Discover the remote taiga of Kazakhstan’s Altai region. Take a deep dive into the folklore and the fresh, endless nature of this little-visited region of our planet to come back home fully refreshed. A tour for overworked souls who hate the beach but still want to have an absolutely relaxing time, this is a real rural discovery trip.
On this tour, you will learn to pick mushrooms and berries, talk about the Old Believers whose descendants still live in these villages, and bathe in the banyas of village-folk. You will likely see the tracks of big game animals like deer and bears amidst an abundance of wildflowers and fresh herbs ready for your tea.
A tour for anyone who loves the village, adores traipsing through nature, but without the hiker’s desire to conquer the mountain. In the first place, discovering the taiga means slowing down to the rhythms of nature, and understanding the culture that has woven itself into this fairy tale scenery.
A 3 day tour program has the same route and itinerary but without a Day 3. The route will be: Ust-Kamenogorsk – Ridder – Yermolayevka – Chesnokovka – Ridder – Ust-Kamenogorsk.
- Type of route – hiking and exploring
- Average time on the route – 5 hours a day
- Length of the route – 396 km
- Length of the hike – 36 km
- Height difference – up to 60 m
- Height above the sea level – 700 m -760 m
- Recommended physical preparation – medium
- Recommended time – May – September
08.00 Transfer Ust-Kamenogorsk – Ridder
The way from Ust-Kamenogorsk to Ridder is quite long (135 km) but very interesting. The main thing is the wonderful farmer’s market in Cheremshanka village. There, you will be offered real taiga gifts: salted mushrooms, dried herbs, jam from forest berries and medicinal tincture from fir cones. It will be the best souvenir from these places.
10.00 Meeting the guide. Transfer to Ermolayevka village (45 km)
Switching to off-road transport and departing for Ermolayevka village. It is likely we will have to wade the Black Uba river by car. Keen photographers may organize some photoshoot on old bridges. The 45-kilometer way is going to take us about 3 hours.
12.00 Check-in at the guesthouse. Lunch.
After lunch, we get ourselves familiar with the area by viewing the mountains, forests, and the main water artery of these places, the Uba river (2-km hike). You can even measure the water temperature with your hand. The bravest ones can have a swim in the icy water.
Banya on the bank of the river will refill your energy before dinner and rest.
08:00 First, we will have breakfast made from natural products and then hit the road.
09:00 Our route passes through the valleys of mountain rivers. The total length of the route is 14 km. Height difference is not more than 60 m.
The first river on our way is the Uba, magnificent and beautiful with its full flowing waters. We will cross it by the wooden suspension bridge and continue our way along the shore to the mouth of the river Korolyovka. The Korolyovka is not as wide as the river Uba, but it is as fast and clear.
We follow the guide through the thick dark coniferous taiga. Birches and aspens here alternate with coniferous firs. Fragrant Altai herbs amaze with their diversity. The guide is going to tell us which herbs are medicinal and give instructions on how to use them.
Now, we go out to the sparkling river Chesnokovka where we camp in the shade of the trees. Our guide is going to make us a bonfire lunch and some tea with fragrant currant leaves. After a quick rest, we are on the road again ready to overcome new kilometers.
It is getting dark as we approach the bee farm with a small hut on its edge. This house is ready to give shelter to tired travelers, although it has limited facilities – a stove and a wooden flooring for sleeping. It is these houses that have been used by local hunters and beekepers over the last centuries. We will have to wait a bit until our guide cooks us a delicious stove dinner.
Afterwards, we are going to have some tea with Altai honey, warm chats, and old fairy tales before sleep. We need to get enough rest to get energy for the day ahead.
Hot breakfast and tea with honey.
09.00 After breakfast, we start our way. The total length of the route is 10 km.
Today we will pass along the valley of the Chesnokovka river and see steep mountains smoothly flowing into the plains and dense forests being replaced by the bushes. You will be amazed by the variety of bright forest colors.
Bonfire lunch. After lunch, we will start our way back home
17.00 Tired but full of impressions we go back to the village. Banya is exactly what you need after such an exciting day. It makes you feel as if you are born again! Hot homemade dinner is followed by a well-deserved rest
9.00 After breakfast, we start the route. The total length is 10 km.
Today, we will take a walk along the right bank of the River Uba and one of its tributaries, the Star Key River.
Our path lies among the forest and mountains. Surrounded by steep mountains on the left and gentle slopes on the right, there runs a 100-year-old river originating at the high peaks of the Lyamin Belok Mount. Pure air will fill you with energy and inspire to start a new journey to this area.
These forests are home for many wild animals and birds. If we are lucky enough, we may encounter some of them or, at least, see their prints on the ground. Also, we will pick up fragrant herbs and make some tea. After a 2-hour hike, we will start our way back to Ermolayevka.
12.00 Hot farmer lunch is already waiting for us on the table.
15.00 Transfer to Ridder.
18.00 Transfer to Ust-Kamenogorsk.
20.00 Check-in at the hotel
Tour price per person:
- 225 USD in a group of 5 persons traveling together
- 265 USD in a group of 4 persons traveling together
- 310 USD in a group of 3 persons traveling together
- 425 USD in a group of 2 persons traveling together
- Individual transfer Ust-Kamenogorsk – Ridder – Ust-Kamenogorsk by car
- Individual transfer Ridder – Ermolayevka – Ridder in a jeep
- Accommodation in a guesthouse in Ermolayevka village (banya, outdoor facilities)
- Accommodation in a guesthouse on the bee farm (outdoor facilities)
- Guide services
- Meals according to the program (FB)
- Let us know if you have any food preferences (like being a vegetarian) or are allergic to certain ingredients. We will certainly take this fact into account when compiling the menu.
- Light snacks during the hike – dried fruits and nuts (200 g per person a day)
- Drinking bottled water – 1.5 liters a day
- Registration in the Ministry of Emergency Situations (the route takes place in the border area and requires special registration of tourists)
- English-speaking translator
- Medical Insurance (if required)
- Cost of the tour may vary depending on the number of tourists;
- The time of departure from Ust-Kamenogorsk \ arrival in Ust-Kamenogorsk is indicative and can not be considered a mandatory item of the program;
- The time and procedure for the provision of tourist services declared in the program may vary with the preservation of their volume and quality.
- The company reserves the right to change the itinerary, as well as the time of tourists staying on the route under adverse weather conditions, in order to ensure the safety of tourists.
Do bring along:
- Backpack (+50 kg)
- Sleeping bag
- Hiking shoes
- Warm and windproof clothing
- Rain jacket and trousers
- Extra clothes
- Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
- First Aid Kit
- Means of personal hygiene
- Personal items (bowl, mug, spoon)
- Other personal items that may be required during a trip