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Karakol (Каракол) is a city in Kyrgyzstan to the east of Lake Issyk Kul.

Karakol is a true gem in the rough, just awaiting a master jeweler to polish it up. It holds great potential as a future tourism destination, offering year-round trekking, mountaineering, skiing and relaxing in hot springs, set in a picture-perfect setting of traditional Russian homes.


This town was formerly called Przhevalsk (Пржевалск) during the Tsarist and Soviet era. It is located at the far end of the Issyk Kul, nestled in the Tian Shan mountains, and is the capital of the Issyk Kul Oblast (province).

Mountain view near Karakol

The city was originally founded by Russian Tsarist troops as a military outpost, and it is the resting place of Nikolai Przewalski (Przhevalskiy), the famed Polish-Russian explorer and naturalist. It is a city of traditional Russian houses, nestled between the Tian Shan mountains and Lake Issyk Kul.

Karakol was originally a Russian settlement, and it's still one of the few remaining large Slavic communities in Central Asia. Unfortunately, unemployment and the resulting alcoholism have left a toll, as many young people have left, and the soaring crime rate has made it rather dangerous at night.

Get in[edit]

From Bishkek Regular bus/Marshrutka and taxi services leave West bus station in Bishkek. for the 5–6 hour drive. The bus/Marshrutka fare is around 350 som, @December 2017. and a seat in a taxi is 500–800 som (April 2014). If you go to Balykchy or somewhere on the lake's northern shore, these services might take you for a reduced fare.

From Tamchy (Issyk Kul) Airport Tamchy is approximately 2½–3 hours away, and taxis can be arranged locally. Tamchy has limited air service on SCAT airways during the summer travel season.

Karakol Airport Karakol has an airport, largely used for charter service and located on the northern edge of the city. In 2011 Almaty-Karakol flights flew once a week during the ski season and schedules may be reinstated again in 2012.

In December 2012 the company Avia Traffic announced that it would be running flights from Bishkek to Karakol, though as of spring 2013 these have not materialized.

From Almaty The road is open from Spring to Autumn, but there are no public direct transportation. From the Kazakh side, there are local buses or shared taxi from Almaty to the last Kazakh village of Kegen. Then you have to walk many days before to see the first car on the Kyrgyz side. Another option is to order the transfer through agencies. BORDER CROSSING Border from Kazakhstan @Kegen, as its on a mountain pass, is closed in in winter or in snowy weather so you need to call the border control center in Karakol to check if it is open... ask some one who speaks Russian to call for you... +996 (0)3922 56122

Get around[edit]

Taxis cost 70 som per stop (November 2015) within the city. From Bus station 100som.

There are also local mini-buses (marshrutkas) that ply planned routes 10 SOM.

Ski vans collect every morning in the winter on the main streets Toktogul/Lenin near the Turkish fast food place 150 SOM.

For summer trekkings start and day excursion all transportation types and prices can be found in Bailanysh Internet cafe, 130 Lenin Street.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Dungan Mosque This is one of the few mosques that dodged Soviet destruction. It was built in 1910 by the local Dungan community (Muslim people from north-east China, who in the 19th century had escaped from oppression by the Chinese government on account of their religion) as a house of worship. Completely of wood without nails, it is painted in numerous colors. It is still used as a Muslim house of worship, and tourists are gladly welcomed.

Issyk-kul Central Mosque of Karakol city named after Ibrahim Aji was built by initiative of Ibrahim Aji. His given name is Ma - Yoo - Ton. He invited the famous Beijing architect Chou Seu and 20 carvers with the skills of traditional Chinese architecture and composition techniques for building the mosque. In the construction of outbuildings and other work were involved local craftsmen. Construction of the mosque began in 1904 and completed in 1907. Ingenious system allows builders to build the mosque with no metal reinforcement tools. The mosque holds 42 based pillars. Encircling of the building is multi-tiered wooden cornice, decorated with images of plants like grapes, pomegranates, pears and peaches. From 1929 to 1947 during the Soviet era mosque was used as a storehouse. In 1947, the building was given to the Muslim community and to the present day function as a mosque. Besides it the mosque is registered as a historical monument and protected by the law. Today mosque operates successfully and opens for everyone who visits our city. Address: Abdrakhmanova/Bektenova Working hours: 4am-10pm

  • Holy Trinity Cathedral This traditional Russian wooden cathedral with an onion dome has recently undergone extensive restoration work, paid for by the local Slavic community.

The story of the church goes back to July, 1869, when Karakol was basically a garrison town established as an outpost on the edges of the Tsarist Russian Empire. The Karakol church, however, was destroyed in an earthquake in 1889 which caused havoc in the town and took several lives. It took six years to complete, and was finally consecrated in 1895. During the period of construction, a yurt served the congregation as a church. It has seen considerable service, not just as a church. Over the years, particularly following the Revolution in 1917, it has been used as an educational centre housing a school, ladies’ gymnasium and an institution of Higher Education; a Sports Hall; a Theater; a Dance Hall and even as a Coal Store. Then, in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Independence of Kyrgyzstan, the local authority once again gave the building back to the church, with the proviso that all further restorations were their responsibility. Address: Gagarina/Lenina  Working hours: 8am-5pm Sat &Sun closed

  • Karakol Historical Museum This museum hosts numerous archeological bits from the Scythian era and many stuffed animals, culled from the mountains. While there is much to see, little of the information available is in English, and the staff do not speak English. Still, the place is worth a visit.

This small museum was the pre-revolutionary summer home of the Iliana merchant family. During the turbulent years of 1918-20 the building earned its socialist stripes as headquarters of the Regional Revolutionary Committee, and was subsequently transformed into a museum by order of the Soviet Council of Ministers in 1948. Scythian artifacts include enormous bronze pots retrieved from Lake Issyk-Kul, displayed alongside exhibits on petroglyphs in the area. Besides a comprehensive display of traditional Kyrgyz punched leather work, felt wall hangings and woven yurt decorations, the museum has a colorful collection of national costumes, examples of finely worked silver jewellery and a good exhibition of Kyrgyz applied art. One hall covers the region's flora and fauna - much of which is endangered and listed in the 'Red Book' (a Soviet inventory of protected species). The museum is also worth visiting to gain a Soviet perspective of history in the region. A couple of walls relating to Kyrgyz union with Russia and the subsequent revolution are now historical artifacts in themselves. Address: Gagarin/Jamansariev  Working hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pmTicket cost: 70 SOM

  • Przewalski/Przhevalskiy Museum and Memorial Set a few miles outside the city, the museum hosts the life story of one of the world's great explorers, who died in Karakol in 1888. It is a true testimonial to Russian colonization of Central Asia. The staff here speak English. To the rear of his resting place lies the remnants of a Soviet torpedo testing facility. The museum can be reached by taxi, or by the very old-looking buses (often orange) that line up near the small park with the statue on Toktogula st.

Nikolay Mikhailovich Przhevalsky is one of the first Russian Scientist-Geographer who started studying in details the geography, flora and fauna of the Central Asian countries. Beginning from 1870, he arranged 4 large expeditions to Mongolia, China and the Tibet. During his expeditions he revealed the exact directions of the mountain ranges and borders of the Tibet Mountains. He described the nature, relief, climate, flora and fauna in the territories under his study and discovered over 200 plant species. Przhevalsky also collected an enormous zoological collection which comprised several thousand of species of plant, animals, birds, fishes and insects. In the year of 1888, he died from typhoid fever on the eve of his fifth expedition to Central Asia; he was buried on the Issyk-Kul lakeside not far from the city of Karakol. The Memorial Museum of N. M. Przhevalsky was opened on 29 April 1957 in Karakol.Address: Village Pristan Prjevalski Working hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm Ticket cost: 120 SOM

  • Zoo, Near stadium. The Karakol zoo has many native species native to Kyrgyzstan such as bears, wolves, camels, and various hoofed creatures.  edit

Karakol Zoological Park was founded in 1987. This is only zoo in Kyrgyzstan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the economics of the country quickly fell into disrepair, and it concerned the newly created object culture. In 2001, there was a question about closing the zoo. However, there were found sponsors and it allowed not only to preserve the wildlife area, and keep it in a relatively prosperous state. Nowadays the buildings, cages and cells are not new, but in very good condition. There are Japanese macaques, bears, wolf, deer, camels, Prjevalski's horse, peacock and many others.Address: Koenkozov/Parkovaya Working hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm Ticket cost: 50 SOM

  • Victory Park (Jengish Park), Karasaeva/Abdrakhmanova (Go all the way up Abdrakhmanova until it dead ends.). Classic soviet style park and monument. Nice trees, paths, benches, lighting at night.  edit
  • Jeti-Oguz

Jeti-Oguz is famous for its large, red sedimentary rocks, about 2,200m. The rock have been carved out by a river from the Terskey Alatoo mountains. Years of weathering have split the rocks into seven parts. The forms of the rocks are similar to the head of the seven bulls, “Jeti”-means seven and “Oguz”-means bull in Kyrgyz. Another beautiful place to see is Broken Heart. This is a reddish rock shaped like a broken heart. For this rock, there are several legends: long ago a king who was very rich and had many wives went hunting. One day he saw a beautiful girl with black long hair. He fall in love with her at first sight, and wanted to marry her. However she was from a poor family and was already engaged. Her family ran away from the king when they learned that he wanted their daughter. But the king caught them, killed her fiancé and her family. Her heart was torn by sadness and the Broken Heart appeared in that place. Transportation: From Karakol to Jeti-Oguz Sanatorium/Broken Heart take a private Taxi for 600 SOM, the shared Taxi for 150 SOM per person (35km) from Karakol’s Aktilek Bazaar.*Beware that after 5pm it will be hard to find a shared Taxi. Address: Jeti-Oguz valley  Working hours: 8am-5pm

  • Barskoon Waterfall

Barskoon waterfall is a geological protected area located in Jeti-Oguz District of Issyk Kul Province of Kyrgyzstan in 90 km to the south-west of Karakol on one of the tributaries of Barskaun River. It was established in 1975. Within the Barskoon valley there are two waterfalls on top of the mountain and the mountainside. At the foot of the mountain you can enjoy the beautiful river of Barskoon. During the summer time there yurts built. At the yurt you try Kyrgyz traditional drink Kymys while enjoying the beauty of the landscape. Transportation: From Karakol to Barskoon waterfall (100km) pivate Taxi cost 2500 SOM per car or you can take Marshrutka from South Shore Bus Station to Barskoon village for 100 SOM and walk 10 km to the waterfall.*Beware that after 5pm it will be hard to find a Marshrutka / Taxi. Address: Barskoon ValleyWorking hours: 9am-5pm

  • The Fairy Tale Canyon / Skazka Canyon

The canyon was named because of its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by wind into amazing sculptures and formations. Some formations look like The Great Wall of China and you can also find other formations that look like snakes, dragons, sleeping giants and even whole castles. From here opens unusual view on a majestic panorama of lake and blue caps of mountains. It’s an excellent destination for children and adults alike and makes for an easy hike close to the lake. Transportation: From Karakol to Fairy Tale Canyon (112km) pivate Taxi cost 2000 SOM per car or you can take Marshrutka to Balykchy or Bokonbaevo and ask driver to stop at the canyon for 100 SOM. Address: 6 km west from the village of Tosor to the entrance of the park and 2 km south to the canyon. Ticket cost: 50 SOM. Working hours: 9am-4pm

  • Salty Lake

The salty lake known as a “Dead Lake of Kyrgyzstan”. The lake was opened as a tourist destination in 2001. The water is so salty that one can read a newspaper while floating on the surface. The water contains about 132 gram of salt per liter. This lake is also popular as a “medical tour”. Mud is superheated deep beneath the earth’s surface. Many locals believe that it has healing properties. Transportation: From Karakol to Salty Lake (134km) pivate Taxi cost 3000 SOM per car or you can take Marshrutka from South Shore Bus Station to Balykchy for 170 SOM and ask driver to stop in the village Kyzyl-Tuu and walk 400m towards to the Lake Issyk-Kul.*Beware that after 5pm it will be hard to find a Marshrutka / Taxi. Working hours: 8am-5pm Sat &Sun closed

  • "'Animal Bazaar"'

GPS location 42.5066690, 78.3783490 ( start of animal bazaar and drop off and pick up for #102 marshrutka) sunday animal market..

Early on Sunday mornings one of Kyrgyzstan’s biggest animal markets takes place around 2km north of central Karakol. Typical of such markets, you’ll observe scenes at once sad and comical, with locals improbably bundling voluptuous fat-tailed sheep into the back seats of Lada cars. The setting amid semi-derelict flour mills might seem unprepossessing, but on clear days the backdrop of white-topped mountains is more striking from here than from the town center. A series of earthen unloading plat¬forms lead north. Jostle through the chaos to reach a bigger main compound one block north, where you’ll find horse sales and vendors of beautiful embossed leather saddlery. On foot the bazaar is about 25 minutes’ walk from City Center. (Resource: Lonely Planet) Working hours: 05am -10am, only on Sunday

  • Slavyonski Bazar. This is a local flea market held on sundays where one can find all sorts of household goods and soviet treasures.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Karakol Ski Base [10] At 3040 meters, this is the highest ski resort in Central Asia. It is located approximately 30 minutes from Karakol and features 2 chalets and a hotel with a sauna. There are all chairlifts and rope lifts take you to some of the best runs. Lift tickets are only $20, and they recently purchased new ski equipment for rent.
  • Ak-Suu Hot Springs Hot springs located 15 km from Karakol. Easy to get there by mini-bus #350 from bazaar or on its way on Karasaeva street for less than $0.5. The bath ticket is around $0.7.
  • Altyn Arashan Hot Springs Hot springs located within hiking distance from Karakol. Take marshrutka #350 @30som from main bazaar  42.4919439, 78.3854278, Derbisheva street, to Ak Cyy (Ak Suu), driver will drop you off and point you in the direction you need. Follow the dirt road, always straight, over one bridge and some switch backs higher up.

Altyn Arashan is a hot spring complex, not a village. 3 guest houses for over nighting which can provide basic meals, & have things like beer and cola too. There is a very small shop with erratic opening hours. Altyn Arashan is @2600m very changeable weather. Be prepared. From Ak Cyy sanatorium where you will be dropped off to the hot springs is around 14km. Its a 4WD track as opposed to a foot path. Very muddy when its been raining. Returning, retrace your steps and wait by the fence on the right side, as you are going back, exactly where you were dropped off.

From Altyn Arashan (@2600m) you can hike up to the Ala kul pass (@3880m) and down to the lake (@3500m) the last part is very steep. It's a very long day trip, think 10 hours, extremely strong sun. This trek is not really viable until July. too much snow. From Altyn Arashan side, there is no park entrance fee, but you may meet inspector on your way, ask him a receipt.

  • Jeti Oguz Hot Springs An aging Russian sanatorium with radon treatment baths.
  • Karakol Canyon The Karakol Canyon offers excellent hiking. It's possible to hike to the beautiful Ala-Kul lake from this canyon.
  • FGS : geo-physic station (2580 m.), Chong Kyzyl Suu, +996 312 564733. On the top of the Chong Kyzyl Suu valley, you will find an geo-physic and meteorologic station build in wood in 1948 by German builders. Families staying there all the year around will explain their activities and can guide you around the whole region. Possibility to sleep in the station. High routes going to Jeti Oguz through Archa Toer pass, to Kitshi Kyzyl Suu valley through Salvator pass, or Syrtha Ak-Shirak through Ashu Toer pass. Glacier lake Kashka Toer (3 hours walk), lake Shakartma (3 hours hike) 250.  edit
  • Hire a bicycle. Karakol Coffee rents bicycles for 800 soms per day.  edit
  • bikerentalnice. Mountain bike rental. 500soms per day plus deposit. Locks available. 120 Jusaev (Gorky)Street.  edit
  • Banya, various. Karakol has numerous small and medium size banyas (saunas) around the city. For around 200 som per hour you can get an entire room for yourself or you and your friends/partner. Great way to get clean after a few days of skiing or hiking around. Working since 1954 is Монча #1 on Gebze street: 55744. Another further down Toktogula: 0771555255 .  edit
  • Trekking. There's a standard 3day/2night trek that most people do between the Altyn Arashan valley and the Karakol valley. You can get a guide and porter from any of the travel agencies in town but you can seriously do it on your own if you have camping gear (all of which you can rent if you don't have). In general the path is really easy to follow, and during most times of the year you'll see at least a few other people. You can buy a good topographical area map from any of the travel agencies, which should be enough. There's a 250 som entry fee to the park (per person), and depending on where you camp, there are also tent fees, which range from 50 som to 100 som per tent. At the middle of the trek is a mountain-top lake. At one end of the trail there are a series of guesthouses, one which has a hot spring you can go into for 250 som per person. Further downstream in the river are some natural (but cooler) hot springs, which you can use for nothing. There are three pools there; one of them is heart-shaped. Almost all the water on the mountain is safe for drinking without purification. The small streams are fine, but you'd better not risk it on the lake or big river. Trekking to Irdik lakes takes 3 days from Karakol to Jeti Oguz sanatorium  edit
  • Horseback riding. There are different programs organized around the Karakol region. The most impressive tour start from Kyzyl Suu and finish near the Chinese border (Bedel pass), it takes 10 days; another track starts from Karakol to the Irdik lakes, then goes down till the Kyzyl Djar, then to Jeti Oguz valley, it takes 2-3 days; another good region for horseriding is a trek from Jergalan till the Sary Jaz valley, East of Karakol, it takes 5-7 days.  edit
  • Yoga with Shakh - Beginners' open and individual classes in English, detox or hot yoga styles, sound self-healing and meditation. Sign-in at Hostel Nice, Gebze 76, (709)397178 with Whatsup, 5-31-80 landline.

Buy[edit][add listing]

In the town centre, there is a local Tsum that is open until 1700. They have a limited selection of outdoor goods and souvenirs. It is recommended to check prices at local bazaars, where you can buy everything. On the main street next to Caravan you will find the One Village, One Product store run by JICA. They have a variety of locally made products and handicrafts. Interesting soaps, jams, and felt products!

There is an antique shop down the main street (south) towards the bazaar, and a honey cooperative across the street.

Local Honey can be purchased at the bazaar or the Beekeepers' Cooperative.

Sea Buckthorn products can be purchased seasonally.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Karakol is known throughout Kyrgyzstan for its Dungan specialty Ashlian-fu. This is a dish of cold noodles in a spicy vinegar sauce. The best place to eat it is in the shed-like building across the street from KICB bank and the small bazaar or within the large bazaar. It usually costs around 25 som, with bread 8-25 som.

  • Asman, Toktogula st (across the street from the megacom office). is the place for shashlik and has a DIY water-cooling feature (opposite the central park).  edit
  • Yak Tours. If you're looking for a good home cooked Russian meal, try Yak Tours (in high season only!). The owner's wife is an excellent cook.  edit
  • Fakir, Gorkovo st (Next to TSUM). Biggest restaurant in Karakol, good food, slow service.  edit
  • Kalinka, Lomonosova St. (Behind the drama theater.). Russian style dining room with affordable, decent eats, though with middling service.  edit
  • Kyrgyz-Tours, Lenina st. For a good home cooked Kyrgyz and Vegetarian meals (need to order). The host cooks very tasty "Dymdama".  edit
  • Lovely Pizza, Tynystanov st (Pervomaya st) (near the lenin statue, walk down the avenue). Pizza, beer, hookah, nice outdoor patio. Very slow.  edit
  • Kench, (on Telmana (Karasaeva)). Perhaps the "fanciest" place in Karakol. Good food, but higher prices.  edit
  • Live Bar, 78 Fuchika (Masalieva) (on the road to the ski base), [1]. Drinks, steak, shisha, karaoke. A quality establishment of the Live Bar chain from Bishkek and Cholpon Ata. Not clear if this is still working in the summer time.  edit
  • Salam Aleykum Cafe, (near Amir hotel). It's open only in the evenings, and you can see some show of dance, music, and Kyrgyz handicraft.  edit
  • Zarina. Oigur and Uzbek Cuisine. They have an English menu and a few vegetarian options.  edit
  • Cafe Konak, Jusaeva Street,(Bugu central bazar) ((opposite the Bank KICB /next to the bulding Asia Center).), +996392253298. A wide selection of exquisite dishes of National, Turkish and European cuisine. You will find unusual interior, cozy atmosphere. Free WIFI.  edit
  • Ethno Cafe Dastokon, Karakol, Przewalski 107 st., +996555400270, [2]. 11:00 till 24:00. «Dastorkon» - is a modern café, created in the best traditions of the oriental hospitality. The highlight of the café is a traditional cuisine of eastern people, which our chefs prepare according to the national recipes. Respect for ancient Eastern traditions obliged to prepare meals with fresh vegetables, herbs and juicy meat. $$. (42.49855,78.38374) edit
  • Coffee and Breakfast House, 79 Jusaev str (crossing the street Korolkova), +996500552529. 7:30am - 8:00pm. is a good place to have a tasty coffee and breakfast, has vegeterian and vegan meals. Tase Ashlian-fu and local meals afternoon. Order kyrgyz style dinner in Yurta. 25-200som.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Karakol Coffee, 112a Toktogula (next to the 3 story building/Zarina restaurant). Fresh ground coffee and espresso, wifi, baked desserts, snacks, drinks, and some cocktails. The owner is a very nice woman. The sandwiches are especially good. They also have decaf.  edit
  • Coffee and Breakfast House, 79 Jusaev Street (5 blocks up from the main bazar from Toktogula street). Coffee, wifi, breakfast,lunch, dinners. The owners also offer Yurt stay in the same address.  edit
  • Grocery Store Nice, 120 Jusaev. Has 2 tables coffee place with free Wi-Fi and flat TV. Staff is very friendly and some speak English. If you have a tent ask to allow you to pitch it in the store's garden and stay in Karakol for free! Location is very convenient - on the main street that goes from the city center towards the mountains, just 3 blocks away from Church, central bazar and KICB Bank.  edit
  • Fat Cat Karakol, Karakol, Gagarina st. 22 (intersection Alybakova st.), +996 777 066 603, [3]. Fat Cat Karakol is the first socially conscious business to make its home in the Karakol area. We strongly believe in providing great coffee and foods, and working with a conscious to better the community through various social projects. Fat Cat Karakol is not only a great place to eat and hangout, but also functions as outlet for social projects. Fat Cat Karakol targets three initiatives: feeding the homeless, helping families with low income through food drives and fundraising, and providing a place for the development of skills for former victims of abuse.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Amir Hotel is a nice hotel for someone who wants to have a comfortable stay at a regular-type hotel. It's clean and modern with friendly English-speaking staff.
  • Kyrgyz Tours Guest House, 130 Lenin Street (4 blocks up from central bazaar), +996500552529. The place is one of the best guest houses in Karakol. Located centrally, 4 blocks from central bazaar. Good option for backpackers. Have standard double room and rooms up to 4 beds. Yurt stay in a traditional Kyrgyz real yurt and camp site in garden. Car and bike parking. Laundry services. Free WiFi. Luggage storage for free. Trekking gear for rent and trekking maps for sale. Trekking information and possibility to hire professional staff for treks. Price for campsite 150som per person, rooms are 650som including very good breakfast. Price for 2018 650som.  edit
  • Green Yard is a very nice guesthouse near the mountains. A room costs around 1200-1400 per night. Very nice accommodation, wifi, great breakfasts, and tea always available in the common dining room.
  • Yak Tours Guesthouse, Gagarina 10 (Just half a block away from the central bazaar). A nice guesthouse in an old wooden house. Beds are comfortable, rooms clean and the dog is very friendly. There is laundry service and a small restaurant within the guesthouse. However, the place only has one bathroom/toilet, so there might be some queueing in the morning. @2016, rooms un clean, no common area, no kitchen s: 350 som for a room, 100 som for a tent in the garden, it is from July 2013.  edit
  • Karakol based Hostel, Kyrgyzstan, Karakol, st. Koenkozova 24, +996 (3922) 51985, +996 550 998 801, [4]. Hostel "Karakol based Hostel" is located in the center of Karakol. Near with our hostel is located center, square of Karakol and one of the historical place of Karakol is historical Orthodox church. In our hostel we will take care of your vacation and you can spend a good time. We have free Wi-Fi, parking, board games, 3 showers and 3 toilets. We also provide individual lockers. Welcome Hostel "Karakol based Hostel"! from $9.  edit
  • SunHouse Hostel Karakol, Kyrgyzstan, Karakol, Novostroika 3, +996 779 HOSTEL+996 772 254004+996 3922 43476, [5]. SunHouse Hostel - the first network of classic hostels hostel in Kyrgyzstan with relevant international youth furnishings. This is not just a place to spend the night, but the unique mix of cultures with universal traditions and values. It is a platform for international communication and networking. from $10.  edit
  • Duet Hostel, 150 Jusaev St. / Karasaev St. Karakol Town,Kyrgyzstan, +996707703828, [6]. The hostel has all the bathroom amenities a traveler needs; hot water 24/7, showers, toilets, hairdryer, and free shampoo. Common area, TV, WiFi, kitchen, drink station. from $7.  edit
  • Tent Hostel, Kyrgyzstan, Karakol, Kydyr ake road 4. Tent hostel is a newly opened hostel close to the bus station and the centre. Cozy atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff, spacious kitchen and impeccably clean - this is one of the best cheap stays in Karakol. Choose to stay in a indoor tent or in the upstairs dorm with prices starting at 300 som per person. Entertain yourself with some of the many movies, the PS2 or the ping pong table in the back garden! from 5$.  edit
  • Hostel Nice, Kyrgyzstan, Karakol, Gebze st. 76, +(996) 709 380 615, [7]. Newly opened hostel conveniently located in a close proximity from the city center and in the nice area next to notable Victory Park neighbouring with the good Reina Kench restaurant. Light and big dining room, summer terrace with the view to the apple orchard, two nicely furnished rooms will ensure the pleasure of your rest after active sports or sightseeing in Issyk-Kul region. The hostel that is decorated and fitted out nicely for the comfort of guests offers pleasant stay and reasonable prices. $5-$7.  edit
  • Hostel Dom, Kyrgyzstan, Karakol, Alybakova st. 144, +996 556 970470, +996 3922 56855, [8]. Hostel Dom offers accommodation in Karakol. Free private parking is available on site.The rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and PS3. For your comfort, you will find slippers and a hairdryer. Hostel Dom features free WiFi throughout the property.There is a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen, a shared lounge and shops at the property. from $9.  edit
  • Bed & Breakfast Nice (BnB Nice), 81a Abdrahmanova st. (next to Pobeda Park), +996 709 380 615, [9]. checkin: 1PM-10PM; checkout: 11AM. Enjoy your stay in Karakol at the newly opened BnB, conveniently located next to Victory Park, in the close proximity to the city center. [email protected] $12 single, $18 twin, $20 double, $26 triple (shared bathroom); $22 double (private bathroom); $5 breakfast. (42.48619,78.4052) edit
  • Karakol Yurt Lodge, 79 Jusaeva Street (5 small blocks up from central bazaar), +996500552529. Best choice for REAL KYRGYZ YURT stay in Karakol. Some Yurtas have 2-3-4single beds inside. Dorm Yurt is available. Good hot shower. Car and bike parking. Laundry services. Free WiFi. Luggage storage for free. Trekking gear for rent and trekking maps for sale. Trekking information and possibility to hire professional staff for treks. Price for campsite 150som per person. Nice coffee shop in the territory. Price 400som 400-500som.  edit

Visa Extension[edit]

OVIR Kushtobaev/Kutmanalieva, 50m NW of militsia/police coordinates:42 29.908/78 23.971 9am-5pm 1 month visa extension at the same day Bring your passport, two passport-pictures, one copy of the relevant pages in your passport and fill out two forms. Go to the RSK Bank (Toktogul 271, near Turkestan yurt camp, coordinates: 42 29.696/78 23.895), go to the counter on the right, write on a pice of paper your name and the sum you have to pay (1000 som, 8/2001): then you’ll get a form and can pay the money on counter „1“. Simple, isn’t it?!? There is a 15-som fee for the transaction. Back at the OVIR you’ll get your passport back, but you’ll be asked for another 153-som fee for the sticker. (niet receipt, certainly...)

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • Shared Taxis leave all day from outside the main bus station. Prices to Bishkek are 500-600 som, the trip takes 4-5 hours (and always stops for a snack outside of Balykchi). Taxis also leave for Cholpon Ata, especially during summer months.
  • Marshrutkas (shared vans) to Bishkek cost 350c (som). depart from the right of the main avtovogzal), starting from 07:30. NO FIXED SCHEDULE. THEY GO WHEN FULL . Buy your ticket at the каccа window.

A marshrutka to Naryn (through Balykchy and Kochkor) departs from the left side/behind of the main Avtovogzal at 8.30am going via northern route. Also southern route but no fixed days. 300 to Kochkor @May 2016

  • NIGHT BUSES to Bishkek leave at 19:30, 21:00, 22:00, 23:00 from the leftside/behind of the main bus station and cost 330 som (arriving the next morning at 530-600. Buy ticket in the day time as the Kacca closes at around 5pm . @May 2016

Choose whether you will go by southern (station is at easternsouth way from centre) or northern shore (from bazaar) of the lake. North is more frequented.

Jeti Oghuz and the Valley of the Flowers: You must take a bus from the bazaar to the town of Jeti Oghuz which costs 25 som. Then take a taxi from the town to the sanatorium, which costs 100-150som (I paid 120). Then from the sanatorium you can walk to the Valley of the Flowers, which is about 2 km. It is worth a day trip, but be prepared if you go in May, because it was freezing outside. There is no electricity out there, or even food or water to buy. So go prepared. The yurt should cost 250som. It is worth staying a couple of nights if you want to do some hiking.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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