One of the most popular to do lists near Karakol is to visit the trekking route to Altyn Arashan. There is a village in the mountain at around altitude of 2300 meters and it is also famous for its hot spring! It is 14 km trekking up to the village, so usually people will stay in the guest house or yurt in the village and come back the next day. If you are advanced mountain climber, you can do 3 day trekking and visit the beautiful Ala kul. Unfortunately we are at beginner level, so we had a two day trekking to Altyn Arashan which becomes the most difficult tour during my visit in the country.
大部分來到Karakol的遊客都是為了欣賞Altyn Arashan的美景，它位在2300公尺高山上的一個小村莊，要看到它還不容易，需要辛苦的爬14公里的山，歷經6-7小時才得以相見!! 通常都是安排2天1夜的行程，晚上可以住在村莊裡的民宿或是蒙古包。厲害的登山客如果有自備帳篷，可以選擇3天2夜，爬上更高的Ala Kul 欣賞美麗的湖泊。我們當然不可能爬三天啦! 而且大家都說爬上那個湖滿辛苦的，如果只是到村莊的話非常簡單，所以我們準備好簡單午餐、水和糧食就出發了! 沒想到… 這竟是我在吉爾吉斯最苦的一段旅程~~~~
Everyone said that the trekking is rather easy, so we prepared simple lunch, enough water and clothes then head off. In the beginning it was okay, but soon I started to feel like this is a never ending road and I can never make it… especially when the route is getting steeper. The last 2 km is definitely a big challenge because it’s really steep and I can barely breathe due to the altitude. Some people choose to take the jeep which is a super easy way out. I almost feel crying when I finally see the village after 7 hours trekking from 9am!!! There were less than 10 groups of tourists going up along the way, it seems to be the end of the season (End Sep). There are quite a few of places you can choose to stay, most people choose the first guest house, but we heard that the far ones are cheaper, so we went to the last one at the right side, called VIP guest house. We didn’t choose the yurt because it has a weird smell, and the guest house is really nice with fire.
一開始興致勃勃，精神飽滿的大步向前走，結果走了一個多小時發現才走了兩公里多，開始愈來越喪志.. 尤其是有不少的大石頭路，不完全都是平坦的小徑，看著有些人被吉普車載上去，雖然顛波但似乎滿輕鬆的。接著就是無止盡的走走走，覺得永遠都走不完.. 還經歷下雨和寒風，最後的路段越來越陡峭.. 在高山上又喘又難以呼吸.. 走幾步路就要停下來休息大口吸氣。因為現在是季末沒有很多遊客上山，但是遇到的幾個幾乎都是輕鬆的超越我們，真是覺得我們體力好差啊!!! 從九點多出發，在四點多的時候終於爬上最高處看到了我們要落腳的村莊，簡直是高興地想哭!!!! 難怪大家都說這是最美的風景，果然是歷經辛苦才看得到不一樣的風景 哈哈! 村莊大約有四五間民宿，大部分人都累了當然選擇第一間，不過我們聽說第一間最貴，所以還是撐到右邊過橋最後一間叫做VIP Guest House，主要是看到騎馬的遊客都選擇那間，我們也過去看看。蒙古包雖然是好體驗，但是那裏的蒙古包有一種怪味，加上宿舍房看起來很溫馨又有火爐，就覺得還是睡小木屋啦!
Immediately after we arrived, we took a rest and stayed around the area. It was getting cold and we were happy that there were free flow hot tea from the guest house. During dinner time, we met new friends from France, a cool & strong mom with her son. Her son is also traveling around and we had a great chat! Later it’s hot spring time, the water was really HOT but it’s good to have hot water in this freezing weather. Another surprise is that the staff in the guest house knows Taiwan and our history very well. This young boy who studied international relationship discussed the world and Taiwan with us during the evening. We were super amazed by how much he knows about Taiwan! It was a wonderful night to discuss Taiwan, Kyrgyzstan and the world with this smart local friend.
我們找好了民宿之後就待在附近休息，根本沒力氣在繼續晃。很快的天氣越來越暗，也越來越冷，值得慶幸的是民宿有無限供應的熱茶。晚餐時間，我們和一對法國母子同桌，媽媽和兒子都到處旅行，這次媽媽是來加入兒子一小段環遊世界的行程，聊天時趁機練習我們的法文，和他們聊旅行的種種聊得很開心! 法國媽媽叫我們趕快去泡溫泉，皮膚會變好喔! 我們吃飽馬上就衝去泡一下，木屋環境不錯，還設計了更衣室，溫泉超級燙，花了一段時間才適應，不過皮膚真的有變滑嫩耶!! 民宿請的一個小夥子主動說想跟我們聊天，後來在房間裡大聊特聊，完全沒想到這位讀國際關係的大男孩竟然對世界的新聞這麼關注，對於各個國家都可以侃侃而談，對於小小的台灣歷史也是聊若指掌，和我們討論台灣和中國關係，蔣中正還有台灣的過去和現在，以及東南亞的狀況等等，真的讓我超級佩服。能夠和當地人這麼盡興的談論這些真的很開心! 因為他也會講法文，我們也聊了學習語言的經驗，還有未來的夢想等等，在這個山上打工三個月沒有網路，他說對於喜歡關注國際大事的他真的很痛苦!
Unfortunately during the time we stayed in the mountain, the weather was bad. It was mostly raining, especially the next morning, it was raining heavily that we didn’t even know if we can go down. At around 11am, finally the rain stopped, so we quickly started our journey down. I was expecting to spend less time going down but we actually spent another 7 hours again.. and our legs were even more painful and couldn’t walk properly for two days!! haha what an experience!!
可惜辛苦爬上了山，天氣一直沒有好轉，甚至第二天早上還下暴雨，讓我們好擔心沒辦法下山。法國母子倒是輕鬆愉悅的吃著麵包等待，好不容易11點雨終於停了，男孩說我們該下山了! 我們才趕緊收拾下去，原本預計下山速度會快一點，沒想到還是走了七個小時才到，途中經歷了大太陽、暴雨、打雷甚至是冰雹!! 真是既愛山的美麗，卻恨她的陰晴不定啊!