A great part of the delight of visiting Lake Son-Köl and its environs is staying in a yurt. For travellers arriving by car from Kochkor, the easiest drop-in yurtstays to access are CBT Naryn's south-coast yurts or the 10 yurtstays at Batai-Aral.

Northern Shore

The biggest concentration of yurtstays is at Batai-Aral, very close to the water's edge starting around 5km off the Sary-Bulak–Ak-Tala road. Turn off at Ak-Tash Jailoo at km47/43 and cross the muddy ford. The first cluster of yurts is Shepherd's Life–affiliated, then come two trios working with Plus Eco, then a kilometre further seven families each with three or four yurts comprise the relatively tight-packed CBT-Kochkor group, before the final Shepherd's Life yurts at Gulnaz yurt-camp. Altogether there are more than 70 yurts in this area, though even these high numbers seem somehow inconsequential next to the wide and beautiful stretch of the lake just nearby.


After two hours' dawdling anticlockwise along the lakeside from Batai-Aral you'll spy the Andash Kumbez across a meandering stream. Following that stream for around a kilometre up into the Jamanechki valley you'll discover many yurts. The first is CBT affiliated. It's just across an ankle-deep ford on the west side of the stream, and belongs to Birdbek Karayev.

Southern Shore

Directly accessible from the southern Ak-Tala road is the Baiysh yurt-camp plus a series of yurts affiliated with CBT Naryn.


Groups of yurts, often forming trios, are affiliated with the community tourism agencies in Kochkor and offer either beds or a floor space with padded bed mat, blankets and sheets for around 600som to 800som (including breakfast) and 300som each for lunch/dinner. Such places are usually run by genuine herders, but the guest yurt is often a little fancier than a regular shepherd yurt and is shared with other travellers but not the family. Booking many such places is impossible due to the lack of telephone signal at Son-Köl, and typically it's fine to simply turn up and request a bed. If you want an advance reservation, try an SMS a day or two before in case the family rides up a nearby mountain to connect to mobile networks.

When things get very busy in mid-August, those arriving independently might lose out to a guided group. Choosing where to sleep is more often a matter of location, and is determined by how you are travelling rather than the price or quality, which tends to be relatively uniform.

Tour Company Yurt-Camps

A few special yurt-camps are set up by tourist companies specifically for pre-booked tour groups. These, like the NoviNomad and Ak-Sai camps, might include a sit-down toilet shack rather than a long-drop and offer 'private' yurt facilities.