Known for being a scenic city and located in the center of Kyrgyzstan, nearly 200 km from Bishkek, Naryn is a small city of approximately 53,000 inhabitants.
It takes its name from the nearby Naryn River, which then flows into the biggest river of Central Asia, the Syr-Daria.
It is also said that its name comes from the Mongolian language, in which Naryn means “sunny”. Naryn is a magnificent region made of high mountains, steppes, and a vast green meadow green at a high altitude.
This small offbeat town will be a very good place to rest and relax before starting your Kyrgyz adventure.
Naryn is a perfect exploration base and a good stop between treks where you’ll be able to quietly discover the city, stroll in its streets and by its river, and meet locals.
It is an ideal stop to discover the beautiful wilderness of the region which has large alpine lakes, valleys, steppes, and national parks that are all great for hiking and horseback riding.
Naryn is the last city before going towards the south of Kyrgyzstan and the Chinese border, a wild and isolated region of the country.
These are the 6 Best Places To Visit In Naryn (Kyrgyzstan).
1. Kel-Suu Lake
Located in the Naryn province, in the Kakshaal Too range of Inner Tien Shan which is situated at an altitude of 3400 meters above sea level, Kel-Suu Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan.
Secluded high up in the mountains that skirt along the Chinese border, Lake Kel Suu offers breathtaking views both on the steep climb up to the lake as well as at its shores.
Surrounded by high rocky cliffs, it was formed as a result of large rockfalls that blocked the narrow channel of the river.
Kel-Suu stretches for more than 12 km and is 2 km wide whose depth varies, depending on the season of the year – reaching the maximum depth towards the end of summer as a result of the melting snow and ice in the mountains.
The water in the lake is fresh and exhibits a greenish color where you can experience the lake in its full beauty by going for a ride on a motorboat.
Kel Suu Lake is an interesting and unexplored place for diving that also makes for excellent kayaking that is undoubtedly worth a visit.
2. Ak-Sai Valley
Ak-Sai Valley is a broad alpine valley located in the border area between At Bashy and Torugart which is situated at an altitude of 2900-3800 meters, in inner Tien Shan.
Ak-Sai Valley contains no large trees or shrubbery, just shallow grassland where a small stream runs through the valley.
There are several hunting bases in the valley since this area is the natural habitat of both the coveted Marco Polo Sheep and Siberian Ibex.
Did you know? The lowest temperature ever recorded in Kyrgyzstan was in this valley: -56.3°C.
So, if you love the vegetation that consists of short, thick grass that covers numerous swamps and lakes at moderate altitudes then I am sure Ak-Sai Valley is the perfect place for you to explore while traveling to Kyrgyzstan.
3. Song Kul Lake
Song-Kul Lake is an alpine lake that lies at an altitude of 3016 m and has an area of about 270 km² and a volume of 2.64 km³.
It is the second-largest lake in Kyrgyzstan with an area of 270 square kilometers and is three times bigger than the Zurich lake by surface and its maximum depth reaches just around 22 meters.
Song Kul Lake is one of the highlights of Kyrgyzstan. The lake is fed by several mountain rivers where the spacious meadows around the lake have been used as summer pastures by nomadic shepherds since ancient times.
Visit Song-Kul Lake to experience Kyrgyzstan’s pristine nature.
It is a mountain lake in northern Naryn Province, virtually in the center of Kyrgyzstan where its name translates from Kyrgyz as “the last lake”.
Encompassed by a high mountain level, Song-Kul Lake has no trees. Despite the fact that there are no trees on the high fields, there are a lot of herbs, including chamomile, sagebrush, lichen, monk’s top, and brilliant root, a considerable lot of which are prized for their medicinal characteristics.
4. Naryn State Reserve
The Naryn State Reserve is located in the eastern part of the Naryn province which is a 37,000-hectare reserve that was established to preserve Kyrgyzstan’s alpine meadows and coniferous forests.
The reserve is the starting point of the Naryn River and envelopes part of the Naryn Too Mountain Range.
The primary task of the reserve is the protection and conservation of the region’s flora and fauna. It is home to 1870 plants and 50 animal species. The most commonly found plants are spruce, rowan, willow, juniper, wild rose, and currants.
Deer, mountain goats, mountain sheep, bears, wolves, snow leopards, lynxes, and martens are just some of the animals protected by the reserve.
The Naryn National Reserve in Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan is another magnificent wild area of this beautiful country Kyrgyzstan.
Wild, unspoiled landscapes beyond as far as you can see, flora and fauna abound and it is truly magical.
So, you have to visit this state reserve for sure while you’re in Kyrgyzstan.
5. Chatyr-Kul Lake
Chatyr-Kul Lake is an endorheic alpine lake in the Tian Shan mountains in At-Bashi District of Naryn Province which lies in the lower part of Chatyr-Kul Depression near the Torugart Pass border crossing into China.
The name of the lake means “Celestial Lake” in Kyrgyz.
Did you know? In the winter, the water surface of this lake is covered with about a meter thick layer of ice. In the spring, the lake is filled with streams of mountain rivers, which flow down from the glaciers where the southeastern shore of the lake is swampy, while the northern shore is rocky.
Some of the animal species that live in the surrounding area include wild ducks, mountain geese, snow leopards, marmots, and mountain goats. Chatyr-Kul lake is a part of the Karatal-Japyryk State Reserve.
Don’t miss out on Lake Chatyr-Kul when you travel to Naryn Province because it will be an experience of a lifetime.
6. Eki Naryn Valley
Located 45 km from the town of Naryn and sitting at an altitude of 2000 meters, Eki Naryn Valley has a picturesque gorge cut through the town.
The banks of the Naryn River carve a pleasant canyon through the town. In the local Kyrgyz language, Eki Naryn means ‘Two Naryn’.
The valley lies at the meeting point of two of the largest rivers of the Naryn province where the view of the valley is profound and majestic complemented with horse riding trips across the valley.
There’s a national park in the valley full of lofty pine trees which houses some rather diverse wildlife: mountain goats, bear, wild boars, the endangered snow leopard, etc.
The Eki Naryn Valley attracts cyclists, trekkers, and anglers. So, are you one of them who likes to do these activities?