Kel-Suu Lake, Kyrgyzstan

How to get to Kel-Suu Lake 

One of the things I really wanted to do in Kyrgyzstan was to hike and see beautiful landscapes. I had heard that Ala-Kul lake was one of the most beautiful places you could go to so I was determined to visit it. I also found out that it’s one of the most popular lakes to hike to in Kyrgyzstan. So when I came to the CBT (community based tourism) office in Karakol, I was surprised that they told me I could hike it from a completely different route than most other hikers do. But why on earth wouldn’t you trust the local people who works with this? Well, that might’ve been my first mistake. Because that path led us nowhere and then it was too late to turn back. I was incredibly disappointed about this fact and I couldn’t do the lake anymore because of time pressure, so I just had to accept the fact that maybe I wouldn’t be able to see any beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan. That is, until I met some other experienced travelers who told me about a hidden gem – Kel-Suu Lake. 

Quickly, I switched my plans and decided to try my luck with this other lake. There’s barely any information from other travelers about it online and I knew this had to be special. So I quickly gathered some information from the travelers and started heading back on the road. 

How to get there 

First, you need to take a mashrutka to Naryn. If you go from Bishkek, you can take a mashrutka straight to Naryn. The ride takes approximately 4 ½ hours. From there, you need to book a driver that will take you to Kel-Suu Lake. From Naryn, it takes another 4 hours. The roads are really bumpy so bring some pills if you often get car sick. 

What to think of 

It’s not possible to get to the lake with public transportation so the best thing to do is to go to the CBT office in Naryn and ask them if there’s a group going there that you can join. The cost of a car costs 10,000 som and can be divided by 4 people. If you want to stay more than 1 night by the yurt camp, it’ll cost you 500 som more per night (basically it’s for the driver). You also need a permit to get there and this’ll cost you 1,500 som. It has to be arranged at least one day before you want to go hike, but it’s better to do it a few days before so you’re guaranteed to have the permit. Remember; you cannot enter this area without this permit so don’t try. 

The hike 

It takes about 4 hours to hike to the lake from the yurt camp. It’s 7 kilometers there and another 7 back. Try to do it early in the morning so you have a lot of time to spend at the lake. Always bring your rain jacket and warmer clothes, even if you’re going during summer. The weather changes fast in the mountains so it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Other than that, it’s quite easy to get there, it just sounds more complicated and that’s probably why a lot of people don’t go there. It also costs a bit more than Ala-Kul for example and is a bit less accessible. But wow, that lake was truly incredible and all the hassle was so worth it. The entire experience was worth it – staying in a yurt camp, watching the stars at nigh, eating dinner at the camp together with other travelers (the very few that made it there), do a day hike and see one of Kyrgyzstan’s most stunning lakes. Life is, indeed, very good when you’re in Kyrgyzstan. 

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Thailand, perfect for first time travelers

Why Thailand is the perfect destination for first time travelers

Thailand might be a cliché, but it is undoubtedly beautiful and fun to travel around in. There’s just something so classic about traveling around in Thailand. Perhaps it’s the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Dicaprio that made it forever iconic to backpackers, but Thailand is really one of the best destinations for both first time travelers and for those who wants an exotic vacation. Here’s why.

Thailand is safe

If it’s the first time you’re going abroad, you might want to go to a destination that feels safe. Although there are petty crimes in Thailand, such as pickpockets for example, there aren’t really any violent crimes. You just have to make sure to keep your belongings safe and be smart about where you go at night.

The food is great

Food really impacts your traveling and if you want to go somewhere where they have incredible food, you must visit Thailand. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ll have an easy time here too. What’s so good about Thailand is that you can get all sorts of food here. Since there are so many expats living in Thailand, you’ll notice that you can get food from almost all over the world, especially if you’re in Bangkok. But when you’re in Thailand, you should try the local dishes such as pad thai, their curries and grab a mango sticky rice for dessert. It’s so delicious!

Thailand is very social

Whether you’re traveling with friends or alone, you’ll probably want to meet other travelers. If there’s anywhere you’ll meet other people, it’s Thailand. There’s so many hostels, so many travelers from all over the world and the social scene is great here. Just go to any hostel, bar, café or even beach, and you’ll meet people.

It’s affordable

Although prices has risen a bit, especially on the islands, it’s still quite affordable to travel in Thailand. If you’re on a strict budget though, head north to Pai or Chiang Mai where you will still get really cheap food. It’s also two of the most beautiful places in Thailand so it’s a win-win situation. Either way, you get really good value for your money in Thailand and that’s one of the reasons why it’s perfect for first time travelers.

You’ll have a great time

There’s no doubt that Thailand is all about having fun. Whether you like to party, hit the beaches, go snorkeling, hike, visit temples, eat great food or just get lost in Bangkok, you’ll have a great time exploring this beautiful country. It really is one of the best places to travel in and after spending time in Thailand, you’ll definitely be ready to take on other countries in Southeast Asia.

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