Welcome to Southeast Kazakhstan
The region from Almaty to Lake Balkhash is known as Zhetisu (Russian: Semirechie), meaning Land of Seven Rivers. There are actually more than 800 rivers, many fed by glaciers in the mountains along the Kyrgyz and Chinese borders. It's also known as the 'Golden Triangle' for its trio of major natural attractions: Kolsai Lakes, Charyn Canyon and Altyn-Emel National Park. The three are located near one another and it's easy to organise a multiday tour of the 'Golden Triangle' from Almaty. This is one of Kazakhstan’s most varied regions: landscapes vary from Utah-like rock formations and arid moonscapes to lush greenery, waterfalls, lakes fed by glacial meltwater and dense forest. The forbidding, snow-peaked Tian Shan range straddles the border with Kyrgyzstan, offering Kazakhstan's most challenging hiking.