THE CLEAN, QUIET SIDE OF
ISSYK-KUL LAKE

Issyk-Kul is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Issyk-Kul means "warm lake" in the Kyrgyz language; although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes.

Issyk-Kul Lake is 182 kilometres (113 mi) long, up to 60 kilometres (37 mi) wide, and its area is 6,236 square kilometres (2,408 sq mi). It is the second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca in South America. It is at an altitude of 1,607 metres (5,272 ft), and reaches 668 metres (2,192 ft) in depth.

Issyk-Kul Lake, located within the Tian Shan mountains, is the world's second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. For this reason it never freezes in winter, hence its name "warm lake" in Kyrgyz. The lake is also referred to as the "Pearl of Kyrgyzstan" due to its natural setting, particularly the beauty of the mountains and deep blue water which characterize it.

In summer months tourists flock to the lake's shores to enjoy swimming, paragliding and water sports. The town of Cholpon-Ata on the north side is a popular destination, but for a quieter experience, Bokonbaevo has a pleasant, undeveloped shore that is good for relaxing and fishing. Morever, the southern part is cleaner and clearer than eslewhere around the lake. To the east of town is also a sandy beach, orange in color, which is frequented by locals. As for foreign visitors, they often stay next to the lake at the Bel Tam Seaside Yurt Camp where it is possible to see the mountains and sunrise over the water.