Aral Sea

The tragedy of the Aral Sea is a sad reminder of what can happen if we interfere with nature

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Kyzylorda province

Aral Sea

The tragedy of the Aral Sea is a sad reminder of what can happen if we interfere with nature

We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. This phrase fits the situation of the Aral Sea perfectly. In recent decades, much of the water which used to flow into the Aral Sea was diverted for growing crops. As a result, the sea has shrunk dramatically. Although this is a region of ecological disaster, you can still admire the landscape, especially salt pans sparkling in the sun.

Now the Aral Sea is divided into two parts - the Big Aral and the Small Aral. The Small Aral is home to some species of fish, while only phytoplankton lives in the Big Aral. People rarely swim there, and if they do, it is mainly for the purpose of health improvement. The water contains some salts that have a beneficial effect on the body.

Currently, attempts to restore the sea are being made, mainly by improving the quality of irrigation canals, and installing desalination plants.

Tourists often come to the sea with SUV tours. The tour will also take you to the Aral Islands, the most attractive of which is Vozrojdeniya Island (Revival Island).

Don’t miss the chance to visit a mesmerizing and slightly frightening "graveyard" of ships. The ships that once plied the Aral Sea are now rusting in the middle of the desert. One of them even features in Pink Floyd’s music video for their 2014 single “Louder than words.”

Useful tips

How to get there

For a better experience we recommend you to travel to the Aral Sea with a tour which you can book in any large city. If you decide to go on your own, you should remember that the Aral lands are completely desolate. Take some extra gas, spare tires, a first-aid kit, and any travel equipment you may need.

Food and accommodation

There are no hotels near the Aral Sea so be ready to sleep in a tent or return to the town of Aralsk, the nearest town to the sea. Take some warm clothes with you, as nights may be cold. Before setting off for a trip make sure you have enough food and water. In addition, in some areas there may be poor or no mobile phone signal.

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