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Best places to visit around Almaty

Best places to visit around Almaty

Ati 6 hours ago
By Ati | Tuesday 7 January, 2020 7 January, 2020
Kazakhstan tours guides

 

After a Almaty City Tour, the city is a good starting point to explore the Southern part of Kazakhstan. Here are seven day/weekend trips for you to enjoy the spectacular Kazakh nature and the countryside. 

 

1. Sleeping under the stars at Charyn Canyon

The five hour drive from Almay is worthwhile it. The Charyn Canyon is magnificent. The Charyn river cut about 300m deep in the stone leaving colourful rock formations behind. Don’t miss the valley of castles with its nice walk down to the river. There is a yurt camp (not in Winter) at the bottom with cabins and yurts (for groups) and a small restaurant. So if you have time, stay overnight and go horseback riding in the canyon. Click here for: Charyn Canyon tours

 

Duration
  •  5 hours drive from Almaty
Where
How to get there
  •  Hire a local driver
Additional costs
  • Fees at the entrance (extra charge if you take your car into the canyon, expenses at the yurt camp if you plan to stay)
Note
  • Stay overnight if you have time
  • The last part to the canyon is a dirt road (don't miss the sign)
  • After the entrance gate there is a parking area from where the path trough the valley of castle leads down to the river

 

2. Lonesome hiking at Kolsay Lake

Visiting the three alpine lakes is a must if you like nature. The first of the lakes lies at 1800m above sea level. It is a beautiful lake with an awesome green color. Heading up to the second lake takes you along the shore of the first lake, through a forest and then near the river up to the biggest of the three lake. It will take you about three to four hours to hike. It is not an easy hike when it is wet so be careful. If you like to go further up to 2800m above sea level to the third lake it will take you another three hours. Bring a lot of food and water along. It might be the best to sleep one night at the cabins at the first lake. If you have another day, visit the lake Kaindy (the last part of 12km is accessible by walking, horse or 4wd when it's dry). Click here for: Kolsay lake tours

 

Duration
  • 6 hours drive from Almaty
Where
How to get there
  • Hire a local driver
Additional costs
  • Optional fees for accommodation and horseback riding around the lake
Note
  • The road to Kolsay is pretty bad, so be prepared for a uncomfortable trip
  • There are no restaurants or shops in the area
  • Be prepared that you might encounter mounted border control. Just bring you passport an show it to them. They might not let you go to the third lake because it is too close to the Kyrgyz border.

 

3. Climb a sand dune at Altyn-Emel National Park

Visiting the singing dunes at the Altyn Emel national park is a fantastic spectacle. But be sure that the weather is right for the singing dunes, it needs to be dry and windy. If it is too wet, then you won’t hear it sing. And there is more to see at this national park. There are the Terekty petroglyphs and the Besshatyr burial mounds. If you are lucky you might as well see wildlife like gazelles, argali sheeps and wild donkeys. Click here for: Altyn-Emel national park tours

 

Duration
  • 4-5 hours drive from Almaty
Where
How to get there
  • Hire a local driver
Additional costs
  • Park entrance fee
Note
  • There are possibilities to sleep
  • Permit needed

 

4. Up you go at Medeu & Chimbulak

If you want to have a nice view on the mountains then head up to one of the finest ski areas in Central Asia. Just about 30 min away from the bustling city you will pass the famous Medeu ice rink. It lies at about 1700m above sea level and in Summer there are often concerts and other events held at the stadium. From there you can take the cable car up to the ski resort Chimbulak. The second cable car brings you further up to the Talgar pass (3200m above sea level) with a stunning scenery of the mountains. It is a nice getaway in to enjoy the view or go skiing. Click here for: Medeu & Chimbulak tours

 

Duration
  • 30 min drive from Almaty
Where
How to get there
  • Hire a driver or take the bus 6 from Dostyk/opposite Hotel Kazakhstan(current timetables can vary)
  • Get off at Chimbulak cable car or drive up to Medeu
Additional costs
  • Cable car fees
Note
  • There is a restaurant at Chimbulak for drinks and food
  • Bring warm clothes also in Summer
  • Skiing utensils can be rented at Chimbulak

 

5. Enjoy leisure time at Big Almaty Lake

Another nice trip not far away from the city is the picturesque and turquoise Big Almaty Lake. It takes you about one hour to drive up to the lake at 2500m above sea level. On the way to the lake you will pass an area with nice restaurants. Right before you enter the Ile-Altau National Park there is another sight to see. The Sunkar Falcon Center has some magnificent birds and a nice bird show to offer. Further up the road you will reach the beautiful lake. The Big Almaty lake is a getaway for the weekend for Almaty's citizens. So it can get crowded. In Summer there are yurt camps selling kymys (fermented mares milk). Click here for: Big Almaty lake tours

 

Duration
  • 1 hour drive from Almaty
Where
How to get there
  • Hire a local driver
Additional costs
  • Park entrance fee
Note
  • Try kymys in one of the yurt camps on the road up to the lake
  • There are different hike around the lake

 

6. Explore waterfalls at Turgen Gorge

The Turgen Gorge offers some good hiking activities and nice waterfalls to visit. Take the 30 min walk to the bear waterfall or if you are up to a longer hike then try the Kairak waterfall (4 hours). It is also a good starting point if you are interested in a multi-day trekking in the Northern Tien Shan area. Click here for: Turgen Gorge tours

 

Duration
  • 2 hours drive from Almaty
Where
How to get there
  • Hire a local drive
Additional costs
  • Park entrance fee
Note
  • There are signs where the hiking trails start along the “main” road
  • Bring food and water (there are no shops)
  • There are some small restaurants but they are not always open

 

7. Looking for history at Tamgaly Petroglyphs

If you are interested in history, take the drive to this World Heritage listed petroglyphs. There are more then 4000 carvings and paintings to marvel at. Most of them show animals like ibexes, horses others indicate humans while hunting. Click here for: Tamgaly Petroglyphs tours

 

Duration
  • 2-3 hours drive from Almaty 
Where
How to get there
  • Hire a local driver
Additional costs
  • Entrance fee
Note
  • You can rent a horse to do the 20 min walk to the petroglyphs
  • The landscape is more stepp like here, which is also interesting

 

Comments (1)

Missing

Kazakhstan Travel Agent

2 years ago

First time, i hear about that place and i like your article about almaty. i like your colorful photos which is inspring me for make trip. you would include some point about trip like Where to stay, Driving Rules, Places for Shopping, Food information.