I stayed in guest house right in Saty. It's the main business for locals. However Kazakh people are very hospitable in general. This is how it looks like.
Next to the village there is one more lake worth to visit: Kaindy. The road (especially after the rain) is absolutely awful. Not every 4x4 would make it. Locals are more than happy to help.
For a small fee they will take you almost to the lake on an immortal UAZ-469 or UAZ-452 (those are Soviet military cars which can survive any road in any condition)
It's just a few minutes from the parking stop to the lake. Even though locals are happy to help you with that as well: you can go on horse this part of the way. Honestly, I won't recommend it. On trails like this I trust my legs much more than a horse I've never seen before (:
The lake is quite young. It appeared just a hundred years ago after earthquake. However the level goes down nowadays (thanks to global warming). Some say we have just 10-15 years before it's gone. You have to hurry if you want to see the lake yourself :)
The water is very pure.
Like on Kolsai lakes don't forget about the ticks. Safety always should be a priority.
Charyn canyon. It's #1 tourist nature destination in Almaty area. So it was quite predictable that the parking would be full in a public holiday.
Though there's plenty of space. It shouldn't be a problem.
The canyon is quite long, but tourists explore only a short 2 km area -- Castle Valley. On the top of the canyon there are rocks which shaped like castles. Sometimes you just can wonder how they didn't fall down.
If you don't have a desire (or just can't) walk those 2 km, there are special taxis. For a small fee they are happy to get you through the way. It actually might be a good idea to hire them for a way back. The road goes up the hill in a back direction.
Kazakh don't really care about a nature view. Need to build a few yurts? No problem. Just go ahead.
A few more pictures.
A cool bus stop from Soviet time. There are just a very few left like this one.
PS. Want to say a special thanks to Sergey. He was the main reason why the trip to Kazakh parks was so dense and interesting. It's really a rare finding.