Discovering mysterious Almaty region

3 days / 2 nights

April to October

During this trip you will be able to come closer to history of Kazakhstan while visiting Ili river and Tamgaly Tas. The next stop will be the home to a diverse range of unique landscapes, historical sights and flora –Altyn Emel National Park. It is especially a good place to see a number of rare large hoofed mammals. The final destination will be Charyn Canyon, which is known as Grand Canyon’s little brother and Turgen waterfall.

Day 1 

Meet with guide in Almaty. Transfer to Ili river (77km from Almaty). The Ili River is the largest river of Zhetysu, flowing from east to west. There you will see four attractions - the Genghis Khan crossing, the rock "Devil's finger", decorative fortress built for the filming of "Nomads" movie and finally the tract Tamgaly-Tas, where you can see traces of the Buddhists in the territory of Zhetysu - five rocks with Buddha image.

Optional: Rafting on the river for 3 hours. The kayak tour will start 20 km before Tamgaly Tas and passes a military training ground and a wrecked Soviet barge. This route also provides you with a great opportunity not only enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes of Almaty region, but also see the one of the unique monuments of the past – Tamgaly Tas, where fragments of the rocks keep images of Buddha as well as prayer texts in Tibetan, Kalmyk and other languages.

Afternoon transfer to Basshi village in Altyn Emel national park (185 km from Ili), visiting of singing dunes. The singing sand dune, popping up unexpectedly in the steppe, emits a low, vibrating rumble when the sand moves.

Lunch during excursion.

Dinner and overnight at guesthouse in Basshi village.

Meal: lunch, dinner

Day 2 

Breakfast. Transfer to Katytau and Aktau colored mountains. The Aktau hills are a series of hills of great natural beauty. Bands of white, red and orange run horizontally across the range with striking effect. The Katytau hills are less spectacular, but certainly just as interesting. Blueish gray and brown sediments are dissected by sharp canyons about 40km away from Basshi. It’s quiet and beautiful here, and it is a good place to see the elusive argali. Past the village of Araltobe is a place called Kosbastau. There’s a very large tree that is purportedly more than 700 years old. It definitely looks old.

Lunch during excursion.

Dinner and overnight at guesthouse in Basshi village.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3

Breakfast. Transfer to Charyn canyon (about 60 km from Altyn Emel). The Canyon has been described as the Grand Canyon’s little brother.  The Canyon itself is approximately 150 km long, and, in places up to 300 meters deep.

Transfer to Turgen (about 210 km). Turgen Gorge in the Ili-Alatau National Park (90 km from Almaty) is an ideal place to enjoy the beauty of nature. The gorge has hot springs, a trout farm, waterfalls and thick forests. Rich in coniferous and mixed trees, alpine and sub-alpine meadows, lakes and springs, medicinal herbs and berries, the gorge plunges 44 km into the vast Assy plateau (2,560m). Trek to the first waterfall, then second (if have enough time).

Lunch during excursion.

Return to Almaty (85 km)

Meal: breakfast, lunch