Waited for breakfast at the hotel a little after 08:00 and then took a taxi to the West Bus Station. The taxi got pulled over by the police and they shook him down for 200 som. Both taxis I've been in have been pulled over. Both times the police totally ignored me in the back seat.
At the bus station, I bought a ticket to Karakol for 350 som and then waited for the minibus to fill up. It didn't take long and we left at about 09:40. The trip took 6 hours with one bathroom stop in the middle of nowhere.
There was a fat guy next to me who had to be touching me no matter how much I squirmed to make space between us. Then the whole back row got off the bus before Karakol so I had some space for the last hour or so.
Karakol is a small place so I could just walk from the bus station to the hotel in about 15 minutes. After I checked in I went to the center had a burger and fries at a little place. I saw a lot of backpackers walking around. The mountains to the north are spectacular but not very close.