ASTANA – Issyk-Kul in the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the deepest mountain lakes in the world and famous health resorts in Central Asia. The resort is in-demand among Kazakh tourists offering a beach holiday, sanatorium treatment, and excursions with picturesque views at a reasonable price.
The lake is located in the Northern Tien Shan at an altitude of 1,608 meters. With an area of 6,236 square meters, Issyk-Kul is 178 kilometers long, 60 kilometers wide, and 668 meters deep.
Surrounded by mountain ranges from all sides, the lake does not freeze throughout the year. It is a main tourist attraction due to its beauty and climate conditions. It is known for its mountain-marine climate, clean air, abundance of solar heat, therapeutic mineralized water of the lake, hot springs, and therapeutic mud, which strengthen health and relieve ailments.
There is no sweltering heat and severe frosts here. The average air temperature in the summer is 23 – 26 degrees Celsius, while the water in the Issyk-Kul lake warms up to 20-22 degrees and is perfect for swimming.
The organic world of the lake is also diverse. It contains about 20 species of fish, including chebak, sazan, marinka, osman, zander, bream, mirror carp, white amor, and trout.
In an interview with Informburo, Lyubov Tagirova, a specialist in internal and inbound tourism of Kazakhstan at the “Robinson” tour operator, said that the cost of staying at Issyk-Kul has not changed over the past year.
“Prices for accommodation in guest houses and sanatoriums have always been indicated in dollars. This is convenient for both hoteliers and tourists coming here from different countries, including Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. Therefore, if prices are rising, as sometimes seems to be the case, then only in tenge aligned with the dollar growth. Some hotels raised prices, but only by two or five dollars,” said Tagirova.
Tourists come mainly via Tamchi Airport. Return flights from Almaty cost 100,000 tenge ($225) there and back.
Kazakh tourists also use buses to reach the lake. They cost 22,000 tenge ($49) for a sleeping berth and 19,000 tenge ($43) for a sitting seat. Discounts of 2,000 tenge ($4.5) are available for pensioners and children.
Bus tickets are available as a part of a package tour or separately. According to Tagirova, due to the large number of visitors, places in popular guesthouses are hard to find until mid-August .
Guesthouses provide various options, including with or without meals.
According to Tagirova, the cost of staying at this location starts from $12 per person per day and can go up to $45 or higher for high-class sanitariums.
Kazakhs in general buy trips to the resorts at a price of up to $35 per person per day, which usually includes accommodation and meals.
On average, lunch at a guesthouse costs 2,500-3,000 tenge ($5.6 – $6.7), while at the high-end houses, it can cost around 5,000 tenge ($11).
Issyk-Kul offers various sanatorium treatments, including hydromassage, curative baths, mud treatment, light treatment, inhalation, acupuncture, and pine barrels.
Some sanitariums include treatment as part of package tours (such as “Kyrgyz Seaside” and “Blue Issyk-Kul”). An additional day of treatment costs approximately $10 per day.
An important part of the holiday is excursions offered by various local companies. Prices for excursions start from $25. They can include a day trip around the lake, a visit to the city of Karakol (formerly known as Przewalsk), hot springs or salty mini lakes around Issyk-Kul, as well as rafting and fishing.
The article is partly based on the story published in Informburo.