Big Almaty Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Almaty and one of the prominent reasons why travellers visit Almaty in the first place. It is a natural alpine reservoir in the Tien Shan mountains.

To give you a few more facts about Big Almaty Lake, it is about 15 kilometres for the main city, and lies at an altitude of 2,511 metres above sea level. Remember, if you plan to visit this lake during the winter you will find it frozen, however, during the summer season the lake melts and is a beautiful turquoise shade.

Best time to Visit the Big Almaty Lake

Big Almaty lake can be visited during any time of the yes, however, travellers prefer to see it in the summer, of it because it is breathtakingly beautiful around that time. The lake is turquoise in shade and looks very surreal.

However, you can also visit during the winter season when the lake is frozen. The surroundings are so white during that time that it is almost blinding. 

Kazakhstan, Big Almaty Lake
Image Source: Radhika_Nomllers

How to Reach Big Almaty Lake

Big Almaty Lake is very close to the city of Almaty. Buses can take you halfway there; but, to cover the remaining distance you have to take either a taxi or a bus, or you can hitchhike. 

Bus

If you’re taking the bus you will need to reach First President’s Park. This park is at the corner of Al-Farabi and Navoi street and can be easily found on Maps.me. From here take Bus Number 28 that will drop you around 10-12 km before the Big Almaty Lake. 

The bus ticket cost is 150 tenge (USD 0.40) each way.

Taxi

A taxi one way would cost about 3,000 tenge (7.75 USD). You can easily book a taxi through an app. The most common application to book a taxi is Yandex. However, the problem with booking a taxi is that it won’t wait for you near the lake while you visit; and booking a taxi from there to go back to the city is not east.

In this case you can also hire a taxi and ask them to wait for an hour there which is more than sufficient. Yandex provides this option as well. It would cost roughly about 6,800 tenge (17.50 USD).

Hitch Hiking

If you are travelling on a budget and do not want to take a taxi, you can also hitchhike. Hitchhiking in Almaty is very easy. Many locals visit this lake every single day since it is very close to the city, so you will always find a car passing by.

Kazakhstan, Big Almaty Lake
Image Source: Radhika_Nomllers

Here are a few tips to consider while hitchhiking – 

Believe it or not, hitchhiking is one of the most common ways to get around in Kazakhstan. Locals easily offer a seat in their car if they are going in the same direction.

But, do ensure that you have written down the name of the location you are planning to go to in Russian. Since language is an issue in Kazakhstan having the location handy in the local language will ensure that you are not getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere.

Also, keep a little cash in handy. At times, locals give you a ride for free, however, it is always nice to offer a little cash as a gesture.

What to Carry to Big Almaty Lake 

The difference in temperature can be felt easily when you reach Big Almaty Lake. While the city might be hot or pleasant, Big Almaty Lake is colder. Ensure that you are carrying a warm jacket and have warm pants or jeans on.

Kazakhstan, Big Almaty Lake
Image Source: Radhika_Nomllers

If the weather is cloudy do ensure to carry umbrellas or ponchos with you. Hiking shoes are not required to see Big Almaty lake as it is easily accessible via road but it is better to wear shoes anyway to cover yourself since the temperature drops near to the lake.

Accommodation in Almaty

There is no accommodation near to the lake. In fact, camping is not permitted next to the lake as well since it is very close to the border area and the place is heavily patrolled by the army.

So, you have to come back to the main city for the night. However, finding accommodation in the main city is not an issue at all. You can find many options on Booking.com that can offer you many hostels, mid-range hotels and luxury stays as well.

I stayed in NordPeak hostel which was not only comfortable but budget-friendly as well. They offer separate dorms for girls and boys. They also provide you with a washing machine and ironing facilities. 

Also Read: 5 Beautiful Lakes Near Almaty That You Should Explore

Big Almaty Lake is a must-visit place in Kazakhstan. There are not many such beautiful lakes that can be accessed so easily. Even if you are visiting Almaty during the winter season, try to visit it nonetheless. It is worth it!

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