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Kanas Lake

Kanas Lake, which means "beautiful, rich and mysterious" in Mongolian, is located 150km north of Bu'erjin Town in Xinjiang, bordering Kazakhstan and Russia in the north and Mongolia in the east.

Nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay, the lake is 1,374m above sea level and covers an area of 45 sq km, 10 times bigger than the Heavenly Pond, with the deepest point of 188m.

Embraced by snow-capped mountains, the Kanas Lake area is covered with dense forests and is the only region where animals and plants of South Siberia species can be found in China.

The lake is estimated to be 200,000 years old and is China's deepest fresh water lake (188 metres in one spot). The Kanas region is home to 798 species of plants and 117 varieties of birds. Also living in the midst of all this beauty are more than 1,400 people of the Tuvas Minority whose ancestors came from Siberia over 1,000 years ago.

The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcapped mountains. In autumn, it presents a picturesque landscape of forests in a riot of colors with gold, red, blue and green, which excites your sights and senses.

Monster in the Lake

Legend has it that huge monsters dwell in the lake’s depths and they often has dragged horses and camels drinking into the water before swallowing them. It is said that the monster is actually a kind of rare fish named "Hucho taimen" in Chinese, also called "huge red fish", with the longest one measuring up to over 10 meters.

Buddha Halo Shining over Sea of Clouds
After heavy rains in the early morning, one can appreciate the sunrise while standing in the Pavilion for Viewing Fish on the top of a peak. During sunrises, clouds and mist curl high up over the Kanas Lake. Sometimes, one can encounter the great spectacle of Buddha Halo, like that of Emei Mountain, with reflections of the pavilion and human figures in the halo.

Great Spectacle of Color-changing Lake
The Kanas Lake is famous for its changing colors. The color of the water changes several times in a day, from dark green to sky blue, then to gray and white.

Thousand-meter Long Bank with Withered Trees
On the lakeside, there are lots of withered trees with interlocked branches. Carried by strong wind or waves into the lake, these dead trees strangely flow against the current to the lake's north end and pile up in the upper reaches. With the elapse of time, a thousand-meter-long dike of dead trees came into being, forming a rare spectacle.

The Tuvas Tribe
A Mongolian tribe called Tuvas lives on the south bank of the Kanas Lake. Believing in Lamaism, it is a valiant ethic minority with a long history. Tuva people speak Turkish, resembling the language of Kazakh, and live on hunting and graze. They also have a special folk custom.


Kanas airport, 50 km south of Kanas Area, was opened in August,2007.

Best Time to go
Due to the long winter in the area, Kanas  is open for tour only from June to October every year. The best time to visit is from the end of August to Sept.

Tips & Reminders
1.Kanas is located along the Chinese border, visitors must have a frontier permit for Burqin County. Permits can be applied for individually or through travel agencies in Urumqi for about Y5-10.
2.Temperature changes sharply in Kanas from 14-15 in daytime to 4-5 at night. Bring enough warm clothes with you, even in summer.
3.The main sights of north Xinjiang are scattered in Bu'erjin and Habahe county.

Kanas Trekking
3~4days' trekking around the area is the idealest way to witness the beauty and an extraordinary experience practiced by all backpackers who travel to Kanas. 

The most popular trekking route
Jiadengyu->Joint of Kanas River & Hemu River-> Hemu-> Black Lake-> Kanas Lake

D1 Jiadengyu to the Joint of Kanas River & Hemu River, 20km, 6-8 hours
D2 Joint of Kanas River & Hemu River to Hemu Village, 15km, 4-6 hours
D3 Hemu Village to Black Lake (Heihu), 20km, 8-10 hours
D4 Black Lake-> Kanas Lake, 15km, 4-5 hours



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