Day 1: Arrival to Almaty. Arrival to Almaty, transfer to the hotel. Free time.
Day 2: Almaty to "Altyn-Emel" National Park. In the morning transfer to "Altyn-Emel" Park. On the way visiting Buddhist petroglyph "Tamgaly Tas", which you will see along the Ili river at about 20 kilometers distance from the Kapchagay lake. Here you will find rock carvings with Buddha figures, which is unusual for the region. The legend says that in 16th century a group of Buddhists was traveling here. When they stopped at the river bank there was an earthquake and a huge rock broke off and fell nearby.
Buddhists considered it as a sign for them to go back to India. On that rock they carved three big figures of Buddha. Arrival to the "Altyn-Emel". "Altyn Emel" National park was created in 1996 by the decree of Kazakhstan Government. Every year thousands of tourists from different countries come there to see the unique valleys and wild nature. The name "Altyn Emel" has the Mongolian background, and means "a gold saddle". Nature of National Park is a unique deserted-mountain complex.
Park is located on an ancient route of the Greta Silk Way what makes this place more attractive for travelers. Accommodation in the guest house. Walking to the Taygak gorge and observing petroglyph on the nearby mountains. Petroglyph are met on the all territory of the national park. Rock paintings of masters of the Bronze Age represent stages of hunting, wild animals and pets, rituals, and also deities with sun faces. Overnight in the guest house.
Day 3: "Altyn-Emel" National Park. After breakfast departure to the main tourist roots of "Altyn-Emel". Visit to "Besshatyr" (so called king’s burial mounds), which located in the center of park and represent a necropolis tomb of east Scythians and Tigrakhauda sakis, which lived on this territory in 7-6 centuries B.C. The necropolis consists of 30 barrows of different size and hundreds of ritual stone columns. It’s also known as "Kazakh Stonehenge", because of mystique atmosphere reigning round there.
On the way to "Besshatyr" introduction to the animal world of Nature preserve. After lunch continue sightseeing of "Altyn-Emel". Visit the unique phenomena, the so-called "Singing Barkhan" - crescent-shaped dune. The "Singing Barchans" landscape nature sanctuary is one of the favorite places of tourists. It’s located between mountains Small and Big Kalkana. Similar natural phenomena in the world can be met only in China, Russia, Arabia and America.
Many years scientists trying to discover the origin of the sandy barchans that are unnatural for local rocky-steppe ares. Some of them said that it is grains of sand from the bottom of Ili river; other suppose that the barchans are the result of strange game of a wind rose. A sound, which are uttered in dry weather by the sandy mountain, which height is 150 meters, is very specific. It reminds sometimes organ, sometimes rumble of a jet plane. Overnight in the "Basshi" village guest house.
Day 4: "Altyn-Emel" – Jarkent – Charyn canyons - Almaty. Transfer to Jarkent (You can see nomadic life in steppes while driving there). On the way visit to Djungan mosk – very mystique saint place of Uygurian people living in Kazakhstan. After mosk way to relict ash grove (there still exist 2,5 millions years old trees). Arrival to Charyn canyons (so-called young brother of USA Grand Canyon). Charyn Canyon is an amazing creation of nature that exists for millions of years, picturesque and very diverse in geomorphological aspects.
The height of steep mountainsides reaches 150-300 meters. Numerous ravines and gullies make dense rambling net. Wind and water created stunning "Castles Valley". The length of it is more than two kilometers, the width - 20-80 meters. All along the valley you are surrounded by towers of fantastical forms, built of sedimentary. Their age is about 12 million years.
All this time the nature was creating these architectural wonders, without haste was building the majestic castles. The Buddhist who visited this place said that Charyn canyons are the perfect place for meditation. On the bottom of the canyon is roaring Charyn River Observing sunset on the canyons. Departure to Almaty. Overnight in Almaty hotel.
Day 5: Almaty city tour. After breakfast departure to the "Hawks nursery". Hawks show. Excursion to the nursery: hunting dogs, birds. Riding on horses. Transfer to Almaty. City tour, including visiting of the Central Mosk, Panfilov’s Park, the New Republic Square and the monument of Independence. Transfer from Almaty to "Medeo" - is one of main points of interest in Almaty. It is known worldwide and situated in a picturesque canyon 15 km away from Almaty. Skating rink is opened from December through March.
Scates are available for rent. The infrastructure and mountain climate allow sportsmen to practice all the year round. Medeo skating-rink has seen over 150 world records on speed-skating contests. Many famous skaters were holding and breaking records here! From the mud dam you will see the beauty of Medeo and surrounding mountains, panoramic sight of skating-rink, Abay Peak. Returning to Almaty. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 6: Almaty – Turkestan. Transfer to railway station – departure to Turkestan. It attracts people with its historical monuments in the open air and a rich history hidden in its heritage. The roots of the city are very deep. Considering the ancient remains from the Stone Age around the city, we can say that settlement began here 500 thousand years ago. We can also come across the remains from the Bronze Age.
Day 7: Turkestan – Shymkent. Arrival to Turkestan. Visiting of Azret-Sultan historical-architectural complex - Khodja Akhmed Yassayu mausoleum, Turkestan town necropolis, oriental baths and underground mosk. In the evening visiting the "night bazaar". Overnight in Turkestan hotel.
Day 8: Shymkent - Turkestan – Almaty. Early in the morning transfer to Shymkent. On the way visiting of Arystan-Bab (Khoja Akhmed Yassayu’s teacher’s mausoleum) and Otrar town excavations. Arrival to Shymkent. The rest of the day excursion to Sayram village:
- "Ibragim-Ata" mausoleum of Khoja Akhmed Yassaui’s father;
- "Kharashash-Ana" mausoleum of Khoja Akhmed Yassaui’s mother;
- Middle ages minaret. After lunch continue excursion to Kemekalgan village - so called "forgiving sins "Adam and Eve" cliffs";
- Stone made statues of animals;
- Water from healing strings.
In the evening transfer to Shymkent railway station. Train back to Almaty
Day 9: Almaty. In afternoon arrival to Almaty. Transfer to the airport.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Kazakhstan Nature & Wildlife Ecotourism Archeology/History