Big Almaty Lake tour

Big Almaty Lake  – “Bolshoe Almatinskoe ozero” or “BAO” in Russian language.  This beautiful lake is located  in Ile-Alatau National Park at altitude of 2500 meters over sea level quite close to border between
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Special price for the Big Almaty Lake tour – 95 USD for carload (1-3 persons). Duration: 4 – 7 hours.

The paved road of 22 km in length to the lake goes along Big Almaty river starting from the First President’s Park. On the road
to Big Almaty Lake we shall pass 2 small hydroelectric station and Sunkar Falcon Center. On the way back from the lake we can
visit show of hunting birds starting 5 p.m. each day except Monday.

If you wish to have lunch just in the middle of the road there are several great restaurant named Tau Dastarkhan (1000 – 4000
tenge for the mains).

The picturesque lake is 1.6km long and 40 meters deep. It is located in rocky bowl surrounded by mountain peaks from all sides. The main peaks are Ozerny (4100 m.), Tourist (3950m.) and Big Almaty peak (3680m.). The lake changes its color from green to blue in different times of year.

Thanks to its location in the mountains, the water in the lake is always cool – even in summer temperature does not exceed 9 degrees. The Big Almaty Lake is one of sources of potable water for Almaty city, which is why the access of tourists to the lake is partly limited.

Higher, 2 kms. by the road to the west from the lake, at 2750m, is the Tian-Shan Astronomical Observatory. This has the second-biggest telescope in the former USSR, with magnification of around 600 times. It does not operate for full capacity now because of shortage in financing.

Even higher  6km up to the southwest from the observatory  is Kosmostantsia, a group of mostly wrecked buildings belonging to scientific research institutes. It was founded more than half a century ago and it is still functioning.  Border patrol service often restricts access to Cosmostation because of closeness of the border with Kyrgizstan.

Tour to Big Almaty Lake is very popular among local Almaty residents  who stay for picnic in Big Almaty river valley.  I really recommend to visit this jewel of Ile-Alatau for guests of Kazakhstan. Depending on your load we can vary the tour time from half to a full day.


Big Almaty Lake in Summer
Big Almaty Lake in Summer
Big Almaty Lake in winter
Big Almaty Lake in winter

One thought on “Big Almaty Lake tour”

  1. This was a brilliant trip – the best $100 worth that I have spent in a while – and for me was the perfect way to round off a month’s trip following the Tien Shan across China. We were fortunate to be able go on higher into the mountains beyond the Lake. Spectacular views and Max is an excellent guide and driver.

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