LAKES & CANYONS
There are multiple trips for Kazakhstan
Tackle an epic 4-day tour to experience the scenic beauty of south-eastern Kazakhstan! Feel the heat of a desert on a journey through the deep and remote Altyn Emel, immerse yourself into the millions of years of history at Charyn Canyon, hit the trail between stunning high-altitude Kolsai lakes & discover the mystery of the sunken forest at the icy cold Kaindy lake.
This tour includes lots of hiking, dusty trails, smoky tang from last night’s campfire, unimaginable amounts of village food and tons of chats and laughter – it will be the best 4 days on your trip to Central Asia, we promise!
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Travel-Ready & Vaccinated Tours
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Travel Style: Active
Hiking, walking is necessary each day.
Service Level: Standard
A standard local vehicle will be used for transportation. Basic camping accommodation is included.
Physical Rating: 4
A good level of fitness and stamina is required for this tour.
Trip Type: Small Group or Private
This is a private trip or can be booked as a small group trip.
Age requirement: 18+
This trip is suitable for adults only.
Under recent Covid regulations entrants from most countries need to apply for a visa. Double check with your local embassy.
Valid until 30/8/2022
You will be picked up from your hotel and met by our friendly English-speaking guide and experienced driver.
Day 1: AKTAU & KATTYTAU MOUNTAINS
Our way will wind to the north along the scenic drive away from the big city. You’ll soon be greeted by sweeping views of artificial Kapchagai lake–the last big ambitious Soviet project in Kazakhstan, it provides electricity to the whole region.
It usually takes 3-4 hours to reach a hotel at Altyn Emel National Park, where we stop for lunch and a rest. It’s time to hop back in the car for a scenic drive through a few rustic rural villages and infinite semi-desert valleys on the way to the mysterious Kattytau & Aktau mountains–a natural museum of the earth’s distant past.
Fantastically-shaped natural sculptures rise in all the colours of the rainbow, from the pale blue Lunar landscape to the red Martian hills. After the scenic hike, it’s time for a relaxed picnic with the best view of splendid Aktau and drive to the next place–Kattytau!
Day 2: SINGING DUNE & CHARYN CANYON
Fuel up with a hearty village breakfast, then we drive through the remote barren Kazakh steppes to experience the first miracle of our trip, the Singing Dunes. Never have climbed a dune before? Here we will hike and take magnificent photos while enjoying an amazing panoramic view of the valley.
Become awestruck by the impressive Charyn Canyon. We will have gentle descent at the Valley of Castles and have a picnic at the shore of the Charyn river that carved the canyon 12 million years ago, and then ascend up back to the surface with a short scramble up at the end. So please make sure to wear comfortable shoes with a good outsole.
After spending around 3 hours in the canyon we will leave it and drive to Satty village, which is the closest village to Kolsai lakes. Driving from the canyon to the village will take around 2,5 hours, but don’t worry: the road is brand-new and landscapes you’ll see on the way make it worth the drive.
Arrival to the village, homestay with a local family (very basic conditions), dinner. Overnight in Satty village.
Day 3: KOLSAY LAKES
Wake up in the heart of the Northern Tian Shan mountains, enjoy breakfast at the guesthouse before starting the ascend from the first Kolsay lake to the second one.
Today’s hike is a wonderful waltz of ascending and descending through the old spruce tree forest, it’ll take around 6-7 hours both ways (16 km, around 500 meters is a height between lakes).
In the afternoon we will have a well-earned picnic and relax time on the shore of the second lake. Then it’s time to move back to the first Kolsay lake, after giving the last glance at the lake we will drive back to the Satty village.
Arrival to the village, homestay with a local family (basic conditions), dinner. Overnight in Satty village.
Day 4: KAINDY LAKE
The unusual and mysterious Kaindy Lake (Birch Lake) is located at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level. Kaindy lake was formed as the result of a huge landslide after the powerful earthquake in 1911. The landslide blocked the river and the water has flooded the valley. That's how the lake with Tien Shan fir trees in the middle was created.
The hiking today is fairly easy, but it’s a long day with around 7 or 8 hours of driving back to the city.On the way, we will stop for a lunch in one of the village cafes.
Extend your tour with more trips in Kazakhstan
Led by one of our knowledgeable CEOs (Chief Experience Officers), these tours will have you hitting up all the highlights, enjoying the tastiest of eats, and visiting beloved local gems in some of your favourite cities around the world — all with the added health and safety measures of our Travel with Confidence policy.
Transportation- 4WD air-conditioned car
All fees & tickets.
Water 1l per person
4 lunches, 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners.
A picnic lunch is included (please message us if you prefer vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options)
Hotel in Altyn Emel and Chundzha–shower & toilet inside of the room, homestay in Satty village–basic conditions (no shower, the toilet is outside of the home, Russian Banya)
Pick up and drop off at your hotel or Airbnb flat