On our first full day in Karakol, we decided to go on a day trip to the Jeti Oguz gorge, which is located 28 kilometres from Karakol.
I was excited to finally get out into the Kyrgyz nature that we had heard so much about. Kyrgyzstan is said to be the most beautiful of the Stan’s because of its natural beauty, and after exploring the country myself as well as a few other Stan’s, I can definitely say that I agree. Jeti Oguz was no exception to this either.
We got a taxi to pick us up at the hostel and he dropped us off at the entrance to Jeti Oguz, where we saw one of the most famous landmarks in Kyrgyzstan. “Jeti Oguz” translates to “Seven Bulls” in Kyrgyz, which is also the name of a wall of red-brown cliffs resembling bulls, although it’s more like eleven bulls than seven! These cliffs were amazing and unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I could imagine them being a top tourist destination, if they were located in Europe or North America, but because they are located in Kyrgyzstan, we had them all to ourselves.
With the Seven Bulls as our starting and ending point, we walked along a dirt road for 5 hours with one mission: To find the waterfall at the end of the road.
The area of Jeti Oguz is absolutely breathtaking with high pine trees, snow-capped mountains and a roaring river. My feet got soaked as I walked through the many streams that we came by, as I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to jump over them like Steve did.
Unfortunately, it was raining hard all day, but we still managed to enjoy the rather muddy walk.
Our destination for the walk was Kok-Dzayyk, where a bunch of yurts are located, some for guests and some used by families in the summertime. We had been told that there was a waterfall near Kok-Dzayyk, which we set out to find.
It was quite difficult to figure out where to go once we got to Kok-Dzayyk, but we followed Steve’s gut feeling and ended up at the right place after walking through heaps of mud! We tried asking locals, but they didn’t really understand us, although one guy did point to the right place and basically told us not to go because it was too muddy, but we decided to do it anyways.
Getting to the waterfall was a real challenge! It was muddy, wet and just very inaccessible, but after pulling ourselves through the piles and piles of mud in the rain, we finally found the waterfall, snapped a few photos and then walked back again. We wanted to stay there for longer, but we were too cold because of the rain, so we decided to immidiately start the 2,5-hour walk back to the Seven Bulls, where we could catch a taxi back to Karakol.
Before we caught the taxi back to Karakol, we went to the other side of the Seven Bulls, where we could see the Broken Heart, which is a rock that is shaped like a heart that is broken in half. The more we looked at it though, the less it actually looked like a heart.
The day at Jeti Oguz was amazing despite the crappy weather throughout the day. We managed to walk through the mud and put up with the rain and were rewarded with beautiful nature that we had all to ourselves for the entire day.
Here’s some information on how to travel to Jeti Oguz:
- A taxi from Karakol should cost 300 soms in all to the Seven Bulls (don’t pay any more than that!)
- There was a guy at the hostel, who got a taxi to take him to Jeti Oguz, wait for him and take him back to Karakol for 800 soms in all, so that is also an option.
- To get to the waterfall, you should take the dirt road leading towards the mountains and pine trees and follow it for 2-3 hours until you reach Kok-Dzhaykk.You’ll walk across 5 bridges and after the 5th bridge turn right twice and then continue following the road across several streams until you get to a place with many yurts and one building. This is Kok-Dzhayyk. From here, you turn right up the hill and follow the footpath. A few minutes later, you’ll get to a place where it looks like the path goes up the hill, but follow the track to the right around the side of the hill instead. From then on, just follow the path and listen for the sound of water. There are a few different tracks from then on, but they all meet up in the end, so take the one with the least mud!
- There is also an opportunity to go horseback riding at Kok-Dzhayyk for 600-800 soms per person per hour.
- To get back to Karakol, you should walk or hitch a ride back to the Seven Bulls and from there, it should be easy to get a taxi back. We didn’t have any problem finding one and paid the same as on the way to Jeti Oguz (300 soms).