Places in Lake Issyk-Köl
Well over a hundred hotel complexes are dotted along the northern coast of Issyk-Köl, but that doesn't mean the whole area is one long resort. Indeed, hotels are well spread out, most are rather discrete and visitors are often surprised by the extent to which many of the agricultural villages in between seem to have changed little in recent decades.
In mid-summer, Cholpon-Ata awakens from its long off-season slumber to become the epicentre of an improbable north Issyk-Köl beach scene: by day there's tanning bods, zipping jet skis and ice-cream licking tots; by night it's open-air cafes, thumping discos and young lovers breaking social mores.
There's much dispute as to whether the northern or southern route around Issyk-Köl is the more scenic. Traditionally Western visitors have tended to err in favour of the less busy southern road, especially in summer when it is spared the heaviest tourist traffic en route to the Cholpan-Ata resorts.
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