Blanket on the Ground

Karakul Lake Travel Blog

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View across the lake
Karakul is the end of the road for us, at least as far as China is concerned, but it is a good place to end our travels in China and begin the journey back to Beijing.  Karakul is really just a lake beside the Karakoram highway between Kashgar and the Pakistan border.  The lake is at 3500m and is surrounded by snow covered mountain peaks a few of which are well over 7000m high. 

Being here is a little like being back in Mongolia except that the gers are now yurts and are of a slightly different design, more conical in shape.  We step off the bus to find that Karakul has a single hotel.  We are given the choice between a grim looking 6 bed room or a matress in a yurt.
Herd of pleasant goats
  The yurt looks cleaner and though we are not guaranteed exclusive occupancy (the yurt will sleep up to 10 people) this place doesn't look busy so the yurt seems the better bet.

The only thing to do here is to hike either around the lake or into the mountains. There are several glaciers overlooking the lake that look inviting but we take the sensible option and walk round the lake.  It only takes about  4 hours to walk around, so we extend it by climbing up the ridge of the hill opposite.  We consider walking further but grey clouds are sweeping in from the south and we are not well equipped to be caught out in bad weather.

We reach the Krygz village before the rain arrives and are welcomed into one of the houses by a woman who serves us tea.  I was hoping for a refreshing green or black tea but here the villagers drink salty milk tea (just like Mongolia!) which is a bit of a shock.
Snow mts surrounding Karakul
  It's drinkable but only just.
Light hail starts to fall but not enough to spoil the walk and we make it back to the hotel without getting wet. 

We have dinner with 4 other travellers who are staying here.  Two are French and arrived on the bus with us from Kashgar, another is Australian but on holiday from his work for a mining company in Krygzstan and the other is an English guy who has travelled from Pakistan.  From his description Pakistan, particularly the north of the country, sounds like a great place to visit - maybe sometime in the future we will manage to go there.  For us now we must retrace our steps to Kashgar.
  
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View across the lake
View across the lake
Herd of pleasant goats
Herd of pleasant goats
Snow mts surrounding Karakul
Snow mts surrounding Karakul
View over Karakul lake
View over Karakul lake
Karakul Lake
photo by: AndySD