One of nature's marvels, the Charyn Canyon is over 56 miles (90 km) in length with beauty and majesty reminiscent of the US Grand Canyon. Located only 2 hours from Almaty, it is easy to visit.
Experience stunning unspoiled natural beauty and tranquility here. Even the wild animals do not fear humans.
The Dzungarian Gate, the most popular area in this region for visitors, is a mountain pass between Birliktau and Militau, and formerly part of the great Silk Road trading route.
Have you ever heard sand dunes sing?
This truly amazing site, sight and sound occurs when winds blow over the ridges of the sand dunes when they are dry, causing the sand to shift and make a unique type of sound. They are located north-east of Almaty, in the country's largeset national park, Altyn-Emel.
In order to feel the culture and history of the Kazakh people, we invite you to the Golden Ring Tour with a visit to the nature park, the majestic canyon and the most beautiful lakes.
Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)
Season: January to December
Day 1. From Almaty to Altyn-Emel
We arrive at the nature reserve at about 10 AM. You will have a trip to the rock paintings and a picnic.
The walls of the Taygak Gorge are covered with petroglyphs – Tibetan inscriptions and drawings – that many tourists are eager to see.
One of the main places that are worth visiting is the royal tombs site named Besshatyr, which means the "place of five tents". This is the ancient sanctuary of the Sakas, who lived here in the 6th century BCE.
Оvernight in a guest house
Day 2. Visit to Altyn-Emel
After an early breakfast, you will have a trip to the Singing Barkhan. The name of this natural wonder is not accidental – the gusts of wind make the huge mountain of the tiniest sand produces sounds very similar to organ music. Scientists tried to explain this unique feature, but did not come to a unanimous opinion. When the storm is approaching, you will hear the drumbeat, and when a light breeze blows over the barkhan, a barely noticeable haze rises over it.
After climbing to the top, you can admire the magnificent picture that opens onto the Boguty and Sogety, onto peaks and ridges, which surround from all sides. The valley is spread out at the very bottom.
Departure from the guest house. After lunch, you will have a tour to the White and the Harsh Mountains. The word "Aktau" is translated as "snow-white". This is a well-known site of paleontology, where the remains of ancient animals and plants have been found. The waterless Katutau Mountains bear such a name for a reason – they are of volcanic origin, and are known for their steep slopes and deep gorges with rock paintings on their walls.
Day 3. To the Charyn Canyon and the Kolsay Lakes
On this busy day, you will visit the canyon, walk through the Valley of Castles and ascend to the most beautiful lakes.
After breakfast we move to the Canyon, which resembles the US Grand Canyon. Many people are thrilled by such beauty and the greatness of nature. You need to see the Valley of Castles, created by the wind. The sight of unusual ornate towers will take your breath away.
Transfer to the Kolsay Lakes. Overnight accommodation.
Day 4. The magnificent Kolsay Lakes
A cascade of lakes is the most beautiful place in the Tien Shan. First we move to the first Kolsay lake and then hike to the second lake. The 7 km trip takes about 3.5 hours. The neighborhood is rich in berries and mushrooms, has a beautiful nature, and here you can meet mountain goats and maral deer.
Return back to the village of Saty, overnight accommodation.
Day 5. Visiting Lake Kaindy
Excursion to Lake Kaindy or the "Birch Lake", spread out in the middle of coniferous forests. This is a young lake that formed in the early 20th century. During a severe earthquake, there was a landslide that blocked the gorge, which, in its turn, become overflooded. Today this place looks fantastic: trunks of flooded trees appear from the water, creating an unusual mystical view.
Picnic. Return to the village for overnight stay.
Day 6. Visit Lake Issyk and departure to Almaty
Morning transfer to the city of Issyk. Dinner. Tour to the Issyk Gorge. The road rises to a height of 1,756 thousand meters and leads us to a beautiful lake, hidden in the gorge. On the way back, the guide will acquaint you with the history of these places; you will see the royal tombs of the Sakas.
Arrival in Almaty at about 7 PM.