Kyrgyzstan – Song Kul and Tash Rabat

A living legend

Song Kul is one of those places where you are reminded that the best moments in life are connected to simple things. Close to our roots and the nature around us. It is where you find the humans and animals in a perfect balance and you are, literally, overwhelmed by the sound of silence.

At an altitude little over 3 000 meters, Song Kul is what Kyrgyz people call “jayloo”, a highland pasture where horses, sheep, cows and goats are brought during summertime, pastoralism similar with the transhumance.

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song kul

While the main and constant activity is still the pastoralism, the tourism around the lake developed and many of the families living here during the summer offer yurt accomodation, food and horse riding tours. We were no exception 🙂 . We arrived after the darkness fell and interrupted a group of tourists photographing the stars to introduce us to their host. After a few minutes of sign language talk and translations we were all set up and ready to sleep in our own private yurt.

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So what did we do at Song Kul?
Relax.

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Ride horses.

song kul

song kul

song kul

And of course, eat 🙂 .

Delicios cream and sugar, cooked together in a pan:

song kul

Ready. Steady. Shoot!

song kul

song kol

Tombstone nearby.

song kul

An exciting road ahead of us.

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The sunset finds us in a scenic landscape so we decide to call it a day 🙂 .

All good until the next morning when we decide to leave … and our car decides not to 😀 . The car battery failed and suddenly being in a remote place doesn’t feel so romantic anymore. After a few kilometers walk and a ‘conversation’ with a guy on a horse out of which none of us understood anything, we see a car coming. Two Kyrgyz guys headed to Song Kul with a fully packed car, clearly amused and intrigued by our presence came in our help.

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‘dumb tourists on a hill’ probably thinking 😀 .

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Tash Rabat Caravanserai

Up and running we are headed to another point you shouldn’t miss: Tash Rabat. Not only for the landmark itself, but for the road and the surrounding scenery.

Traffic jams from time to time.

Tash Rabat is a stone caravanserai, located in an isolated valley at 3200 m altitude. It was an inn for merchants and travelers of the legendary Silk Road from Central Asia to China. Due to its remoteness, scenery and very few tourists it’s not so difficult to step back through history and imagine the original atmosphere, in probably the most valuable architectural attraction of Kyrgyzstan.

tash rabat

While it doesn’t look very imposing from outside, the structure goes underground and has 31 rooms. Here’s a view from above.

tash rabat

And from below.

tash rabat

tash rabat

Our next stop is Chatyr Kul lake. Or it was supposed to be if there wasn’t an unexpected border control between us. And the closest we’ve been to China so far 🙂 .


As a side note, this is the way to Torugart Pass border post with China, one of the most notoriously unpredictable borders in Asia, which is reputedly more often closed than it is opened, and where crossing the border can include several days of wait. [1]

What is left to do? Have some rest, look around and enjoy the stunning place we’re lucky to be in.

Sleeping under the clear sky, with nothing around us but mountains and horses was one of the best memories we have from Kyrgyzstan. Food for thought: go back to the simple things, you’ll realise those are the things that matter.

Morning is here and we’re ready to hit the road again. But not before a hearty breakfast 😀

Iulia & Bancsi 🙂

Iulia

In search for balance and a long term way to enjoy the world around us without getting dragged in the society speed. You'll probably find me in my best element hiking mountains, reading a book in a hammock or exploring off the beaten path sides of the world. Of course, with a backpack.

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