Two-day trip to Charyn Canyon, Kolsay and Kaindy Lakes

Highlights: Picturesque hiking, tranquil horse-riding, stunning lake scenery, abundant bird-watching

Season: April — November

Duration: 2 days, one night

This multi-landscape journey allows you to peer deep into the heart of the land through the window of a  majestic canyon and gaze in awe at the picturesque reflections and surroundings of some of the most beautiful lakes in the Tien Shan range.

The trip  begins with a visit to stunning Charyn Canyon which offers its guests a unique break from the surrounding plains. Enjoy the ever-changing colours of the canyon’s red sandstone cliffs which have been carved into intricate shapes over millenia by the Charyn river.

On the next stop, the shifting red-hues of Charyn will be replaced by deep blues and greens when you’re transported to the sunken forest of Kaindy lake . A short horse-ride will uncover an entirely different landscape featuring trees that have been submerged for more than a century. The unworldly sub-aquatic forest was created after a 1911 earthquake triggered a landslide which formed a natural damn.  More than a hundred years later a remarkable scene remains featuring trunks of underwater trees protruding from the crystal clear lake.

Your already unforgettable journey will become even more memorable on your third and perhaps most stunning destination at Kolsay lake. Take your pick of activities from horse-riding along rugged terrain, hiking along picture-perfect trails, swimming in pristine water, or boating on the shimmering first lake.

+ Feel free to extend your trip by a day to reach the more remote and idyllic second lake by foot or on horseback. This breathtaking body of water is surrounded by what many have called screensaver quality scenery. Imposing cliffs are reflected on the glass-like surface of the lake which itself is surrounded by forests, meadows and flowers completing a scene that would inspire the most critical landscape artist. 

Rough Itinerary: 

Day 1:

We will start at 8 am with a cup of fresh brewed coffee and some snacks along the way.  This will be followed by a stop for lunch in a village tavern around noon.Then we’re back on the road heading towards the  Charyn Canyon rift on the surface of the steppe. Enjoy the expansive views, and a snack if you are hungry. Then we’ll continue onto Lake Kaindy, reaching the sunken later in the day. We’ll stay overnight camping under a sky full of stars (weather permitting) on a beautiful meadow, or for those preferring other accommodation, in traditional yurts. An option to stay in a nearby village guesthouse is also available. 

Day 2:

After an early breakfast at around 8 am, we will hop into our vehicle to reach Kolsay Lakes by 10 am.

There you will have free time for horse-riding, hiking, swimming, or crossing the lake on the boat. 

After a hearty  lunch at a local canteen we are back on the road to reach the city around 5 or 6 pm.

What’s included: pick up from your hotel, transfers, driver, guide, national park tickets, coffee and snacks, stay in yurts or guesthouse, food in the guesthouse.

What’s not included: food in the canteens, renting hiking equipment, horse to Kaindy Lake.

  • We recommend bringing appropriate hiking equipment: sneakers or boots with a good grip, hiking sticks, sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, raincoats, and swimming wear.
  • We’ll  have a total of  3 meals during the day.
  • Our off-road vehicle can take up to 3 people, while larger groups will travel in a 4x4 van.  
  • Extend your trip by a day for an opportunity to visit the remote and serene second lake of Kolsay by hiking or on horseback.  


Charyn, Kolsay, Kaindy 2 days

Number of persons/price

1 — 470$
2 — 235$
3 — 190$
4 — 190$
5 — 160$
6 — 130$

Charyn, Kolsay(1st and 2nd lakes), Kaindy 3 days

Number of persons/price

1 — 590$
2 — 285$
3 — 260$
4 — 260$
5 — 230$
6 — 200$

Number of days: 2
Covered regions:
East Kazakhstan
North Kazakhstan
South Kazakhstan
West Kazakhstan
Included services:
Accommodation (Hotel/Guesthouse)
Accommodation (Homestay)
Entrance tickets (e.g. museums, parks etc.)
Beverages (non-alcoholic)
Car (with driver)
Fuel, Petrol
Bus/Train tickets
Domestic flight tickets
Transport: Minivan
Tour season:
Tour categories:
Private tours
Cultural tours
Adventure tours
Offroad tours
Sightseeing tours
Winter tours
Special Event tours
Wildlife tours
Highlight tours
Photo tours
Hiking tours
Horseback riding tours
Circle tours
Short tours
Budget tours
Payment Method

For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.