Considered one of the gems of Kyrgyzstan, the Sary-Chelek Nature biosphere is a favorite vacation spot by Kyrgyz people. Probably because of the beautiful lakes, mountains and wildlife...
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Sary-Chelek
With a mild climate (not much swow in Winter), the Sary-Chelek Nature reserve is home to diverse fauna and flora including rare species such as snow leopard and lynx. It is quite a paradise for hikers and horseback riders.
In also include 6 lakes, including Sary-Chelek itself, the third largest lake in Kyrgyzstan.
The reserve was created in 1959 to protect this amazing Nature. And Unesco designated it as a global Biosphere in 1978.
Reservoirs along M41
As we left Arslanbob and its walnut forest, we drove down the valley and rejoined M41. Along the road with saw the Naryn River and some reservoirs. To colors were quite stunning.
Road to the lake in the Sary-Chelek Reserve
From the gate, the road up to the lake is quite steep. It is a bumpy ride!
The drive all the way to the main lake was quite stunning. However the weather was not on our side.
Roughly at 2/3 of the road there is a platform with a panoramic view.
The largest lake of the reserve is Sary-Chelek. It is the only one I saw as we had only an afternoon in the reserve. The 5 others are smaller.
This lake is at approximately 1870m in altitude, 234m deep, 7,500m long and with a width ranging from 250m to 2280m.
Boat tour on Lake Sary-Chelek
Boat tours were proposed on the lake. We registered but our turn never came. We abandonned when we learnt that the boat broke down in the middle of the lake with the group before us.
I think it would have been beautiful... maybe another time.
Swimming in Lake Sary-Chelek
Our guide Masha and I decided to go for a swim. The lake does not have beaches. There is just a path to an area where you can climb down and get into the water. Not the most practical.
It was quite refreshing 🙂 . The only annoying things that you cannot see in those pictures is that we were quite an attraction and 30 to 40 locals we watching us enjoyed our swim from the shore... Not the peaceful moment I was hoping for.
We stayed at one of the Homestays in the Arkit village at the bottom of the reserve. We were well taken care of with a lot of food.
Our guide Masha and I went exploring the village. Cows were roaming free.
I promise I have not photoshopped the cow is that photo. The colors were crazy like that!
There is a beautiful little mosque hidden in the trees:
We fell in love with that old bus, that seem to still be functionning and taking the kids to and from school:
We had the opportunity to exchange with some of the locals. I have no picture but we stopped by the small shop and there you could get Voldka by the glass!
Want to see more potraits? Check the Kyrgyz people article.
On the road
The road to and from the reserve has some itneresting geological features. There are on private land so we were not able to get closer, but it was already cool from far away.
I have such a great zoom...
This rock, located near the small town of Kala, is a popular spot for couples with fertility issue. Wandering why...
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Do you like swimming in cold high altitude lakes?