Visit Guide to Kel-Suu Lake

The alpine lake Kel-Suu is located in the southern part of the Ak-Say valley at an altitude of 3.514 meters above sea level. The lake attracts travelers by its unspoiled beauty, surrounded by sheer cliffs and having emerald green waters. Since the lake is located near the Kyrgyz-Chinese border, you need to have a border pass. The name of the lake is translated as “incoming water” and for a reason, because the lake tends to disappear and then be filled again.

Getting There

Kel-Suu is remote. Though only 160km from Naryn city, expect to spend 4-5 hours on the road. All visitors require a border zone permit issued by the Kyrgyz Border Service – this is possible to arrange in person over the course of multiple visits, but is most easily done through a tour operator at least a week in advance of your departure for Kel-Suu.

What to Expect

Tucked into a curve of the Tien Shan just against the Chinese border, Kol Tetri (known more commonly as Kel-Suu) winds for 10km through rugged mountains in one of the most dramatic locations of any alpine lake in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Formed by a landslide at the top of the Kok-Kiya Valley, the dammed waters of the Kurumduk river fill a rocky basin at 3500m before disappearing below the rocky rubble and surging forth from the bottom, as if from an tremendous underground spring.


The magnificent Kel-Suu Lake formed thousands years ago by a strong earthquake, located in the Kok-Kiya valley (3,520 m), Naryn region, near the China border.

Facilities Available

  • A cluster of yurt camps on the opposite side of the Kurumduk river offer beds and meals to visitors, and can arrange horses to cover the final 8km across the river and to the shore of Kel-Suu itself.
  • CBT Naryn can arrange border permits, accommodation and transport in advance, as can most Naryn- and Bishkek-based tour operators.