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Getting There & Away

Getting to Lake Son-Köl is a large part of the experience, especially if hiking or riding in. But even when driving, the unpaved road between Sary-Bulak and Ak-Tala crosses a spectacular pass on either side of the lake, the southern road being marginally better surfaced. The lake is huge, so before heading out consider which is the most appropriate area for your desires.

There is no public transport to Son-Köl, traffic is very thin and access routes are generally impassable from November to early May. Kochkor agencies want around 3000som for a vehicle to the largest yurt cluster at Batai-Aral or to the south-coast yurts (around three hours), a price that would be the same one way or return. Private drivers might charge less and you'll pay less than half if you wait at the lake for a car that's going back empty. But that can sometimes take a day or two even in midsummer.

The cheapest way to reach the lake is to walk in from the north. A taxi from Kyzart to Kilemche costs around 700som if you want to skip part of the hike.

Lake access is also possible via the unpaved Kara-Keche mining road that branches off the Suusamyr road opposite the copper-roofed new mosque in Dikan (aka Bashkuugandy at Km123/99), 14km east of Chaek. This is currently only accessible by horse or 4WD only (best arranged through EcoTour Travel in Chaek), and is in a ragged state with several bridges washed out, though self-sufficient cyclists have managed to pedal this way.