How to live like a nomad in Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan

Last updated: 28.11.2018

Song Kol is a beautiful blue pearl of water surrounded by rolling green hills. Dotted around the lake are traditional yurt camps, filled with families well prepared to offer travellers a real taste of nomadic life. Here’s everything you need to know before you go…

How to live like a nomad in Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan

Imagine a deep blue lake in the middle of nowhere, surround it with lush green hills, jagged mountains and fresh water streams. Pepper it with a thousand horses, cows and sheep and a sprinkling of white yurts filled with nomadic families. Visit, rent a horse, live in a yurt and it’ll just be you, raw nature and only those who are willing to live there. Son Kul is incredible and you are going to love it.

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Here’s all the information you need to have an amazing time in Son Kul and answers to all of the most commonly asked questions. Leave us a comment if we’ve missed anything and we’ll update the page!

How many camps are there in Son Kul, and which one do I visit?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

There are three main yurt camps along the southern shore road along Son Kul. However, there are plenty of smaller yurt camps dotted all over the place and far less touristy than the three big ones. It will mainly be a matter of how you’re travelling. If you have your own vehicle you can chop, change and check out different camps.

There are also plenty of camps along the northern shore. Prices will be the same no matter which one you visit. The one we stayed in is ‘Yurt Camp SonKol-Land Mirlan’. There’s a large sign out front and it’s the first one you’ll pass as you ride or drive along the main road from Osh (we left a review on I.Overlander so it should be easy to find).

Do I need to book in advance?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

No, you don’t need to but you can. If the camps are fully booked then there are plenty of other families and yurts willing to take tourists in. Don’t forget that there is no phone or internet signal in Son-Kul.

What are Song-Kol Land Mirlan’s contact details?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan

Here are the contact details for Yurt Camp Mirlan:

  • Instagram – yurt_camp_mirlan
  • Facebook – Yurt camp Sonkol-land Mirlan
  • Email – [email protected]
  • Phone and Whatsapp +996 (709) 56 30 55
  • Located on the southern shore of the lake

Who do I speak to when I get there?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan Meet Meridiana - a sweet girl, super friendly, excellent English and only 12!

Make sure you say hi to Meridiana, she speaks great English and will arrange everything for you (despite being only 12 years old at the time of writing).

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan This is the Son-Kul Land Mirlan family - a lovely bunch of people!

When should I visit?

The Yurt camps are open to tourists from 15 May – 20 October. The best time to visit is between June and July as the weather is warmest. The closer to October the colder it is.

What about the weather?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan It can get chilly in the evenings and high in the mountains, make sure you pack a jumper

Even if you visit slap bang in the middle of July, the weather can still be unpredictable. It’s 3016m above sea level and can get cold. You could have a still, sunny and warm day and be woken in the middle of the night by howling winds which pummel the camps the following day. Plan and pack accordingly.

How much is it to sleep in a yurt?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan Make sure your yurt has a fireplace. They use animal dung instead of wood (don’t worry, it doesn’t smell) and will keep you exceptionally toasty through the night!

A private yurt is 1000SOM per person per night. Yurts have anywhere from three to five beds. Remember that prices are per person, not per yurt. The price includes a hearty breakfast and dinner (if you don’t want to pay to sleep in a yurt then breakfast is 150SOM and dinner is 300SOM). The yurts are heated at night and electric lights come on at night (there are no charging points or sockets though). There are outside toilets and sinks, which are very clean.

What if I want to camp?

You can camp in your own tent (or in your own vehicle) for free. You’ll only pay for the food you eat.

What about showers?

There is a shower room at the camp, which is incredible! It’s basically a hot box sauna, which they heat up with fire wood and coal. It’s 200SOM per person.

What services does the camp offer?

Horse riding, traditional horse games, folk show, felt making, local guides and yurt assembling.

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

How much is horse riding?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Horse riding in Son Kul is a must. To rent a horse is 250SOM per hour. You don’t need a guide, but if you’d feel more comfortable with one you’ll need to pay for his horse on a per hour basis and between 500-700SOM for him. The horses are well trained, well looked after and obedient (most of the time). You can rent a horse and just ride off up into the mountains for the day for next to nothing. It is an incredible experience.

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

The camp can put on horse games for guests too. This is priced at 6000-8000SOM for 15 people, lasting 1hr30.

For a detailed guide to horse riding in Son Kul click here

What do I need to bring?

How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan The Mirlan camp whips up fantastic meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with plenty of tea!

The yurt camps sell water, beer, wine and petrol. Remember that you’re high up so it’s warm and sometimes windy during the day but cold at night. There are no shops around either. Most yurt camps will also provide lunch for around 300SOM.   How to live like a nomad in Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan Seriously, you are going to love it!

If you have any questions, comments or anything to add to this page (or even if you just want to say hey) then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email at [email protected]

Subscribe to our blog

Here's a bunch of reasons why you just gotta!

  • You'll get updates on our adventures, travel advice, tips, tricks and destination guides
  • We'll only email you once a month
  • Your info will never be shared with anyone and you won't receive spam
  • It's easy peasy to unsubscribe
  • You'll love it, we promise!