My hike to the Kul Ukok and Kul Tor lakes

My hike to the Kul Ukok and Kul Tor lakes

A week before I hiked there I didn’t even know these two lakes existed. I heard about them from a Czech traveller and when I saw some pictures I decided to go for it.

I hiked there on a Saturday and it was quite a hike. Just because I hiked more than I originally thought I would. The thing is I have a bad habit of wanting to see or do a lot or even everything on the very first day. So I ended up hiking to the upper lake.

I left the village of Kochkor at 8 am hoping to get a lift to the Iskaev village at first (approx 5 km away). The guy that gave me a lift eventually took me to the last house outside the village 8 km away from where I started. Nice.

Horses having a rest in the middle of the dirt road

I hiked for about 2 hours before I reached the yurts where I wanted to stay for the night. A Swiss girl recommended me to stay with a Kyrgyz woman that had a yurt a bit further from the road and yurts run by the main tourist agency. The woman started waving at me as soon as she saw me. Her name was Aynura. I took some rest there, drank tea and agreed to come back in the evening.

My host and the yurt owner Aynura is making milk and cream

An hour later I went on hiking reaching the first and bigger lake in about an hour and 15 minutes. The view was really nice. The colour of the lake was different from Ala Kul. It reminded me of the lakes in Slovakia. I rested for a bit and hiked to the other end of the lake which took almost half an hour. There were no tourists at the lake. I had met an Israeli couple before hiking down. But at the lake there were just a few locals riding horses.

I finally reached the big lake – Kul Ukok at the altitude of about 3000m
It takes about half an hour to reach the other end
One of my 365 daily selfies
Finally the other end

I was tempted to hike to the second lake, too. I had time and energy but the weather didn’t look good. I hesitated and I waited. But then I decided to go for it. If the weather changed, I would go back. But it wasn’t too bad. I again met a few Israeli tourists looking for one another but they were the last ones I saw. There was no one at the upper lake, just me. Awesome! The climb was a bit difficult but I reached the lake in an hour passing two nice waterfalls. The upper lake Kul Tor resembled Ala Kul as it was fed directly from the glacier. I spent there an hour and a half hoping for the sun to shine for a bit. And it did. Just for a bit but it did. It’s amazing to be at such a beautiful place totally alone. It’s only your experience. You own it. You own the place.

One would get terrified seeing this guy. The only yak around
I was so happy to reach the second lake – Kul Tor
Kul Tor is surrounded by a few snow capped peaks
Kul Tor is located at the altitude of about 3500m
Kul Tor
Kul Tor

Hiking down to the camp took me a bit more than two hours. I met a few other tourists at the yurt who only made it to the first lake. We chatted, had dinner together, talked to Aynura and were entertained by her funny son Almazbek who I think will grow up to be a comedian 🙂 We had a very nice time with this Kyrgyz family.

The last sun rays at Kul Ukok
Having a nice time with Aynura and her son Almazbek
Having a nice time with Aynura and her son Almazbek

The following day I hiked down to Iskaev villaged hitching a ride to Kochkor save me from walking the last four kilometres.

Starting altitude: 2000m
Highest altitude: 3500m
Distance hiked: 32km
Net hiking time: 6h45m

The yurt of the family – a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room and a playroom, all in one
The last look at Aynura’s yurts

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