Express One day tour to Kolsai and Kaindy Lakes via Charyn Canyon

Duration: 1 day
Distance: 650 km or 403 miles

Do you have just one day and want to see it all? We offer this express tour to scenic Kolsai & Kaindy Lakes via majestic Charyn Canyon to those guests who are ready for a long road trip! It will start in the early morning and finish at night, 8-10 hours will be spent in the car driving from one stunning location to another. So prepare your favorite playlist and let’s get ready for the unforgettable views of the classic landscapes of the Zhetysu region.

In Dostar Trips, we treat each of our guests as a friend we just didn’t meet yet (“dostar” means friends from Kazakh). If you take a trip with us – you can rely on our friendly support during all your stay even after the tour, we will always be happy to help you with anything you need – advise the best place to eat, buy a train ticket, meet locals. Check out what our previous guests are saying about us on TripAdvisor. Let’s be friends!


  • Visit the most beautiful national parks in Kazakhstan
  • Take the splendor of Charyn Canyon with the short walk at the Valley of Castles
  • Enjoy breathtaking scenery of Kolsai lakes 
  • Tackle a mystery of a sunken forest at Kaindy lake
  • Experience Kazakh cuisine 


Almaty – Kaindy Lake – Lunch – First Kolsay Lake – Charyn Canyon (Valley of Castles) – Dinner – Almaty.

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We will pick you up early morning right from your hotel, you’ll be met by our friendly English-speaking guide and super-experienced driver. Let’s set off from Almaty and follow the new Silk Road of our days – the Khorgos-Almaty highway. We will start with a visit to Kaindy lake, hidden at the Kungei Alatau mountains, it will take around 4-5 hours (290 km or 180 miles from Almaty), so you can have a nap or we can talk about the country, culture, people, and the history of Kazakhstan. We will have a stop at gas station for fuel, coffee and bathroom.

During our road trip to Kolsay and Kaindy lakes via Charyn Canyon, you will observe the striking diversity of landscapes: from green agricultural fields of nearby villages sown with fruits and vegetables suddenly being swapped for the endless ascetic steppes stretching to the edge of the horizon with a rare bunch of sheep leading by a lonely herder.

Arriving to Kaindy Lake.

Unusual and mysterious Kaindy Lake (Birch Lake) is located at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. Kaindy lake was formed as the result of a huge landslide after the powerful earthquake in 1911. The landslide blocked the river and the water has flooded the valley. That is how appeared the lake with Tien Shan fir tries in the middle. The water of the lake is very cold, that is why the needles of the flooded trees are well preserved and clearly visible through the transparent surface of the water, and dry stems of fir trees overlook the water surface. It is impossible to describe in words all this mystical splendor of the lake – it is necessary to go there and see everything with own eyes.

After seeing Kaindy lake we will stop at the guest house in Satty village for a finger-licking home-made food for lunch.

Next location to explore is the first Kolsay lake, located not far from Satty village (around 20 minutes drive). The lake is a part of three lakes chain formed as a result of big earthquake. We will have a walk around the lake, enjoy the stunning view of unique Tian Shan spruce trees, and breathe crystal clean air filled with healing phytoncides from conifers. Boat rides are available (not included into the tour price).

Our last destination for today to admire is impressive Charyn Canyon. If you are not too tired we will have gentle descent at the Valley of Castles and have a break at the shore of the Charyn river that carved the canyon 12 million years ago, and then ascend up back to the parking with the special national park’s taxi service. 

On the way to Almaty, we will have a stop for dinner at the little rustic Uighur village with the lively and colorful market and smell of grilled meat and tandyr samsa (meat-filled savory pastry baked at the special tandyr oven)! Be ready for the new gastronomical experiences! 

At late night we will arrive to Almaty and drop you off at your hotel (or airport). 

What is included:

  • Transportation 
  • Tour-guide
  • Food – lunch & dinner
  • Water
  • All fees & tickets

What to take:

  • Comfortable shoes  
  • Warm rain jacket 
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Insect repellent

Photography for “Kolsai and Kaindy Lakes Tour via Charyn Canyon” from Slawomir Adamczak, Pawel Plocienniczak & Stephen Bridger

Book your trip to Kazakhstan with confidence: no deposits, total flexibility & full refund guarantee.

All prices are in USD, prices are negotiable depending on your needs and wishes. 

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kolsay and kaindy lakes via charyn canyon