Kazakhstan is generally described as the land of vast steppes, deserts, camels, and yurts. The South-east part of the country boosts an amazing natural diversity which is quite different than the other regions. This territory encompasses several water bodies that form excellent tourist spots.
One of the most stunning lakes in this region is the Kolsay lake in the Kolsai National Park. The Kolsay Lake is a system comprising of 3 lakes that are nestled amongst hills of Northern Tien Shan Mountains near about 300 kilometers east of Almaty.
The two lower lakes, Kolsay 1 and Kolsay 2 are enclosed by alpine meadows, mountain pastures, and spruce trees. Kolsay 1 is located at around 1000 meters altitude whereas Kolsay 2 is located at about 2500 meters altitude. The third lake is located at around 2700 meters altitude and is surrounded by grassy slopes rather than spruce forests.
The entire Kolsay river system originates from the glaciers, situated in the Kungei Alatau mountain ridges. The water of the Kolsay Lakes is very fresh and very deep. For instance, the deepest area of Kolsay 1 is about 80 meters, whereas, in Kolsay 2, it is around 50 meters. The bottom in certain areas is shallow with no crags.
Kolsay Lakes are the most preferred destination for hill or mountain tourism. Trekking routes to the Kolsay Lakes are quite simple and suitable for the amateurs as well. Moreover, Kolsay is the best destination for mountain biking, horse riding, and picnics. The best time for camping activities is from April to September.
How to reach the Kolsay Lakes from Almaty?
By public transport
Although reaching at the Kolsay National Park by using public transportation is possible, yet it is not much preferable. You can get a bus from the Sayahat Bus Station to Saty, the nearest area to Kolsay Lakes. However, not many people know the timing of this bus. If you are fortunate enough to get this bus, note to get down in Saty village. From there it is a walk of 15 kilometers before reaching the Kosay Lakes. However, returning in that same bus can be difficult, if you succeeded to take the transportation for getting there at the very first place.
By shared taxi
If you do not possess your facility, getting a shared taxi to Kolsay Lake can be the cheapest and best option. You can go to the Sayahat Bus Station and take a shared taxi to Kegen. From there it will take another couple of hours to reach Saty.
If visiting the Kolsay Lakes independently is not what you are planning for, book a Kolsay Lake Tour package from a credible tour agency. These packages are not very expensive and usually come at great deals. Moreover, booking a tour package can be very convenient for you as it will eliminate all the hassle involved in finding a bus or taxi to reach the destination. From sightseeing to accommodation, these tour packages include everything you need.