Sary Chelek is one of the most beautiful and highly visited lakes in Kyrgyzstan even though it is not always offered in regular tours in Kyrgyzstan. It is located at the altitude of 1875 meters and its width varies from 350 m to 1, 500 m with a maximum depth of 230 m. The level of water changes from season to season and is fed the river of the same name, and various streams and underground waters. You can get a car for rent and get there within a day drive from Bishkek.
According to the legend, the name “Sary Chelek” meaning “yellow bucket” was given by a beekeeper. When he was attending his hives on the lake shore and pouring honey into a bucket, he was so amazed by the color of hone so he decided to call the lake “yellow bucket”. Another version comes from the colors of autumn when all the trees turn yellow and it reminds the yellow bucket.
It is possible to reach almost the shore of the lake from Arkyt village, which 20 km away. This village can host tourists in local houses and organize local treks. There is also one more entrance by foot to the lake Talas mountains, from the north. But this trekking trail requires a good physical preparation. The climate here is milder and is protected by surrounding mountains from northern winds. The temperature in winter can vary between 17 to 27 degrees Celcius below zero.
Sary Chelek lake is protected by the government, and it is not allowed to swim, fish in the lake and hunt in the territory of reservation. If you travel in a self-drive car, you will need to pay ecological fee at the entrance. The lake is best to visit during the warm time of the year, so do not lose your time and book a tour and visit the most colorful lake in the country.