If you’re going to Kyrgyzstan, one of the highlights is definitely staying in a yurt camp. You’ll find them all around lakes Issyk Kul and Song Kol, in the east and centre of the country, respectively. I went to Jetty Oguz, about 30 minutes south of Karakol, the eastern point of lake Issyk Kul. Once you get to Jetty Oguz–which holds the faded sanatorium where Yeltsin and Kyrgyzstan’s president Akayev met in 1991–you walk about 5 km away from the famous red rocks, when you will then reach the Dolina Svetov or the Valley of Flowers. Given that I have a tendecy to get lost, I took a taxi (the most obvious mountain choice!) down to the valley and found myself a yurt in the rain. In fact, there are at least four yurt ‘complexes’ in the valley, all of which rent out to tourists and trekkers.
When I got there around 3 o’clock I was cold, grumpy, rained-on, and already incredibly bored. But the weather cleared up a bit later and as I walked trough the deserted mountain valley, I passed a group of middle-aged Kyrgyz picnicers who toasted to everything under the sun with superior Kyrgyz vodka and watermelon. And, because being 25 and unmarried is not cool in Kyrgyzstan, they introduced me to the valley’s eligible bachelors before deciding those guys were ‘criminals’ and drunk-driving me the 300 metres to my yurt. Safety first!
When the horses woke me up at 5:30, I was already pretty much ready to get back to wireless internet, hot showers, and vodka-free living. But breakfast was warm bread, jam, fresh cream from the family’s cows, and hot tea. And this view. Could there be anything better at 3000 feet?