Landscape Photography tour combining Kazakhstan&Kyrgyzstan
8 days in Kazakhstan, 7 days in Kyrgyzstan
Detailed tour itinerary:
Part 1: 8 days in Kazakhstan
Southeast region of Kazakhstan: This region, stretching from Almaty (Kazakhstan’s former capital city) to Lake Balkhash, is known as Zhetisu/Land of Seven Rivers/. It’s one of Kazakhstan’s most varied regions: from semi-deserts to lush greenery and dense forests, from Grand Canyon-like rock formations to waterfalls and lakes fed by the glacier meltwater of the snow-peaked Tien Shan mountain range. This part of the country is nicknamed ‘the Golden Triangle’ for its trio of major natural attractions: the Charyn Canyon, Kolsai Lakes and the Altyn-Emel National Park.
Day 1. Exploring Big Almaty Lake, Kolsai Lakes/Lower and Middle Lakes/ and Kaindy lake
After breakfast we start our expedition to explore several lake areas of Almaty region and these will include:
- Big Almaty lake- Visiting one of the world’s surreal lake. The Big Almaty lake is one of the reservoirs that provide fresh water for the city of Almaty.
After the photoshoot if Big Almaty lake we start driving to explore amazing Kolsai Lakes National Park along with beautiful Kaindy lake.
∣ Lower Kolsai Lake- The lower lake is about 1 km long, 400 meters wide, and 80 meters in depth. Accessible by road. (1,818 meters from sea level).
∣ Middle Kolsai Lake (Mynzhilgy - meaning "1000 years old") is the largest of the three, and reaches a depth of 50 meters. (altitude: 2,252 meters). It is considered the most scenic of the three Kolsai Lakes.
∣ Lake Kaindy- This lake is considered very young lake created by nature. Formed in 1911, after an earthquake triggered an enormous limestone landslide, which formed a natural dam in the gorge that was covered by spruce trees. Due to cold temperature, trees are naturally well preserved in the water.
Overnight in tents in Kolsai lake area.
Day 2. Turgen goarge: Kairak waterfall and Assy Plateau
The canyon of Turgen is as long as 45 km: it starts as a wide green valley and turns into a deep rocky cliff that leads to the foot of Asy pass. Turgen valley is also known for its waterfalls: Kairak waterfall – the gem of Turgen collection and a great view of a majestic 55-meter high Kairak waterfall appears (2210m asl). The gorge opens up into a range of biomes and landscapes: alpine meadows, old-growth forest, glaciers and high peaks and waterfalls are all there for the taking. One can see some wild animals such as: Wolves, deer, wild hogs and even bear at the park area. Great place for fishing and trying local food from the nomads.
The best way to see an everyday nomadic life is to come to Asy (Assy) plateau – one of the biggest and most popular dzhailau place (summer pasture) in Almaty area at the h of 2100-2800m above sea level. Beautiful wild nature surrounded by mountains, green pasture, wild animals. Overnight in tents.
Day 3. Exploring Narynkol area: Khan-Tengri peak
Narynkol is a rural area located 300km from Almaty city and borders with China and allows one of the greatest view to the great Tian-Shan mountains (Heavenly mountains) by its geographical location. This place is famous for its untouched beautiful nature and authentic nomadic lifestyle.
Here we will do and experience:
- Meet with Kazakh Eagle Hunters and their hunting eagle
- Horse riding
- Hiking activities
- Learning regular lifestyle of local nomadic people, wild nature and animals and more.
Overnight in tent.
Days 4-5. Drive to Charyn canyon National Park
Today, after breakfast we start our adventure and drive towards Charyn NP area which will be our last destination to arrive. 4X4 drive after crossing the endless, wide-open plains outside of Almaty, we arrive to famous Charyn canyon ( part of the Charyn NP) which comes as a surprise. Seemingly out of nowhere, the landscape gets a third dimension. Colorful naturally formed stone sculptures ( or red sandstones) will stole your heart. Though its much smaller than the Grand Canyon but equally impressive. We will explore Valley of Castles, Lunar canyon and Temirlik canyons. Overnight at the camp.
In day 5, we will be exploring Charyn canyon NP and capture the other places like: Ulken-Boguty mountains and Black canyon
Days 6-7. Photo shooting continues in Altyn-Emel National Park
Altyn-Emel National Park is located in the Ili River Valley, Kazakhstan and it comprises various landscapes, including: sand desert, mountains, and flora. The park was founded in 1996, with the objective to preserve a natural park complex, as well as archaeological and historical monuments. It is the largest reserve in Kazakhstan and part of UNESCO's world heritage.
Singing Sand Dunes- The singing sand dune of Altyn Emel is a geological oddity: a sand mountain that rumbles, but despite the strong wind never moves. We will have a lunch at a small oasis named after one of the great explorer of Kazakhstan, “Chokhan Valikhanov” just before exploring the sand dunes.
Aktau mountains- is a small mountain massif located in the Eastern part of Altyn Emel National Park. The whole landscape of Aktau mountains is so unusual and fantastic, that it feels like another planet.
Katutau mountain- Time, water and the sun have created intricate rock rarities here. Katutau translates as "harsh mountains" from Kazakh language and this place is a very old badly eroded mountain exits of volcanic rocks. Volcanic rock is very brittle and easily shatters by physical impact. Water, time and wind carved in the rock bizarre shape.
Day 8. Drive via Kapshagai lake/water reserve/ and arrive to Almaty city. Overnight in hotel
Part 2: 7 days in Kyrgyzstan
Exploring the beautiful landscape of Kyrgyzstan: Fairytale canyon, Ak Su Kench hot springs, Zheti/Jeti/ Oguz valley, Barskoon waterfall, Grigoryevka gorge
Day 9. Almaty to Bishkek
Today after breakfast we start our adventure again and arrive to Bishkek city, Kyrgyzstan. 240km, average driving time from Almaty to Bishkek will be 3,5 hour/can be longer because of queue at border/ Overnight at hotel in Bishkek.
Day 10. Capturing Fairytale canyon and Barskoon Waterfall
Driving via the south coast of Issyk Kul, we will arrive to capture the beauties of Fairytale canyon or Skazka canyon. The canyon was named because of its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by erosion into amazing sculptures and formations. Overnight at the camp.
Day 11. Ak Su Kench hot springs
After breakfast we drive via Karakol city and reach to Ak Su valley where the Ak Su hot springs are located. A soak in hot springs has been an essential part of Karakol culture for a long time. Kyrgyzstan has a lot of thermal springs in general, there are several hot springs spots near Karakol, one of which is Ak-Suu Kench. Overnight at the camp.
Day 12. Capturing and exploring Zheti Oguz valley
Today we drive to a beautiful Zheti Oguz gorge covered with dense forests of Tien-Shan spruce trees. Capturing and exploring the beautiful valley and experience the nomadic life. Overnight at the yurt or camp.
Day 13. Grigorevsk gorge
Today we will drive hole day and arrive to the Grigorievka gorge. This valley is a splendid destination that offers fabulous scenery, including flowering hills, mountain lakes, crystal clear rivers, carved cliffs and the sweet smell of pine trees. Another great place that has a lot to offer for the group. Overnight in tents.
Day 14. Continue to explore the Grigorievka gorge and arrive to Bishkek city. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 15. Drive to Almaty city. End of the trip!
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.