Introduction

The largest of seven lakes in the Unesco-recognised Sary-Chelek (Сары-Челек) Biosphere Reserve is widely considered among Kyrgyzstanis as one of the most beautiful places in the country, but a remote location and poor public transit connections see most international visitors giving it a pass. Spend an hour on the shore of the country's third-largest lake, a day in the surrounding mountains, or a week overlanding the backcountry route to Talas and it will quite likely be the highlight of a trip to the country.