Song-Kol Lake - 4 days

Song-Kol Lake
Category: Trekking or Horseback Riding
Duration: 4 days
Altitude: 3000-3450 meters ASL
Level of difficulty: Moderate (3 passes above 3000 m, the highest at 3400 m)
Best season: June – mid September

The jailoos are the pastures where Kyrgyz shepherds tend their flocks in the summer, and Song-Kol is the jewel of the jailoos, a stunning 270 km2 of sparkling water at 3016 m, surrounded by 3700 m mountains on all sides. For the fullest jailoo experience, approach the lake via the mountains enclosing the western end of Kochkor Valley, moving from jailoo to jailoo and staying with shepherd families in remote meadows far off the beaten path. Enjoy homemade jam, fresh cream, bread still warm from the oven, and the best kymyz (fermented mare’s milk) around. The route traverses remote Jumgal rayon, and reaches Song-Kol via Jalgyz-Karagai (Lonely Fir) Pass on the north shore.

Day 1: Kochkor — Kyzart pass 2664m — Kilemche jailoo
After breakfast at Kochkor home stay head towards west on the Kochkor — Jumgal road. Arrive at the Kyzart Pass, where your guide team welcomes you with horses waiting for you. Start your horseback tour with crossing the Kyzyl-Kiya jailoo, an enormous, relatively flat sea of grass. Continue over the Chaar-Archa Pass (3 061 m) into the Chaar-Archa Valley and eat a tasty lunch by the racing river, with views of holy 4400 m Baba-Ata Mountain. Sated, ford the river and follow the trail over verdant hills to Kilemche Jailoo. The name means “like a carpet,” and this swathe of grass covers whole mountain ranges, with shadings as subtle as any shyrdak (shyrdak is a Kyrgyz felt carpet). Dine and sleep in a yurt, naturally.
Horse time: 5 hours
Trek time: 5-6 hours

Day 2: Kilemche — Tuz-Ashuu
After breakfast at Kilemche, spend the morning climbing to Jalgyz Karagai pass (3400 m), over the Song-Kol Mountains and into the lake’s basin. The morning climb affords wonderful views of Kilemche jailoo, and the pass itself is rocky and exciting. From the pass, Song-Kol is still distant, but as you traipse down the slopes, it gets larger and larger; the mountains on the other side get higher and higher, until finally the lake fills most of your field of view and the southern mountains tower above it. After lunch at Jaman Echki, follow the lakeshore west to the yurt at Tuz-Ashuu. Upon arrival meet your host family of Kyrgyz shepherds. Meals and overnight are in a yurt of shepherds.
Horse time: 5 hours
Trek time: 5-6 hours

Day 3: Tuz-Ashuu — Tulpar-Tash
After breakfast, take a horse way to west part of the lake along the lake shore. This day you will check your horse riding skills on the Song-Kol flat open valley. Upon your arrival lunch time to Tulpar- Tash jailoo, after lunch time for rest and participating to shepherd’s everyday life. Dinner and overnight in Tulapr-Tash yurt.
Horse time: 4-5 hours
Trek time: 6 hours

Day 4: Tulpar-Tash — Kyzart village via «Uzbek»pass 3400m.
After breakfast at Tulpar-Tash, leave Song-Kol to Kyzart village via Uzbek Pass. The pass opens you spectacular panoramic view to all Song-Kol valley. Say “Goodbye Song-Kol” and ride down to the village where your lunch will be waiting for you in family home stay. After lunch, transfer to Kochkor.
Horse time: 4 hours
Trek time: 6 hours

Services included:
  • 3 nights in yurts;
  • 4 lunches;
  • 3 dinners;
  • 3 breakfasts;
  • transport services;
  • 4 days horseback riding to Song-Kol lake;
  • English-speaking guide;
  • equipment: helmet, saddlebag, gaiters;
  • tour map;
  • left-luggage office.
Group size:
  • from 1 to 12
  • trekking boots;
  • weatherproof warm clothing;
  • hat, sunglasses;
  • sunscreen;
  • sleeping bag.