A Central Asian country with beautiful lakes and not just desert? Yes! That is what males Almaty so special. Almaty, once the capital of Kazakhstan is so modern that once you reach here it will be hard to fathom that nature’s beauty is close by and that there are such wonderful lakes near Almaty.
The fives lakes that I mention below are very close to the city and can be easily covered in a day tour if you plan it right. To tell you about these lakes in geographic terms, the Almaty region is surrounded by the Tien Shan mountain ranges. A large number of rivers flow down the slopes of them, forming some of the most stunning lakes in the country.
Below, are five of them which you should definitely include in your itinerary while planning a trip to Almaty.
Kaindy Lake is a very young lake, formed in 1911 when an earthquake triggered a landslide, which in turn led to a natural dam. Located at an altitude of 2,000 metres, this lake is known for its submerged forests. The main attraction of this lake is the dried out trunks of trees that rise out of the lake. It is a fascinating site, as after all these years the trees have not decayed.
In fact, the lake itself is very beautiful as it is limestone blue in colour and spread across about 400 metres. If you are visiting the lake during the summertime then you can dive and swim in it. However, during winters make sure you are fully covered up as it gets quite cold here.
2Kolsai Lake 1
Another lake closer to Lake Kaindy is Kolsai Lake. Over here you can camp or come over for just a day tour. The entire lake is surrounded by forests and the water is extremely clean and blue. You can also enjoy boating here, and it is also a perfect picnic spot.
Kolsai Lake is actually made up of three lakes located at different altitudes. These lakes are also collectively known as the Pearls of Northern Tien Shan. While Kolsai Lake 1 is located at 1,000 metres, for the other lakes you need to hike further up.
3Kolsai Lake 2
Kolsai Lake 2 is at an altitude of 2,500 metres. You have to hike from Lake 1 to Lake 2 through forest areas and grassy slopes. It takes about two to three hours to reach the lake and you will be surrounded by blue waters and snowy mountains. The lake is definitely worth the hike and you will also leave behind the crowds of tourists, as Kolsai Lake 1 generally gets crowded especially during the holidays. This lake is the perfect relaxing spot to enjoy the quiet.
4Big Almaty Lake
Located very close to the main city, Big Almaty Lake is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lakes of Kazakhstan. I visited this lake during both the summer and the winter and the change in landscape was really surprising. During the winter season the entire lake was frozen and you can see nothing but white all around you. During the summertime, the real color of the lake came out and it felt like the lake is reflecting the color of the sky, as it was a stunning bright blue in color.
Situated at an altitude of 2,511 metres, there are three major peaks surrounding the lake – Sovetov, Ozyorny, and Turist. The lake can be reached either by taking a private car or hitchhiking, as a lot of locals also go here. You can also take a bus but it will only drop you halfway.
Esik, or Issyk, means door or a gorge. This lake is located in the Southeast region of the Alatau mountain range, this is among the prettiest lakes of Kazakhstan. It is situated at an altitude of 1700 metres and is said to be a very old lake, dating back 8,000 years. The lake is a unique turquoise in colour.
The lake was once formed naturally, but later destroyed due to an earthquake. The earthquake was so severe, that thousands of people were reported dead. However, due to the popularity of this lake, it was built back up and now you can see the man-made version of the previous natural lake.
Also Read: Is Travelling To Central Asia Safe?
Visiting Kazakhstan without exploring its lake is an incomplete tour. The lakes are so beautiful and so easily accessible that you should definitely not miss them. Usually such marvellous creations are so hidden amidst the nature that you can only hike up to see such places, however, Kazakhstan offers the liberty to visit each of them just by driving to them.