The fresh water lake of Sary-Chelek is one of the most beautiful sites in Kyrgyzstan. It is located 500 km from Bishkek and 300 km from Osh. Sary-Chelek is the ideal place for hiking at the heart of nature or to simply leave the daily life's routine behind.
The lake emerged about 10,000 years ago from a landslide. In 1959, the site was surveyed to research and protect the fauna and flora. According to legend, a beekeeper was checking on his hives somewhere on the lake shore when one day, a bucketful of honey spilled into the lake, giving it its honey hue. The guardian would have then called it Sary-Chelek , or "yellow bucket" in Kyrgyz. Other people think that the lake takes its name from the trees that surround it. Indeed, in the fall, the trees display beautiful orange-yellow leaves that give the lake a yellowish color.
The Lake Sary-chelek nowadays
The lake's water is supplied by the Tuskaul river located about 1,873 meters above sea level. It happens to be the second deepest lake in Kyrgyzstan , and stretches over 7.5 km-long with a width ranging from 150 to 350 meters. Its deepest point reaches 234 meters below the surface. Access to the lake is relatively tough, and can be made only from its north or south end. To the north, there is a perfect hiking route in the Talas mountains where you can go through high-mountain passes and deep canyons. Alternatively, 20 km to the south, you can access the lake through the village of Arkyt. Sary-Chelek is the ideal area for nature lovers. It hosts more than 1,000 species of plants, 160 species of birds and 34 species of mammals such as deers, bears, lynxes and wolves… The experienced mountaineers will get to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and those who wish can also visit the site on horseback.
How to get there?
There is public transportation that will take you to the Sary-Chelek lake. Take the bus to Tash-Komur , and get off at Arkyt. From there, get into another bus at Kara-Jigat to Sary-Chelek. Travel time is approximately 2 hours. Hitchhiking on the way is also an option.