Dead lake, Tuz-Kol or the salty lake
The Issyk Kul “Dead Lake” or “Tuz-Kol” is located on the south-west side of Issyk Kul. This small lake is a highly saline water body, getting its water from saline groundwater to the top of the lake, which is then being evaporated and the salt is left in the lake. Oddly the water at the top layer of the lake is colder than the one at the bottom which is explained by the difference of masses of the two water layers.
One can easily float and for example read the newspaper in the water. As a matter of fact, it is very hard to swim as you float so high in the water. You can also coat yourself with the sulfur-rich black mud (you can tell also by the smell). Some believe that it acts as a mud bath and can improve your skin. The salt percentage of the lake is around 13% but there are still some birds living around the lake including geese.
The price to enter the lake area differs based on your nationality as quite often still happens in Kyrgyzstan (50 – 200 som). There are pit toilets in the vicinity of the lake and places to wash off the salty water. Remember to bring enough water with you as it can get really hot at the lake. Water can also be bought from the nearby yurt village but the traveler reports on the food from the village are not positive.
How to get to Salty Lake
The road leading to the salty lake is not the best possible. The road north towards the shoreline of Issyk-Lul and the dead lake starts from the main road between Orto-Tokoi and Karakol. between the villages of Ak-Say and Kara-Koo. The largest nearby settlement is the village of Bokonbaev. You can also reach the place as a day trip from Karakol.
The yurt accommodation is OK and inexpensive, the rooms nearby are on the other hand not very good. The yurts are at place only during summer season.