Travel article: Kol Ukok

Travel blogger: Christelle & Cedric

Trip story: Sur les routes de la soie

Image for blog article: Kol Ukok

Kol'ukok, Kirghizistan

Kyrgyzstan 2 days - September 2019






Close to Kochkor is Kol Ukok, an altitude lake, perched at an altitude of 3,000 meters and surrounded by pastures and mountains.


The climb will be gentle but long, sun is high in the sky, many horses and sheep graze in the pastures accompanied by some nomads.




Again alone along the way, we cross the river several times, fill our bottles, follow the path and join the yurt camp that will welcome us for the night. The only indication we have to find it: a piece of paper with the name of a family. Paper to show to all the nomads who will tell us the location of the yurt.

The nomads at 3000m altitude have already left, it is too cold so we will sleep at 2500m.

The Yurt is much more basic than the last time, poorly insulated, we fear to be cold at this altitude.


Picnic break, sardines, rice, egg, chips, with a 360 degrees view of the valley below, the farms, we feel good!


We cool down quickly and it's time to continue, 1h30 more walk to reach the famous lake. On the way, a small green-blue lake in the shape of a heart and many pastures always.


It goes up, it goes up, then we pass the Pass and here is the lake! 1000m of altitude difference, 17 kilometers, we finally got there.


The wind is rising but will not prevent us from sitting down and enjoy the moment. A bit further, the glacier and the snowy mountains, at our feet the blue / green lake that changes color when the sun rises and plays with the clouds and also gray / orange rocks, it is magnificent.

The lake, although seemingly calm, would swallow anything that gets into it due to strong currents, we will not risk it.

The wind is now very strong and we decide to go down to the camp before dark.

At dinner, our host will prepare what she can, pasta, some vegetables and tea of ​​course. She lives here 3 months a year, with her cattle and leaves her children to her sister, in town. Her brother lives in Russia where she went with her youngest son and loved ... KFC! Moreover a "restaurant" will open in Bishkek-the capital of Kyrgyzstan-in November and she is delighted. The nomads are not so isolated, but for KFC ?!


She will be very curious and wish to see the pictures of our life, our travels, on the phone. Nice evening.


Beautiful sunset, quick stop to the "toilet" - a small hut in sheet metal, with the sheet that lacks two sides and also above, in other words, a toilet hut that does not hide much!


Then our host goes to light the stove and we realize that we are heated with dung of sheep.

It works, despite the wind rushing into the yurt that is open everywhere, it will be hot! (and we won’t have the smell).


A beautiful and long night and we go down, meet our last nomads and horses, 35 kilometers of beauty.

We collect our bags at the hostel and it's time to find a way to reach Bishkek, Stephanie who came to see us for ten days has a plane back to Paris tomorrow.

The Marushtka for Bishkek leaves after a 15 minutes’ wait and 2h30 later we arrive in a Soviet capital - not so charming. This morning we were in a yurt!


Some recommendations:


# we did the trek at Kol Ukok lake in 2 days, on foot. 35 kms, 1000 m elevation gain, 1000 m down. Easy terrain but it rises all along!

# we went with no guide, with a paper on which was written the name of a family of nomads. Address we had from the Jailoo Tourism agency. 900 soms per night + dinner + breakfast per person.

# the beginning of the trek is 10 kms from Kochkor, 350 soms taxi.

Leave a comment

Oct 16, 2019 - 09:13 AM

Vous maîtrisez bien les chevaux !!!!


Christelle & Cedric
Oct 17, 2019 - 04:57 PM

Nous? pas du tout! On prefere marcher ;)


Ben et Ania
Oct 17, 2019 - 07:59 AM

Le récit et les photos donnent vraiment envie !! Vous avez prévu longtemps à l’avance votre itinéraire et le choix de faire ce trek là en particulier ? C’est vraiment un pays qui nous attire, surtout pour faire des treks à pieds et à cheval. On a bossé en tant que guides en Australie et on adore cavaler dans les grandes plaines ! Vous avez mentionné une agence, ils servent juste à vous “mettre en relation” avec la famille nomade qui vous accueille ? Au niveau nomadisme digital, vous bossez pendant que vous traversez ce genre de pays où est ce que vous vous mettez en vacances ? Ça fait peut être beaucoup de question pour un commentaire, mais on est hyper curieux d’avoir votre retour la dessus :) Merci d’avance ! Ben


Christelle & Cedric
Oct 17, 2019 - 05:03 PM

Hello ! Merci pour ton retour :) Nous avons prévu au jour le jour l'itinéraire, aux vues des conditions de fin de saison et la neige et le froid qui arrivaient. C'était cependant vraiment l'itinéraire classique et le plus touristique. Concernant les familles, elles n'ont pas de réseau donc les agences nous donnent des noms de familles qui potentiellement sont dans les montagnes et tu te pointes. On travaille tous les jours à raison de 20-24 heures par semaine (sauf les soirs de yourte bien sûr !) les seules "vacances" que nous ayons prises en 2 ans c'était lors de notre trek de 10 jours au Népal ! Dans quelle région d'Australie avez-vous été guides ? Ça devait être fou !


Mar 31, 2023 - 08:31 AM

bonjour, merci pour votre retour d'expérience et ces belles photos. nous enchainons l'Ouzbékistan et le Kirghizstan cet été, il faut donc faire des choix ... Du point de vue du dépaysement, si vous devriez faire un classement de vos 3 treks, quel serait il svp? Merci


Mar 31, 2023 - 08:32 AM

bonjour, merci pour votre retour d'expérience et ces belles photos. nous enchainons l'Ouzbékistan et le Kirghizstan cet été, il faut donc faire des choix ... Du point de vue du dépaysement, si vous devriez faire un classement de vos 3 treks, quel serait il svp? Merci