Driving Almaty to Charyn Canyon and Kolsai Lakes

All about Kazakhstan. Experts: Julia, walkingalmaty
johnnicolaides
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Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:56 pm

Driving Almaty to Charyn Canyon and Kolsai Lakes

Postby johnnicolaides » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:22 pm

Hi,

I have a lot of experience in driving abroad but this would be my first time driving in Central Asia. Does anyone know if it's be a good idea to rent a car from Almaty and drive to the Kolsai Lakes and the Charyn Canyon please? i.e. what are the roads like and would traffic police be a problem?

Many Thanks for any advice
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Julia
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Kazakhstan expert
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Re: Driving Almaty to Charyn Canyon and Kolsai Lakes

Postby Julia » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:13 pm

Hi.
I know some travellers who rented cars and drove to those places.
Driving independently seems getting popular among travellers in Kazakhstan.
The road to Castle Valley in Charyn is good. Freshly paved. Usually people mean that valley when they say Charyn.
But if you plan to visit other parts of Charyn canyon than you need a proper 4x4 off-road car and be ready for off-road adventure.
The road to Kolsay lake is ok too. Usually many local cars drive there.
And if you want to go to Kaindy lake as well you need off-road car and experience in off-road driving.

Don't know exactly about the police. I mean they're a problem, unfortunately. But if you follow all the traffic rules, have all necessary documents in order than you have good chances to avoide them. A minor mistake in driving or documents will lead to attempts to get some cash from you. If they see that you're uncertain about the rules they also can try to convince you that you broke some rules/laws.
At the same time some drivers didn't have any troubles with the police during their few days trip.
I didn't talk about the police with many travellers so don't have accurate statistics on how good or bad it is. But better be prepared.
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