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.

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.
 

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 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 modified on Oct. 28, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Kanas Nature Reserve
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
00Reply


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
00Reply


It is more convenient to make a reservation in advance.
Asked by Elly from INDONESIA | Apr. 11, 2019 12:03Reply
Is it too crowded between 8-15 Oct when touring around Kanas Nature Reserve?
Hi

Is it still crowded from 8-15 oct? What's the likelihood of roads sealed on these dates? Is it better to visit in sept or after Golden week
Answers (4)
Answered by Justice from DENMARK | Apr. 11, 2019 22:39
00Reply


Generally speaking, it won't have many people during that period of time. The road condition will be good. In addition, you can also visit there in Sept. Both are ok. Have a nice trip!
Answered by Elly from INDONESIA | Apr. 13, 2019 11:28
00Reply


Hi! Thanks!
I heard it might snow in Oct. Is it still a better option to visit 8-15 oct or in sept?
Not sure if foliage is still present.
Answered by Parker from FINLAND | Apr. 14, 2019 20:42
00Reply


Oh, yes, you are right. You are suggested to tour around in September. As I know, you can see the foliage at that time.
Answered by Ablajan Jilil from URUMQI / CHINA | Apr. 17, 2019 23:06
00Reply


Hi Elly
it will not crowded after October holiday , Sep will gets super crowded and its most expensive time in the year ( hotels ) . so you arrive to Urumqi and start to drive to Kanas lake first .

Ablajan Jilil
Asked by Teach from CHINA | Mar. 20, 2019 20:02Reply
What are best locations for a visit to Kanas Lake during the last week of April/first week of May?
Answers (4)
Answered by Caroline from FINLAND | Mar. 25, 2019 23:10
00Reply


You are suggested to stay at Jiadengyu Area. It will be easy for you to find a guest house when you arriving there. Hope helpful!
Answered by Teach from CHINA | Mar. 26, 2019 07:54
00Reply


Thanks Caroline. I was thinking of going to Hemu village but I'll check out Jiadengyu. I'm hoping to stay in a yurt for a few days but haven't found any websites for making arrangemnets.
Answered by Ablajan Jilil from URUMQI/CHINA | Apr. 17, 2019 23:15
00Reply


Hi Teach

i Just came back from Kanas lake , i am a guide -cum- driver based in Urumqi . i did find any accommodations in Jiadengyu which can accept foreigners . so we stayed inside lake area , even they ask me next time i have to ask them several days / weeks before if they still could accept foreigners . availabe time of this year as its off season . actually yurt can not accept foreignners .

Good luck !
Ablajan Jilil

Yurts / geusthouses not
Answered by Jol from THAILAND | Oct. 22, 2019 18:22
00Reply


Hi Jilil

In December, can I get a car to the village of Hemu?
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