Big Almaty Lake: how to get there? Lake history
Kazakhstan is associated by many people with endless steppes, along which winds of all corners of the world walk at any time of the year. Yes, in fact, it is. But besides this, there are turbulent rivers, snow-capped mountain peaks and crystal clear lakes in the country. For the sake of one of these wonders of nature is to come to Kazakhstan and make a difficult ascent into the mountains. If you are patient, then the Great Almaty Lake will appear in front of you in all its pristine beauty. This turquoise pearl immediately captivates the heart of everyone who can get here.
Almaty: Big Almaty Lake
This beautiful natural wonder is high in the mountains. The Big Almaty Lake is located in the Trans-Ili Alatau at an altitude of more than two and a half thousand meters above sea level. The pond is surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks, which makes the coastal landscapes even more picturesque.
All those who at least once saw this lake with crystal clear turquoise waters, this beauty is fascinating. In addition, local residents claim that the nature of the Big Almaty Lake is female. Therefore, it is very changeable, which causes a constant change in the color of water. Sometimes it is greenish, and sometimes it has a deep turquoise hue. It seems that literally every minute the lake seeks to dress in a new outfit in order to arouse the admiration of its surrounding tourists.
The mountain reservoir is not large, the length of the coastline does not exceed three kilometers, and in the widest part the water area barely reaches one kilometer. The Big Almaty Lake is notable for sharp seasonal water drops, they can exceed twenty meters here. The average depth of the reservoir is forty meters. In the spring, many tourists who came to the shores of the lake walk almost along its bottom, which is exposed by several meters.
Until 2011, Big Almaty Lake (or BAO) belonged to the Ile-Alatau National Park. But since, in the extreme proximity to the reservoir, various buildings for tourists nevertheless appeared illegally, then more than seven hundred hectares of land, including the lake itself and a mountain gorge, was transferred to the city of Almaty.However, the eco-post is still a few kilometers from the lake, although it does not cause major problems to the local population and visitors.
The history of the lake
The Big Almaty Lake (we cited the photo of this sights of Kazakhstan in the article) is of tectonic origin. Scientists believe that it was formed as a result of another earthquake, when the landslide that created the natural dam came down from the mountains. As a result, it partitioned off the gorge, and the resulting depression gradually filled with water from the melted glacier. According to geologists, this happened about two thousand years ago.
The value of the lake for the city of Almaty
Interestingly, the BAO is considered a strategic object and during the ascent you can meet people in military uniform with machine guns. This is due to two reasons. First of all, the fact that the state border is nearby. Therefore, the presence in the territory of the military is considered natural. Secondarily, you need to know that the waters of the lake are suitable for drinking. Therefore, they feed the residents of Almaty and several nearby settlements.Can you imagine what a catastrophe can happen if someone manages to poison the water in the BAO? Therefore, rules of behavior on the lake were developed, relating to all who come here to admire the local beauty.
A few "no"
Before you think about how to get to the Big Almaty Lake, you should learn the rules of behavior on this reservoir in order not to get into an awkward situation during the excursion. So, we will result some most important "it is impossible":
- swim in the waters of the lake;
- go down to the shore;
- make fires and organize picnics.
These are the most important rules that everyone should be aware of. But besides this, there are various subtleties of ascent to a mountain lake, which must also be taken into account before the tour.
Secrets of a successful trip to the BAO
If you are going to go to the Big Almaty Lake, then keep in mind that this journey may not be easy. Therefore, our advice will come to you by the way:
- entry to the gorge is paid;
- the water temperature in the lake does not exceed ten degrees Celsius, which means that you should not even try to swim in a mountain reservoir;
- there are no cafes, restaurants and hotels near the lake;
- in the mountains, the air temperature can be significantly lower than in the city, so stock up with warm things;
- you should always take with you water or a thermos with tea and sandwiches, because the ascent on foot takes more than three hours.
If you want to enjoy the view of the lake in winter, then take with you also replaceable warm socks, as well as shoes. All this can be useful to you during this unusual walk in the mountains.
Big Almaty Lake: how to get there
You can reach BAO in several ways. The most popular are - own or rented car and public transport. Many tourists prefer to get to the pearl of Kazakhstan by taxi, while others go on this difficult journey as part of a tourist group. So you can be sure that you will not go astray in the mountains and have a great time in good company.
To make it easier for you to navigate how to get to the lake, we will talk about each method in the following sections of the article.
How to get to the Big Almaty Lake by car? It's pretty simple. The BAO is located approximately twenty kilometers from Almaty.Previously, it was possible to go to the mountains only on a powerful off-road vehicle, but now you can expect an excellent asphalt surface, laid along serpentine. In general, the road seems very pleasant with the exception of a few sharp turns. Therefore, despite the beautiful scenery and the surrounding calm, it is worth being very attentive at the wheel.
Experienced travelers advise to leave Almaty early in the morning along Dulati Street, from there you have to drive about nine kilometers to the mountains. On the way you will meet a fork in which you need to turn left. To the sign "Hotel Alpine Rose", where you need to turn right, about fourteen kilometers. After the last turn, you will have to overcome just one kilometer. In general, such a leisurely journey will not take more than one and a half hours. On the lake you can be unlimited amount of time.
Keep in mind that the bus you can not drive directly to the pond. The terminus is located approximately ten kilometers from the lake. And you will have to go uphill all the time, besides, on some parts of the way the ascent will be very steep.But if it does not scare you, then you should use public transport.
The bus stop from which bus number 28 goes to the Big Almaty Lake is located on Navoi Street. The road to the final stop will take about two hours. From here you have two route options:
- on the highway (about fifteen kilometers and about five hours to the mountain);
- on the highway and along the pipe from the power station (this is about ten kilometers, which will take four hours of your time).
The first path is the simplest, the track has no steep ascents and descents. But in any case, you will have to climb the mountain, so be prepared for the fact that you will often stop and rest on the way.
If you decide to shorten the path a little and walk along the pipe, then you risk getting lost and going in the wrong direction. After all, it is necessary to turn to the pipe only after eight kilometers traveled along the highway and not reach the power station. Otherwise, you will have to go back several kilometers in the opposite direction to the missed turn to the lake. Such a walk is especially difficult in the winter season, when snow can suddenly start or the wind blows.In summer, a rather comfortable temperature reigns in the mountains, especially if you are ready for all the vagaries of nature.
Taxi and sightseeing tour
Taxis to the BAO go all the time, they for half an hour will take you directly to the lake. Here only you will have to get back yourself or pay the driver extra for waiting.
As part of the tour you will spend in the mountains all day. The program usually includes a trip to the lake, a picnic at some distance from it and a walk along a simple route. Some tours include one overnight stay at a nearby hotel.
What else can you see in the mountains?
If you plan not only to explore the lake, but also to spend the night in the mountains, then we advise you to climb a little above the BAO by two kilometers. There is the Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory. Here you can rent a room for the night and admire an unusually beautiful starry sky.
If you are ready to go even higher into the mountains, then a space station is waiting for you. It is necessary to go about eight kilometers. It will not be possible to spend the night here, but it will be very interesting to visit this institution.
Big Almaty Lake is worth it to come to Kazakhstan for it alone.No wonder the locals say that the extraordinary beauty of this place has a pacifying effect on any person.