Trip to Sonkul & Issyk-Kul Lakes - ITMC Travel

Adventure & cultural tours in Kyrgyzstan

Trip to Sonkul & Issyk-Kul Lakes


Best season: July – September

Location: Tien-Shan, Kyrgyzstan

Duration: 5 days

As part of the program, we offer you to visit two unique lakes, which are not only valuable water resources of Kyrgyzstan for centuries, but also the pride of the Republic, its heritage. You will certainly feel the special energy when you stay at the coast, enjoy the extremely fresh air, and discover the facts and myths associated with the lakes. You will see real life of the native inhabitant and get great impressions of the incredible starry sky, when you spend the night in the yurt camp.

Issyk-Kul Lake

Perhaps this is one of the most amazing high-altitude objects not only in Kyrgyzstan, but also on the planet. The largest reservoir in the Republic is situated at the altitude of about 1600 meters above sea level. The maximum length of the water area is approximately 180 km and the width is 60 km. The maximum depth is 700 m.

Issyk-Kul takes the second position in size and quality of water resources in the world ranking, behind only the Baikal Lake; and it is seventh deepest lake in the world.

Due to considerable filling of the lake, it is not cooled and is not covered by ice all year round. About eighty rivers and streams flowing down the slopes of the Tien Shan and empty into the lake, but no one flows out. That is why Issyk-Kul water accumulates all the useful minerals received from rainfall and rivers. So, properties of Issyk-Kul water are closed to the sea quality.

The lake is surrounded by coniferous forests and snow-covered mountain peaks. We can say that this area is truly fascinating and beautiful. There are a lot of legends about the lake. People say that there is an ancient city at the bottom of Issyk-Kul and you can see it through the water when the weather is good.

Tourists come here to admire the stunning views of the lake and also to improve the health. Microclimate here is unique: crystal clear air is filled with iodine ions, salts, ozone; water contains all the useful chemical compounds and elements that give health-improving effects for people. Fans of outdoor activities can enjoy the local fishing, horseback riding and various sports activities provided here.

Son – Kul Lake (or Song – Kol)

It is the second largest freshwater lake in Kyrgyzstan, located at the altitude of 3000 meters. Width along the coastline is 97 kilometers, and the maximum depth is about 20 meters. It is bordered with the Moldo-Too Range from the south, and Sonkol-Too from the North. A lot of people call Son-Kul “the soul of Kyrgyzstan”. The atmosphere here is very peaceful: fresh air, clean water, and the world of plants and animals is rich and varied.

Color of the water surface of the lake changes several times a day, from deep blue to bright green; it depends on the angle of sun’s rays fall.

There are several dozen types of fish and other waterfowl in the lake. Rare animals live in the surrounding area: snow leopard, red wolf, fox, etc. Flora of Son-Kul is also full of valuable species and bright colors.

The climate here is sharply continental, due to the altitude of location. Lake surface is covered with ice from September to May. Air temperature reaches +25 in summer.

Son-Kul Lake is beautiful at night also. When the sun goes down, the sky is full of bright stars. Stars seems so close that you can touch them by hand.

1st Day. Arrival

On this day your airplane will land at the “Manas” airport, where you will be met by our representative. Further you will have the group transfer to the capital hotel 3*. After check-in and some rest in the room you can walk along the streets of the main city of Kyrgyzstan, taste unusual dishes of local cuisine in one of the cozy restaurants.

 Attention! Meal in the hotel is not included.

2nd Day. Bishkek – Son-Kul

You should get up early this day and after Breakfast we will arrange your transfer to the shore of Son-Kul Lake. The distance is about 360 km. It is planned to stop for lunch in Kochkor Village.

We will reach yurt camp, located on the coast of Son-Kul Lake, in afternoon only. The coast of the lake is the place of nomads staying since ancient times. Local shepherds come here to the present day and stay here before the cold weather set in. There are numerous of yurt camps at the pastures. Programme participants will be accommodated in one of the camps.

You can see here what “virgin nature” means.

You will enjoy tasty Kyrgyz dinner, try national drinks kymyz and airan and listen legends and history of this place located on the Great Silk Road.

3rd Day. Son-Kul – Issyl-Kul

The group will go to the shore of Issyk-Kul Lake after traditional breakfast in the yurt. On the way we will visit the Museum of ancient petroglyphs in the open air, where we keep some artifacts from two thousand years BC. Unique drawings of animals and plants still clearly visible on the stones, as well as action painting, which reflects people life in different eras.

The next stop is Issyk-Kul Lake. You will explore the area, discover some historical facts and have the opportunity to swim in the high mountain lake. Guest house is available for tourists.

4th Day. Issyk-Kul Shore – Bishkek

After breakfast, it is planned to come back to the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The distance is approximately 250 kilometers. We will stop on the way for excursion to the Burana tower and the ruins of the ancient city of Eastern Turks Balasagun, which was built on the Great Silk Road in the XI – XIII centuries. Comfortable rooms will be prepared for you upon arrival in city hotel 3*.

5th Day. Bishkek – Airport

Transfer to the capital airport after breakfast in the hotel. Departure.


Weather in the area of Son-Kul and Issyk-Kul lakes is quite cold at night.  It is highly recommended to bring warm clothes and a raincoat.

Yurt Inns in the area of Son-Kul Lake operate from mid-June until the mid-September.

Accommodation in any Yurt Inn is usually 4-5 persons of the same gender in a yurt.  However, if the Yurt Inn is not fully booked at the time of the group arrival, double occupancy may be arranged at no extra cost.

Trip itinerary and services can be changed by request.

Higher level accommodation in Bishkek is available at extra charge

Price does not include:

  • Kyrgyz visa – USD 50 per person
  • OVIR (passport office) registration – USD 15 per person
  • Full Board 

Note: 3 star hotel accommodation in Bishkek can be amended to 4 or 5 star hotel at extra fee

Group of 4 people – USD 420 per person

Group of 5 people – USD 370 per person

Group of 6 people – USD 335 per person

Group of 8 people – USD 290 per person

Group of 10 people – USD 270 per peson

*Prices for other size groups available on request, please contact us.

Price includes the following service:

Twin bed accommodation in the hotels – standard rooms


  • Minivan for groups up to 4 people
  • Minibus for groups of 5 – 10 people.

Meals: according to the programme itinerary

Bottled water (1 liter per person per day)

English speaking local Guide

Entrance fees for museums