Song Köl (also Son Kul, Songköl, Song-Köl) is an alpine lake in northern Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan. It is the second largest lake in Kyrgyzstan (18x29km wide, 13 meters deep) after Issyk Kul Lake. Its name, meaning "following lake" or “the last lake”, is popularly considered to refer to this relation. It is surrounded by a broad summer pasture and then mountains. Its beauty is greatly praised, but it is rather inaccessible.
The best approach seems to be the 85 km road from Sary Bulak on the main north-south highway. Other routes require 4x4s. There are no facilities on the lake, but local herders will provide supplies and lend yurts. The area is inhabited and safely accessible only from June to September.
Day 1. Transfer to Son Kul Lake.
In the morning “Ak-Sai Travel” team will pick you up and you drive to the alpine lake Son Kul.
NB! We can pick you up from Bishkek city, Naryn town, or Cholpon Ata town.
Upon arrival to the lake area accommodation in a yurt camp and you have some free time to explore the area and enjoy the peaceful and picturesque landscapes, dotted with numerous yurts (nomadic dwelling made of wooden framework and covered with felt carpets) and grazing flocks of sheep and herds of horses.
You will reach the lake via beautiful and dramatic canyons and gorges of CentralTien ShanMountains over magnificent passes. Son Kul is a fabulous mountain lake located in the Tien Shan Mountain Range at the altitude of 3016m. Son-Kul is used by the shepherds from the Kochkor, Naryn and At Bashi regions as a jailoo – a pasture during the summer months. It is considered the pearl of Kyrgyz jailoos. The route to Son-Kul winds through mountainous terrain until it seems to disappear into the very sky itself. This is probably why Son Kul is translated from Kyrgyz as “the last lake”.
Overnight in a yurt camp.
Day 2. Son Kul Lake.
Time at leisure. Today we step into the nomadic life at the Son Kul Lake. Here the Kyrgyz people still live in traditional simplicity. We spend the night in the summer pastures of the mountains. You can stay in Kyrgyz nomadic dwelling – a yurt. It is possible to organize horseback riding tour or just hiking, spend time with always friendly Kyrgyz families and taste their fresh airan (yogurt) and kumis (a fermented national drink from mare's milk).
The flora and fauna of the lake area is diverse: you can observe gulls, ducks (14 species!), cranes, black, white and dark-blue storks, mergansers, bald-coots, plovers, falcons, golden eagles and shags. Besides, Son Kul is the only place in Kyrgyzstan where a rare bird– the Indian mountain goose, nests. It is protected by the State and enlisted in the Red Book.
Overnight in a yurt camp.
Day 3. Transfer Son Kul Lake –Bishkek.
Today you drive to Bishkek. On the way we pass Kochkor village where local people make felt, various carpets, embroidering and spinning, and other handicraft stuff. Here we visit a handicraft museum and a shop, where you can buy different masterpieces – starting from huge felt-silk blankets, soft scarves and finishing with small Christmas tree decorations.
We continue our way to Bishkek through tight Boom Gorge where boisterous ChuRiver, so much loved by rafters (routes up to 6th category difficulty!), cuts its way. Boom gorge lies at the eastern end of the KyrgyzRange and provides the only corridor between two Chui and Issyk Kul regions. Converging together through this narrow canyon are a highway, a railway (rising high above the road apparently it was built by German prisoners of war, the first train travelled was in 1948), and the ChuRiver.
The name "Boom" means "evil spirit" – and the gorge deserves this name – it is narrow and very dramatic at some places. One of the first travelers through it was the 19th century Russian explorer Peter Semyenov (Tienshansky) in 1850. Nowadays there are walls at various places along the gorge designed to prevent landslides cascading down onto the road below.
Arrival to Bishkek in the afternoon.