Kanas National Nature Reserve is in Xinjiang Province of China. Kanas is also called Hanas which is the name used by local Kazakhs. Kanas is the named used by local Tuvans, and has been recognised by local government as the official name.
Kanas is a nature reserve in the Altay mountains of northern Xinjiang famed for its alpine scenery Kanas lake.
Tickets are ¥240 per person good for two days. The price is made up of ¥150 of entrance fee and ¥90 of unlimited bus ride within the park.
Kanas is home to the mythical Kanas Lake monster. Supposed pictures of the monster are in the rest house at the top of Guānyú Tái (Fish-Watching Pavilion). The sightseeing bus to the Guanyutai will cost you ¥60, then you will have over 1000 steps before you reach the top (on the Guanyutai.)
Kanas Lake (48.82N 87.04E, about 1,325m ASL) lies in the southern Altay mountains near to the Chinese border with Mongolia and Russia. To the north of the park is Friendship Peak (4,374 m. ASL), marking the boundary with Kazakhstan and Russia.
Flora and fauna
Its extremely cold during the winter, be sure to take proper protection. It suddenly becomes excessively cold during the night.
The nearest town to Kanas is Burqin (布尔津 or Bù’ěrjīn), approximately three hours away by car. It is recommended to stay there as accommodation in and near the park is extremely expensive, as this is sort of a luxury destination for inlanders. There should be buses to the park from Burqin.
The quickest way is to fly to Buerjin City Airport aka Kanasi Airport (KJI) from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang (Full price: ¥1,200). The airport is about 50km. (~1 hour by bus) from Kanas National Geopark.
Fees and permits
No permits necessary for visiting Hanas Nature Reserve or Kanas Lake. There are single day and double day tickets available for Kanas Lake. Single day ticket costs ¥230 and double day tickets cost ¥240. If you want to go to Hemu village, there's 3 ways to there. By hiking or horse-riding along the Kanas river from Jadengyu, or take bus or car that will cost about ¥200.Hemu village also has ticket about ¥80. You can stay there at night in Kazakh yurts or wooden house.
There are free bus rides available after you buy the tickets of Kanas. The service is quiet good and all the places are quiet well connected.
- Fish-Watching Pavilion - perfect spot to compose poems while searching for the giant lake monster. Aka Guanyu Ting (Fish Observatory) about 30 min from Kanas Bus Station then another 1,111 steps to the Pavilion. The trip up Guānyú Tái, a mountain that offers a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains including the Youyifeng (Friendship Peak), which is the approximate landmark of the tri-country border of Russia, China and Mongolia.
- Friendship Peak (Youyi Feng) - (Khüiten Uul in Mongolian) the approximate landmark where the countries of China, Mongolia and Russia meet.
- Fairy Bay
- Moon Bay
- Sleeping Dragon Bay
- A boat tour departs regularly from the pier on the south end of the lake and takes to about a third of the lake where supposedly the deepest part, the price of the boat ride is ¥120 per person. From the middle of the lake are some spectacular views of the surrounding scenery.
- Hiking along the Kanas river with easily access wooden boardwalk. The highly recommended route is from Fair Bay to Moon Bay and Sleeping Dragon Bay.
Stay one night at Hemu village.
There are some souvenir shops inside the lake and you can buy jade stones from the entry gate of the lake. But be sure to bargain and check whether its genuine or not.
There is a buffet restaurant in the park serving bland Chinese food for about ¥50. Another famous local cuisine is fat-rumped lamb, usually grilled can cost as mush as ¥2,000 per lamb. If you want authentic but reasonable priced Kazakh or Mongolian better to eat in Burqin or Altay (or Urumqi).
If you happen to bump into any Kazakhs in this thorough Hanified park, ask for koumys (fermented mare's milk) or shubat (fermented camel milk). There is also nǎijiǔ (奶酒, literally means "milk wine"), a fermented milk drink said to be favored by Genghis Khan. Most drinks in the park are moderately overpriced.
- Hongfu Lake Kanas Resort - 2 stars but expensive: only 10 min by bus to Kanas National Geopark
- alternatively you can probably rent Kazakh yurt
- Burqin is another option which is approximately 2 hours drive from Kanas lake.
The place is quite safe but private drivers outside the lake might cheat you and take more money from you. The price from Kanas lake to Burqin city costs ¥80 per person.
- Horm (禾木 Hémù) - home to a community of Tuwa minority people who live in a location some would call paradise (4-WD required). Now have a bus service. Hemu village is about 2 hours by bus from Kanas Geopark, and it is crawling with tourists.
- The Mongolian side of Friendship Mountain (Kuiten Uul) is the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park which is accessible through a small seasonal border crossing, Dayan-Khunshanzyui.