Cycling Kyrgyzstan: Bikepacking Itinerary, Advice, and Highlight
Cycling Kyrgyzstan – Direction: lake Issyk Kul, 1600 meters above sea level, surrounded by much higher mountains (up around 7000msl), the Ala-Too range, Kungoy (sunny) Ala-Too in the north and Terskey (Shady) Ala-Too in the south, part of the Northern Tien Shan. It’s called “the eye of the world” for its peculiar shape.
But besides his historical and cultural interest, Issyk Kul is the beach resort of Central Asia. The water, being slightly saline, resembles that of a sea, and it’s crystalline moreless anywhere, especially down the south coast.
But if you have time, or just want, to do only one of the shores, we absolutely advise to cycle (or travel however you please) the south coast of the Issyk Kol. The road is often very close to the lake, and the best beaches on the Issyk-Kul are to be found here.
Even though, this side of the coast is inexplicably undeveloped, with very few touristic facilities. A lack of restaurants and hotels and even decent sized settlements, that makes it a great route for bicycle touring and wild camping, but can be tough to do with local transportations.
The north shore of the lake instead, is much more developed. There are a few medium-sized towns and the road condition is better. This route though is often far from the Issyk Kul, which is thus not in sight for the most of it.
The only good beach we found on the north side is in Cholpon Ata*, a resort town where all the local tourist seems to go. Good if you’re looking for guesthouses and restaurants. Less so if you’re looking for peace.
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