What do when you want to visit the picturesque places of Almaty region, but do not have enough time?
We offer you a one-day express tour to the heart of the Kungei Alatau mountain range - Kolsay Lakes and Charyn Canyon. During one day we have time to visit the Kolsay lower lake, Kayindy lake, "Castle Valley" canyon and make a stop at the picturesque part of the Charyn River canyon - Black Canyon.
If we couldn't manage to grab a bite to eat, it is possible to order lunch in Saty aul (village).
The road through the valley Zhalanash on the way to Kolsay
When visiting the Kolsay Lakes you need to have your identity documents with you (the border area).
The lower Kolsay Lake is called "Saty" lake. It was formed thousands of years ago as a result of seismic activity. A natural cofferdam accumulates water inside the gorge. When you look closely through the thickness of the water you can see the trunks of Tianshan spruce, which grew at the bottom of the gorge.
During the Soviet period, meetings-festivals of cattle breeders of Kazakhstan were regularly held on the lake shore. Through the efforts of Kegen Forestry, "Shrenk" spruces decorate the slopes of the Kungei Alatau mountain range in orderly rows.
The lake gets its name from the birch grove that tourists visit on their way to the lake. Kaindy was formed as a result of a strong earthquake, part of the mountain slid into the gorge, slowing the free flow of the river Kaindy. The river eventually flooded the gorge, Tianshan spruces remained standing in the water due to the low water temperature of the mountain river Kaindy.
On the way back from the lake, guests admire the panoramic view of the Chilik River valley.
The Valley of Castles canyon
The Valley of Castles (the official name is "Red Canyon") is the most popular canyon of the Charyn River. When tourists say: "I was on the Charyn", they usually mean visiting the "Castle Valley" canyon.
The canyon is popular for its accessibility and beautiful scenery, which can be viewed in 2-2.5 hours.
The flow of the Kaindy river into the lake of the same name
05:30. We meet in the city center, leaving Almaty for Saty aul (Kolsay lakes, 285 km).
07:30. Sanitary stop, refueling.
08:45. Visit the Black Canyon, stopover.
10:30. Visit lake Kaiyndy (15 km from aul Saty), a short trek (1.5 km one way), visit to three panoramic sites: view of the lake from above, the inflow of river Kaiyndy in the lake, view of the lake from the shore.
12:30. Return to the aul Saty (15 km). Visit the panoramic site with a view of the Chilik river valley.
13:30. Lunch at the guest house (included in the tour price).
14:30. Visit Saty lake (Kolsay lower lake, 15 km). Walk along the shore.
16:30. Departure to Almaty (300 km) through the "Valley of Castles" canyon.
18:00. Visiting the panorama of the Valley of Castles Canyon. We do not go down, admire the scenery from above.
19:30. Refueling cars.
21:30. Arrival in town.
75 USD for one guest, six guests in the car, a total of 450 USD
90 USD for one guest, five guests in a car, a total of 450 USD
95 USD for one guest, four guests in the car, a total of 380 USD
120 USD for one person, three guests in the car, a total of 360 USD
175 USD for one guest, two guests in the car, a total of 350 USD
335 USD for one guest, individual trip.
The cost of children's participating in the trip:
- Infants under 2 years old travel for free,
- children from 2 to 11 years old - 50% of the trip cost,
- children from 12 years old and up - 100% of the trip cost.
Child seats are available, please discuss in advance of your trip.
Pets (dogs and cats) are allowed, and the fee is 10 USD.
The price includes:
- transportation in a comfortable off-road vehicle(Toyota Sequoia, Toyota Land Cruiser 100, Toyota Land Cruiser 200).
- services of English/Russian speaking guide,
- drinking water (1,5 liters/guest),
- lunch in a guest house,
- visiting locations according to the program,
- ecological fees of national parks "Kolsay Lakes", "Charyn".
The price doesn't include:
- personal expenses,
Wenn Sie eine deutschsprachige Reiseleitung benötigen, teilen Sie uns das einfach mit, wir haben in unserem Team deutschsprachige Gästeführer!
The difficulty of the route: standard, suitable for people with an average physical condition.
Precautions: 1-2 liters of drinking water, obligatory hat, sunglasses, and anticked repellent.
You must have identity documents with you when visiting Kolsa Lakes.
Average travel time: 12 hours by car both ways.
Route length: 630 km auto tour, 5 km hiking routes.
Annika van Beek, Dutch Travel Journalist visited Almaty region in the fall of 2019. We were pleased to help organize a trip with a visit to Charyn Canyon, Kolsay, and Kaindy Lakes.
An article on visiting canyons and mountain lakes can be found here (in Dutch).
Order the tour by clicking "Book A Tour" or by calling Outfitter KZ team's telephone number: +7 701 457 6666. WhatsApp and Telegram are available also at +7 701 457 6666. or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few words about Outfitter KZ team.
Lonely Planet marked us as TOP outdoor provider in Almaty city. Our team became a member of the Kazakhstan Tourism Association in December 2018.
TripAdvisor awarded "Traveler's Choice" nomination to the Outfitter KZ team twice in 2020, 2021, and 2022 as a local business with consistently positive traveler reviews.