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Big Almaty Lake

The picturesque, 1.6km long Big Almaty lake, resting in a rocky bowl, is frozen from November to June and only takes on its famous turquoise tinge once the summer meltwater has drained away. It’s a good birdwatching spot, especially during the May migration.

The 'big' label comes from the name of the stream on which it sits, the Big Almaty River (Bolshaya Almatinka), not as a commentary on the size of the lake itself, which is a somewhat modest 1.6km by 1km. On a fine day, however, this is one of the most beautiful places in all Kazakhstan. It's a great place for a picnic, though you will be far from alone here on sunny summer weekends. A side track to the left just before you reach the lake is the start of the difficult mountain track to Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan.