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"Golden circle" - 4 natural parks. Duration - 9 days.
  tour route price and service
Author of tour: Kosov Konstantin 

1 day. Almaty - to Altyn-Emel park - Singing Dunes.
2 day. Mountains of Aktau
3 day. Zharkent canyons - "Aulie-Agash" holy tree - Guest house "hot springs"

4 day. Temerlik Canyon - Hiking through the canyon.

5 day. Charyn Canyon panorama - Yellow Canyon - Kolsai lake.
6 day. Walking to the second Kolsai lake.
7 day. Charyn canyon"Valley of Castles" - mountain steppe Toraigyr - "red rocks".
8 day. Assy plateau - petroglyphs - pass Assy - gorge Turgen - guest house.

9 day. "Bearicsh" waterfall - museum "golden man" - Almaty.


1 day. Almaty - to Altyn-Emel park - Singing Dunes.

   Departure from Almaty early in the morning (about 7:00). We reach the city of Kapshagay (city where casinos are allowed ) . We pass near the Kapshagay lake and then climb the small pass Arkharly .
    Two hours later we reach the small town Sary-Ozeki. Here we make a stop for lunch at a local cafe . An hour later we enter the Altyn Emel ( in Kazakh - golden saddle) national park. We arrive in the village of Baschi, where the office parkhouse of Altyn Emel is situated. Here we pay for being in the nature park. We take a ranger to accompany us in the park.Going to the " singing dunes " - 50kmWalk to the top of the dune ( about 1 hour) .One kilometer from the dune we organize a picnic, near a spring named after Chokan Valihanov . We go back along the same road to the hotel. Shower, dinner .

driving time - 7 hours
walk - 1 h
total time of the tour - about 10 hours
main road - 300km.
off-road - 100km.

Altyn-Emel park
singing Dunes 1day
  
inhabitants of the park
Altyn-Emel park
turanga grove (1 day)
   
wild horse - Kulan
   
Altyn-Emel park
The park Altyn Emel
 
   
 
   
 
hotel Shigan
   
2 day . Park Altyn-Emel. Katutau Mountains, mountains of Aktau

   Breakfast 7-00. Departure at 8-00. After 1 hours we reach the Katutau Mountains mountains. After 1 hours more we reach the Aktau mountains. Our goal is the highest and most colorful part of this geological park called the Aktau Mountains. Here we stop for a short rest and a coffee break. And we continue the tour on foot in the Aktau Mountains - 3h. We go back along the same road to the hotel. Shower, dinner. Or we can have overnight at Aktau mountains (in tents).

   
driving time - 4 hour
total time of the tour - about 8 hours
main road - 0km.
overnight at the hotel or tent
walk - 4 h
of-road - 140km.


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Katutau Mountains  Katutau Mountains
Katutau Mountains  Katutau Mountains
Katutau Mountains
 
 
Altyn-Emel park, Aktau mountains
Aktau desert mountains - fantastic, incredible!!!
Altyn-Emel park  Altyn-Emel park
Altyn-Emel park
Altyn-Emel park    Altyn-Emel park    Altyn-Emel park
Altyn-Emel park
Altyn-Emel park                   Altyn-Emel park
corridors desert mountains Aktau
Altyn-Emel park
Altyn-Emel park  Altyn-Emel park
top view of desert mountains Aktau


3 day. Zharkent canyons - "Aulie-Agash" holy tree - hotel near the hot springs.


After breakfast we leave the park. Transfer by car to the village Koktal - 1.5h (16km from Zharkent). Very picturesque surroudings here. On the right are seen desert mountains. On the left the Jungar Alatau foothills.

We can enjoy the views of canyons. We'll pick that would see the 700 year old elm. According to legend the tree was planted by Chinese monk and now revered as a holy tree.

Lunch in a cafe. Transfer to the city of Chundzha - 1.5 hours. Dinner at a cafe.

Transfer to the hotel at the hot springs-1h. At the hotel "hot springs" you can swim in the pool with the natural warm water. A bottle of beer or wine after visiting the pool is a good end of a long day.


driving time - 5 hour
total time of the tour - about 8 hours
main road - 260km.
overnight at the hotel
walk - 0h
of-road - 0km.


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on the road between the park Altyn Emel and Dzungar-Alatau mountains
 
Zharkent canyons
 
      
700 year old elm
 
 
     
                    
                       
hotel near the hot springs


4 day. Guest house "hot springs" - Temerlik Canyon - Hiking through the canyon.
   Breakfast in the guest house. Transfer to Temerlik Canyon (1.5 hours away). We will have a walk through this canyon. Our trail will lead us through red rocks and relict ash trees. It’s feeling like being in Jurassic Park. We will see a small waterfall. If it is warm weather we can swim in this natural jacuzzi. Lunch.
   Climb over the rocky trail from the bottom of the canyon. Sometimes the trail is steep and for those who worry is better to stop here.

A good dinner and mulled wine will make our evening even better.

driving time - 5 hours
walk - 3h
total time travel in this day - about 8 hours
main road - 160km.
off-road - 60km.


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Temerlik Canyon
   
relict ash at the bottom of the canyon
   
towers and grottoes canyon Temerlik
top view of the canyon Charyn
 
5 days. Charyn Canyon panorama - Yellow Canyon - Kolsay lakes.

Breakfast at the camp.
 
   Upstairs we board the car again and move to a place with a beautiful view of Charyn Canyon . Then we drive down to "Yellow canyon ", at the Charyn River. These canyons are different in color and texture . After we leave for Kolsay lakes. Stay in a hotel next to the first Kulsay lake. Where a beautiful view of the lake and mountains .
view on the way to Kolsai Lakes
    
         
   against tank protective structure (Soviet times)                    mosque in a small village

Day 6. Walking to the second Kolsai lake. Distance - 8km. Walking time there and back is about 8 hours.

   
Breakfast at the hotel. On this day, we are going to walk to the second Kolsai lake, an 8km long route along a scenic trail. It takes some 4 hours to ascend to the second lake. On the whole distance of the route there are 3-4 steep climbs. But the main part of the road is flat.
   At the second Kolsai lake we organize a lunche and prepare tea with mountain herbs. After lunch and rest, then return to the hotel.
    Dinner at the hotel.

driving time - 0 hours
hike - 8 h
total time of the tour - about 9 hours
distance hike - 16km.



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the First Kolsai Lake (1820м.)Lower Lake
      
rooms
   
view of the first Kolsai Lake (area next to the hotel)
  
view on the way to the second Kolsai Lakes
the second Kolsai Lake(2240м.)Mynzholka lake
     
horse ride
the second Kolsai Lake

day 7. First Kolsai lake - Charyn canyon"Valley of Castles" -Toraigyr steppe mountains- "red rocks".

   Breakfast at the hotel. Moving to the canyon Charyn - 3h. We'll go down into the canyon Charyn. One of the gorges of the canyon is called the "Valley of Castles". The descent takes about half an hour. Walking through the canyon, which has many stone figures. Therefore the gorge is called the "Valley of Castles". You can make a lot of interesting photos. Near the river Charyn we do small coffeebreak and have a rest. Then we return to the car.
    After Charyn canyon we go to the mountain steppe Toraigyr - 3h. Serpentine road descends between rocky gorges. We will stop at a beautiful location next to the river. There is a remarkable "geological outcrop" - A red rock. Here we will have dinner and camp for the night. In the evening, you can build a fire and sit to enjoy.If you cross the river to the other side you can see petroglyphs. This is probably one of the most pleasant and beautiful camping sites in the Almaty region. If you do not like to sleep in a tent, we can stay in the guest yurts on the plateau (an additional 30 euros / $ 43 per person, it runs from June to September)

driving time - 6 hours
walk - 1 h
total time of the tour - about 8 hours
main road - 90km.
of-road - 75km.
оvernight in tent or guesthouse

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"Valley of Castles" on the canyon Charyn
   
    
каньон Чарын
Lake Bortagay
mountain steppe Toraigyr
   
place overnight - the valley of "red rocks"
  
a good place for camping
geological outcrop - "red rocks"
      
If you cross the river on the other side you can see petroglyphs
valley of "red rocks"
 

8 day. Assy plateau - petroglyphs - pass Assy - gorge Turgen - "Bearicsh" waterfall - guest house.

    Breakfast at the camp. Next, we're going the serpentine road to Assy plateau - 1h. Suddenly the steppe mountains end and begins the Assy plateau. And what a wonderful view! This plateau has a length of about 40km. It is the traditional place where nomads let their cattle graze. If our tour will take place from June to August we will also be able to see dozens of yurts . As well as hundreds of sheep and horses. This is a traditional activity of the Kazakhs .
   We will stay for two hours on the plateau, make a stop for lunch near the petroglyphs. Next we come to the pass Assy - 40min. ( 2,750 meters above sea level). Here we see the observatory and enjoy a beautiful view of the Turgen gorge.
   Next, we descend the mountain road, a very picturesque one. The road goes along the mountain river Turgen.
   Next we move to a guest house. This is a nice family-run guest house. Here we will have dinner and rest. For a nice evening we prepare mulled wine or beer. Аfter dinner we will have a "Russian bath" and drink tea with mountain honey.Overnight in the guest house.
   It will be the last evening spent together. The tour is very rich by landscapes and experiences. The next morning and evening we'll use for rest and relaxation after a long trip.


driving time - 6 hours
walk - 0,5 h
total time of the tour - about 8 hours
main road - 15km.
off-road - 70km.
оvernight guesthouse.


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end steppe mountains Toraigyr - beginning Assy plateau
Assy plateau
     
Assy plateau
      
petroglyphs
     

Yurt traditional nomadic dwelling - modern nomads also use every summer yurt. Yurt traditional nomadic dwelling - modern nomads also use yurt every summer. They prefer modern tents - yurts. Because yurt better conserves heat in cold weather. And cool on hot days.

on the Assy plateau are thousands - horses, sheep, cows
Observatory and the view of the Turgen gorge
          
Turgen gorge
ascent to the plateau Assy
        
inhabitants of the gorge - protein and stone marten
 
waterfall "bearish" - length 30 m
  
    
   
guest house
 
9 day. guest house - "Bearicsh" waterfall - museum "golden man" - Almaty.

   
Breakfast at the guest house.  Moving to the city of Issyk-40min.
    Visit to the Golden Man museum, found in this region - 1h.
    Moving to Almaty - 1h.

driving time - 3 hours
walk - 1 h
total time of the tour - about 5 hours
main road - 90km. off-road - 0km.

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Historical and Cultural Reserve-Museum "Issyk"

Almaty

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