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PHOTO TOUR: MIRRORS OF THE KYUNGEI (10 DAYS)
Tour duration
10 DAYS
Tour route
Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)

Most of the route lies in the mountains at 1800 to 3200 m above sea level. You will see the picturesque mountain lakes of the Kyungei Alatoo Range, namely Kolsay Lakes and Lake Kayindy.

Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)

Season: January to December

Recommended period: June to October

The Kyungei Alatoo Mountain Range stretches from west to east with a straight length of 275 km. It forms the border of the trench in which Lake Issyk lies on the north. Just like other numerous mountain ranges in Kazakhstan, the Kyungei Alatoo boasts plenty of picturesque mountain lakes. You will see the most beautiful of them, Lake Kayindy and Kolsay, which is a system of three lakes.  

The name Kayindy translates as Birch. It lies at 1867 m above sea level and has a maximum depth of 21 m. The lake resulted from a powerful eqarthquake in 1911. In the 1980s, the area covered by the lake shrank dramatically due to a sill flow. It did not lose any of its beauty and mystique anyway. Just 12 km away on a straight line from Lake Kayindy, at 1818 m above sea level lies the third (Lower) Kolsay Lake, which is 1 km long, about 500 m wide and has a maximum depth of about 80 m. The Middle (second) Kolsay Lake is 2252 m above sea level and is the largest of the three. The Upper (first) Kolsay Lake lies at 2850 m above sea level. It takes several hours to get from its bank to the Sary Bulak Pass, which offers a magnificent view of Lake Issyk. 

TOUR SUMMARY

Day 1. Almaty—Lake Kayindy

Group gathering at 07:00 a.m. Departure from Almaty. Lunch at a cafe on the way or a picnic. Arriving at Lake Kayindy, putting up a camp, walking, and sunset photo shooting. Returning to the camp for dinner and preparing for the next day. Free time. An overnight stay in a tent camp not far from the lake.  

Kilometers to be driven: about 300

Days 2 to 3 Lake Kayindy

Early rise at 05:30 to take photos of the sun rising above Lake Kaindy. Returning to the camp for breakfast. Free time. Lunch in the camp. Towards the evening, we ascend the mountain to enjoy a panoramic view of the lake and branches of the Kyungei Alatoo Range to wait for the sunset. Photo shooting. Returning to the camp for dinner and preparing for the next day. Free time. Optional night sky photo shooting. An overnight stay in a tent camp not far from the lake.  

Total walking distance: 4 to 10 km

Day 4. Lake Kayindy—Saty settlement

Early rise at 05:30 to take photos of the sun rising above Lake Kaindy. Returning to the camp for breakfast. Packing and moving to Saty settlement. Arriving at the guest house, checking in. Lunch. Walking around the settlement and taking photos. Returning to the guest house for steam bath, dinner, and free time. An overnight stay at the guest house. 

Day 5. Saty settlement—Lower Kolsay Lake      

Early rise at 05:30 to take sunrise photos in the countryside in the Chilik Valley. Returning to the guest house for breakfast, then departing for Lake Kolsay. Arriving at Lake Kolsay and trekking to the southern bank of the lake. Putting up a camp for lunch and rest. Taking sunset photos by the lake. Dinner and preparation for the next day. Free time. An overnight stay in a tent camp by Lake Kolsay at about 2000 m above sea level.   

Walking distance: about 2 km

Day 6. Lower Kolsay Lake—Middle Kolsay Lake

Early rise at 06:30 to take sunrise photos by the lake. Breakfast, packing, and trekking to Middle Kolsay Lake. Upon arrival, rest and putting up a camp. Lunch by the lake. After lunch, walking and photo shooting. Returning to the camp for dinner and preparing for the next day. An overnight in a tent camp by the lake. 

Walking distance: about 7 km

Day 7. Middle Kolsay Lake

Early rise at 06:30 to take sunrise photos by the lake. Breakfast, packing, and walking to the viewing point of Middle Kolsay Lake. Lunch (a picnic) during trekking. Returning to the camp for dinner and preparing for the next day. An overnight in a tent camp by the lake.

Walking distance: about 5 km

Day 8. Middle Kolsay Lake—Upper Kolsay Lake—Middle Kolsay Lake

Early rise at 06:30 to take sunrise photos by the lake. Breakfast, packing, and moving to Upper Kolsay Lake. Upon arrival, rest and lunch (a picnic) on the bank. After lunch, walking and photo shooting. Returning to the camp for dinner and preparing for the next day. An overnight in a tent camp by the lake.

Walking distance: about 12 km

Day 9. Middle Kolsay Lake—Saty settlement

Early rise at 06:30 to take sunrise photos by the lake. Breakfast, packing, and moving to Lower Kolsay Lake. Arriving at Lake Kolsay and lake. Lunch by the lake. After lunch we drive to Saty settlement. Arriving in the settlement and checking in at a guest house. Taking photos of the sun setting in the countryside Chilik Valley. Returning to the guest house for steam bath, dinner, and free time. An overnight stay at the guest house. 

Walking distance: about 8 km

Day 10. Saty settlement—Almaty

Early rise at 05:30 to take sunrise photos in the countryside in the Chilik Valley. Returning to the guest house for breakfast, then departing for Almaty. Lunch on the way. Arriving in Almaty about 7 p.m.

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