Blogs from Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan, Asia


Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 17th 2015

After a few admin days in Bishkek sorting our visas and permits for Tajikistan and Uzbekistan we headed off to one of the places we'd been looking forward to from the time we started planning our trip. Song Kol is simply beautiful. We stayed two nights in a yurt, which was warm and comfortable and which we had to ourselves. Did some horse riding, for which I'm still paying the price every time I sit down, walked kilometres, and for the rest of the time laid about in the sun, for which I'm also still paying the price after burning my belly - I'd forgotten how strong the sun is at 3000m elevation. For perhaps the first time on this trip we've found somewhere we'd like to come back to in the future to do some ... read more

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol September 9th 2014

So Monday, was a goodnight with UK bike group in CBT in Nayrn. Met up with Steve from 'Motorexplorers', who sets up trips to China, with people who apply. John & Colene (two up on GS, from USA), Jason, Chris (kiwi), Herve (French). Brian, Kurt (Norwegian), a good team who all met basically enroute through Europe. We left Nayrn full of fuel & food, to travel south towards China, to stay at another Yurt at Tash Rabat 'Caravaneserai' - an old Silk road boarding house dating from 10th century. The road to China is quiet, and this site was 15km to east on gravel track, so quite a remote spot. The stone structure was well kept, something the Kyrgyz's are prowd of. My 2nd Stay in Yurt was cold, as I was recovering from short but ... read more
Tash Rabat
A dormatory, one of 31 rooms.

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol September 6th 2014

So after fitting knobbly tyres in Nayrn, set off for Yurts at Song kul, so up over 3250m top. Essentially looking for CBT 'Bayrt' place, but there are about 6 different groups of Yurts, so I stayed at first one, about 500m from lake shore, "Would I like supper & breakfast" for 1000som or £10 approx. So I had a Yurt one of 15, some for guests others for housekeeping, it had 4 steel beds and wood stove. Authentic wood structure, lattice on sides, with 60 odd wooden poles to support a wooden ring in the roof. Various covers pulled over structure, with layer of polythene to add a water proof layer. Various rugs add warmth and a nice feel. Supper was soup with 1 vertebrae of sheep in it, followed by grilled fish (with head ... read more
old and new.
steel beds in authentic Yurt.
water boilers

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 31st 2014

Kyrgyz's are very proud, they celebrate independence with speeches and perade of government staff! Costumes have vibrant colours, a happy day for all. Horse racing event followed, but in some remote field 25km away, hard to find. Headless goat wrestling and chase girl on horseback, very fast furious. Supper with Peter and Katharina, two diplomats away from Bishkek for weekend. Wise words like:- In spring the roadside Mellon's come from Afghanistan, which are sold by weight, so to increase profit the're injected with river water, but same rivers are infected with Typhoid!. The vodka sells in Bishkek at €2/ltr, they use if for screen wash in cars, I think Russian pilots do opposite and drink aircraft screen wash fluids. As diplomats they often involved with unlucky travelers, to resolve mess, like a Swiss couple who purchased ... read more
Blue outfits
Yellow outfits
Play national anthem

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 30th 2014

Just a short jolly to Song Kol, but 150km plan turned into 260km is about norm for my under estimate. Also surprised by 'blue-ness' the lake, high in mountains at 3000m altitude.... read more
Song Kol
Horse hobble
Blue lake

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 28th 2014

Drive up to Nayrn at 2000m was just another 150km south. But staying at high altitude does make doing anything just bit breathless. First night is a CBT (community based tourism project), where local families provide a room or flat, mine was single room in flat with 3 bedrooms, on bottom floor of apartment block, but with little secure parking. To cut story short, some 5 youths disturbed bike at 11pm so moved to secure hotel parking 1km away. CBT price at 700som or £7 is cheap. Next night in posh hotel £8, big double room & nice breakfast. Jolly to Tourgart border, at 180km bit further than I thought, hope for spectaclar views of big mountains, some 60km roadworks = bumpy roads, otherwise perfect highway. China border is lonely spot, dozen big lorries, did meet ... read more
view from top.
30m trench for new road
road to China

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 20th 2014

At Song Kul lake, we woke to a magnificent morning - clear crisp blue skies and warm sunshine. Breakfast in the yurt was again astonishing to see what the 'lady in charge' could conjure up with such primitive facilities and with the nearest shop being 100kms away. Only negative of the place was the crude 'bathroom' facilities ie none ! After breakfast, we left the lake, and drove thru the valley and headed for Bishkek. Passing thru Balychky on the shores of Lake Issy Kul, we spotted the roadside stalls selling a huge range of fresh fruit and racks of smoked fish. Presumably caught in the nearby lake, there were many varieties of fish including trout, salmon, a flat fish etc. John could not resist buying a large 2kg smoked salmon at a bargain NZ $7 ... read more
Son Kul lake at dawn
Reservoir on road to Naryn
Lake Issy Kul

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 18th 2014

Torugut Pass was the initial destination today - the pass marking the border between China and Kyrgyzstan. Today was also the start of our 'organised' tour with the Snow Leopard travel company with whom we have contracted driver and guide services from Kashgar, thru Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Wakaan corridor in Afghanistan. Started well with our new transport picking us up from our Kashgar hotel and we were soon off down the highway towards the border. Great road for once, and we soon were at the first of five checkpoints - the Chinese customs and immigration checkpoint. This only opens up at 1100 so we had a wee delay but finally we were though with no hassles. There was another 75 kms of dreadful roads, one police check, one passport check thru spectacular mountain valleys climbing ... read more
Blood red Sandstone rocks
Hair raising switchback road up near vertical ascent to the high plateaus
Song Kul glacial lake - simply magical

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol August 5th 2014

It’s not often that I begin my day downing 4 shots of vodka before 11:30 in the morning. Equally rare is starting the day witnessing the slaughter of 2 goats. In Kyrgyzstan’s Song Köl, both are apparently quite common. The lake is a major tourist draw and there were hundreds of tourists passing through during my 3 days there. Most people seemed to be coming from or going to another destination but I just did what was supposed to be a quick in and out. It turned out to be much more difficult to leave than arrive resulting in an extra night stay which was fine because had I left on schedule I would have missed all the goat and vodka activity. Now winding up almost 2 weeks in baking Uzbekistan. Today was the worst for ... read more
Song Köl Rainbow and Yurts
Soccer Mom Transported Mr. Goat
Pretty Sure He's Done This Before

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Song Kol November 18th 2013

Voici quelques photos de notre 2e étape au cœur du Kirghizstan en septembre 2013. Nous avons trouvé la grisaille à Kochkor, au centre du pays et un peu de neige près du Lac Song-Kol, mais cela ne nous a pas empêché de rouler à vélo et profiter des grands espaces. Nous avons également bénéficié de la chaleureuse hospitalité Kirghize dans la famille de James à Kochkor, et sous la yourte en altitude. Nos hôtes ont à chaque fois disposé des corbeilles de fruits, de biscuits, ainsi que des chocolats et d’autres petits snacks de très belle façon sur la table avant de nous apporter le repas. Nous avons mangé du mouton bien cuit, ou des pates avec du bœuf ou des abats, et au lac évidemment c’était poisson au menu. Nous avons même eu droit à ... read more
Kyrgyz Yaks
Kyrgyzstan 2013
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