Esik Lake (also called Issyk Lake), like Big Almaty lake, is another magnetic destination of Almaty which attracts many tourists round the year. Of course, it is not everywhere you can find an emerald-coloured lake where you can enjoy a picnic with your loved ones.
About Esik Lake
Lying 80 km from the Almaty city, the lake is rich with both flora and fauna. Esik literally means ‘a gorge’ – and lies 1756 metres above the sea level. The lake also has a history attached to it. It was naturally formed and naturally destroyed. What we currently see is a man-made replica of the natural Esik lake.
A Brief History
The natural Esik lake is said to have been formed about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. There was a collapse of a mountain which led to a dam-like formation. When locals got to know about this lake, tourism increased and the lake was flooded with Almaty residents.
Over the years, a restaurant and a hotel were built. In fact, the place became a spot for elite people to hang out at. Top Moscow officials were taken to visit this place. Lenin’s head was also carved on the local rocks which still can be seen.
However, in 1963, a massive mudflow occurred from where the Lake Esik used to flow. This led to a major disaster. Many tourists who were enjoying the summer heat next to the lake were killed. Even though the death toll was reported to be about 100 people, in actuality about 2,000 to 3,000 people died that day.
How to Reach Esik Lake
The best way to reach Esik Lake is by taking your own car. There is no direct transport to this lake. If you have your own car, then download Maps.Me which will guide you all the way to the lake. You will be driving on the Kuldzha route.
Before entering the park, you will be charged a small entrance fee. From here on you will be driving all the way up to the mountain to the parking spot.
Reaching by Public Transportation
If you want to reach here by public transportation, then you need to take a marshrutka or shared taxi from Almaty and reach Esik village. Once you are there, you can either book a cab on Yandex app, or hitchhike from the village to the lake.
Where to Stay
You can stay in Esik Village itself, but most of the travellers return to Almaty the same day. Esik village is not as modern as Almaty city. In Almaty, you will be able to find several options from hostels to hotels to luxury resorts.
Camping Near Esik Lake
You can also camp next to Esik Lake. However, there are hardly any tourists camping here. It also gets really cold during the night due to the altitude. However, if you are well equipped and have a good tent and sleeping bag, camping is not a problem.
Things to Carry
Although Esik lake is a day away, hence you do not need to be well equipped with the equipment. However, if you want to enjoy a good picnic here, then ensure you have good food, water and a few games if you want to enjoy the place.
The lake has several benches and chairs, along with tables, where you can sit and enjoy the view while snacking with your friends.
Esik lake is not only beautiful but a peaceful place as well. It is also a place where you can enjoy flora and fauna. Flowers are blooming and the surroundings are very colourful! If you are a nature lover, do add this lake in your travel itinerary you won’t regret it!