Duration: 5 days
The Charyn Canyon is one of the unique natural monuments of Kazakhstan. The canyon is about 12 million years old and surprises with its vertical cliffs, calling to mind ancient castles created by wind, sun, and rain. Kolsay Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan and a ‘must-see’ destination. It is a chain of 3 alpine mountain lakes that are considered to be pearls of Northern Tien-Shan. The lakes are located between altitudes of 1700-2650 meters above sea level.
Please take a look at our article about the lakes area.
Visiting Valley of Castles at Charyn canyon
Enjoy breathtaking scenery and take spectacular photographs while hiking around the lakes
Visit a sunken forest of Kaindy lake
Experience Kazakh cuisine and culture in a carefully selected homestay family
The best option if you have only two days
Day 1: CHARYN CANYON & KAINDY LAKE
Get picked up from your hotel and meet your experienced guide. There is a long and exciting day in front of you! After 2.5 hours of driving, we arrive at Charyn Canyon. We will have a picnic at the Charyn river bank
After spending around 3 hours in the canyon we will leave it and drive to Satty village, which is the closest village to Kolsai lakes.
Arriving at Satty village and departure 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.
In the evening we leave Kaindy lake and drive to Satty village, where we have a hearty dinner at the guesthouse of a local family. Banya – sauna if you wish.
Night at the guest house.
Day 2: KOLSAY LAKES
Early morning breakfast
We drive to the first Kolsai Lake and start hiking to the second lake. Hiking takes around 3-4 hours one way (8 km), we will go through the forest, so don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes & hiking sticks!
Important: Please take an actual passport (not a copy) for hiking, cause the border with Kyrgyzstan is located around 10 km from the second Kolsai lake.
In the afternoon we will have a picnic on the shore of the second lake.
The way back to the first lake will take around 2.5 hours, after giving the last glance at the lake we will drive back to the city.
Arrive at the Almaty, drop it off at your hotel.
What is included:
- Food – 2 lunches, 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
- All fees & tickets
What to take:
- Comfortable shoes (better if it is waterproof & with rubber relief sole)
- Warm rain jacket (it’s possible to have some rain on the way to the second lake)
- Hiking sticks
- Insect repellent
Photography from Slawomir Adamczak, Pawel Plocienniczak & Stephen Bridger
All prices are in USD