After leaving Bishkek we spent two nights camping before reaching a hotel our third night. Too bad hot water was scarce and water pressure low. Along the way we managed a hike up a wadi into hills reminiscent of Utah, visited ancient petroglyphs, and skirted the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world.
Karakol had several sights of interest, including a Dungan temple which was built without nails by 20 Chinese artisans just after the turn of the Twentieth century. We also visited Holy Trinity Cathedral, a wooden church built by Russian settlers around 1895. The church was used as a gym during Soviet times and has been returned as a house of worship for the Russians who remain.
We also passed a number of cemeteries which were unlike any I've seen before.
Lots to see before we headed up into the mountains of the Tian-Shan.