The continent of Asia is not really known for water, especially since it is so far away from any of the oceans out in the world.  And while you may not think that there is a drop of water within Central Asia, other than what is used for drinking, you are guaranteed to discover some spectacular lakes during your visit.  Still unsure?  Join along for a journey to the best lakes within Central Asia!

5 Gorgeous Central Asia Lakes

Rachmanov Springs

Mountains reflected in Rachmanov's Springs Lake in the Altay Mountains
Mountains reflected in Rachmanov’s Springs Lake in the Altay Mountains

To reach Rachmanov Springs, you must climb high up into the Kazakh Altai mountains, but that hike will be worthwhile when you see the sparkling water in front of you. When you are walking around this lake, you will be surrounded by pine trees and nothing but fresh air. The only downside to visiting this lake is that you cannot stay forever since it is so close to the border of China.

Kolsay Lake

Girl sitting on a log and looking at the Middle Kolsay Lake. Tian Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan
Girl sitting on a log and looking at the Middle Kolsay Lake. Tian Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan

Kolsay Lake is one of three lakes that are right next to each other, so you may not want to stop your journey here.  In the middle of this lake, there are still a few trees rising up out of the water and they will make you ponder how they got there!  If you cannot get enough of this lake, you may want to consider spending the night in one of the nearby cabins.

Iskanderkul Lake

Turquoise Lake - Iskanderkul Lake In Fan Mountains
Turquoise Lake – Iskanderkul Lake in Fan Mountains

Iskanderkul Lake was named by Alexander the Great when he was passing by more than two thousand years ago and it is still as beautiful of a body of water as it was back then. It is recommended to stay and watch the water as the sun changes position in the sky because it is common for the water to change colors as the sun moves. The sounds from the waterfall will mesmerize you and you may find that you are lost in your thoughts for longer than you think.

Karakul Lake

Camels at Karakul Lake, Xinjiang, China
Camels at Karakul Lake, Xinjiang, China

The water at Karakul Lake is considered to be black since it is from an underground source and while it is not a preferred choice for many, some people love this type of water. The best way to experience this lake is via the back of a horse and you can spend hours simply riding around. As you are exploring, please take the time to visit with the ethnic Kyrgyz. These people live in yurts near the lake during the summer months.

Toktogul Reservoir

Beautiful scenic view, green field and colorful blue water of Toktogul lake under barren yellow and violet mountains
Beautiful scenic view, greenfield  and colorful blue water of Toktogul lake under barren yellow and violet mountains

You may find that you are stumbling across Toktogul lake as you are traveling from Bishkek to Osh. This is the largest reservoir in the area and the water that runs into it from the Naryn River turns the reservoir to a unique color. It can take some time to drive around the lake, but you will find the best views when you arrive in Toktogul. The best part is that you can enjoy a meal and a little shopping in Toktogul when you are finished watching the water as it dances underneath the sun.

These five lakes may be the best within Central Asia, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only ones you will see when you are there. You will bypass many others and you may decide that one of those deserves to be on this list as well.