Chunja hot springs

Hot springs are located three hundred kilometers east of Almaty, in the Uigur region. Chunja village became widely known because of famous hot springs. Even a short bath in mineral springs can relieve stress, has a beneficial effect on the skin and joints, treats cardiovascular diseases.

There are about 140 mineral springs with different chemical composition in the region. Water in the pools of recreation centers at hot springs is usually higher than 40 degrees. In winter, due to the cold weather it is sometimes lower, so you need to plan your vacation in advance. The most comfortable season for visiting this place is spring and autumn.

There are many boarding houses, recreation centers and hotels that are open every year.

How to get there?

The road to Chunja takes about 5 hours. The road is long, but very picturesque. The path runs through a rocky desert, along the spurs of the Ili Alatau. You will cross the Charyn River and drive near the Ashen Grove.  The Kokpek pass, about 12 km long, will brings you closer to your destination. Soon, when the pass ends, continue to move across the steppes up to the village of Chunja. From Chunja to recreation centers with hot springs about 50 kilometers. The road is very comfortable there.

Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon is especially beautiful in autumn. According to local guides, the best time to visit the Charyn Canyon is late spring and autumn, when it is not very hot there (in summer the temperature reaches +36), but if you are not afraid of the heat, you can go on an excursion in the summer too.

More than 1,500 types of plants grow in the canyon, 17 of them are listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. The Charyn Canyon is a home for foxes, hares, gazelles, jerboas, ermines, stone martens, and more than 100 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles are dwell there.

How to get there?

Charyn Canyon is located on the spurs of the Tien Shan, near the border with China. Charyn is located near Almaty, so you can get to it only after arriving in the city. The trip by car will be 3.5 hours and will start from the exit to the Kuldzhinsky highway. At the Shelek fork, you will need to turn right - onto the asphalt road, and then right again - onto the dirt road.

Also, there are lots of “weekend tours” that you can buy from any tour agency in Almaty. The cost of the tour usually includes: transfer and guide services. The average cost for one person is about 6 000 tenge.

Kolsay Lake

Kolsai Lake is one of the few places where you can go on vacation at any time of the year. But the most beautiful time is autumn. The Lake consist of three small lakes.

Lower Kolsay Lake is located at an altitude of 1,818 m above sea level. 5 km higher located second lake called Kolsay-2 (altitude 2,252). Kolsay-3 is located 5 km above the second lake (altitude 2 900).

Places for the tourists are located on the lower lake. There is a campsite, recreation centers and fishing zones. The water in the lakes is cold and clean. Rainbow trout is found here - a fish that lives only in clean running water, as well as four more species of fish, two species of amphibians, 197 species of birds and 29 species of mammals, including deer, mountain goats, wolves, lynxes, bears and leopards. In the mountains, there are more than 200 species of animals.

The best time to visit Kolsay Lake is September, but check the weather in advance, because the climate is very changeable.

How to get there?

The Lake is located in the Kolsai gorge in the northern Tien Shan. You can get there by car or tourist bus from Almaty along the Kuldzhinsky highway. The road will take about 5 hours.

Before reaching the Chilik village (1 km), turn right at the fork and head towards Chunji. Follow along the Kokpek gorge, then drive to the village of Zhalanash. From there you need to get to the Saty village.

Kayindy Lake

The lake was formed as a result of a massive earthquake in 1910. A huge landslide occurred, which blocked the gorge and a natural dam appeared. Gradually, water rose and flooded this natural reservoir. It has clean air and pleasant coolness even on the hottest days.

How to get there?

The easiest way to get to the lake is by car. The whole journey will take about 6 hours, depending on the car and weather conditions. The total length of the route is 284 kilometers.

Before reaching the village of Saty, for 800 meters turn left, there you will see the gorge. You have to move right along this dirt road, twice crossing the river ford. When you will reach the forester's house, you see a barrier, where you need to pay the environmental fee.

After passing the grove, you need to leave a car and then walk for about 20 minutes through the forest.