Balykchy is the gateway to Issyk Kul. It sits on the western bank of the lake. It was formerly known as Ribachie (Рыбачье), Russian for fisherman's and after independence was re-named with the Kyrgyz word. It was known as the center of the lake's fishing fleet, but has suffered a major decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It now only on the path to the tourist sites of the lake, but largely by-passed.
It is interesting to note the micro-climates of the Issyk Kul, especially around Balykchy as there is little green or snow at all times.
The main road from Bishkek and the Chui Valley comes to Balykchy and splits into a Northern and Southern lake route in the city.
There is also a daily slow train from Bishkek that goes through a very beautiful mountain pass to an under-used station to the south of the city. A marshrutka meets the train and will take you to the bus stand.
There are numerous vendors on the main road selling smoked lake fish which is quite popular. Prices are inexpensive and expect to be hoarded when stopping. In addition, there are also several stands selling the local honey
If wishing to go to the smaller salt lake approximately one hour from the city, you should be able to hire a tax from the local bus station.