With a scattering of Russian-style 'gingerbread' cottages, quiet little Tamga (Тамга) is more attractive than most of the region's villages. In the valleys behind Tamga it's possible to trek around 6km to a Tibetan 'Om' inscription on a rock known as Tamga Tash, but you’ll need local help to find it. Most visitors head the other direction, 2km back down the road, towards a small bay that's nice for swimming.
Beside a handful of shops, Issyk-Kulskaya forms a de-facto main street with a vaguely Wild-West feel; it reaches a dead end at the military sanatorium complex, a leafy parklike area that's nice for a stroll. Though today it's rather quiet, locals are proud of the fact that the world's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, once holidayed here.