Top choice in Kyrgyzstan

Winding 10km up a dirt road off the Kazarman–Chaek highway, brilliant Ak-Köl lake reflecting the surrounding peaks and the village beyond are a real delight. Originally established as a psychiatric ward (the runs of which can be seen on the far lake shore) and later converted to a lead mine (sealed after WWII), the small Russian-style log cabins here are still home to around 15 villagers who use the area as a base from which to graze livestock in the surrounding valleys.

It's possible to use the village as a base for horse rides or trekking, if arrangements are made in Chaek. From here it's one hour to a small waterfall to the east, 2/4 hours on horse/foot to a larger waterfall to the south, and another 4/8 hours over the ridge to Kazarman.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kyrgyzstan attractions

1. Jumgal Regional History Museum

21.09 MILES

One hall dedicated to famous former Jymgal resident Kojomkol, reported to have weighed in at 208kg and more than 2m tall, is interesting for a look at…

2. Panorama Hill


Following the rough road past the Tagai Guesthouse, an easy 30 minute walks winds past the local kok boru field and then up this hill with views out over…

3. Arab Mausoleums

24.53 MILES

Though little is known about the history of this mausoleum and accompanying prayer hall, the Arabic inscriptions and stylised architecture lead locals to…

4. Baizak Baatyr Mausoleum

27.29 MILES

On the crest of a small hill north of the highway outside of Chaek, this mausoleum is dedicated to local hero Baizak Baatyr, renowned for his success in…