Kel-suu is the most beautiful lake in Kyrgyzstan. Definitely. Hard to get, located at 3500m above the sea level, in a far and cold Ak-sai valley. Its water comes down from the melting glaciers on the high rocks surrounding the lake, and it has this magnificent blue-green color. Honestly, I don’t know anyone, who was not impressed by the photos.
You might need the Permit for border zones in Kyrgyzstan to visit some famous places, located in border regions, like Kelsuu, Chatyr-kul, Mertzbaher lakes, Inylchek glaicier etc. The are border control in the areas and you must have the permit to pass them.
Every year I meet more and more vegetarian tourists. And they often have difficulties finding a good and cheap place to eat vegetarian food in Bishkek. Because Kyrgyzstan is a nomadic country where most people prefer meat. So I decided to write this post about the cafes in Bishkek, offering vegetarian food.
The plane landed around 22.00 to the far windy island, the ancient land of vikings. Today we know it as Iceland. Everyone had his own expectations from this unknown land, but we were all expecting some miracle, like if we came to another planet.
Today we are going to start our long trip around Iceland. This first day we plan to visit all the sightseeing-s of the famous Golden Ring of Iceland (Thingvellir, Gulfoss waterfall and Haukadalur geysirs) and to stop in Vik for the night. This is the southern point of Iceland.
If you are a tourist, travelling across the big country, you can easily get a payment card with an account in Sberbank Online.
This is the most popular payment system in Russia. It allows you to pay for goods and services from your mobile phone. Sometimes, it is very useful if you stay in a hostel, that does no take credit cards. With the card you can pay for bus tickets in most cities across Russia. And it can be even cheaper, that paying by cash. Finally some POS-terminals in Russia and websites don’t accept foreign cards. So I definitely recommend you to open this Sberbank payment card.
How to open Sberbank Online account and a payment card
All you need is to come to any Sberbank office, and show your international passport and your migration card. The documents are enough.
The card will be issued in several days.
But if you have no time to wait, you can ask an instant card (preissued, noname). In my case it was Visa a pre-issued Visa.
The most important thing is that this card gives you access to Sberbank Online service.
No matter where you are, you can pay any services. For example if you visit Olkhon island on Baykal lake, there are no ATMs. And many hostels don’t accept payment cards there. But you can easily pay with Sberbank Online application.
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Hatsvali – is the nearest and easy to get ski resort in Svanetia.
If you come to Mestia by plane in the morning, you can check-in in one of numerous hostels leave your staff and go skiing.
No need to bring all the equipment with you. You can rent ski, snowboard, helmets in one of the stores or in hostels. The owner of hostel also gave me a skipass, which works in any resort in Georgia during the whole season. It was issued for another person, there was a photo of a girl. But stuff don’t check skipassed in Hatsvali and Tetnuldi
I just put it in a pocket and passed turnstyles.
When I was searching a place to stay in Mestia I reserved the cheapest option in Ushba. the owner wrote me that I can easily get from Mestia to Ushba by a minibus, it’s cheap and fast. In fact, when i came to Mestia I found out that it’s not so cheap and the road takes 1 hour, so it’s better to stay in Mestia if you prefer to spend time for skiing during the day and hanging out in bars during evening time. But if you want to relax, enjoy silence you may go to Ushba, locals tell that the nature is even more beautiful there.
How to get to Hatsvali ski base
There is a cableway which goes from Mestia to Hatsvali resort. You can use your skipass for the cableway. It takes around 10-15 minutes by walk to get from the center of Mestia to the cable way, you need to cross the bridge and follow the only road.
So I put on my snowboard shoes and left to Hatsvali cableway.
The road if very beautiful, there is a fantastic view to the Mestia village.
The cableway is modern and fast, with 6-persons seats. It will take to the top of the mountain to Hatsvali in 10 minutes.
Hatsvali hill, relief
Hills are perfect! Large tracks, well-prepared, surrounded by forests.
First moments I was surprised how big the base is, and how many tracks it has.
The relief of Hatsvali is various, you can find steep and slope tracks. So it will be interesting for advanced riders and newbies.
The good thing is that there are not many people, no queues. The security is good, you can see police and rescuers on the hills.
There is a cosy cafe on the top of the base with a fantastic view.
All the cableways on Hatsvali are seat lifts for 406 persons. No tow lifts .
They work till 16.00 (17.00 in weekend) and there is a night ride too.
Cafes in Mestia
According to locals the best national dishes (hinkali, hachapuri, shashlyk) are served in Sun-seti cafe, located in the center of Mestia. And I completely agree with them.
But I also recommend you to visit another cafe which is located on the other side of the road. If you come there in evening time you can enjoy caucasian folk music, coll party with songs and dances (lezginka). This is the best place to chill-out in a friendly company.
Internet in Mestia
The only thing that I didn’t like in Mestia is Internet. It is not stable.
I bought a Beeline sim-card in Tbilisi. It was not working good in Mestia, depending of the place, the signal was appearing or disappearing.
Even in hostels and cafes there is no reliable Internet. There is only 1 Internet provider in Mestia, and sometimes it doesn’t work. And the whole village is offline.
There are several ways, to get from Manas airport to Bishkek.
Let’s start from the cheapest one.
When you leave the terminal zone, you will be warmly accepted by a crowd of taxi drivers, offering insistently their services to take you to Bishkek. Especially they are hunting for strangers, who are not aware of local prices. If you prefer to save money, don’t stop, go to the exit.