From Caravanistan we took some ideas on what to do and see in those 7 days while waiting for the Chinese visa.
We head for the lake Esik, about 60 kilometers from Almaty, at 1800 on sea level.
Before reaching the town of Esik, about ten kilometers from the lake, we stop to visit the history museum (500 tenge per person) that is on the road. It 's a small but nice museum, there is a reproduction of the Golden Warrior found in one of the many Schytian tombs scattered everywhere around here, looking like simple mounds of earth. After the village, which is quite large with a big bazaar, we face the last kilometers to the lake, after paying the park entrance fee (350 tenge). Beautiful road that follows a river that flows between the mountains, finally some trees! But quite tough and steep indeed, the last 5 kilometers we must push and this takes us almost two hours.