HOW TO GET TO KARAKOL
There are several ways to get to Karakol, but most of them is from Bishkek city (capital of Kyrgyzstan). And it is driving through north or south shore of Issyk-Kul lake. North shore has partly good road and south shore is more scenic, but road is medium quality.
Bishkek and Osh Iiternational airports host regularly scheduled international flights year-round, while Tamchy's Issyk-Köl International Airport sees summer service only. Rumour has it that Karakol International Airport may reopen as soon as 2019, but for now no concrete details are available.
Airports & Airlines
- Bishkek’s Manas International Airport is the main hub with relatively inexpensive international connections:
- Turkish and Pegasus (via Istanbul)
- FlyDubai (via Dubai)
- S7 (via Novosibirsk)
- China Southern (via Urumqi)
- Air Astana (via Almaty or Astana)
- Uzbekistan Airways (via Tashkent)
- Aeroflot (via Moscow)
Osh International Airport is also increasingly well linked via Istanbul, Dubai and various Russian cities.
Issyk-Köl International Airport's schedule seems to change by year, but often includes some combination of Uzbekistan Airways (via Tashkent), S7 (via Novosibirsk) and Qazaq Air (www.flyqazaq.com/en) via Almaty.
Marshrutka or mini bus is popular and cheapest transport in Kyrgyzstan. The minibus usually has 15-18 seats. And each minibus has its own name according to its route for example: Bishkek-Karakol, Bishkek-Osh.To get to Karakol on this type of transport you need to come to the local station (vokzal). P.S If your bag like trekking backpack 100L then it is necessary to pay 100 som for transportation.
How to get to Karakol from:
Bishkek - Karakol 399 km (Western Station - Zapadniy Vokzal) Price: 350 som Time: 6-7 hours
Balykchy - Karakol 222 km (Main Station - Vokzal) Price: 200 som Time: 4 hours
Cholpon-Ata - Karakol 143 km (Main Station - Vokzal) Price: 120 som Time: 2-3 hours
Bokonbaevo - Karakol 130 km (Main Station - Vokzal) Price: 120-150 som Time: 2-3 hours
Karakol - Naryn 371 km (Main Station - Vokzal) Price: 450 som Time: 6-7 hours Departure time: 8:50 am (North Shore), 9:10 am (South Shore)
In a regular taxi you pay the whole cost. A shared taxi picks up other people and baggage, meaning you may have to be stuffed in with several other people and their bags.Shared taxis usually cost slightly more than marshrutkas, and if you get tired of waiting for passengers to show up you can also often offer to pay for the missing passengers so that the driver leaves immediately.
How to get to Karakol from:
Almaty - Kegen (check point) - Karakol 384 km Price: from 150$ car Time: 6-7 hours
Bishkek - Karakol 399 km (Western Station - Zapadniy Vokzal) Price: 500-600 som Time: 5-6 hours
Balykchy - Karakol 222 km (Station - Vokzal) Price: 200 som Time: 4 hours
Cholpon-Ata - Karakol 143 km (Station - Vokzal) Price: 120 som Time: 2-3 hours
Bokonbaevo - Karakol 130 km (Station - Vokzal) Price: 120-150 som Time: 2-3 hours
Buses usually drive only between cities and even between cities in other countries. And you need to take tickets in advance. There is no online booking system. So you need to go bus station an order it. From Bishkek to Karakol, buses go only at night time from 21:00 to 23:00
Bishkek - Karakol 399 km (Western Station - Zapadniy Vokzal)
Price: 350 som Time: 7-8 hours
In Kyrgyzstan, a train ride is not yet developed, but there is still a train that goes from Bishkek to Balykchy where you can then take a taxi or minibus to Karakol. The conditions are certainly not the best and it is a Soviet train which is not so fast. But it is very interesting to try.
The tourist train will run from June 16 to July 30 on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and from July 31 to August 31 daily for this schedule:
Train №608 "Bishkek I - Rybachye" The departure time for local time from Bishkek I station (Pishpek) at 6.25, the time of arrival at the station "Rybachye" - at 11.20.
Train №609 "Rybachye - Bishkek I" Departure time local time from the station "Rybachye" at 17.08, the time of arrival at the station "Bishkek I" (Pishpek) - at 21.58.
- Adult ticket: 69 soms
- Children's ticket (from 5 to 10 years): 34 soms.