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Charyn Canyon, Kaindy and Kolsai Lakes

Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon is one of the most unique places in Kazakhstan. It’s takes one of the first places in the rating of the best tours in Kazakhstan!

The canyon is located at 190 km from Almaty and takes 3-4-hours driving from the city. It is very amazing place on the Earth planet. It is similar to the world Grand Canyon which is located in the USA and has second place by the size but its beauty conquers the hearts of thousands of tourists who visit this fabulous place every year.

Charyn is a monument of nature and 12 million years old.

The Natural Park was established on February 23, 2004. The park area is 93150 ha and locates in the Ili intermountain hollow. Charyn Canyon is one of the most interesting and picturesque places in Kazakhstan. Water, wind and sun built a quaint clay-stone city here. It’s unique monument of nature – a relic ash-tree grove, has the age about 5 million years. The fauna includes 24 species of mammals, 48 bird species, 3 species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles. In order to fully enjoy the beauty of these places you need to visit here personally.

The length of the canyon is 154 km. The depth is about 250-300m.

The most attractive route is the valley of the castles, which makes up the total walking route about 2 km and the width of 15-90 meters. The valley of the castles is a wide dried canyon adjacent to the main river bed. The river now flows itself along a different path and millions of years ago this place was simply a gulf of a giant ancient sea stretching from the modern lake Alakol to the Caspian Sea. This explains the rather mild the structure of the walls of the canyon which consist the stones, firmly pressed with clay, but easily changing their shape under the influence of wind and water. The great sculptor – Nature creates fantastic giants and very small sculptures from this material.

Now this place is very popular in the movie industry. People come here to make the movies from different countries both neighboring states and far abroad.

There are observation platforms at the top of the canyon from which you can take the photograph of a good panorama. There is an amazing beauty both from above and from below that you must see with your own eyes.

It is possible to walk in the valley of the castles both on foot and on a bicycle.

Inside the castle valley there are cafes, yurts, bungalows. It is possible both to spend the night and taste national dishes.

Kaindy Lake

Kaindy Lake is located about 290 km away from Almaty (5-6 hours driving).

Kaindy Lake is one of the main attractions of Kazakhstan in the Almaty region. This tour is attractive because the lake is unusual and the tops of withered firs rise above the water surface.

Here come the visitors and tourists from different countries. This lake was formed in 1911 as a result of a strong earthquake. The place of Kaindy altogether with the lakes Kolsai took the status of the National Natural Park of Kazakhstan on February 23, 2007. The lake is called “dead” because there are no fish in it. Fish (trout) is found in the river Kaindy below the lake.

Also the place is popular among divers. The depth of this lake is up to 30 meters of clean water with a summer temperature of +6.

The lake is in the forest zone at an altitude of 1,662 meters above sea level in one of the gorges of Kungey Alatau.

The lake still keeps fir trees rising right out of the water. These trees are the decoration of the lake itself. Water has a beautiful blue-green tint that depends on the month of the year.

This lake has no similarity with other lakes on Earth.

There is a parking on the territory of the lake with yurts where you can also taste Kazakh cuisine. It is possible to rent the horses.

Time for walking from the parking down to the lake is approximately 10-15 minutes.

It is possible to take the pictures of good panoramic view of the lake itself while going down to the source of the lake where the river flows in.

Kolsai Lakes

Kolsay lakes are located 290 km away from Almaty (5-6 hours).

Kolsai Lake consists of three lakes in the Kolsai gorge, connecting the mountain ranges of Zailiysky Alatau and Kungei Alatau.

The place of Kolsai altogether with Kaindy Lake assumed the status of National Natural Park of Kazakhstan in February 2007. There is the Republic of Kyrgyzstan border nearby at the distance 10 km to the North.

The first lake is located at an altitude of more than 1800 meters above sea level. The depth of the lake reaches up to 80 m, the width is 400 m, the length is up to 1.8 km

The second lake is about 8 km from the first lake at an altitude of 2252 m with a depth of 50 m. It is considered as the largest lake of all three lakes. You can reach it by two options: on foot, which will be from 2.5 to 4 hours or on a horse, which will be 3-3.5 hours.

The third lake is located about 15 km away from the first lake, which borders already with the border of Kyrgyzstan at an altitude of 2850 m. It is also called the upper Kolsai.

Because of its inaccessibility you need to have good physical training and time as far as it remains wild and untouched.

There you need to be extremely accurate, because it’s a border zone. The passage above the lake is strongly PROHIBITED!

The temperature of all lakes in the summer does not exceed 6-8 degrees Celsius.

In the two lower lakes there is a-plenty Trout fish too, except the coldest third.

Kolsai lakes are a border area and being in these places requires you to have passports and special documents that are issued for specialized post at the entrance to the park.

On the territory there are a large number of Tien-Shan firs. They complement all the beauty and these places emphasizing the status of a heavenly nook.

The lake is very photogenic and you can see it right from the parking and from the observation deck. It is difficult to distinguish between the difference in the sky and the lake in the photographs. There is very clean air and water in this paradise nook of Kazakhstan.

There are also yurts, cafes, guest houses on the parking lot of the first lake, as well as you can rent horses for a ride to the second lake or to go around the place.

You can also rent a boat or a catamaran and with a romantic ride on a calm lake to the end of it and back.

You can also just make a picnic on the ridge of any mountain and just lie on the green soft grass, dream and meditate.

Day 1

07:00 Departure from the city
10:00 arrival to Charyn Canyon 2 hours walk + light lunch
13:00 departure to Kaindy Lake through the village of Zhalanash
15:00 arrival at Kaindy Lake
17:00 Descent to the village of Saty to the guest house.
Dinner at home and sleeping time.

Day 2

07:00 Wake up
09:00 Breakfast and departure to Kolsai Lake
12:00 arrival at Kolsai Lake,
(possibility to rent horse, boat, catamaran)
14:00 departure to Almaty
20:00 arrival in Almaty