Code of Conduct for Responsible Tourist

Respecting Cultures, Protecting Environments

About Karakol

Nestled on Lake Issyk-Kul's eastern shore and embraced by the Tian Shan mountains, Karakol is a captivating town in Kyrgyzstan. Established in 1869 as a Russian outpost, it has evolved into a dynamic cultural hub and an adventure seeker's paradise.

Karakol's multicultural essence is a highlight. Diverse communities like the Dungan, with their preserved traditions and famed Dungan Mosque, and the Uighurs, known for their vibrant markets and delectable cuisine, contribute to its rich tapestry. The Russian influence, evident in architecture and institutions, adds another layer to its charm.

Nature enthusiasts flock to Karakol for its trekking trails and skiing slopes. The Jeti-Ögüz Valley and Ala-Kul Lake offer stunning vistas and challenging hikes. The Karakol Historical Museum and Sunday Animal Market provide glimpses into its past and present.

Culinary delights await with a blend of Kyrgyz, Russian, Dungan, and Uighur flavors. From traditional dishes to ethnic cuisines, Karakol promises a gastronomic journey.

With its scenic beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure prospects, Karakol beckons travelers seeking unique experiences in Kyrgyzstan. Whether it's exploring nature, immersing in diverse cultures, or simply soaking in its ambiance, Karakol promises an unforgettable journey.

Our Challenges

Karakol, known for its natural beauty and cultural richness, grapples with significant environmental issues affecting both the town and Lake Issyk-Kul region. Tackling these challenges is vital for sustaining the area's unique environment and promoting responsible tourism.

A primary concern is the town's electricity supply, often leading to reliance on coal during harsh winters, contributing to air pollution and health hazards.

Waste management is another critical issue, with inadequate systems leading to litter and pollution, harming wildlife and spoiling the area's beauty.

Outdated sewage systems pose risks of untreated discharge into local water bodies, including Lake Issyk-Kul, threatening its ecosystem and public health.

Traveler Code of Conduct for Visiting Karakol

To mitigate these challenges, tourists are encouraged to follow responsible tourism guidelines, minimizing ecological impact and respecting local customs.

  • Read Local Regulations: Before your trip, familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations specific to Kyrgyzstan, and any national parks or cultural/historical sites you plan to visit.
  • Research Kyrgyzstan: Learn about Kyrgyz culture, traditions, and the specific climate conditions for the season of your visit.
  • Pack Responsibly: To reduce plastic waste, bring a refillable water bottle, reusable dishes, own lunchbox, and your own shopping bag.
  • Know Prohibited Items: Be aware of items that are prohibited from being imported or exported, particularly concerning flora and fauna.
  • Insurance: Ensure you have adequate travel insurance covering health, accidents, and travel-related incidents.
  • Personal Medical Kit: Carry your own first aid kit and any necessary medications.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of local emergency contacts, including the nearest embassy, local hospitals, and emergency services.
  • Local Currency: Familiarize yourself with the local currency and exchange rates. Have some local currency on hand for small purchases. Bear in mind that in some places you can only pay with Visa (not Mastercard or Maestro).
  • Make a responsible choice: Choose tours and activities that promote sustainable and responsible tourism practices. Check which providers and accommodations are sustainability-certified (with certifications like Travelife or Good Travel Seal)
  • No Campfires: Avoid making campfires to protect the environment.
  • Avoid Polluting Water: Do not wash with soap or bathe in rivers and lakes.
  • Protect Flora: Do not break branches or damage trees.
  • Respect Wildlife: Do not pick flowers, disturb plants, or scare animals. Avoid feeding wildlife and keep noise levels low.
  • Pre-trip Food Preparation: Plan your food supplies in advance and repack them to reduce waste.
  • Local Transportation: Use public transportation, bicycles, or walk when possible to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Waste Management: Do not litter. Sort your waste and dispose of it in designated areas.
  • Water Conservation: Conserve water when using showers and toilets.
  • Energy Conservation: Turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Reusable Utensils: Use reusable dishes and utensils.
  • Reusable Bags: Use your own shopping bag when visiting markets to avoid single-use plastics.
  • Language Efforts: Make an effort to learn a few key phrases in the local language beyond greetings, such as "please," "thank you," and "excuse me."
  • Community Engagement: Participate in local activities or events to better understand and appreciate the culture.
  • Respectful Interactions: Be polite and respectful when interacting with local residents. Be polite to staff and owners. Do not be rude or condescending.
  • Appropriate Clothing: Dress modestly, especially in rural and conservative areas and religious sites. Women should avoid skimpy clothing and bikinis, and men should avoid very short shorts. Ensure clothing covers the knees.
  • Respect Customs: Be prepared to remove your shoes indoors.
  • Photography Etiquette: Do not photograph people, especially children, without permission.
  • Public Decorum: Avoid whistling, hugging women, laughing loudly, or talking loudly.
  • Local Products: Support the local economy by buying locally-made products, souvenirs and using local services.
  • Small Gifts: Consider bringing small gifts as a sign of respect when visiting local communities.
  • Safety Awareness: Familiarize yourself with fire safety rules and evacuation routes.
  • Personal Belongings: Keep an eye on your personal belongings. Use the hotel’s safe deposit services. Lock windows and doors when leaving your room.
  • Communication: Inform the administration of any changes to your arrival or departure times. Check accepted payment methods in advance.
  • Dietary Needs: Inform the staff of any dietary restrictions or health needs. 
  • Care for Property: Handle hotel property with care and report any damages promptly.
  • Respect Quiet Hours: Maintain silence and avoid playing loud music in your room.
  • Shared Facilities: Use shared facilities like pools and gyms considerately, allowing others their turn.
  • Service Hours: Respect the operating hours of hotel restaurants, cafes, and other services.
  • Follow Instructions: Adhere to all guidelines for visiting cultural sites.
  • Respect Sacred Sites: Be aware of and respect any religious or sacred sites. Follow specific dress codes or behavior guidelines in these areas.
  • Food and Drink: Do not bring food or drinks to cultural or historical sites.
  • Pets: Do not bring pets unless explicitly allowed.
  • Respect Exhibits: Do not touch exhibits and avoid using flash photography with older artifacts.
  • Quiet Respect: Keep noise to a minimum and avoid loud conversations.
  • Cleanliness: Do not leave litter or graffiti. Always check if photography or videography of the site is permitted before taking pictures.