Adventure in Almaty region
Tour to Kazakhstan will introduce you to amazing natural sites of Almaty vicinities. You will enjoy wonderful and different views of the biggest Kazakh natural reserve - Altyn-Emel Natural Park. The walk there, along the Aktau Mountains and the Singing dunes will show you a unique occurrence of the nature that has many related legends. By the program, you will be driven to Charyn Canyon; a beautiful valley of red rocked ‘castles’ as if erected by unknown giants. And you’ll be given a great opportunity to look at the unforgettable beauty of the Kaindy and KolSay Lakes. Positive emotions and exceptional memory photos are guaranteed!
Tour duration: 5 days
Best time to travel: April - September
Route of the program: Almaty – Bashi - Charyn National Park – Kolsai – Medeo – Big Almaty Lake
Almaty – Basshi (180 km; 4- hours of driving)
Meet with the guide and driver in Almaty. Leave Almaty and head towards Basshi in Altyn-Emel National Park. Altyn-Emel is a national natural park located in the Ili river valley in the Kazakhstan territory. The Park was founded on 10 April 1996 with the purpose to preserve a unique natural complex, archeological, historical and cultural monuments, rare and endangered species of animals and plants. In the Park territory of total area of 520,000ha, one can find various landscapes: mountain, sand-desert, rank and deserted ones. Upon arrival to Bashi drive to the “Singing Dunes”, i.e. the state landscape monument. 150 meters high sand dune situated in between two rocky mountain ranges is a truly spectacular. There are only few of these lonely standing sand dunes in the world. People say when the air is dry enough; wind going through the sand grains emits a noise that resembles organ music. There is a superstition; a dream of the person, who succeeds to climb the top of the dune, will come true; but if the traveler loses his way, he is a greater sinner. Transfer to Aktau Chalk Mountains. The nature has created here the most beautiful gorges from many-colored layers of rocks. The traces of extinct subtropical plants and petrified bones of ancient animals were found here in the clefts. Excursion on the site. Dinner and overnight stay in the family-run guesthouse in Bashi.
Basshi – Charyn – Kolsay Lakes (350 km, 4-5 hours of driving)
Breakfast in the guesthouse. Transfer to Charyn Canyon. It is an amazing creation of nature that has existed for millions of years, picturesque and very diverse in geomorphologic aspects. The height of steep mountainsides reaches 150-300 meters. Numerous ravines and gullies make dense rambling net. Wind and water created stunning "Red Castles Valley". All along the valley you are surrounded by towers of fantastical forms, built of sedimentary. Throughout time nature has created these architectural wonders, without haste, it has built majestic castles. A walk there. Later on drive to Saty village. Dinner and overnight in Saty village.
Kolsay Lakes – Almaty ( 300 km, 4-5 hourse of driving)
After breakfast drive to the First Kolsay Lake, National park arrangements. Kolsay is a name for a cascade of three lakes in Kungey Alatau ridge. The lakes are dark blue in color and filled with pure glacial water. Start hiking from the First Kolsay lake (“Saty”) to the Second lake (“Mynzhylgy”) and back. All three lakes are located in the same valley but at different altitudes. The first lake is at a height of about 1800m a.s.l. It looks like a “stretched mirror” along the gorge and has approximately 2 km in length (80m deep). The second lake also known as “Mynzhylgy” is at a height of 2000m above sea level, and the last one (Third lake) is located at 2500m. Well-marked trail leads up from the first to the second lake; it winds along the spruce forest and follows the river. There are a lot of shrubs under the canopy: various kinds of rose, cotoneaster with red and brown berries, red and black honeysuckle, currant of Meyer and raspberries. Blackberries, strawberries and bramble are often found in the riverside. By the steep slopes the river flows as series of small waterfalls: in such places the rocks along the stream are covered with moss. Here you have a chance to see the famous blue bird. In sunny days the forest is full of twittering of various birds like nutcrackers, grouse birds – a rapid predator Sparrow hawk hunts them. In the evening or in very bad weather a real owner of this place appears – a bear. 8-kilometers path leads us to the second lake, located at a height of 2000m a.s.l. It has a diamond shape with small elongated bay, at the confluence of river Kolsayka. Sheer cliffs on three sides surround the lake and almost all the slopes are covered with deep spruce forest interspersed with ash trees. There are good places for tent camping on the north coast. Back to the car and start driving to Almaty. Dinner in the local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel
For additional payment rent a horse in Kolsay Lakes.
Almaty – Medeo – Big Almaty Lake (50 km 1 hours of driving)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Almaty visit Sport Complex Medeo. The ice rink Medeo, located at an altitude of 1691.2 meters above sea level, is known all over the world. It was erected in 1972. The ice surface occupies 10.5 thousand square meters, which allows holding competitions in speed skating, hockey and figure skating. Continue drive to Shimbulak ski base. The Chimbulak ski resort is located in the picturesque gorge of the Zailiysky Alatau at an altitude of 2260 m above sea level 25 km from the city center of Almaty. The average air temperature in summer is + 20C, in winter -7C. The average thickness of the snow cover is up to 150 cm, the number of sunny days per year is up to 90%. Time of occurrence of snow cover from November to May. Later transfer to Big Almaty Lake. Big Almaty Lake is set high up in a gorge of the Bolshaya Almatinka River, 2,511m above sea level and 28.5km south of Almaty. It lies in a hollow like a gleaming mirror, surrounded on all sides by majestic peaks. Fed by glacial water, the lake is 1.6 km long, almost a kilometer wide and 40 m deep. Hike there. Back to Almaty overnight at the Hotel.
After breakfast transfer to airport. Fly home
With the following accommodation:
Altyn Emel – Guesthouse 1night
Saty – Guesthouse 1 night
Almaty – Otrar Hotel or similar 2 nights
Tour combination: This tour can be combined with the other places in Kazakhstan and with neighboring countries like: Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan.