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Sunset at Kol Mazar, Kyrgyzstan.

Holy Lakes Trek (Kol Mazar), Kyrgyzstan

Holy Lakes Trek, July 3-6, 2015

Our first trek of the 2015 season was the four day Holy Lakes trek (aka Kol Mazar) starting at the delightful Uzbek village of Arslanbob in Southern Kyrgyzstan. We traveled by minibus (marshrutka) to Arslanbob from Osh via Jalalabad and Bazaar Kurgan. The trip took 3.5 hours and the changes at Jalalabad and Bazaar Kurgan were very straightforward. All accommodation (homestays) in Arslanbob is arranged by the CBT (community-based tourism) office. We stayed in homestay #3 in the house of the Mashurbek the local English teacher. The room and breakfast was $7.50 per person and extra meals were $3 each. The village sits below the Babash Ata massif, which is the dominant feature of the trek.

The local CBT coordinator, Hayat, is quite a character and one of the key people in the CBT movement in Kyrgyzstan. He arranged a guide (Abdul), porter (Zia), cook (Ugun), food, and camping gear for us. The porter seemed a bit of an extravagance since we usually carry our own gear. However, we were cognizant that we were somewhat out of shape and the hike was at altitude with a steep pass on day two. Other CBT offices … Read more