Staying in a Yurt at Song-Kul Lake: №1 A Unique Kyrgyz Experience

You must stay in a yurt near Song-Kul Lake if you are considering a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Song-Kul Lake, a gorgeous alpine lake at a high elevation surrounded by stunning mountains and extensive meadows, is situated in the Tian Shan Mountains. Staying in a yurt, the traditional home of the nomads, in this secluded and serene setting offers a rare opportunity to experience the ancient Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle. We will walk you through the entire experience of staying in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake in this article, from preparation to real stay, and we’ll also provide you some helpful advice.
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1. What is a Yurt?

The typical home of the nomads in Central Asia for generations has been a yurt, a round, transportable tent made of felt and wood. It is made to resist the harsh weather conditions of the area and is composed of a wooden frame wrapped in layers of felt and canvas. The yurt is not only a useful dwelling but also a representation of Kyrgyz culture and legacy as a nomadic people.

Staying in a Yurt


2. Planning Your Stay in a Yurt at Song-Kul Lake

You need to organize your stay before going to Song-Kul Lake. From independent camping to planned excursions, there are several ways to stay in a yurt. Here are a few things to think about:

a. Choosing the Right Time

Because the weather is milder and the lake is not frozen, the best time to rent a yurt at Song-Kul Lake is from June through September. The meadows are lush and green at this time of year, and the wildflowers are in full bloom, making for a magnificent view.

b. Booking Your Yurt

There are several options for booking a yurt, depending on your preferences and budget. You can book a yurt through a tour operator, a guesthouse, or directly with the nomadic families who own the yurts. It is essential to book your yurt in advance, especially during the peak season, to avoid disappointment.

c. Choosing the Right Tour Operator

If you decide to book a tour operator, it is important to choose a reputable and reliable one. Look for reviews and recommendations, and make sure they provide a comprehensive package that includes transportation, meals, and activities.

3. Getting to Song-Kul Lake

Getting to Song-Kul Lake can be challenging, but the journey is part of the adventure. There are no paved roads leading to the lake, and the only way to get there is by a four-wheel-drive vehicle or horseback riding. The nearest city is Kochkor, and from there, you can hire a driver or join a tour.

4. Staying in a Yurt at Song-Kul Lake

Once you arrive at Song-Kul Lake, you will be welcomed by the nomadic families who own the yurts. They will provide you with traditional Kyrgyz hospitality, including delicious meals, warm blankets, and hot tea. Here are some tips for staying in a yurt:

a. Respect the Culture

Staying in a yurt is a unique opportunity to experience the Kyrgyz nomadic culture. It is essential to respect their traditions and customs, such as taking off your shoes before entering the yurt and asking permission before taking photos.

b. Dress Warmly

Song-Kul Lake is located at an altitude of 3016 meters, and the temperature can drop dramatically at night. Make sure to bring warm clothes and a sleeping bag to stay comfortable.

c. Enjoy the Scenery

Song-Kul Lake is one of the most beautiful locations in Kyrgyzstan, and staying in a yurt provides you with a front-row seat to the stunning scenery. Take a stroll around the lake, go horseback riding, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

d. Try Traditional Food

The nomadic families will provide you with delicious home-cooked meals, usually consisting of meat, potatoes, and bread. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Kyrgyz dishes such as beshbarmak, a dish made of boiled meat and noodles, and kymyz, a fermented mare’s milk.

5. Conclusion

Staying in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake is a unique and unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle. From the planning to the actual stay, there are many things to consider, but the effort is worth it. You will be rewarded with stunning scenery, warm hospitality, and a deeper understanding of the nomadic culture. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

6. FAQs

Is it safe to stay in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake?

Yes, it is safe to stay in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake. The nomadic families are welcoming and hospitable, and the area is peaceful and remote.

Can I bring my own food and drinks?


Yes, you can bring your own food and drinks, but it is not necessary. The nomadic families will provide you with delicious home-cooked meals and hot tea for extra cost.

Do I need to know Kyrgyz to communicate with the nomads?

No, it is not compulsory, you don’t need to know Kyrgyz to communicate with the nomads. Many of them speak basic English or Russian, and you can also use hand gestures and body language.

Can I stay in a yurt during the winter?

Yes, you can stay in a yurt during the winter, but it is quite a hard exciting experience. The temperature can drop to -20°C, and the lake is frozen, making it difficult to access. Only by horses.

How much does it cost to stay in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake?

The cost of staying in a yurt at Song-Kul Lake varies depending on the season, the type of accommodation, and the tour operator. It can range from $30 to $100 per person per night.

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