Kanas Lake is a long, skinny lake (a "finger lake") near Kazakhstan and Russia, spanning only a few kilometers in width, but stretching up through a glacier-carved valley towards its source high up in the mountains.
The entire place is a nature reserve, and they've actually done a good job of keeping all of the development at one end of the lake, leaving the rest of the park relatively pristine. Unfortunately my travel partners and I (Ana and Nabil, also PiA) didn't get a chance to venture away from the main tourist hub because the park is so big and our time was limited. As a result, we did a lot of sneaking about the main roads trying to set up our tent in places where we wouldn't get caught, since camping is not actually allowed, and, as we discovered when a policeman questioned us about where we were staying, foreigners are "required" to stay in official hotels.
Being three foreigners with backpacks, we were approached by the policeman as we entered a Tuva (a Mongolian minority group of China) village where we had discreetly pitched our tent in the small space between a wooden Tuva house and a yurt. (We happened to have shared a car to the lake with a villager who offered us his land to camp for free!)
Luckily he didn't give us any trouble after we said we didn't remember the name of the villager who let us stay there and that we were leaving. We then waited until he drove away before ducking through a fence and pitching our tent in the woods beside the lake. Chinese tourists don't venture off the road much, so we had little to worry about despite camping a stone's throw away from a hotel.
The next day we moved our tent to the other side of the lake, just up the hill from where some Kazakhs had set up their yurt. I felt like there was at least some sense of understanding between these nomads and us foreign strangers/strange foreigners: As long as you make your camp and don't bother the people around you, they won't bother you. They did bring a horse to graze near our tent during the night, but otherwise our things were untouched.
The ticket price for Kanas was rather steep, so I was glad we actually got to use the tent we borrowed and save some money. We weren't out in the backcountry (certainly not with our multiple trips per day to the Welcome Center to fill our water bottles!) but we got some good day hikes in, and the scenery was beautiful once we got away from all the people.