Do you know that Ukraine is a home to many pink lakes? A majority of them are located in the Kherson region (6 things to do in Kherson). In this article I am going to give you a detailed description on how to visit the best pink lake in Ukraine. Also, because some people may worry that the pictures are photoshopped or unrealistic, I’ve specifically uploaded plenty of unedited ones for you to see. If you follow my instructions, and don’t turn back too soon, you’re guaranteed to see the truly vibrant pink lake of Ukraine.
The first question that comes to mind when you hear Pink Lake is why is it pink? The water has a fantastic pink color due to a specific organism – unicellular algae Dunaliella. This organism makes beta carotene due to sun light and warm weather that makes water pink.
To get to the Henyches’ke Pink Lake you need to get to Henichesk city, which is located in the very north of Arabats’ka strilka.
There are a few buses that go there from Kherson, with some at 5:45 AM, 6:45AM, 7:30 AM, 8:05 AM, 8:45 AM, 9:45 AM, 2 PM, 3:05 PM, 4 PM, 6:05 PM, , 6:05 PM.
The bus ride can take from 4 to 5 hours. The price is between 200 UAH ($7.2) and 250 UAH ($9). I do recommend coming earlier to the bus stop to buy tickets at the cashier and to find the right platform (ask cashier). I also must warn you that the buses are not very comfortable and they usually don’t have air conditioning.
For the bus ride take water and some snacks with you. The buses do make longer stops, so you can use bathrooms at other bus station. However, the bathrooms are not free so you’ll have to pay 4UAH ($0.15) per use.
From Heniches’k city to Heniches’k lake is not that far, although you can’t really walk there. There is no public transportation that goes to the lake as well. The only option is to take a taxi.
Unfortunately, because the taxi drivers know that people do not have much choice, they charge quite a lot. One way to the lake will cost you about 150 UAH ($5.4).
To get back from the lake I do recommend taking a taxi driver’s phone number to call him if you find there are no taxis waiting at Heniches’k lake (this is common).
Because the trip from Kherson to Henichevs’k city is quite long, Cody and I decided to stay a few days in this area. We booked a hotel at Shchaslyvtseve city (the first city you reach heading down the arrow) for three nights. Shchaslyvtseve is located in the middle of Arabatska strilka and it is a nice place to sunbathe on the beach of the Azov sea and relax. So, the very next day after our arrival, rested and fresh, we went to explore the pink lake.
You can get to Shchaslyvtseve by taking almost any bus from Kherson city except at 8:05 AM, 8:45 AM and 6:05 PM (busses at these times just go to Henichevsk and no further).
For Cody and me, the pink lake was an amazing experience, but for many people it is a big disappointment. All because they never found the right spot where the water is as pink as promised and the view is breath taking.
As soon as you arrive to the lake you will see the first part of it, which is not pleasant. The first 200 meters is just a black mud. And although people say that it is as good for your skin as mud at the Dead Sea, it is not pink. At this point I saw many people just turning around and going back home. BIG MISTAKE!
Just take your shoes off and enjoy the warm mud under your feet. The next part that you will reach is a thick crust of salt. This section is white with just a faint pink tinge. This is the second part that almost everyone sees, but many people do not go further. They think that because is a little bit pink this must be the right area (if I’m being honest we got here and just assumed all the other pictures were photo shopped).
Here people are collecting salt, taking different pictures and then going back. And this was the most obscure thing for me. NO ONE is going further to explore the lake, except for us.
While you will walk through the “white” part of the salt layer you will notice that puddles with more water are pinker than the rest of the area with just a thin layer of water. So, you need to get to part of the lake with water. One problem, from afar the water looks like any other lake, blue. Why is that? This lake reminded me of a mirror where you can get great pictures with your reflection and reflection of the sky. So, the water from afar looks like the sky above. It is almost like the nature wants to protect its beauty and is trying to deceive people.
It was actually fortuitous that we had our drone, because had Cody not flown high up to get a picture, we never would have seen the pink section. WE might have just been like the majority who go to the flat white area with a pink tinge. Luckily he flew just a couple hundred meters more into the center of the lake and yelled that we have to go further.
To get to the third and the best part of the lake I do recommend putting your shoes back on. The salt can be quite painful, especially when you cannot see where you are stepping. Although there will not be more than 30 centimetres of water and you can easily walk, the pink color is so thick and rich that you can’t see your feet.
When Cody and I got to the place with the best view I honestly couldn’t think straight, it just blew my mind. Especially because all that beauty was just for us, other people never came to see how beautiful this place was. They all stayed at the “white” part never knowing what they are missing.
We stayed here for at least two hours, taking pictures and videos, flying our drone, and just sitting on the wooden pillars enjoying the scenery. While our original “goal” of visiting Kherson was to have a safari at Askania-Nova, I have to say the Arabatska Strilka pink lake was the highlight of our trip.
Before going to explore the pink lake in Ukraine make sure to put on sunscreen. The lake works like a mirror and you will get sunburn.
Visit the lake in sunny weather. The more sun the more pink the lake will be.
The best time is in the morning 9 – 10 AM when it is not that hot. Although Cody and I came at 10 AM, we stayed until 2 PM (we really didn’t want to leave).
Bring a hat and sunglasses with you. You don’t want to get heat stroke.
Bring water shoes with you or wear flip-flops or sandals that can go in salty water. You can walk barefoot through the mud, but the part with the thick salt crust is going to be painful with no shoes.
Bring fresh water for drinking and washing your hands while you are still in the middle of the lake. You don’t need to save water to wash your feet after you come back. There is a well where you can wash your hands and feet for 10 UAH ($0.4).
Do not stop until you find the part where the lake is pink. You made it all the way here, now is not the time to quit.
Bring phones, camera, and drone if you have one. You will want to get lots of photos from the pink lake.
You don’t need to dig salt yourself if you want to bring back a bit from the Pink lake. There are a few vendors that sell buckets and bags full of pink salt.