10 Things to Do in Issyk Kul Province That You Shouldn't Miss

September 7, 2017 Vergie Nakamoto

Issyk-Kul Region (Kyrgyz: Ысык-Көл облусу, Isıq-Köl oblusu, ىسىق-كۅل وبلاستى; Russian: Иссык-Кульская область, Issyk-Kuljskaja oblastj) is one of the regions of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Karakol. It is surrounded by Almaty Region, Kazakhstan (north), Chuy Region (west), Naryn Region (southwest) and Xinjiang, China (southeast). It takes its name from Lake Issyk-Kul ("warm lake"), the second largest saline lake in the world, which never freezes despite its altitude in the Tian Shan mountains.
Restaurants in Issyk Kul Province

1. Altyn Arashan

Karakol, Kyrgyzstan +996 555 497 772
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 140 reviews

Altyn Arashan

Reviewed By NomadyTravel - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Altyn Arashan is beautiful, difficult-to-access valley south from Karakol. May be accessed from Karakol (by walk or offroad vehicle) or from Ala Kul lake. The valley is a great base for hiking and horse riding in the area. Good for less experienced hikers, who want to reach the lake Ala Kul. The simple settlement in the valley offers fair accommodation services (guest houses and yurts), horse riding and thermal-water basins. May be visited during all 4 seasons. The ride from Karakol takes 2-3 hours, hiking the same route 5 hours.

2. Issyk-Kul Lake

Tian Shan Mountains, Karakol, Kyrgyzstan +996 554 136 904
Excellent
67%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 440 reviews

Issyk-Kul Lake

Reviewed By NickRichards38 - Europe

Issyk-Kul lake is a beautiful resort waiting for mass tourism to happen. When I first started visiting the lake some 10 years ago, the Sovieto-Russian culture was still a major influence. Today, while a lot of Russians do go there the place is opening up to a broader more international type of tourist. The hotels are starting to offer the type of amenities westerners expect, starting with free wifi and restaurant menus in English. Again. it's a resort waiting for mass tourism to happen but in the meantime I will be going there again to enjoy the sun, the lake, the dried fish and the excursions to local sites of interests.

3. Ala Kul Lake

Karakol, Kyrgyzstan +996 554 136 904
Excellent
94%
Good
6%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 50 reviews

Ala Kul Lake

Reviewed By SaliJill - South Dakota

This is a strenuous hike, that some even make a day trip out of from the hot Springs. Unfortunately, the day trippers are missing out on the stunning views of the Karakol Valley as well as the lakeside setting of the western part of the lake. I'm glad I did it. I wish I had known and planned to take more days to hang out and enjoy the place (and I took more time than most). Because it's stunning as well as one of the more easily reached lakes (and most publicized in guidebooks, photos and postcards), it's becoming heavily trodden. I went in early July and reached the pass with 40-50 others that day. This is only the beginning of the trekking season. I wish the National Park would use the fees charged to enter Karakol Valley (250 soms) and tent camp (150 soms) to do some trail maintenance (lots of erosion already taking place) and put in some solid foot Bridges (few water crossing were made wading through ice cold water). Don't pay anyone for camping other than the 150 soms to the National Park rangers. Early June trekkers had to dig through waist deep snow or didn't make it, so don't hike too early in the year.

4. Jeti-Oguz Canyon (Seven Bulls Rocks)

Kyrgyzstan +996 709 511 155
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 85 reviews

Jeti-Oguz Canyon (Seven Bulls Rocks)

Reviewed By Paulette A - Glass House Mountains, Australia

The Jeti-Oguz Canyon containing the Seven Bulls Rocks near the entrance is a wonderful scenic retreat. The Seven Bulls Rocks are a great sight in themselves being a large colourful rock formation like a Dragon"s Spine. You then follow the trail into the canyon beside the large bubbling mountain stream. We went in October and there was a light dusting of snow on the Mountains and the leaves had all turned yellow and golds. The trail is a gentle hike opening up into a wide valley. Apart from a few locals driving up the road we had the canyon to ourselves for a couple of hours whilst we had a leisurely but pleasant hike. Just wonderful rural and almost untouched mountain scenery.

5. Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathederal

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathederal, Karakol 722360, Kyrgyzstan +996 773 247 324
Excellent
47%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 144 reviews

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathederal

Reviewed By William899 - Walsall, United Kingdom

The church is just off the Main Street and was originally built without the use of nails. However, earthquakes have de-stabilised the building and now plenty of nails were visible. The outside is better than the interior which has the familiar icons but where no photos are allowed.

6. Nikolai Przhevalsky Museum

Ak-Su, Karakol 722360, Kyrgyzstan +996 709 511 155
Excellent
40%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 99 reviews

Nikolai Przhevalsky Museum

Reviewed By Megan P

Complete with stuffed animals, beautiful sketches, diary pages and maps, this museum gives a fascinating insight into the explorations of Nikolai Prezhevalsky.
Most labels are in both English and Russian, and a guide is available to answer questions.
While his routes and discoveries (flora, fauna etc.) are well documented, other aspects of his travel - military and political reconnaissance at the height of the Great Game - are notably absent. It's well worth doing some additional Reading to properly understand more of the story of this impressive man.

7. Dungan Mosque

Karakol, Kyrgyzstan +996 709 511 155
Excellent
31%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 132 reviews

Dungan Mosque

Reviewed By William899 - Walsall, United Kingdom

Built by Chinese members of this religious and cultural group who had fled their homeland, the building has very good wooden carvings and it resembles a pagoda. We weren't allowed inside but it was easy to see through the windows. There were clean toilets in the courtyard. All the female members of our group had to wear brightly coloured, head to toe cloaks with hoods which produced brilliant photos..

8. Monument N.M. Przhevalsky

Dzerzhinsky Street, Karakol 722360, Kyrgyzstan +996 709 511 155
Excellent
59%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 68 reviews

Monument N.M. Przhevalsky

Reviewed By martyncymro - Coimbra, Portugal

Situated in the grounds of the Nikolai Przhevalsky museum I recommend talking the short walk though the Gardens (turn right after the museum) to the monument. It's an impressive structure and an excellent photo opportunity. A few metres beyond the monument there are views of the lake.

9. Karakol Ski Base

Karakol, Kyrgyzstan +996 772 534 081
Excellent
59%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
3%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 121 reviews

Karakol Ski Base

Reviewed By LechBK - Warsaw, Poland

If anyone speaks to local people, it seems to be obvious, everyone is proud of their Ski Base. For skiers the most important is the snow. This winter was not so cold and there was
not much snow. Artificial snow was also not available, Many
skiers especially from Russia, have gone to Chembolak where
snow in the Winter is guaranteed.

10. Canyon Fairy Tale

Tosor, Kyrgyzstan +996 705 054 805
Excellent
72%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 64 reviews

Canyon Fairy Tale

Reviewed By Danchee - Zagreb, Croatia

We stopped here while returning to Bishkek from Karakol. And found it to be a magical place! Would you like a true Indiana Jones experience, exploring narrow rocky passages and stirring up dust and sand under your boots? Here you go. Beware of wasp nests and heat and you will be amazed by the views.

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