Sayram Lake

Sayram Lake, renowned as a pearl of the Silk Road, is the largest alpine lake in Xinjiang. It is located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southwest of Botala Prefecture, Urumqi. In Mongolian language, sayram means 'a lake on the ridge'. In Kazak, sayram means 'blessing'.

Sayram Lake, Ili
Sayram Lake, Ili
A man ride a horse along the lake
A man ride a horse along the lake

The lake is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) long from east to west, 30 kilometers wide from north to south. It covers an area of about 454 sq kilometers (about 175 sq miles), and has an elevation of 2,073 meters (6,800 feet).

Sayram Lake is a fairyland with wonderful natural scenery. It is like a brilliant emerald inlaid in the basin surrounded by Tianshan Mountain. Its water is very pure and clear. Flocks of ducks and swans coast on its surface. Flourishing cypress and cedar trees cover the whole mountain range. Cottages scatter the foothills of the mountains. Horses and sheep call on the mountain slope. What a vivid and splendid picture!

There is a touching love story about Sayram Lake. It is said that it was composed of the tears of a couple of Kazak young lovers. A beautiful girl and a young man were deeply in love. One day, a cruel devil was captivated by the girl's beauty. He captured the girl and confined her to his residence. The girl took a chance to escape, but the devil found out very soon and went after the girl. She was forced to jump into an abyss. Later, her boyfriend heard of this and he was so sad that he jumped into the abyss to be reunited with his lover. Their painful tears flooded into the abyss and formed Sayram Lake.

The tents at the bank of the Sayram Lake
The tents at the bank of the Sayram Lake
A toast during the lunch in a local family
A toast during the lunch in a local family
The scenery is quite varied in four seasons. In winter, the cold wind stirs a boundless wave which splashes the bank, and the mist can even hide the snow-capped mountains. In spring, the mountain slope is covered with a green blanket dotted with colored blooming flowers. Summer and autumn are the best seasons to visit Sayram Lake. The water is very peaceful, and its surface is as smooth as a mirror. From late July to early August, the Mongolian people celebrate the 'Nadam Fair'. Kazaks also join in the festival, during which horse-racing, wrestling and folk songs and dance are performed.

Admission Fee: CNY 70

 Top 10 Things to Do in Xinjiang 
- Last updated on Jul. 18, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Sayram Lake
Asked by Leung from MALAYSIA | Aug. 02, 2020 06:56Reply
Sayram Lake to Burqin
After visiting Sayram Lake, what is the best way to Burqin?
Answers (3)
Answered by Cooper from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 06, 2020 18:21

As I know, there is no direct shuttle bus between these two places. You need to hire a private car.
Answered by Leung from MALAYSIA | Aug. 06, 2020 21:45

By car, how many kilometres and how many hours? Roughly how much will it cost? Thank you
Answered by Cooper | Aug. 12, 2020 22:57

The distance is about 770 kilometers and the duration is about 10-12 hours. Sorry, I didn't find the rough cost. Maybe you can share a car with other tourists which can decrease the expense.
Asked by Boon from THAILAND | Dec. 08, 2019 07:07Reply
May I ask is there bus from Xinyuan to Sayram lake and how far is it?
Thanks for all comments.
Answers (1)
Answered by Benny from USA | Dec. 10, 2019 19:45

There is no public bus you can take. The distance between them is around 235km.
Asked by AlexLee | Aug. 14, 2019 08:52Reply
To sayram lake from Bole
1.How much for rent a van to Sayram lake from Bole railway station?
2. Can I leave from train station 2.30pm to lake and return to station after sunset? Is it ok?
3. When we exit from railway station. Are there any area to sit and rest inside or near station? I will arrive Kuitun railway station around 04.05 am. and wait for traveling to next places, I am worried about place to rest after exit from station.
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita from CANADA | Aug. 19, 2019 02:25

1. As I know, the fare is CNY 350 to 400.
2. I think you can return to the station and only can stay at the waiting hall.
3. Generally speaking, there are many hostels around the railway station.
Asked by Clement Hoh from MALAYSIA | Aug. 22, 2017 13:32Reply
Yining to Sayram lake
Hi team
I will arrive at 2pm at yining through train, do you think I can go to the lake?
Any bus?
Answers (4)
Answered by Owen from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 23, 2017 02:10

Go to Ili Autonomous Prefecture Bus Station and catch the bus to Bole County. Ask the driver to drop you off on the way when it arrives at the lake. You may also charter a car or van with other passengers near the Bus Station and it costs CNY150 per person for a single trip.
Answered by Clement Hoh from MALAYSIA | Aug. 23, 2017 13:11

Thanks for the fast response
How long will it take? If I start 3pm from Yining , is it possible?
How about coming back to Yining, is there any problem?
or use the same method
Answered by Angela from ICELAND | Aug. 23, 2017 21:04

It may take 2 hours to get there. In your case, you may catch the bus at 15:50 and 16:50. You are suggested to use the same method to catch the bus from Bole to Yining, or if you are lucky enough, you may get a ride from others.
Answered by Clement Hoh from MALAYSIA | Aug. 25, 2017 13:20

Thanks a lot Angela!
Asked by Paul from USA | Aug. 03, 2017 00:40Reply
renting a car and driver in Xinjiang
I would like to see some natural sights/sites near Urumqi. How far away are they, and how much do you think it would cost to hire a car with a driver? Thanks for any info you can provide. It's hot and humid here in Tianjin, and I HAVE TO GET AWAY from the weather and the crowds. But I don't know a lot of detail about what to do in that part of the country. I just want to enjoy some quiet nature. I will be there 4 days.
Answers (2)
Answered by Nida from GERMANY | Aug. 03, 2017 02:41

You can visit the Nanshan Scenic Spot, Red Hill Park, Tianshan Valley, Salt Lake, Glacier No.1…during your trip. The distance between these attractions may be around 40-100 kilometers. Since the fare of the car varies from different route, you are advised to book a car from eHi Cars Service and consult the detailed price by the service line 400-888-6608.
Answered by Paul from USA | Aug. 03, 2017 05:02

Thank you. I hope they speak English.
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