This luscious planet is crammed with astonishing wonder. If you’ve an appetite for natural beauty, then how about this otherworldly lake just off the beaten track?
Kaindy Lake is a belief-defying marvel that appears to have been dreamt up by the finest fantasy writers of the past century. It’s where, improbably, lake devours forest, creating one of the strangest and most striking attractions the world has to offer.
Forest of the dead
Part of Kazakhstan's mighty Tian Shan Mountains, Kaindy Lake’s very unique selling point is its host of bleached spruce trees that pierce the surface of the water. The eerie, dead forest stands peacefully within the startling turquoise cool of the pool. So, how did this occur?
A little over a century ago an earthquake rippled the range, causing a landslide. This formed a dam, trapping the forest under subsequent years of rainwater. Over time, this created a 400 metre long lake, drowning the trees in the process. Their perished but preserved trunks stand as still as they did when alive, even down to individual needles clinging on as before. The cluster of wooden spears thrusting into the moonlight makes for a haunting, fascinating sight.
The crystal clear (and very cold) lake provides excellent scope to the view far below the surface, without the need to get so much as your toe wet. In winter, when the temperature drops and the lake freezes over, it’s like you’ve stepped into a real life Disney film.
How to get to Kaindy Lake
Kaindy Lake is just over 300k from city Almaty, so you’ll need to stay overnight locally. A shorter drive from the Saty settlement, just east of the Kolsay Lakes (a must-see in their own right), the area is a hiker’s paradise. Trees, trails and walks abound in the glorious lush of the Kazakhstan forestry. You’ll either need a strong off-road vehicle that can handle the unwieldy terrain of the bumpy road, or simply book with a local travel guide, of which there are plenty.
Despite the unique nature of the attraction, however, overcrowding is extremely unlikely. Kaindy Lake is a well-kept secret - and you will most likely find yourself wrapped in the solitude of the still waters, as the wind breezes gently through the surrounding landscape.
Get excited, get covered
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