DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty - Altyn Emel National Park
Having met your guide at the meeting point at 08:00, you will board a comfortable minivan to start your unforgettable journey to Altyn Emel National Park. While driving over an hour on a highway, you will pass by artificial Kapshagai water reservoir, the biggest in Almaty region, with the casinos of "Kazakh Las-Vegas" on its bank. Then you will arrive to Tamgaly Tas, the first sightseeing destination on the bank of Ili river.
Tamgaly Tas – the unique monument of distant past, where you will see images of Buddha’s and texts in Tibetan, Kalmyk and other languages which have basically a prayer meaning that are carved on the old rocks. It is unknown when and how these drawings appeared and who was the author: scientists trying to unravel this mystery for over 150 years. Your guide will tell you a lot of interesting things about this amazing place, then you will be able to walk around and enjoy the beautiful views. Also on the opposite side of the river, you will see the scenery in the style of medieval Kazakhstan that were built for the filming “The Nomad” movie.
After sightseeing at Tamgaly Tas you will have another couple of driving hours to Basshi village, which is located at the territory of Altyn Emel National Park. Lunch in the village and excursion to the Singing Dune.
Singing Dune, reaching a height of 150 meters and a length of about 3 km, located in one of the corners of the Altyn-Emel National Park, a few kilometers from the Ili river between the mountains of Big and Small Kalkan. This sandy hill consists of very fine pure sand, which starts to "sing" in windy weather and its sound reminds the organ music. Before a sandy storm the dune sounds like a drum. From the top of the Dune you can observe the grand panorama of the surroundings. In the south - thin strip of the Ili River is visible as well as purple mountains of Sogety and Boguty, looking out from the white peaks of the Ketmen ridge. On the west the horizon is obstructed by the steep slope of the Big Kalkan, and the Small Kalkan from the east. In the north, violet-blue ridge of Djungarian Alatau mountains, Chulak mountain, Matai and Altyn-Emel are visible. If the weather is dry and windy, the sand-dune will "sing" you its song, which could be heard as far as several kilometers...
After hiking up to the 150-meter dune, you will return to Basshi village for dinner and overnight in one of the villagers' guest houses or cozy local hotel.
Day 2. Altyn Emel National Park - Almaty
After breakfast at 08:00, you will be driving on unpaved park roads over 80 km (approx. 2 hours) to the Aktau mountains.
Aktau Mountains (White Mountains) are world-renowned paleontological field. In the layers of Paleogene lacustrine deposits well-preserved remains of ancient animals whose age is estimated at 25-30 million years have been found. Among the finds there are the remains the giant rhinos, crocodiles, turtles. Huge conical mountains remind the Egyptian pyramids and are a magical scene of the variety of shapes and colors.
A walk on Martian landscape requires nothing special from you, except being attentive on a soft sandy surface and adding some fantasy listening to the guide's stories about inhabitants of an ancient ocean. Lunch (picnic) and continuation of the tour to the Katutau mountains. These mountains well known by wild shy goats and gazelles living there, as well as for bizarre shaped sandstones, ideal for fun photoset.
Katutau Mountains (Harsh Mountains) are very ancient ruined mountains with preserved volcanic outputs. The breed is very fragile and breaks down under the physical impact. Water, time and wind carved intricate shapes in the rock. Sedimentary rock of the bottom of the ancient Tethys Ocean is preserved there. From the effects of environmental factors it took the form of intricate figures and landscapes.
Having mentally and spiritually recharged by two-days outdoor trip you will drive back to the original meeting point in Almaty with estimated arrival time around 19:00.
Your hotel in the centre of the city
Recommendation on clothing: comfortable, sporty clothing for the weather, windproof and waterproof jacket in a cold weather season; closed, walking-friendly shoes: boots in the cold season, sneakers or similar - in a warm; sunglasses and sunscreen, headdress; personal backpack to carry water and lunch during sightseeing at Aktau mountains.
1. Twin accommodation in the hotel or guest house of Altyn Emel National Park
2. Transportation according to the program in comfortable minivan
3. Sightseeing according to the program with English speaking guide
4. Environmental fees
5. Meals: lunch and dinner in Day 1, breakfast and lunch in Day 2
6. Drinking water 1.5L per person per day
1. Accommodation in Almaty, if required
2. Surcharge for return hotel transfer to the meeting point (10 USD per person), if required
3. Single accommodation supplement (27 USD)
4. Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price
5. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
6. Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program
For cancellation of the tour after making payment - 10% of the total price is not refundable.
Tour reservation requires full payment, which is refundable in case of tour cancellation more than 7 days before tour departure date.
60% of the tour price is refundable in case of tour cancellation 7 or less days before tour departure date.
Tour price is not refundable in case of tour cancellation 1 day or less before tour departure date, as well as in case of no-show or lateness.
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