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Magic lakes of Sary Chelek

Discovering the lakes of Sary Chelek on horse

Sary Chelek is a UNESCO bioshpere reserve, 600km from Bishkek and 340km from Osh. The name "Yellow Jar" in Kyrgyz come from the main lake of the region, and the second deepest of the country after the Issyk Kul lake. It's surrounded by other small lakes in the middle of one of the three most important walnut forest of Kyrgyzstan. The rich variety of flora and fauna is another important facet of this area. The program start from the Arkyt village at 1300m., east-side of the main Sary Chelek lake, and will finish into the Sary Chelek valley till the Arkyt village and main entrance of the park. The level of difficulty is moderate and open for amateur or beginner, and can be adapted for horseback riding lovers. The highest point is the Makmal pass at 2655m.

This horse-trek satisfy all the desires of enthusiasts jumper between epic traditions, history of the Silk Road and fascinating landscapes.

6 DaysAdventure toursKyrgyzstan

  • 1 people: $779

  • 2 people: $545

  • 3 people: $467

  • 4 people: $415

  • 5 people: $384

  • 6 people: $372

Starting from


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            Osh - Arkyt village
Osh - village Arkyt
Osh - Arkyt village

Early afternoon, meeting with our guide in Osh city, then transfer by shared taxi to Arkyt  village (300km). Preparation of local meal "Dimdama". After dinner we have a small musical arrangement. Overnight in homestay.

330 km

            Arkyt village - Kara-Suu lake
Horseback riding from Arkyt village to the lake Kara-Suu
Arkyt village - Kara-Suu lake

After breakfast, we ride up and down the forest's nuts on east side of Arkyt village. In the afternoon, we ride up along the banks of the Kara-Suu River, in the middle of walnut and fir forest. The valley becomes rather narrow and the slopes are covered with a beautiful silver fir forest. Further on the track passes below a waterfall and then we climb to Kara-Suu Lake (1802m). Installation of the camp. Overnight in tent.

19 km
1400 m
800 m

            Kara-Suu lake - Sary-Chelek lake
Day of riding from Kara Suu lake to Sary Chelek lake
Kara-Suu lake - Sary-Chelek lake

Breakfast, then continue the trek along the Kara-Suu river where the slopes of the mountains are covered with silver fir forests. The stony road winds through inhabited jailoos (mountain pastures). After lunch we cross the Makmal Pass (2550m), and descend into the Kula Taï canyon till the Sary Chelek river. After 2 km into a canyon, the landscape open on the main Sary Chelek lake. Tonight our guide will explain legends of the Sary Chelek lake. Overnight in tent. (1875 m, 17 km, 4-5 h).

17 km

            Sary-Chelek lake - Bakaly lake
Day of riding from Sary Chelek lake to Bakaly lake
Sary-Chelek lake - Bakaly lake

After breakfast, we leave the bank of Sary Chelek lake and we cross the Ashuu Pass (2560 m) where we ride through fir forests and have a panoramic view of the infinite ridges of the Tien-Shan mountains stretching to the far horizon and beyond. During the descent from the pass we will have lunch and then continue down through the Keshkil gorge to the bottom part of Sary-Chelek lake where we will have dinner and camp overnight in tents (25 km, 6 h).

25 km

            Bakaly lake - Arkyt village
Day of riding from Bakaly lake to Arkit village
Bakaly lake - Arkyt village

In the morning excursion to the 5 small lakes of Sary-Chelek (10 km, 2:30 h) till noon. After this we will continue on through the fir and walnut forests enjoying the panoramic views on the way to Arkyt village for dinner and overnight in a homestay (20 km, 4 h).

20 km

            Arkyt village - Osh
Drive from Arkyt to Osh city
Arkyt village - Osh

In the morning after breakfast, visit of the local zoological and geological museum, then transfer with our guide to Osh by shared taxi. Arriving at midday in Osh. (end of the program, lunch not included). 

330 km
400 m
600 m

"Visit to Kyrgyzstan = Nomad’s Land"

Our stay in the country boils down to this. An unforgettable experience!

The whole team is very competent and responsive.

The country is amazing. We did 17 days and visited incredible and untouched corners.

I recommend the nights with nomadic shepherds. Magical moments!

Yann Décaillet

They only have one problem ... do everything to please us! And it is successful! To be redone without moderation

Beatrice Peton

On your way

Sary-Chelek reserve KG

The State Nature Reserve of Sary-Chelek was created in 1959, a biosphere located between the Chatkal and At-Oynok ridges in the Jalal-Abad region, from 1200 to 4247 meters altitude. In 1978 it was declared as a World Biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

The largest lake named also Sary-Chelek is situated at 1874 meters above the sea level, with an area of 470 hectares and a depth of 234 meters.

981 species of plants are repertoried. The region is covered by one of the largest walnut forest (juglans regia), wild apple (malus spp.), pear (pyrus spp.) and an plums (prunus divaricata), fir (abies semenovii), spruce (picea schrenkiana), juniper (Juniperus sp.) and grape (Vitis silvestris) and more.

You can also observe a variety of fauna (80 species of shrubs, 38 species of animals, 157 species of birds).

To travel in this biosphere with Nomad's Land, it means you accept the rules of the reserve. With our local partner, we do our maximum to avoid leaving human traces.


Sary-Chelek lake KG

Lake Sary Chelek ( Kyrgyz - " yellow bowl " ) - a freshwater lake in Kyrgyzstan. Located in the Biosphere Reserve Sary- Chelek at the junction of the chain and Chatkal Has Moynok chain in the western part of the Tien Shan massif.

The lake was formed, there are about 10,000 years in a landslide.

1878m height coastline . alt . , surface water 4.92 km ² , 7.5 km length of the lake . , a maximum width 2280m . , average width of 650m . , maximum depth of 234m . , with an average depth of 98m . in the Total group has 7 lakes.

In the lake flows numerous streams and springs. The coastline is quite complex, robust and stiff. Kojo Ata River leaves the lake .

The area of this beautiful lake is rich in flora and fauna. There are about 300 species of plants, 32 species of trees, 80 species of shrubs , 38 species of animals, 157 species of birds.
The adminstration of the reserve offers tourist activities such as: boat ride , walking and equestrian trails. Lake Sary Chelek is the heart of the reserve , it attracts local and foreign tourists .

Reserve base is located in the village of Arkit .

Since 1959, this biosphere reserve Sary Chelek is protected by UNESCO.


What is included

  • All transportation in a private vehicle

  • All airport transfers

  • Accommodation as described in the program

  • Meals (3 per day)

  • Bottled water (when possible) & tea

  • English-speaking trekking guide

  • Horses with local saddles

  • Pack horses with saddle bags & horsemen

  • Camping & cooking equipment (tents, mats, gas, stove, etc)

  • All the activities listed in the program

  • Entry fees at national parks and/or border zones listed in the program

  • Entry fees at museums and historical sites listed in the program

  • Domestic flights mentioned in the program

  • A contribution to our sustainable development projects

  • Organisation of the trip & local taxes

What is not included

  • International flights

  • International banking fees (PayPal, ...)

  • Travel & repatriation insurance

  • Visas / LOI (if applicable)

  • Alcoholic and soft drinks

  • Personal expenses

  • Personal equipment (sleeping bag, headlight, personal medication, etc)

  • Additional costs due to unexpected personal events (health, loss of luggage, ...)

  • Tips for guide & driver (always optional, always appreciated)

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Postal address

Nezhinsky lane 27

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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Ecotourism projects

Through various ecotourism projects and initiatives, Nomad's Land aims to increase awareness of ecotourism and responsible travel, for a sustainable development of the tourism sector.

Village Monde - Vaolo
community permaculture garden

Rural development in Nepal

The Nepalko Sathi association leads its actions in favor of the Sherpas of Khembalung in the Arun valley (Province of Koshi). Nepalko Sathi

From Tumlingtar airport we reach by jeep the small town of Kahandbari where we are greeted by Kibutie and his family. From there, we climb to the small village of Gontala, in the heart of the actions of Nepalko Sathi (three days of walking), then we go up to Saissima, where Tendi Sherpa is rehabilitating the hamlet of his childhood. From Saissima it is possible to continue and make a loop towards Makalu and the impressive surrounding peaks (under tent).

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Samuel Maret

5 November 2021

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