range and has a natural boundary at Arkit, originally a geobotanical museum. Plenty of warm sunny days, plentiful rain and snowfalls, mild winters and surrounding mountains, have produced a microclimate and a unique mix of flora and fauna. There are 34 kinds of mammals and about 160 kinds of birds. Wild boar, porcupine, Siberian Capricorn, snow leopard, bear, red deer and fallow deer are all located within the natural boundary of the Terminyak European Bison farm. Some of these can be accessed via the routes offered by "Global Tours Central Asia".

Day 1
Arrival in Bishkek.
Accommodation at the hotel.
Tour in Bishkek or Ala-Archa gorge.
Day 2
Transfer from Bishkek to Lake Sary-Chelek (Arkit village) by car (600 km) along a high-mountain route, including the Teo-Ashuu (3793 m) and Ala-Bel (3250 m) mountain passes, the Chichkan gorge, Toktogul reservoir and the town of Tash-Kumyr (if tourists so wish, we can organize an overnight stop in the picturesque Chichkan Gorge).
Sary-Chelek lake.
Day 3
Easy trekking along the Kara-Suu gorge, observing two high mountain lakes of drift origin. The mountain trek goes along the lakeshores and tourists will see picturesque places with an abundance of local flora. Stay overnight in tents on the banks of the inflowing Chon-Kashka-Suu.
Day 4
Cross the Makmal mountain pass (3610 m), taking in the picturesque view of the Ak-Bel marble wall and the ice-covered peaks of Muz-Tor and descend to the Northern shore of Lake Sary-Chelek. Stay overnight in tents on the lakeshore
Day 5
Rest on the lakeshore. Excursions.
Day 6
Cross the Sary-Chelek mountain pass (3200 m), enjoying the view of Lake Sary-Chelek. The yellow bowl with the fir-tree forest reaching right to the edge of the dark-blue, water, surrounded by the black minarets of mountain peaks and everything magnificently reflected in the clear, crystal water. From the pass, descend to the upper reaches of the Ichkel River (at its confluence with the Khodja-Ata river) and descend further to the 6 other lakes in the Sary-Chelek Lake complex (days 6,7,8). It is possible to trek along the mountain crest via the Kuldambes mountain pass (2950 m) and descend into the Oi-Alma picturesque gorge.
Day 7
Walking around the Rocky Fairytale castle - a unique creation of Nature. Trek via the Aflatun pass and then continue traveling around the Besh-Aral reserve. Stay overnight in tents.
Day 8
Easy trekking downwards along the river Oi-Alma, with numerous inflows in unforgettable places and try delicious mountain honey (there are some high mountain bee gardens) and experience the lifestyle of local shepherds. Stay overnight in a yurt camp.
Day 9
Trekking to the river Aflatun (formed by the merger of several mountain rivers in the bottom of a very mysterious place, Shuguder). According to legend, the local governor hid treasure there during the invasion by Chinghiz Khan.
Day 10
Return to Bishkek.
It is possible to travel through the mountains to Lake Sary-Chelek from the Chui Valley to the Talas region, via some high mountain passes.
Level of difficulty.
This tour can be recommended for the people who are able to make long walks and passes for 5-7 hours a day.
You must take warm clothes , hiking boots, raincoat, sunprotective cream, a hat from the sun, sleeping suck.
Kyrgyzstan travel