Kaindy Lake, Kazakhstan and its submerged forest

In southeastern Kazakhstan there is a quirk of nature worth seeing: a submerged fir forest in Kaindy lake, perfectly preserved.

Kaindy Lake is one of the newest and most unique natural wonders on our planet. Its formation is due to a very strong earthquake in 1911 in the Tian Shan mountains. The limestone landslide caused by the earthquake closed the gorge creating a natural dam. Subsequently, rainwater filled the valley and formed the lake.

But the main attraction and singular characteristic of the lake is the submerged forest rising from the surface of the water. These silver trunks are the remains of the spruce trees that were flooded when the lake was formed.

Kaindy Lake, Kazakhstan and its submerged forest
The lake and its submerged forest -

Under water, the landscape is even more amazing. There, the tree trunks have resisted decay and, with their extraordinarily well-preserved needles on their branches, create the surreal vision of an underwater forest. This interesting feature is due to the freezing temperatures of the lake, which rarely exceed 6 degrees Celsius, even in summer.

It is precisely this low temperature that has slowed the organic decay of the trees and allowed them to remain intact despite more than 100 years have passed since the creation of the lake. Fortunately, you don't need to take a dip to catch a glimpse of this wonder: the water is so clear that it is possible to see its depths from the shore or from the boat.

Part of the lake's charm is its beautiful, almost unnatural bluish-green water. Altered by the limestone deposits in the area, Lake Kaindy maintains a completely different color from other lakes.

Characteristics of Lake Kaindy

Located in Kazakhstan 2000 meters above sea level, Lake Kaindy is about 400 meters long, and reaches a depth of nearly 30 meters at its deepest point.

The lake is only 80 miles from Almaty, a major city in Kazakhstan, making it an easily accessible tourist attraction. Located approx 14 kilometers from the famous Kolsai lakes, within the homonymous National Park, is popular especially among the divers who wish to immerse themselves in an incredibly scenic underwater oasis.

Surprisingly, Lake Kaindy sees few visitors, partly because it is overshadowed by the more famous lake of Bolshoe Almaty and by Kolsay lakes, all close, but much easier to reach from Almaty. Thus, despite its proximity to a city with a population of over one million, the lake retains a peaceful atmosphere.

How to get to Lake Kaindy

Kaindy Lake it is located in southern Kazakhstan, inside the Kolsai Lakes National Park, right on the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Drive to Zhalanash, the Regional Center, east of Almaty (turn right off the Narynkol highway just before reaching the Charyn River). You have to go to Zhalanash to the village of Saty West.

You have to turn left on the dirt road, one kilometer before the village, near a cemetery. This road takes you to the lake, but only a vehicle built for tougher terrain will make it. There is an entrance gate to the lake as well you have to pay a fee to continue driving.

Excursions around the lake

The drive to the lake has many panoramic views of the Saty Gorge, the Chilik River Valley and the Kaindy Gorge. If you have a few more days besides Kaindy Lake, you can visit the 3 Kolsay lakes, or even hike to Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan in 3 days.


  • Kaindy Lake, 12 kilometers from the cemetery of the village of Saty.
  • Entrance price: 740 Tenge / person + 750 extra Tenge / tent (ticket to be kept).
  • Unpaved road, accessible with a 4 × 4 or hitch-hiking!
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