Kanas Nature Reserve

Kanas Nature Reserve, also known as Xinjiang Kanas National Geopark, is located in Burqin County of Altay City within the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and shares borders with Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. The scenic area boasts a beautiful natural ecosystem formed by lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests, and grasslands.

Kanas Lake in Kanas Nature Reserve

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 China Kanas Lake is 1,375 meters (4,511 ft) high above sea level and covers an area of 45.73 sq kilometers (11,300 acres). With Kanas Lake weather and seasons changing, the color of the lake also varies. Sometimes it's blue, sometimes green, while sometimes it's as white as milk.

Kanas Lake
Bird's Eye View of Kanas Lake

Six Bays along 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 the Kanas Lake monster! 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

Wolong Bay & Moon Bay

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.

Hemu Grassland

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.


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.


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 Hemu Village if you want to experience a taste of the 'old days'.

How to get to Kanas Nature Reserve

1. Take a flight to Kanas Airport and there are shuttle buses to Jiadengyu, the entrance to Kanas Nature Reserve. Upon arrival, take the tourist bus to enter the scenic area.
2. From Urumqi to Kanas Lake, visitors need to take a bus from Nianzigou Bus Station to Burqin County, and then transfer to a regular bus to Jiadengyu or hire a local car to the entrance.

Entrance Fee

Scenic Area
May - Oct. 15: Oct. 16 - Apr.:
Kanas Scenic Area 
CNY 160
CNY 80
 The entrance ticket is valid for two days, meaning visitors can enter the scenic area repeatedly in two days.
Hemu Village
CNY 50
CNY 25
Baihaba Village
CNY 30
CNY 15
Combo Ticket for Kanas, Hemu Village, and Baihaba Village CNY 195 CNY 100
 The ticket is valid for three days.
Opening Hours 8:30 - 19:30 (only for reference)

Shuttle Bus Charge

Jiadengyu Transfer Center to Kanas Village Transfer Center CNY 50 for round trip
Kanas Village Transfer Center to Kanas New Village CNY 5 for round trip
Jiadengyu Transfer Center to Guanyu Terrace Transfer Center CNY 20 for round trip
Jiadengyu Transfer Center to Hemu Village Transfer Center CNY 50 for round trip
Hemu Village Transfer Center to Hemu Village Service Area CNY 45 for round trip
Kanas Village Transfer Center to Baihaba Village Transfer Center CNY 45 for round trip
Through Ticket for all shuttle buses (valid for 3 days) CNY 180

Other Charges

Cruise ship CNY120
Drifting CNY200
Bonfire CNY168
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
- Last updated on Jul. 18, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Kanas Nature Reserve
Asked by Tatiana from CHINA | Jun. 28, 2022 17:15Reply
Permit to Kanas in 2022
Hi! Do the foreigners still need a permit to Kanas lake? If yes where to get it these days? Also is it allowed to use drones inside the park?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lu | Jul. 08, 2022 00:04

The permit is only necessary for Baihaba Village, not Kanas/Hemu, and is currently only available to mainland, HK & Macau residents.

Foreigners can still visit Kanas & Hemu, but cannot buy the 3 day ticket, as it includes entry to Baihaba Village.
Asked by Carl | Jun. 24, 2021 02:24Reply
Travel Permit
Where can foreigners working in China get travel permit (Frontier Permit for Burqin County) for Kanas Scenic Spot? Urumqi? Beitun City? Burqin Town? Jiadengyu? Can we get it at Burqin Kanas Airport? Or at the Kanas Scenic Spot? Please reply asap. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Aria | Jun. 28, 2021 00:48

As I know, you can get the permit at the police station of Kanas, which is next to the scenic area.
Asked by Zak from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 11, 2020 23:34Reply
Kanas to Mongolia
Is it possible to go directly from Kanas to the border crossing with Mongolia without having to go back through urumqi?
Answers (2)
Answered by Mason from CANADA | Jan. 13, 2020 18:31

I think it is possible if you hire a car to your destination directly.
Answered by Ablajan from URUMQI , CHINA | Jan. 14, 2020 02:36

Hi Zak

You can cross the border from Takeshiken port , south east of Altay city ,about 300kms . can not cross from Kanas area .

Good luck !
Ablajan Jilil ( Urumqi guide / driver )
Asked by Benjamin from GERMANY | Jun. 09, 2019 09:05Reply
How frequently are they busses from and to Altay and which city they are heading? Jiadengyu?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mandy from USA | Jun. 10, 2019 01:01

There is no bus direct to Jiadengyu. You can take bus from Altay to Burqin and then transfer to Jiadengyu.
Asked by Addy from THAILAND | Jun. 07, 2019 00:56Reply
I plan to stay over night in Hemu village on Sep 21,2019.
Is it necessary to make a accommodation reservation at first?
Is it difficult to find the accommodation when arrive there?
Please advise. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Alice from CANADA | Jun. 10, 2019 00:54

It is more convenient to make a reservation in advance.
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