Kel Suu Lake
Kel Suu Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan. Kel-Suu is located in the Aksai Valley of the Naryn region. The lake, which is located at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level, appeared after a landslide in the 1980s. The resulting bowl – bounded on one side by sheer cliffs, on the other by Mount Sary-Beles – began to fill as a result of melting glaciers.
Kel-Suu means “incoming water”. Glaciers melt and the lake collects water, it leaves very slowly. But in 2018, the water went down several hundred meters, and after a while the lake reached its previous level. In summer, the water level should rise due to the more active melting of glaciers, but this does not happen. That is, the lake is completely unpredictable. Locals joke that before coming here, tourists should ask if there is water in Kel–Suu.
The length of the lake is 9 kilometers, the width is from 500 to 2000 meters. But the depth is only 5-10 meters.
The lake is located 20 kilometers from the border with China. To get here, you need to pass two border posts. Therefore, it is impossible to get to the lake without a special pass. In addition, it is impossible to get to Kel-Suu by car, and part of the way will have to be overcome on horseback or foot. Nevertheless, more and more tourists come here every year. The picturesque views and turquoise color of the water are worth all the difficulties.
In front of Kel-Suu, you will find the valley of the Kok-Kiya River, where the yurt camp is located. There you can spend the night and chat with local elders. The further road to the lake will amaze with picturesque views.
On the lake, hidden from civilization, tourists are offered active recreation: diving and kayaking. The absence of civilization is not said for the “red word”. Already at the entrance to Kel-Suu, the cellular connection stops catching. It should also be taken into account that the Aksai Valley, in which the lake is located, is the coldest place in Kyrgyzstan.
Kel-Suu is a dream destination for a one-day hike, but also for camping near the lake to observe the Milky Way and thousands of stars in this very isolated region of the country.
Residents of Bishkek and Naryn come to the lake for beautiful photo shoots, and tourists for the magnificent views. By the way, if you’re lucky, you can see Argali here.
If you go west up from the lake, you will find a unique cave. From a distance, it looks like a gap located in the rocks. The entrance is almost two meters above the ground. Speleologists are delighted with this cave.
Also near the lake, there is a rock called Balcony. At the bottom, it has a small hole through which tourists like to crawl for the sake of fulfilling desires. An amazing panorama opens from the opposite side of this cliff.
To access Kel Suu Lake and its magic, you’ll have to obtain a border permit. The lake is situated only three summits away from the Chinese border; hence there are several military posts that you’ll have to pass before accessing this little piece of heaven. You’ll have to show your passport and a border permit. The latter needs to be obtained in advance; it takes a few days, so make sure you plan your trip.
Good to know
- There is no public transportation to this very isolated region of Kyrgyzstan
- Make sure to take enough food and water with you; you won’t find any shops on the road
- Check the weather forecast and the condition of the road before adventuring yourself to Kel Suu Lake.