The crown jewel of the Tian Shan, Lake Issyk-Kul is 6232 sq m of sparkling blue paradise. The second largest saline lake in the world, its name in Kyrgyz means «hot lake»— though surrounded by spectacular snow capped peaks, the water never freezes. Silk Road traders stopped here to recover from the grueling trek over the passes of the Tian Shan, and it is still the most popular destination in Kyrgyzstan to relax for both tourists and locals.
Karakol is the regional center. On Sundays see a tradition which is reminiscent of Silk Road times, the famous animal bazaar. Shepherds from surrounding regions travel long hours to bring their livestock— on foot, by cart, by tractor, by car— even by motorcycle. Other cities in the region include Cholpon-Ata and Balykchi.
The mountains in Issyk-Kul rise over 7000 m, with Khan Tengri and Pobeda Peak being popular destinations for intrepid mountaineers. Trek to the massive Engelchek Glacier and the «dissappearing» Lake Merzbacher.
Attractions: Engilchek Glacier & Lake Merzbacher, Mt. Khan Tengri, Pobeda Peak, Jeti-Oguz, Lake Issyk-Kul Reserve, Fairytale Canyon