Altai Explore - Cross 4 Countries
Join us on a truly groundbreaking journey, travelling through the forgotten lands of Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and China to the heart of the Altai Mountains and a land steeped in shamanism and ancient traditions.
The highlands of Mongolian and Chinese parts are rather dry steppes with snow-capped mountains whereas the lower elevation western parts in Russia are largely forested and spectacular, being part of southernmost Siberia, with its own micro-climate.
The Russian,Kazakhstan parts are significantly more humid and wet. There are excellent apples and many berries of different kinds. Kazakhs, Russians and Altai peoples inhabit Russian Altai and other three sides are also mostly Kazakh, but also Tuvans, Mongols and many other ethnic minorities. The local people in the entire region speak a myriad of local languages such as Slavic, Mongol,Chinese, Turkic and Altai language groups.
We start in Kazakhstan and Russia, driving through the taiga to discover old traditions mixing with the modern, visiting a hidden monastery and meeting local shamans. We head into the mountains to discover the ancient graves and archaeological sites of a forgotten culture, and drive through stunning and utterly remote landscapes, looking out for wildlife and meeting people along the way.
Crossing into Mongolia we meet the Kazakh people of the west, famed for their practice of hunting with golden eagles, and spend the night as guests of an eagle hunter, or berkutchi, to learn more about this fascinating practice. We explore the untamed lands of Tavan Bogd and Tsambagarav, with mountains that are home to isolated populations of Tuvan and Uriankkhai people, as well as the iconic snow leopard.
From here we head south and cross into China to explore the Chinese part of the Altai Mountains, crossing the desert basin of Dzungharia to picturesque lakes and jagged peaks – some of China’s wildest lands and utterly different from the rest of the country. Before finishing we explore the secrets of the old Silk Road at Turpan, a remote oasis that is home to some of the region’s most important archaeological finds.
This is an enchanting journey to a region that lies at the very edge of the countries it overlaps, with a unique culture that is steeped in the practices of days gone by – off the map in more senses than one. Adventure travel at its finest.