Discover mysterious Jungaria, where probability to meet other tourists is negligible! You are awaited severe off-road, alpine meadows, plateaus and ancient settlements!
We would like to invite you to the wonderful world of Nomads! We, Kazakh people, are leading the nomad’s life for thousands of years – we love it and enjoy this way of living, full of majestic rituals and traditions. Despite a fact that most of the people now live in cities and villages, some families prefer to follow the tradition of “moving around a great Steppe”, and they are now called semi-nomads.
Almaty – Turgen gorge – a confluence of rivers Kishi-Turgen and Turgen – Big Kairak waterfall (hiking) – Trekking Club campsite in Turgen – Assy plateau (jeep-tour) – Turgen – Almaty
Activities: hiking, jeeping, culture & history exploring
Day 1. Have started early in the morning from Almaty city, we follow the motorway in the direction of Turgen ravine, passing by Issyk village. The main road goes through famous Turgen trout farm, and after a short stop at National Park entry gates, we continue driving up to Batan point where the asphalt road ends. Here, at a confluence of rivers Kishi-Turgen and Turgen (Batan place), the hiking part of a tour starts. A good, wide path follows up the Turgen stream: it was initially designed to be used as a National Park’s road but the main bridge in Batan has been washed away by the mudflow, so now everyone can enjoy this nice walk to the Big Kairak waterfall!
There are 8 kilometres in total from Batan (start point) to the waterfall, and there is no significant difference in height thus no any ascents, steep slopes and dangerous points. All you need is to enjoy the amazing wild nature around – deep pine groves (local Schrenk pine) paved with endemic mossy grasses, ash-tree shrubs, colourful meadows full of flowers, dragonflies and butterflies…Having crossed 11 old bridges, you finally come at a confluence of Turgen and Kairak rivers where you should turn left and hike up for another 20 minutes through the spruce grove, following the Kairak river. Even there, inside a forest you can hear the voice of the falling water: Kairak waterfall appears suddenly, just around the last corner.
The Kairak waterfall is one of the biggest in the region: it’s height is more than 55 meters (70 in total) and it never dries. Thanks to the location, it still remains clear and untouched by civilization – in Kazak language, its name is associated with a bear (sometimes people meet brown bears here in early Spring). Besides bears, that are really rare of course, the Turgen area is rich in deer, wild pigs, lynx and different kinds of birds.
A way to the waterfall takes 2,5-3 hours of walking. Normally we spend another 30-40 minutes near the fall to take pictures and lunch. Way back takes another 2 hours, so you should consider 5-6 hours of walking in total.
After a hike, we get back to Batan and move to the private territory of Trekking Club campsite, at a riverbank.
Accommodation, dinner and overnight at a campsite.
Day 2. Breakfast at a campsite. Then start a jeep-tour to Assy highland plateau (5-6 hours in total). A comfortable 4-wheel car will take you to the fantastic trip into nature: the road starts in the forest zone of Turgen gorge and climbs up through the thicket that ends suddenly at a height of 2600 meters ASL, and a boundless green highland valley appears. The Kazak nomads use Assy plateau for the thousands of years as a summer pasture, and they are still there with their goats, sheep, horses and white yurta. In such places, deep in the mountains, you can still find the semi-nomads living in a traditional and natural way. A history and a real life are inseparable at this point and you see the sheep grazing on the slopes of ancient burials and round Kazak yurta on the top of the Painted rocky hill.
Assy valley is a part of a National Reserve, and is also famous for its wildlife: eagles, falcons, foxes and marmots live here protected and safe.
On a way back we can also stop at Assy pass, where one of the biggest Astronomical Observatory of the region is located – the huge dome is seen from any point of the valley. A short lunch with hot tea is planned on a plateau.
Get back to the campsite by 15.30, take dinner and drive back to Almaty (2 hours).
- 1 person (individual service) – $560
- 2 pax in a group – $340 per person
- 3 pax – $280 per person
- 4-5 pax – $220 per person
- Transport from Almaty to Turgen and back, according to the program
- National park entry fees and permissions
- Accommodation at Trekking Club safari-lodge, 1 night
- Foodstuff (full board) – 3 meals a day. Lunch-boxes on a way, buffet at a campsite
- Guided jeep-tour to Assy plateau with English-speaking guide
- Guided 1-day trekking to Kairak waterfall
- soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks
- rent of personal clothes, shoes
- telephone calls, souvenirs, personal expenses