Shar waterfall

Shar waterfall

Shar Waterfall is also known as a Shaar waterfall or the Bash-Kaindy waterfall and is located in Bash-Kayunday gorge in the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan. The height of the free falling Shar waterfall is 220 m, but taking into account the cascades it is about 400 m making it the highest waterfall in Kyrgyzstan, Central Tian Shan area and in the whole Central Asia. Shaar waterfall sits at the height of 3200 m above sea level in the gorge of the Bash-Kaindy river. Nearest settlements to Shar are Birlik, At-Bashi and Bash-Kaindy together with the Taldy-Suu and Birinchi May villages. A good example of the proportion of Shar waterfall is that you can even see it from as far as the Naryn-Torugart road that runs through the At-Bashi village and is 20 km away. Shar waterfall is currently not included in any of our Central Asia Tours or Kyrgyzstan tours but we are glad to add and visiting it can be easily combined for example with Kel Suu or Tash Rabat trip.

Shar waterfall in the Bash Kaindy gorge in Naryn region in Kyrgyzstan
Riding to Shaar waterfall near Naryn and At Bashy

The name of the village Bash-Kaindy and the gorge with the same name comes from the Kyrgyz word bash which means “beginning” and “head” and Kaindy means “birch”, which means “beginning of birches”. The Kayunday gorge is very picturesque with the continuous coniferous forests (which is somewhat contradictory with the name of the gorge). Even during the hottest summer days comfortable temperatures and humidity reign here making it a nice hiking or horseback riding destination for the ones who feel too hot in the lower lands. Fir-trees are growing on the slopes, and Asian junipers emit a delicate aroma of needles. 

The flora of the surrounding area of the waterfall includes more than 270 plant species including relics and endemics. Many plants here are also listed in the “Red Book of Kyrgyzstan”. The upper part of the Shar waterfall is located at the height of 3600 meters above the sea level and it touches the bottom of the valley at the height of about 3200 meters. From the top of the waterfall a high valley opens where the Shar river flows in peace and empty space. A bit further, behind the mountain ridge, the Ak Sai Valley opens.

How to get to shaar waterfall

Before trying to reach the highest waterfall in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, you should make your way to Naryn. The waterfall and the highest part of the gorge are accessible only by foot or horseback. By foot you can reach it in approximately 4 hours. From the nearest village of Bash-Kaindy it is 20 km to the waterfall. The nearest car road ends at the entrance of the Bash-Kaindy gorge and from there you need to hike for about 12 km onward and somewhat upwards. The Shar waterfall trek rewards travelers continuously with impressive views of the valley, full of beautiful trees, grazing yaks, herds of sheep and semi-wild horses. 

The best time to come here is certainly in the summer. The waterfall is yet little known, therefore is not crowded yet. Overall, the walking trip to the waterfall and back takes a whole day. If you have a tent you can also spend a night under the waterfall. 

Shaar riding to waterfall
Shar Waterfall road

On the way to the waterfall, you need to cross the Shar river and other smaller streams flowing from the surrounding mountains. During the springtime, the amount of water can rise making it impossible to cross some locations without ropes (if hiking), meaning it is better to go with a guide and/or horses in the spring time. There are also many other paths leading away from the waterfall inside the gorge and it is quite easy to turn the wrong way and get lost which also seconds using a guide if you are not the most experience hiker. All the hardships of the path are rewarded finally by the breathtaking spectacle in the form of a huge waterfall and the feeling of energy from it. The water from the waterfall and the other waterfalls in the gorge is also very cold and refreshing on a hot summer day.

Destinations near Shar waterfall

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