We are excited to offer a unique program to top sights of the region. Get away from the crowds & summer heat to enjoy fresh mountain breeze in comfortable camping of Turgen gorge and mountain lodge on pristine Tian Shan glacier.
Our tours are run by a professional team of English speaking guides and we hold out to high standards of camping & catering service to ensure your comfortable travel.
Our Turgen camping was awarded as Sustainable Global Top 100 destinations in 2019.
Please note there are variations between Spring/Fall and Summer itineraries. Check tabs for more details.
Spring & Fall itinerary
This route is available in March-May, September-November
Route: Almaty – Altyn-Emel National Park (Singing Dune, Aktau colourful mountains, Katutau volcano) – Chunja thermals – Bestamak/Temirlik – Zhabyr canyon – Kolsay and Kaindy lakes – Charyn canyon – Bartogay Lake – Issyk – Turgen waterfalls – Big Almaty Lake – Almaty
Day 1. Almaty – Altyn-Emel
Drive from Almaty to Altyn-Emel National Park. Arrival Bas’shi village, Park’s entry procedures. Lunch and drive to Singing Dune. Hiking by the Dune’s ridge, which is the best point to observe the Great Kazak Steppe and Ili river. Late afternoon back to Bas’shi village, accommodation at a guest house. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2. Aktau mountains
Breakfast at a guest house. Drive from Bas’shi to the next Altyn-Emel attraction – Aktau colourful mountains famous for its “Martian” landscapes. Lunch and hiking by the rainbow chalky hills and canyons, 3 hours. Set a tent camp at the foot of the hills, take dinner and stay overnight in tents (tent camping).
Day 3. Katutau mountains – Chunja thermals
Breakfast with incredible scenery of Aktau hills in the sunrise. Drive to Katutau volcano, lunch in the red crater surrounded by the intriguing rock formations. Drive from Katutau to Chunja thermals: one of the best places throughout Kazakhstan to enjoy hot mineral waters of different temperatures. Afternoon relax in thermals, dinner and overnight at a SPA guest house in Chunja.
Day 4. Bestamak & Temirlik canyons
Breakfast at a guest house. Drive from Chunja to Bestamak canyon, first one from a series of Charyn canyons. Bestamak, also known as Red Canyon, invites its rare visitors to appreciate the beauty of the tortuous cliffs looking like they were fashioned and brightly painted by some unknown artist. Hike by the canyon takes 3 hours. Take lunch and drive to the next canyon called Temirlik, and set a tent camp inside a Sogdian ash-tree grove. Dinner and overnight in tents (tent camping).
Day 5. Yellow canyon – Saty village
Breakfast in Temirlik canyon. Drive from Temirlik to Zhabyr (Yellow) canyon. Take a nice trail, which follows down a small river and leads to the huge Charyn stream in the end. This short walk through the pictorial saxaul thickets takes 2 hours. Then we take lunch and drive to Kolsay National Park. Arrive Saty village in the evening, take dinner and stay overnight at a guest house.
Day 6. Kaindy Lake – Kolsai Lake 1
Breakfast at a guest house. Drive to Kaindy Lake. Hiking around the famous Underwater Forest. Lunch at a lakeshore, enjoying the view of an ancient pine grove “growing out” of green waters at a height of 1800m ASL. Drive from Kaindy the First Kolsay Lake also called “Saty”. Excursion around the lake, reflecting the sunset. Back to the guest house. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7. Valley of Castles – Bartogay lake
Breakfast at a guest house, drive to Charyn National Park. Hiking by the canyon’s most attractive part – Valley of Castles, known for its fantastic colourful rock formations. Lunch in Charyn and drive to Bartogay Lake. The Lake, bordering Asy plateau from the east, remains the best bird watching point of Almaty region. We set a camp at a lakeshore, take dinner and enjoy the wildlife all the rest part of a day. Overnight in tents (tent camping) in Bartogay.
Day 8. Issyk lake – Turgen gorge
Breakfast. Drive from Bartogay to Issyk highland lake. Lunch near the lake and drive to Turgen gorge. Hiking to the Bear waterfall (1,5 hours). Evening accommodation at a guest house in Turgen, dinner and overnight.
Day 9. Big Almaty Lake – Almaty
Breakfast at a guest house. Drive to the Big Almaty Lake. Excursion around and lunch. Drive down to Almaty (estimated time of arrival Almaty is 15.00pm).
Available in June-August
Route: Almaty – Issyk Lake – Turgen Falls – Assy plateau –Temirlik and Bestamak canyon – Kolsay Lakes – Kaindy underwater forest – Touyuk-Su and glaciers – Big Almaty Lake – Almaty
Day 1. Almaty – Issyk lake – Turgen
Drive from Almaty to Issyk village: a short excursion around Scythe open-air museum. Drive to Issyk Lake, lunch at a lakeshore. Drive to Turgen gorge and a 1 hour-hike to the Bear waterfall. Late afternoon arrival at a Trekking Club campsite in Turgen, accommodation, dinner and overnight at a camp.
Day 2. Assy plateau
Breakfast. Drive up by the gorge (SUV jeeps) to Assy plateau. 5-hour exciting tour by the Nomad’s land wanders: immense highland pastures full of beautiful animals (herds of horses, sheep, goats), great views of Tien Shan snow peaks and glaciers, white yurta all around the huge valley, Kazak nomads with their famous Tazy dogs, ancient Saki (Scythe) ruins and burial pyramids, Bronze age rock carvings, wildlife: marmots and vultures, foxes and ibexes. After a picnic on the grass, we take a short visit to Assy space observatory and drive back to the camping lodge. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3. Hike to Kairak waterfall – Turgen
Breakfast at a camp. Hiking to the Kairak waterfall, which is the biggest one in this area (70m tall) and never dries. There are 8km from the confluence of Turgen and Kishi-Turgen rivers (campsite) to Kairak, so the hike takes up to 5 hours in total. The path is so smooth and comfortable that nothing will prevent you from enjoying the views of flowering meadows and dense spruce forests all the way to the fall. Back to the campsite in the late afternoon. Hot shower, dinner and overnight.
Day 4. Valley of Castles – Temirlik canyon
Breakfast at a lodge. Drive from Turgen to Charyn Canyon. Hiking by the famous canyon’s part called Valley of Castles known for its fantastic colorful rock formations. Lunch in Charyn, with a stunning view of deep cliffs. Drive to another canyon (next of the Charyn network), which is called Temirlik. It is less visited but no less interesting. Set a tent camp in a relic Sogdian ash-tree grove, take dinner an stay overnight in tents (camping).
Day 5. Bestamak canyon – Saty village
Breakfast in Temirlik canyon. Drive from Temirlik to Bestamak – the last and the most magical one of a series of Charyn River canyon. Bestamak, also know as Red Canyon, is famous for its extraordinary clay and volcanic forms. Due to its remoteness, it is rarely visited by tourists and rich in wildlife. The hike by the cliff takes 3 hours. Then we take lunch and drive to Kolsay National Park. Arrive Saty village in the evening, take dinner and stay overnight at a guest house.
Day 6. Hiking from Kolsai 1 to Kolsai 2
Breakfast at a guest house. Hiking from the First Kolsay Lake called “Saty” to the Second one – “Mynzhylgy”. There are 8km between the lakes, and the whole hike takes 6 hours. The nature of Kungey Alatau mountains with its mysterious spruce forests and deep turquoise lakes will leave an indelible trace in your memory.. Back to the guest house in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Saty.
Day 7. Kaindy Lake – alpine lodge at Touyuk-Su
Breakfast at a guest house, drive to Kaindy Lake. Hiking around the famous Underwater Forest. Lunch at a lakeshore, enjoying the view of an ancient pine grove “growing out” of green waters at a height of 1800m ASL. After a lunch, we move to the land of high mountains and glacier. Evening arrival in Touyuk-Su gorge, accommodation at a Trekking Club alpine lodge (2600m ASL). Dinner and overnight.
Day 8. Hiking to the Touyuk-Su glacier
Breakfast at a lodge. Hiking to the Touyuk-Su glacier (3500m), which remains one the best points around Almaty to observe North Tien Shan glaciers and ice covered peaks over 4.000m. Lunch at a glacier and back to the alpine hut. The hike takes 5 hours in total. Dinner and another night in Touyuk-Su.
Day 9. Big Almaty Lake – Falcon nursery – Almaty
Breakfast at alpine lodge. Drive from Touyuk-Su gorge to the Big Almaty Lake. Hiking around the lake (2 hours), lunch. Taking pictures of the Lake and drive down by the gorge to the famous Falcon nursery. Watch the show with hunting eagles and falcons. Drive back to Almaty.
Spring & fall tour price per person:
- 2 pax in a group – $1585 per person
- 3-4 pax – $1350 per person
- 5-6 pax – $1170 per person
- 7-9 pax – $980 per person
Summer tour price per person:
- 2 pax in a group – $1480 per person
- 3-4 pax – $1170 per person
- 5-6 pax – $980 per person
- 7-9 pax – $890 per person
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN GENERAL
- all transfers
- meals: full board, 3 meals a day (9 lunches, 8 breakfasts, 8 dinners). A vegetarian menu is also available.
- drinking water
- National parks, museums, falcon show and special areas entry fees and permissions
- English-speaking guide
- international flights (to/from Almaty)
- accommodation/entertainment in Almaty
- airport meetings and transfers
- rent of personal clothes/shoes, hiking gear (like backpacks)
- personal expenses like souvenirs, calls etc.
- menu does not include soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN SPRING/FALL
- guided hikes and excursions in Altyn Emel National Park (Singing Dune and Aktau hills), in canyons (Charyn/Bestamak/Zhabyr), in Kolsay in Turgen
- accommodation at guest house in Bas’shi village (Altyn-Emel NP), 1 night, double rooms
- accommodation at a SPA guest house in Chunja thermals, 1 night, double rooms
- accommodation at a guest house in Saty (Kolsay NP), 2 nights, double rooms
- accommodation at guest house in Turgen gorge, 1 night, double rooms
- tent camping (Aktau, Temirlik, Bartogay), 3 nights (double tents, sleeping bags and mats, tableware and kitchen gear, lighting etc.)
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN SUMMER
- guided hikes in Turgen, Assy, Charyn canyons, Kolsay, Touyuk-Su and Big Almaty
- accommodation at Trekking Club campsite in Turgen, 3 nights, double tents
- accommodation at a guest house in Saty (Kolsay NP), 2 nights, double rooms
- accommodation at Trekking Club alpine hut in Touyuk-Su gorge, 2 nights
- tent camping Temirlik canyon, 1 night (double tents, sleeping bags and mats, tableware and kitchen gear, lighting etc.)