lake in China

Sayram Lake is in Bortala prefecture, north-west of Xinjiang, China.

Satellite image of the lake


Sayram, a high-altitude lake at 2,070 m above sea level, is close to the border with Kazakhstan. Kazakh pastoralists live around the lake with their sheep and horses. Some hotels are under construction, but only in one location, so even when they are built, this will still be a good place to camp and enjoy a relatively undeveloped area.

Blooming flowers along the lake on a bright day in early May 2007


It is fairly cold year-round but much nicer from June to September, which is when local families are on site and not spending the low season in Yili Town, making it difficult to find a place to spend the night.

Get inEdit

The lake is by the G30 expressway and the old G312 national highway that connects Urumqi with Khorgos border crossing with Kazakhstan.

Urumqi to Sayram takes 7-9 hours. Yining to Sayram takes 2 hours.

Get aroundEdit

Road next to the lake in July 2018

If you don't have your own car there is a bus (July, 2018) that leaves from the entrance gate every half hour until 6pm Beijing time. It's a type of hop-on hop-off bus that loops around the lake and stops at about fifteen different locations. Just wave your hand when it approaches and it will stop for you.



Enjoy holidays on the beach of always cold but clean Sayram lake and wonderful surrounding, herd sheep with locals, learn from them how to survive. Travel to Yining also Yili Town (about 150 km) or other neighbouring cities. Visit local shops and ride horses.


Share with locals what you have and they will share everything with you as well.



Camp anywhere you like in the park, or stay in the tent of some locals.

Stay safeEdit

Go nextEdit

Kazakhstan or other locations in Xinjiang.

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