INSPIRING ALTAI MOUNTAINS, 26 days, from 2950USD, Russia-Mongolia-China-Kazakhstan LET'S PLAN YOUR TRIP
Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan
The Altai Eco Region has been identified by WWF as their Global 200 regions where more than 90 percent of the planet's biodiversity is concentrated.
The major parts of this Eco Region is shared by Russia and Mongolia, and the minor parts also involves China and Kazakhstan.
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.
Visiting Altai regions, you come to Ancient Shamballa's Kingdom.
Shamballa is the center of high evolutionary energies,so it is the source of all our religions.The most beautiful landscapes, ancient desert ruins of Altai,which are known as Ancient Silk Road Culture, can tell you many secrets about Shamballa's Kingdom
Brief Outline Itinerary
You will fly to either of Barnaul (Russian Altai region) via Moscow. Flight connections are best negotiated with Russian Aeroflot Airlines who fly on-line to Barnaul, Urumqy, Ulaanbaatar and Oskemen (Eastern Kazakhstan). So it gives you to join this Altai round-trip from any parts of Altai.
The border crossing at Tashanta (Russia) and Tsaagannuur (Mongolia) is open for third country nationals as of 2005 only.Between Mongolian and Chinese Altai parts,you will fly with Mongolian Aero Mongolia Airlines.
We will make the border crossing at Jemenay (China-Kazakhstan)by bus and Kulyndy
(Kazakhstan-Russian) by train.
Katun River (120 km, 2hrs)Arrive Gorno-Altaisk in the early morning. Meet by Slava Gerasimov and transfer to GornoAltaisk. Have a breakfast, and visit famous museum of “Altai Princess”. We travel up the Katun River to Chemal village to visit the small and spectacularly located nunnery of Patmos monastery, situated on a rocky island in the river and accessible by a hanging bridge. We visit the nunnery and learn how priests here converted the Turkic speaking Altai people to Christianity at the end of the 18th century. Later we delve into a more traditional side of life here and meet a local shaman and ‘throat singer’. Overnight tourist camp. (BLD)
Drive to Ulagan through village Boochi.After early breakfast, start a drive towards the Mongolian highlands, crossing several mountain passes. It is a spectacular road journey on a good tarmac road following the Katun and Choy Rivers, almost to the tree line, up several valleys, until we almost reach the tree line. We continue to the Ulagan village. On the way, have a lunch in the village of Boochi where we spend time meeting local Altaian families and discovering local archaeological sites like graves and petroglyps. Afternoon drive takes few hrs and reach Ulagan village. Overnight in wooden house with sleeping cots. (BLD)
Pazyryk burialzAround Ulagan, we have 2 days to explore most interesting Pazyryk burials in Altai and Shulyshman Valley.Mounds is located in the tract Pazyryk on the right bank of the River Bolshoi Ulagan, on the road from Ulagan (16 km) to the village Balyktuyul. The name "Pazyryk" comes from the Tuvan "bazyryk" - "Mound." Burial mounds are the graves of tribal or tribal chiefs, built mostly in the VI-III centuries. BC A chain of five mounds stretching from north to south along the great valley a few kilometers from Balyktuyul. Nature of the area, staggers by it’s wildness and primordial beauty. Canyons, cascade, the Red Gate Rocks, the Tcheikkel (Dead Lake) cluster around the road from Aktash to Ulagan. Overnight in wooden houses with sleeping cots. (BLD)
Border crossing to MongoliaWe will cross into Mongolia after the small village of Tashanta. It will certainly take an hour of formalities for both sides. The goods roads will totally disappear as we enter into Mongolia, and Bayan-Ulgii province. From the border there is a spectacular 2-3 hour ride across the mountain steppes to Ulgii. We will have our dinner at a local restaurant in Ulgii. Bayan-Ulgii is where most ethnic Kazakhs lives and they are Muslims, rather than Buddhist's (as Mongolians usually are). With luck we will be able to meet up with a local family who train and domesticate Golden Eagles for fox hunts from horseback. Locals are often on horseback and are nomads herding yaks, goats, sheep, camels and horses. Handicraft is spectacular and the interior of the Kazakh yurts are like small temples. We will stay in a local ger camp at Ölgii.(B,L,D)
Altai Tavan Bogd and Tuvan familyDriving to west(100 km), we reach Snake valley,where have many ancient Turkic stone with face and graves.Turkic stones (carved) are belonged to Blue Turkic people,who have lived here between 4th-8th BC.Afternoon, drive to north and reach the road end just near Potanin Glacier(20 km-biggest glacier in Mongolia). Next day soft hiking up and down hill to see the highest snow capped peak of Mongolia-Altai Tavan Bogd(Huiten-4374 m,). Overnights in tent near Tuvan families.(B,L,D).
Meet Kazakh Eagle hunterDriving by south-eastern route, we will be able to have beautiful views of the entire Altai Mountains range. After 4-5 hrs driving, we reach Kazakh Eagle hunter's family near Sagsai village. Meet Mana (Kazakh Eagle hunter) and his magnificent bird of pray. Overnight with family. (B,L,D)
Explore TsambaGarav Nat.ParkToday we drive 5-6 hrs to reach TsambaGarav Nat.Park. Here, the steppe meets the ice, and breeders organize there their moving. In this landscape, few scattered gers limit yaks, horses and goats' pasture. Walk to the base camp of Tsambagarav Uul (4202 m). Today we walk around Tavan Belchir area (Five pastures), which is summer pastures for Uriankhai people. Uriankhai is one of western Mongolian ethnic minorities who have been the best soldiers of Chinggis Khaan's army shooting arrow from bow. Visit uriankhai families and feel the difference between kazakh and uriakhai. As Tsast (4208 m) means Snow, this peak has more glaciers than the other one. From the campsite, only one and an half hour walk to reach the edge of the glacier. As you know, it is not like on Huiten, but need rope and other climbing gears, as far snow is soft and many holes. Going along the glaciers to explore various valleys.. Meeting with the Kazakh nomads when going through their camps, discovering of their culture and traditional activities … supported by pack-camels. Visit eagle hunter's family and see his magnificent bird. Overnight in tent near Kazakh Nomadic families. (B,L,D)
Way to Chinese AltaiToday we drive 5-6 hrs to south and reach Blue Goat Nat.Park. Here, the steppe meets the ice, and breeders organize there their moving. In this landscape, few scattered gers limit yaks, horses and goats’ pasture. Soft hiking by the wild big remote mountains of Blue Goat Nat.Park and we can watch some Argali, Ibex and deer. This place has many wild en-dangerous animals and birds like snow leopard, Altai argali and Ibex, lynx, wolverine and bearded volchure, black volchure, different kinds of falcons, golden eagle and others. Next day, we continue our driving and come to Bulgan area. Meeting with the Kazakh nomads when going through their camps, discovering of their culture and traditional activities … supported by pack-camels. Overnights in wooden houses near Kazakh Nomadic families. (BLD)
To Altai MountiansDriving by Junggar desert basin to north,we come to eastern part of Chinese Altai mountains. Junggar basin(180'000 square km) has border with Altai Mountains to it's north. We stay in Koktogai village . Take shuttle bus to Visit holy bell mountain.Feel grade hospitality of Nomadic Kazakh people. Overnight at local hotel. (BLD)
Way to Kanas lake by Altai MountainsFull day drive by open mountain area, you enjoy by remote high Mountain country.This area is populated mostly by nomadic Kazakh people. Kazakhs have name “ nationality on horseback" and long history here since the 2nd century B.C.They have relations with Ancient Turks(the 6th century).They live in gers during summer and in wooden houses during winter. There are many carved stones and some of them reach to 3.1 m above the ground. Overnight at local touristic hotel. (BLD).
Beauty of Kanas lakeKanas Lake Natural Reserve Area: It is the most beautiful mountain lake you have never seen. The lake takes on different colors following the four seasons of the year, sometimes it's crystal blue, sometimes it's dark green, or even gray, you may find it containing many colors setting off each another at a time, thus it got a name as the color-changing lake. A free day on your own to breathe in the fresh air and all beautiful landscape. You also have the option of taking a boat trip which is highly recommended, also a visit to local ethnic family -TUWA people. -The Tuwa Tribe: A Mongolian tribe called Tuwa lives on the south bank of the Kanas Lake. Believing in Lamaism, it is a valiant ethic minority with a long history. Tuwa people speak Turkish, resembling the language of Kazakh, and live on hunting and graze. They also have a special folk custom. Drive by bus up to hill , then walk to the fish observation pavilion Overnight at Russian style wooden house. Kanas Lake Natural Reserve Area: It is the most beautiful mountain lake you have never seen. It is the latest lake open to all tourists in China and has attained a reputation as "the tourism pearl of Mountain Altai". The lake takes on different colors following the four seasons of the year, sometimes it's crystal blue, sometimes it's dark green, or even gray, you may find it containing many colors setting off each another at a time, thus it got a name as the color-changing lake. Afternoon drive towards Chinese-Kazakh border. Overnight at local hotel in Jemenai. (BLD).
Border crossing and come to Sauyr MountainsEarly breakfast and border crossing. It will certainly take an hour of formalities for both sides. After border crossing, we drive towards Zaisan city (1.5 hrs). Have a lunch with local Kazakh family and visit local museum with comprehensive information of flora and fauna of Zaisan area, as well as it’s colourful traditional costumes. We will drive only 18 km by mountain road and come camp side. Welcome Kazakh concert during dinner. Overnight in wooden house and outside toilet. (BLD)
Explore Kiyn KirishToday few hours drive around Zaisan lake and reach Kiyn Kirish red cliff, we you can see the beautiful rock formation. Lunch with local Kazakh family in village Amanat. As this village is located just on the eastern beach of Zaisan lake, there are many fishermen. During lunch, you have a chance to hear some fishing stories. Continue our driving to north and come to village Kurchum. Overnight in wooden house and outside toilet. (BLD)
To lake Yazovoe (140 km, 4-5 hrs)Today, we drive along river Buhtarma and by north part of Tarvagatai Mountians. We cross the bridge over Belaya Berel river and after that - Yazevoye village . Our further way lies along picturesque river to Yazovaya river valley. The name of lake, village and river has happened from the name a fish - Yaz. This fish lives in the lake. Beauty and magnificence of taiga lake amazes. Overnight in wooden houses and outside toilet. (BLD).
Drive to Rakhmanovskoye Lake (45 km, 2 hrs).The lake Jazevoe is located in a mountain valley. It is possible to fish with success on a fishing tackle. Walk in vicinity of lake and to a falls on the river Jazevaja. After lunch, we drive towards lake Rakhmanovskoe. On the way see panorama of Belukha peak. Arrival on the Rakhmanovskoe Lake. Walking around lake. It is possible to see the peak of Belukha mountain, when the weather is fine. Overnight in wooden house and outside toilet. (BLD).
To Katon-Karagia village (160 km, 3-4 hrs)We drive 3-4 hrs and reach Katon-Karagai village (160 km). On the way visit Berel archaeological digs. These digs are interesting thanks to the fact that partly extant mummy of sak's tsar at complete uniform was found here in 1996. Burial place of IV BC. Also on the way visit exotic bazaar at Katon-Karagai village. For overnight we will stop near nomadic Kazakh family and feel their grade hospitality. Overnight in wooden house and outside toilet. (BLD).
Drive to Oskemen (350 km, 5-6 hrs)Today we start our driving to Oskemen by paved northern road. After few hours drive by small hills with some forest area (180 km), we reach the water basin-Buhtarma, where Russian big old boat will take us with our cars to bring other side of water basin. It is grade opportunity to enjoy with beautyful views. The water basin formed by Bukhtarma dam for hydroelectric power station on river Irtysh. It’s filling has begun in 1960 and in 1966 carries out long-term regulation of a drain. The area - 5500 sq.km, the greatest width is 35 kms and average depth is 9,6 m. After 30 min traveling with big boat,we drive few more hours and reach Oskemen. (BLD)
In BarnaulExplore Oskemen city. Visit one of the biggest Muslim mosque in Kazakhstan, local museum and other city sightseeing. Afternoon flight to Barnaul. In your arrival Barnaul, our bus transfer to hotel(3*). Free day. (BLD).
Fly to MoscowAfter early breakfast, transfer to Barnaul airport.Take a flight to Moscow. (B).
|Some recommendations||Summer months in Mongolia are from early June to mid September.Although the Mongolian summers are hot and dry with occasional rain, the temperature can fluctuate as much 20 degrees centigrade between day and night.So be prepared for all weather conditions.|
|What to bring||Binoculars, sunscreen, a hat, gloves, long underwear for travel in the high mountains, comfortable footwear, lip balm, sanitary hand wipes, sunglasses, prescription medications (if needed), rain gear, flashlight.|
|Transport||Western Mongolian families frequently move from one pasture to the other using camels.The services of some herdsmen will be hired by the expedition, and they will provide us with their animals.|
|Staff||A local guide who speaks English and Mongolian will accompany the group at all times.A cook will follow, with an assistant.In addition, the services of the local herdsmen will be hired along with their animals.The horsemen follow a traditional lifestyle in the areas where we will be riding.|
|Meals||Our cook will prepare the meals.We pride ourselves in having cooks adapt to both western and Mongolian cooking on our trips.There are always vegetables available, and we have no problem accommodating vegetarians on our trips.For breakfast we can usually buy fresh yogurt from the herdsmen in the local area.|
|Price||USD 2950 per person (min 2 members)|
|Group size||2-18 (Discounts available for groups.)|
|Includes||English speaking guide and all meals. All overnights in hotel, gers and tents, camping equipment and all transport,all Border and National park permits.|
|Excludes||Alcohol drinks, laundry and renting of riding horses.Visa fee.|
|Dates||from 15th of May until 15th of October|
Single tent/ger supplement is USD 30 per night.
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