Thursday, December 6, 2018

Travel Guide: Kanas Lake

Kanas Lake is arguably one of the most beautiful parks I've seen in Asia. It takes a lot of time and effort to get there, but is definitely worth it. My friend and I should've stayed longer, but there's always next time. Here's a guide for your planned trip.


Travel Guide

When I was planning our trip to Xinjiang, I made sure to include Kanas Lake, it was a MUST. After seeing a couple of photos online, I had to go I told myself and my friend. I stayed in Beijing and Wuhan for a couple of days before meeting my friend. We booked train tickets for Urumqi, but had a stop in Xining and Zhangye. It was her first time in China so she wanted to include a couple of places before heading to Xinjiang. After a brief stop at Zhangye to see the Rainbow Mountains, we were off to the capital of Xinjiang.

Inside the park

Inside the park
Xinjiang is a unique place to visit in China, security is tighter here. There's always a check point and security personnel wherever you go. We first experienced this on the night train, a policeman checked our passports, asked what we were going to do in the region and took our pictures before leaving.

Inside the park

Inside the park

Inside the park

Inside the park
Despite these issues, I would still recommend Xinjiang and Kanas Lake.

How to Get to Kanas Lake

Your first stop is Urumqi, you can book flights to this city from Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing. If you arrive in Beijing, you can take a train to Urumqi. Find flights and train tickets at www.Trip.com.

We spent a couple of days in Urumqi before deciding to head out to Kanas Lake Park. Our group decided to take the overnight bus to Burqin since it was the cheapest option. You can take the overnight train to Beitun City or book a flight to Burqin. Renting a car is also an alternative.

Inside the park
The overnight bus costs around CNY180. During the bus ride, we had to alight a couple of times to cross checkpoints. This happened whenever we had to enter and leave a town on the way. We had to go through security, we gave our passports (the Chinese handed their IDs) to the personnel.

Inside the park

Inside the park
After arriving in Burqin, we only had to wait for a couple more minutes before we had to leave again. We took another bus to Jiadengyu, the town just outside the park. This took I think around for hours and costs CNY40. We drove through stunning terrain that reminded me of the steppes and countryside in Mongolia.

After our long journey from Urumqi, we finally made it to the park!

Best Time to Visit



My friend and I had the good fortune of visiting during Golden Week, around the first week of October. Simply put, this is THE time to visit; the colors of autumn, the mountains, the weather and the clear lakes were picturesque. I would have to agree with some of the posts I saw online that this is a photographer's haven. Everywhere you look was beautiful, let me repeat, my friend and I regretted staying only a night :(

Where to Stay in Kanas Lake


There's plenty of hotels in Jiadengyu just outside the park's entrance. However, I suggest find a place inside because it takes awhile to get to the center of the park, even if you take the bus. I recommend Taiga International Hostel, it's one of the few places that allow foreigners AND you can book online through Trip.com. Booking online is important, especially if you are visiting during autumn

Security is tight even in the park, we had to go to a police station first before we could check-in. It was so time consuming and a big hassle, but we had to comply.

Getting Around the Park

There are buses that shuttle people to and from different sections of the park. If you decide to walk, you can take the many trails inside. These are mostly flat, staircases and platforms. These trails are accessible even for kids and seniors, which was what I like in parks in China. The entrance fee includes the bus going around the park. That's why I recommend spending the night inside, because once you leave, you have to pay for the bus again.

Expenses



My friend and I spent only 1 night in the park, which was a BIG mistake. We should've stayed longer, the park was huge and had many trails we could've enjoyed walking if we spent a night or so more. Anyway, there's always next time.

*Everything's in Yuan

180 - Overnight bus from Urumqi to Burqin
40 - Bus from Burqin to Jiadengyu
156 - Food and drinks
220 - Kanas Lake entrance fee including shuttle
160 - 1 night dorm bed in Taiga International Hostel in Kanas
120 - Boat ride fee
20 - Guan Yuan Tai entrance fee
10 - Storage fee
100 - Taxi from Jiadengyu to Burqin                                                    
1006 - Total

Kanas Lake isn't cheap, but that depends on where you're comparing it with. However, to be honest, it's worth the expense and the hassle.

Tips

  • Buy food, snacks or drinks before entering the park or even before Jiadengyu, everything inside is more expensive.
  • Always bring your passport with you, security in Xinjiang is tight, they will ask for it before you check in at your accommodation inside the park.
  • Try booking your accommodation in advance, at least for one night, better if for the whole stay. accommodations inside the park are booked quickly, especially during peak season.
  • Bring more than enough cash inside the park.
  • Depending on the season you visit, it can get really cold early in the morning and at night.




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