Kanas Lake, located in the valley of the Altai, Xinjiang, is a famous natural resort. Colors of Kanas Lake vary in different seasons and weather. Its beauty and mysterious folk tales attract many tourists every year.
The Kanas Lake, which means "beautiful, rich and mysterious" in Mongolian, can be found 150km north of Bu'erjin Town in Xinjiang. Nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay, the lake is 1,374m above sea level and covers an area of 45sqkm (10 times bigger than Tianchi on Bogda Mountain) with the deepest point of 188m.
The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcapped mountains. In autumn, it presents a picturesque landscape of forests in a riot of colors with gold, red, blue and green, which excites your sights and senses.
Embraced by snow-capped mountains, the Kanas Lake area is covered with dense forests and is the only region where animals and plants of South Siberia species can be found in China. Between July and August, the area around Kanas Lake is filled with locals who come for the Nadam Fair. They buy and sell handicrafts and take part in local festival activities including a rather bizarre sport known as Sheep Tussling.
Besides the famous legends about "Kanas Monster", the "Emei Spectacle", that lights up the clouds after a morning rain, adds another air of mystery to the lake. The practices of the Tuwa Tribe and Altai Mountain rock-paintings have been attracting explorers and travelers to this area for decades.
Best Time to go:
Due to the long winter in the area, Kanas is open for tour only from June to October every year. The best time to visit is from the end of August to Sept.
Monster in the Lake
Legend has it that huge monsters dwell in the lake’s depths and they often has dragged horses and camels drinking into the water before swallowing them. It is said that the monster is actually a kind of rare fish named "Hucho taimen" in Chinese, also called "huge red fish", with the longest one measuring up to over 10 meters.
Buddha Halo Shining over Sea of Clouds
After heavy rains in the early morning, one can appreciate the sunrise while standing in the Pavilion for Viewing Fish on the top of a peak. During sunrises, clouds and mist curl high up over the Kanas Lake. Sometimes, one can encounter the great spectacle of Buddha Halo, like that of Emei Mountain, with reflections of the pavilion and human figures in the halo.
Great Spectacle of Color-changing Lake
The Kanas Lake is famous for its changing colors. The color of the water changes several times in a day, from dark green to sky blue, then to gray and white.
Thousand-meter Long Bank with Withered Trees
On the lakeside,there are lots of withered trees with interlocked branches. Carried by strong wind or waves into the lake, these dead trees strangely flow against the current to the lake's north end and pile up in the upper reaches. With the elapse of time, a thousand-meter-long dike of dead trees came into being, forming a rare spectacle.
The Tuwa Tribe
A Mongolian tribe called Tuwa lives on the south bank of the Kanas Lake. Believing in Lamaism, it is a valiant ethic minority with a long history. Tuwa people speak Turkish, resembling the language of Kazakh, and live on hunting and graze. They also have a special folk custom.
Kanasi Lake is 140km from Burqin County and 246km from Altay City. There are flights to Altay City and tourist coaches to Burqin County from Urumqi. You can enter the nature reserve by car or on horseback with local guides.