Issyk-Kul. The large blue lake. It's so vast in size that it looks like a sea, one encircled entirely by mountains. On the southern shore is Bokonbaevo, the main town of the Tong District. With a population of about 13,000, it is the perfect place to see rural life in Kyrgyzstan. In spring the local herders move with their livestock and horses into the mountains and set up yurts in the valley pastures called "jailoos." Bokonbaevo is also renowned for its eagle hunters who train birds to trap foxes, rabbits and other prey. They hunt in fall and early winter, but demonstrations and tours are available all times of year, including a 3-day festival in August.


Locals in the town and surrounding villages still produce handmade carpets, clothing and other traditional crafts. Fields remain a common sight as well. Farmers grow wheat, vegetables and fruits in the warmer months, then harvest hay in the fall. To get to know the locals better, CBT staff can introduce visitors to one of several family operated guesthouses. Or for those interested in a yurt experience, there is a camp on the shore of Issyk-Kul Lake, and two other yurt camps in the mountains. Lovers of the great outdoors can also enjoy a variety of treks or horseback tours through the high valleys, mountain passes or along Issyk-Kul Lake. Other excursions include the Fairy Tale Canyon and the Salt Lake, both an easy day trip from town.




Microbuses to Bokonbaevo leave Bishkek several times a day from behind the Western Bus Station (about a 3.5 hour trip). Microbuses are also available to and from Karakol (2 hours) and Balakchy (1 hour). Upon request, CBT staff can arrange private transport to nearby villages and other places of interest.


Community Based Tourism (CBT) is the practice of providing natural, value-packed travel services that utilize local accommodation, food, music, art, crafts and traditions.  CBT is an excellent value and travel experience that supports rational and sustainable development. CBT gives travelers authentic visits inside homes, villages and heritages while delivering proceeds directly to the families that visitors stay with and buy from. 

In recent years Bokonbaevo has become the center of ecotourism in the Issyk-Kul region. Aware of the need to maintain an attractive and beautiful environment, the local community--in conjunction with the Krygyz CBT Association - has taken steps to ensure that the area will continue to enchant visitors for decades to come

To learn more about CBT and ecotourism in Kyrgyzstan please visit the homepage of the Kyrgyz CBT AssociationAlso feel free to drop by the CBT office in Bokonbaevo for information about the area, tours, guesthouses and more. Wi-fi Internet access is also available. We are located in the center of town along the main highway, right east of the bus station.
















Argymak Cafe Bldg 1F,
Bolot Mombetov Lenin St.
Bokonbaevo, Issyk-Kul

CBT Bokonbaevo

Tel: +966 779455045
or for local calls
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