Karakul Lake ​- a plateau lake surrounded by spectacular mountains

Last Update: 17th October 2020

Located 191 kilometers from Kashgar, Karakul Lake lies at the foot of the Muztag Ata. The Karakoram Highway passes by the lake. The lake is surrounded by mountains. With an altitude of 3,600 meters, Karakul Lake covers an area of 10 square kilometers. Reflection of Muztag Ata on the lake makes Karakul Lake more stunning.

Karakul Lake Fast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Ka La Ku Li Hu (卡拉库里湖)
  • Area: 10 x square kilometers
  • Things to do th​ere: Photography, Mountaineering, Boating
  • Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts
  • Time required: 2 – 3 x hours
What to expect at Karakul Lake

The Subash Grassland by the lake offers great grass to the cattle and sheep. Yurts and wooden houses of Tajiks and Kirgiz are dotted around the grassland, making it livelier. When the weather is fine, the reflections of the snow-covered mountains and the crystal-clear water create a picturesque view.


At dawn, blue light shines from Muztag Ata and Karakul Lake. When the sun rises slowly, the Muztag Ata is covered with purple, followed by golden red light and finally a touch of pink in 10 minutes. At dawn, the lake surface is as smooth as a mirror. The lake is deep and clear, reflecting the snow-capped mountains. When the day turns brighter, steam floats up from the surface.

If interested, you could enjoy horse-riding or camel-riding on the Subash Grassland. If you would like to appreciate the starry sky in the evening, you could also stay overnight in one of the yurts or wooden houses. The kayaks offer a great chance to explore the lake to the fullest.

Best time to visit the Karakul Lake

If you are planning to visit the lake for photography purposes, the best time to visit is during the sunrise, sunset or in the evening.

The best months to visit are from May to October.


How to get to the Karakul Lake

There is no direct bus from Kashgar to Karakul Lake. The only option is to rent a vehicle.


Additional Karakul Lake Travel Advice
  • Opening hours: 24 hours
  • As at 17th October 2020, it is free to visit the lake.
  • The entrance pricing to the yurt for overnight stay is 40 CNY per person one night; the entrance pricing to the wooden house for overnight stay is 50 CNY per person one night. For the latest pricing information, please contact us via email (info@wendyweitours.com)
  • Please wear the sunscreen cream, sunglasses and the like to stop the strong sunlight shining your body directly in the dry weather.
  • Please take enough warm clothes with you even in summer as the temperature difference is big between the daytime and the evening at the lake.
Interested in visiting the Karakul Lake on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Karakul Lake, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.