2-day Tour to Charyn Canyon and Kolsay Lakes National Park
Duration: 2 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 the sea level.
Please take a look at our article about the lakes area.
Visiting Valley of Castles at Charyn canyon
Enjoy a 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
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, that is the closest village to Kolsai lakes.
Arriving to Satty village and departure to Kaindy Lake.
Unusual and mysterious Kaindy Lake (Birch lake) is located at the 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.
At the evening we leave Kaindy lake and drive to Satty village, where we have a hearty dinner at the guesthouse of 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 line with Kyrgyzstan is located in around 10 km from second Kolsai lake.
At 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 to the lake we will drive back to the city.
Arrival to the Almaty, drop 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 a waterproof & with rubber relief sole)
Warm rain jacket (its possible to have some rain on the way to the second lake)
All prices are in USD
Photography from Stephen Bridger:
We have a really great experience with Friendly Tours ! We choose a 2 days tour from Almaty to Charyn canyon and Kolsai lake. Our guide Gaukhar is both professional and friendly. She did everything to share her own love of Kazakhstan : kindness of people and beauties from nature.
She was helpfull before, during, and after our trip. She did much more that she needs to, meeting us the day before we leave, helping us taking our train, and meeting us again a few days later for an exhibition and some drinks. We really meet someone with whom we want to keep in touch and we discover a country where we are pretty sure we will see again.