With the day off in Bishkek our energy was restored and we got back on the road. The plan was to ride to the Song-Kul lake located in the mountains south of Kyrgyztan at around 3000m elevation. The country is truly mountainous: From Murghab we had descended to below 1000m at Osh, during our ride from Osh to Bishkek we went up above 3000m and back down again and now the plan was to got back up again once more.
The only problem with that plan was the weather forecast: For Song-Kul the weather to be expected was not that great with possible heavy rain and cold temperatures. Not exactly ideal weather for camping in the mountains. There were two intersections where we could turn right in order to ride to the lake. At the first intersection the sky in the direction on Song-Kul was dark with heavy, grey clouds filling the sky. With this outlook, we decided not to bother about Song-Kul anymore and just rode on east. There lay the Issyk-Kul lake, which is bigger than the Song-Kul, at a lower elevation and overall less remote. Coming from the west, we took the northern route around the lake, looking for a campsite while we were riding along.
Chris had read on the Internet that the northern shore is more touristy than the southern, however the level of tourism we saw was certainly not up to international standards (what a surprise) but rather for local tourists coming from maybe Biskhek for a weekend to relax.
At some point we located a nice spot and wanted to camp there when the first raindrops started falling from the sky. Eww, not exactly ideal weather. We might not be considered “tough overlanders” but as we had not unpacked or put up our tent, we decided: “Nope, thanks” and rode on, further east until we arrived in Karakol. On the way there we met two other travellers: A German guy on a Honda Transalp and a French man on a KTM Adventure. They both had different plans than us so we continued alone.
In Karakol we stayed at the Riverside Guesthouse. Here, Fabi inquired about the possibility to do horseback riding tours (One of the things she had been looking for the most since we left Germany), but unfortunately the staff could not help us. In the kitchen however, we found a flyer of a national park in a nearby valley. The flyer also listed “horseback riding” at a reasonable price as one of the possible activities so we had found our goal for the next day.