Situated about five hours drive – sometimes more, depending on the state of the roads – from Almaty, the three Kolsai Lakes are absolute jewels and well worth a weekend visit, or longer if you have the time. This region is one of the best places to go horse-trekking – travel agent Asia Discovery offers several trips on horseback in the area. The tour company Jibek Joly also has a guesthouse on the shores of the first lake, or, if you prefer, you can stay in a yurt in the summertime or do a home-stay in the nearby village of Saty. The trek to the second lake is well worth it, and takes around three-and-a-half hours. Another lake, called Kaindy, is also not too far from Saty and can be accessed by four-wheel drive only. Here you’ll see the trunks of spruce trees protruding from the lake like the masts of sunken ships. The lake was created by a landslide in the late 19th-century and is a truly spectacular sight.