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Follow us on: Kanas Nature Reserve

Located in Burqin County of Altay City within the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and sharing borders with Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, Kanas Nature Reserve boasts a beautiful natural ecosystem formed by lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests, and grasslands.

Kanas, which means 'rich and beauty, mysterious and enigmatical' in Mongolian, might be the most alluring resort in northern Xinjiang. The highlight of the Nature Reserve would probably be Kanas Lake. Originating from the Kanas Glacier in Altay Mountain, the Kanas River runs through the mountains for about 125 kilometers (77.7 miles) and the lake is like a pearl shining on the beautiful river. The lake is 1,375 meters (4,511 ft) high above sea level and covers an area of 45.73 sq kilometers (11,300 acres). The color of the lake varies according to the seasons and weather. Sometimes it's blue, sometimes green, while sometimes it's as white as milk.

Kanas Lake
Bird's Eye View of Kanas Lake
There are six bays along the lake and each of them holds a marvelous tale. A 'roche moutonnee', bedrock corroded by glaciers, can be found in the first bay. It looks like a sleeping sheep appreciating the beautiful lake and welcoming visitors from outside world. The second bay is the deepest point of the lake and also the place where monsters are often 'spotted'. It is said that some local livestock have been dragged into water by these monsters! The third bay is a nature platform for enjoying the marvelous lake, the fourth bay holds a lovely isle covered by trees, and a hill of magpies exists in the fifth bay. The sixth bay, which is at the end of the lake, is admired as a natural wonder by all visitors. Gathered here is a 2,000-meter-long (about 6,562 ft) bank of dead trees. No one can explain why these trees did not float downriver, but people say that it is because even the trees don't want to leave the beautiful lake. There is a pavilion named Fish Watching Pavilion on the other bank of the lake. Because it is located on a hill, visitors can look down on the beautiful scenery of the whole area.

Kanas Lake Area, Xinjiang
Horse and Camel Trekking
Besides Kanas Lake, Wolong Bay (Crouching Dragon Bay) and Moon Bay are also attractions alluring many visitors and photographers. Virgin forests and flowery grasslands combined with clear green water make the whole area a paradise. At the intersection of Kanas River and Hemu River lies the Hemu Grassland. It has been divided into two parts by the Hemu River running from northeast to southwest. Rare animals such as red deer, marmot and snowcocks live peacefully with cows and sheep. Hemu Village is one of the three residences of the Tuva Mongol in China. The Tuva Mongol is believed to be the offspring of the troops of Genghis Khan when he crusaded west. The Tuva Mongol of Hemu Village lives in frame houses half-buried in the ground to resist the chillness of winter. They believe in Buddhism and have well preserved the traditional beliefs of their tribe. Religious and traditional festivals are always jolly and busy, while the landscape tempts every visitor come back to experience the wildness of nature. Apart from the ancient Tuva Mongol, visitors also can enjoy the local customs and life with the hospitable Kazakh families in Hemu Grassland.

There are also many other attractions in the Kanas Nature Reserve. Yaze Lake (Duck Swamp Lake), Double Lake, White Lake and Friendship Peak Glacier are also amazing. Visitors can fully enjoy the harmony of nature and human as well as the splendid scenery of the nature reserve.

Tips:

Cruise on the Lake
Have a Cruise on Kanas Lake
Because of the long winter in Kanas, the best time to visit is from June to October.
As the site is located along the border of China, you have to apply for a Frontier Permit for Burqin County. It costs CNY 50 for each visitor.

How to Get There:
Kanas Lake is 140 kilometers (about 87 miles) away from Burqin County, and 246 kilometers (about 153 miles) away from Altay City. You can take a plane to Altay City or take a coach to Burqin County at Urumqi, and then rent a motorcar to get there. You can also ride horses with local guides.

Accommodations:
If you want to spend the night around Kanas Lake, you can live with local families or in tents. You can also stay in Kanas Shanzhuang where you will find a greater variety of services and accommodation.
It is recommended that you stay with local families in a Hemu Village if you want to experience a taste of the 'old days'.
 

Scenic Area
Entrance Fee
Kanas Scenic Area
CNY 150
CNY 150 (October 10 - May 10 including Hemu Village and Baihaba Village)
Hemu Village
CNY 60
Baihaba Village
CNY 50 

Note: The maintenance fee for Hemu and Baihaba Villages is CNY 20

 Vehicle   Charge

Inter-zone vehicle: CNY80; Cruise ship: CNY120; Drifting: CNY200

Forest around Kanas
Kanas Lake Inlaid in Forest
Kanas Lake
Kanas, Afar from Hustle
Yurt Houses in Kanas
Yurt House
Local Life
Local Family Living in the Lake Area