Issyk-Kul Lake and Cholpon-Ata

Issyk-Kul Lake in the Tian Shan Mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan is the country’s biggest lake and the second-largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks it never freezes over. The lake is 182 kilometre long, up to 60 kilometres wide and covers an area of 6,236 square kilometres and has an altitude of 1,607 metres.


The nearest town to Lake Issyk-Kul is Cholpon-Ata, a popular holiday resort with a number of hotels, guest houses and recreational facilities such as sailing and hiking.

Because of its high saline and mineral content the lake’s waters have healing properties and Cholpon-Ata also has a range of spa hotels and sanatoria offering medical and beauty treatments.

During the Soviet era Cholpon-Ata was popular with visitors from around the old USSR. Many of its hotels and guesthouses are being renovated to bring them up to 21st century standards.

Just outside Cholpon-Ata there is an interesting museum and petroglyph site containing stones and tomb dating from 800 BC to 1200 AD.