Lake Issyk-Kul meaning ‘the hot lake’, is the world's second-largest alpine lake that stretches over 170km long and 70km across.

The lake boasts of a combination of extreme depth, mild salinity and thermal activity. The lake does not freeze even in the brutal Central Asian winters over an altitude of 1600m. Swimmers in the vivid blue waters framed by the remarkable backdrop of the snow-dappled Ala-Too mountains enjoy the beauty of the lake.

118 rivers and streams flow into the IssykKul Lake, Djyrgalan and Tyup being the largest of them. It is fed by springs, including many hot springs, and snow melt. The lake has no current outlet.



IssykKul contains a highly endemic fish biodiversity that includes four seriously endangered species. The numbers of all fish species have declined markedly due to the combination of over-fishing, cessation of lake restocking with juvenile fish from hatcheries and also due to the heavy predation by two of the introduced species. Four commercially targeted endemic fish species included in the Red Book of Kyrgyzstan include-

  • Schmidt's dace
  • Issyk-Kul dace
  • Marinka
  • Sheer or Naked Osman

The Sevantrouts were introduced into the Issyk-Kul in the late 1970s. While this fish is a threatened variety in its "home" lake, Lake Sevan in Armenia, it has a much greater chance to survive in Lake Issyk-Kul. The endemic Sevan has, however, destroyed the native species of the lake.

Around Issyk Kul

The Towns and villages around Lake IssykKul include the following-

  • Tamchy
  • Balykchy (the railhead at the western end of the lake)
  • Koshkol
  • Tyup
  • Cholpon-Ata (the capital of the north shore)
  • Barskon
  • Karakol (the provincial capital near the eastern end of the lake)

Things To Do In IssykKul

  1. Learn How To Build A Yurt
  2. Have A Drink On The IssykKul Sunset Boat Cruise
  3. Culture And Cuisine With The Dungan Food Experience
  4. Eagle Hunting And Archery With The Salburun Federation
  5. Drink A Coffee (And Help The Community) At Fat Cat Cafe
  6. Stretch Noodles In A Lagman Class
  7. Marvel At History With The Cholpon Ata Petroglyphs
  8. Get Outside On AKarakol City Walking Tour
  9. Fall In Love With The Jyrgalan Valley
  10. Stay AtBel Tam Yurt Camp
  11. Soak In The Hot Springs At AltynArashan
  12. Run Around The Fairy Tale Canyon
  13. Find Peace AtBarskoon Waterfall
  14. Visit The Seven Bulls At JetiOguz

The lake's southern shore is overshadowed by the stunning TeskeyAla-Too Range of the Tian Shan mountains. The KungeyAlatau peak of the Tian Shan runs along with the northern shore of the IssykKul. Visit the beautiful mountains and the lake. Call us or visit our website.