Almaty Region Nature Trip

Make your visit to Kazakhstan unforgettable with this intense guided tour in the vastness of Almaty region. The tour includes everything to become a whole new adventure for you: off-road jeep tour, spectacular nature, diverse landscape, horse riding and hiking (optionally) and Kazakh national food. Don’t miss your chance to get into the wilderness and the life of nomads.

Join us on this 6-day trip to discover Kazakhstan’s most unique sights: magnificent lakes and amazing canyons, fascinating mountains and waterfalls of the National Parks in Almaty Region.
Timing: April to October. Best months: April, May and September.
*We’re happy to organise the programme on dates to suit your group – please contact us for more information.

Day 1. Almaty – Black Canyon- Saty village- Kaindy lake

Lake Kaindy is located in a fir forest at 2000m above sea level in the Kungei Alatau mountain range. The gorge and lake itself was named after a big birch-trees forest which you will pass on the way there. Kaindy means a birch in Kazakh language. The lake was formed as a result of a landslide triggered by the earthquake in 1911. It formed a dam and the gorge was flooded with mountain river water. Today, the spruce trees are dead, their roots drowned beneath the surface of the lake, but their dried tops rise over the turquoise water. This is one of the most unique and mysterious places in Kazakhstan.

08.00 Meeting in Almaty. Transfer to Baiseit village (130 km, 2 hours).
10.00 Arrival at Baiseit. We stop at the road market in the Baiseit village and see the life of the locals. We can also walk through the Asian market and taste fruits, bread and shashlyk
12.00 Baiseit village- Black Canyon – Saty village
14.00 Lunch in the Saty village. We will enjoy a traditional homemade lunch at the house of locals
15.00 Transfer to Kaindy lake (12 km)
16.00 Arrival to Kaindy lake. Walking near the lake, enjoying the views
19.00 Traditional homemade dinner and overnight in the guest house where you can see the life of local people

Day 2. Saty village – Lake Kolsai 1 – Lake Kolsai 2- Saty Village

Kolsay lakes is the system of 3 picturesque lakes located in the eastern part of the beautiful Kungey Alatau gorge on the altitude of 1800, 2250 and 2700 respectively. Kolsay lakes are at the top of the must-see in Kazakhstan. The two lower lakes are surrounded by fir trees, alpine meadows and mountain pastures.
After driving to the first lake and enjoying its beauty, we will start the walk to the second lake (8 km one way). It’s also possible to take a horse ride to Lake Kolsai 2 (about 1 hour one way). The dark blue color of the water and the calmness of the area are the unique features of Kolsay.
P.S. If you’re not ready to climb the mountains, we can just walk and enjoy the view of the first lake. Then we get back to Saty village and drive to the upper reaches of Chilik river to explore the area 

8.00 Breakfast in the guest house. Transfer to the Kolsay Lake (15 km, 30 minutes)
9.30 Hiking from the Lake Kolsay 1 to Lake Kolsay 2 (7 km one way, 800m altitude gain, about 2-3 hours)
12.30 Lunch break at the Lake Kolsay 2
16.00 Return to the Lake Kolsay 1
18.30 Traditional homemade dinner and overnight in the guest house

Day 3. Tour of 4 Canyons (130 km by car, 10 km hiking)

We’re going to see the hidden canyons that not many other travelers know about. We’ll visit the Moon canyon which is also knows as the Yellow Canyon or Uzunbulak. Yellow clay gives the canyon its color. With the unique roundness of the landscape and the lack of a single sharp corner, it looks incredibly similar to the surface of the moon. We’ll take a short hike through the narrow gorge to the shore of Charyn river. We’ll see the Moon canyon from the best panoramic point. We’ll enjoy a gorgeous view of the Valley of Castles from the most extraordinary angle. We’ll be camping in a wonderful place in 10 km from the cofluence of Charyn and Temirlik rivers.
Temirlik is located on the boundary of Charyn National Park. At the bottom of the canyon there are relic ash trees and nests of the falcons in the rocks above.

8:00 Breakfast. Transfer to the Moon Canyon
11.00 Hiking through the picturesque canyon to the bank of Charyn River (about 4 km)
11:40 Picnic by the river
12.30 Hiking back to the car
13.30 Transfer to the best view point of the Moon Canyon
13.50 Transfer to the view poit which is called a Rocky Shelf
14.40 Transfer  to the view point of the Valley of Castles from the back side
16.00 Lunch. Transfer to Temirlik Canyon
17.30 Walking, camping, cooking
19:00 Dinner

Day 4. Temirlik Canyon – Bridge over the Charyn River – The Valley of Castles – Kokpek village- Red Mountains (80 km by car, hiking 12 km)

Charyn Canyon is one of the most beautiful canyons in Central Asia! Its most famous part is called the Valley of Castles. It’s also called the “little brother” of Grand Canyon in the US. “The little” it can only be called because of the size, but this is more than compensated for by the amazing beauty of the natural monument. It is believed that it appeared due to sedimentary rocks that are more than 12 million years old. The total height of some steep mountains can reach 300 meters! The length of canyon is 154 km.
Enjoy a stunning view of the huge gorge with vertical cliffs of different colors! Amazing shapes are created by wind, rain and sun for centuries. The canyon is a part of the Charyn National Park and you will have the opportunity to see the Valley of Castles with rocks similar to ancient castles.

9:00  Breakfast in Temirlik canyon
10:00 Transfer to the bridge over the Charyn River
11:00 Stop at the bridge, walking, taking pictures
11:30 Transfer to the Valley of Castles
12:30 Tea and snacks in the canyon
13:00 Hiking by the Valley of Castles to the Charyn River. In summer it’s possible to swim in the river
15:30 Transfer to Kokpek village. Traditional homemade lunch in the village, simple and tasty
16:30  Transfer to the Red Mountains. Enjoying the outstanding view of Altyn Emel at sunset on the way
18:30 Walking, dinner, camping. Gathering near the campfire

Day 5. Red Mountains – Bartogay lake – Assy Plateau – Kyzyl-Auz Mountain Pass (70 km)

Today we’ll have a chance to explore the real life of local nomads. We’ll enjoy the amazing views of Bartogay lake and Assy Plateau-a huge high-altitude pasture (Zhailau in Kazakh). Bartogay located in the gorge of the same name on the Chilik Riveris an artificial reservoir that was made in the eighties and is still a source of clean water today. The lake is also known as a perfect place for birdwatching.
Plateau Assy is one of the most picturesque places where you may see the beauty of the green zhailaus under the snow-capped mountain. You may also see everything a traveler is hunting for: splendid flowers surrounded by the beautiful mountains, hundreds of horses and sheep in the pastures, rivers with crystal water and real kazakh yurts. We’ll set a camp in a wonderful place enjoying the wildlife.

8:30 Breakfast in the Red Mountains
9:30 Transfer to the Bartogay Lake
11:00 Walking along the lake shore
11:30 Transfer to the Yellow Canyon
12:30 Lunch in the canyon
13:30 Hiking and enjoying the views of the famous Kazakh grazing lands
15:00-17:00 Transfer to Kyzyl-Auz gorge through the pastures looking into the life of the nomads..
18:00 Walking, dinner, camping. Gathering near the campfire

Day 6. Assy Plateau – Assy-Turgen observatory – Batan gorge – Medvezhiy (Bear) Waterfall – Trout Farm- Almaty

Today we’ll visit the Assy-Turgen astromical observatory which is located on a mountain plateau Assy at the altitude of 2750 m above the sea level. This is the only observatory in Kazakhstan with the ideal astroclimate which studies the apparent surface of the giant planets of the Solar System.
Then we go down to Turgen Gorge, one of the most beautiful gorges around Almaty. We’ll take a walk to a 35 meters high Waterfall Medvezhiy (about 2 km) starting from the Batan village. If you’d like we can also arrange horse riding or hiking (16 km) to another waterfall of the Turgen which is called Kairak Waterfall.
Then we’ll be heading down the Turgen gorge straight to the Trout Farm. You can catch the trout from the pond by yourself and bring the newly caught fish for cooking in the restaurant (paid additionally). Then we’ll go down to the Golden Man’s statue (8 meters high).  The Golden Man was the Scythian warrior who lived in IV century B.C. His tomb was found in 1969 near Issyk city and the Golden Man has become a Kazakh national symbol. Optionally we can visit a historical and cultural museum “Issyk”.  It’s also posible to visit an Ostrich Farm and Arba Vine Vineyard on the way to Almaty. It takes about 2 hours (80 km) to get from the Batan Village to Almaty.

8:00 Breakfast. Transfer to the Assy-Turgen astromical observatory
10:00 Walking, enjoying the views
10:30 Transfer to the Batan Village
12.00 Lunch in the cafe
13:00 Hiking to the Waterfall Medvezhiy
14:30 Visiting The Trout Farm
15:30 – 18.30 Transfer to Almaty

Please contact us to find out more detailed information and request additional services or locations. 

6-day tour cost:

€640 per person (for a group of 3 and 4 people)
€550 per person (for a group of 5 people)

The cost includes:

The services of an English-speaking guide;
All the transfers (jeep/SUV) during the programme;
All the environmental/ecological and admission fees (National Parks) during the programme;
Accomodation during the programme (2 nights in the guest house in Saty Village, camping outfit for overnights except sleeping bags (if you have your own sleeping bag, we’d recommend to bring it with you. If you don’t have a sleeping bag, it can be rented);
Drinking water (1.5L per person per day);
Full board

The cost doesn’t include:

Accommodation in Almaty (we can help with recomendations or booking a hotel for you);
Meals not indicated in the programme (breakfast in Day  1, dinner in Day 6), alcohol drinks, individual snacks;
Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the programme;
Horseback riding, lake boating, lunch in the Trout Farm. Additional excursions to the Issyk Historical Museum, the Ostrich Farm and Arba Vine Vineyard.

You will need to be:

In good physical shape (able to walk for long distances uphill) if you’d like to go up to the Lake Kolsay 2 and Kairak Waterfall in the Turgen Gorge.
All of the rest treks/walks during the programme are not that difficult and suitable for people with average fitness level.

You will need:

– clothing: sporty clothes, warm clothes (waterproof outer shell, fleece, down jacket in case of cold weather);
– hiking boots, walking-friendly shoes, headdress;
– sunglasses and sunscreen, swimming suit;
– personal backpack to carry water, lunch and spare clothes (days with hiking parts);
– sleeping bag (if you don’t have a sleeping bag, it can be rented);
– personal medical kit;
– personal mug, spoon, bowl (optionally).