The Sibin Lakes offer breathtaking views and a variety of water-based activities.
The Sibin Lakes are a group of five lakes (Sadyrkol, Tortkara, Shalkar, Korjinkol, and Karakol) located in East Kazakhstan Province. Their total area is 32 square kilometers (20 sq. mi), while their depth varies from 2.5 to 38 meters (6.5-125 ft). Framed by granite mountain peaks, the lakes are a popular destination among beach-goers and hikers.
People come here to admire panoramic views from the rocky peaks of the Baiga, Medvedka, and Koktau Mountains, marvel at ancient rock paintings, and try their luck at finding rare minerals such as almandine and black tourmaline. Near the lakes, you can find the ruins of a Buddhist monastery, something you don’t expect to see in Kazakhstan. According to some legends, a golden statue of Buddha is submerged at the bottom of one of the lakes. This legend attracts divers who dream of discovering it.
The lakes also draw fishermen from all over the region, allured by the chance to catch pike, carp, and roach. In winter the lakes become a nice spot for ice fishing.
All along the lake shores are recreation areas offering an extreme park, a climbing wall, a bungee jumping spot, and grounds for volleyball, tennis, and soccer.
Useful tips for 2020-2021
How to get there
Lake Shalkar, the largest and the most popular of the five, is about 85 kilometers (53 mi) away from the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. In summer, you can take a bus that will take you to its shore. Other lakes are within walking distance. The bus runs only on weekends, leaving the Ust-Kamenogorsk bus station early in the morning and goes back in the evening.
Food and accommodation
Guest houses usually offer meals. Moreover, in summer, cafes are open on the shores of Lake Shalkar. Tourists who are up for camping can set up a tent on the shores, although making bonfires is prohibited. It is best to stock up on food in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. However, you can also buy food and bare necessities in the village of Algabas, located just three kilometers (2 mi) from Lake Sadyrkol.