Pure Kazakhstan 2024

Kazakhstan Tour: Best of Almaty Region
Altyn-Emel National Park and Singing Sand Dune, Charyn canyon and 4 Mountain Lakes


Country: Kazakhstan View route map »»
Tour length: 7 days / 6 nights
Itinerary: Almaty - Altyn Emel National Park - Charyn Canyon - Kolsay lakes - Kaindy lake - Almaty

Tour to Kazakhstan: The Main Tourist Attractions and Nomad Traditions

The tour itinerary includes the most famous tourist attractions of Almaty Region, with activities varying between 4WD jeep tour, easy hikes in the most beautiful areas of the Tien Shan Mountains and an excursion to Almaty featuring a visit to the famous high-altitude sport complex Medeo and a descent from the Kok Tobe Mountain in a renovated cable car, with the enjoyment of a panorama of Almaty.

On the tour you will visit the 3 largest Nature parks of Kazakhstan: Altyn-Emel National Park encompassing the mystic white Aktau Mountains and mysterious Singing Sand Dune; Charyn National Park with its grandiose canyons in the Valley of Castles; and Ile-Alatau National Park located in close proximity to Almaty.

In the Tien Shan Mountains you will find 4 wonderful turquoise pearls: a cascade of Kolsay Lakes and picturesque Kaindy Lake with tree trunks rising right from its water surrounded by high mountain peaks.

This tour of Kazakhstan puts together all the beauty of the sacred Tien Shan Mountains and the country’s ‘southern capital’ Almaty.

  • Itinerary
    Services & Cost
  • Useful Information


Tour itinerary 2024:
Day 1. Almaty, arrival.
After passing border control and collecting luggage, you will be met by a local guide holding your nameplate.
You are going to the hotel for check-in (Check in at 14:00)
Sightseeing tour in Almaty:
This day you will visit the city’s old center and cover one of the main sites that best highlight Almaty’s history. The first stop is Park of 28 Panfilov soldiers – named after the division during WWII, formed of men from the Almaty region under command of General Ivan Panfilov. The park itself is popular among locals and guests of the city. Inside the park visitors will find the eternal flame, memorials of different heroic characters, the Ascension Cathedral – Russian Orthodox wooden church that magically withstood a strong earthquake in XX century, and Museum of musical instruments, where you can admire the collection over 1000 exhibits including rare exhibits dating back to XVII century.
Just in a walking distance, you can enjoy another touristic attraction of Almaty – Green Bazaar or Green market. This is a perfect way to experience the true Eastern market, where you could find main delicacies of different nations living in Kazakhstan. Here you might taste the food, bargain and, obviously, buy local tasty goods for a very nice price.
Then we stop for lunch at local restaurant.
Today’s last stop is Kok Tobe Park – located at an altitude of 1100 meters on the green hill, this place is very popular among locals and tourists. Take a ride on comfortable cable car and within 10 minutes, you are admiring the magnificent panoramic view of the city.
Once we come down from the hill, we are going back to the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast.


Day 2. Almaty – Altyn-Emel National Park by road (450 km).
Today you have an early breakfast and start your jeep tour across Almaty region.
Your first stop is Altyn Emel National Park, located 250 km from the city, it is one of the biggest natural parks in Kazakhstan. The name “Altyn Emel” is originated from Mongolian language; the meaning is “Golden Saddle”. The park is a unique combination of diverse natural landscapes, from flat lands to high mountains, which determines the richness of its flora and fauna.
You arrive to Altyn Emel in the afternoon. After having lunch at the guesthouse, you are going to visit Aktau – the white chalk mountains aged 400 millions years. The other name of the mountain is “Lunar” because of its colors. Indeed, blue, white, pink, red and green colors together render it a charming alien touch.
After trekking at Aktau and taking photos at the vista point, you are taken to another natural attraction of the park – 700 years old osier. This is the most popular tree among old-timers. The whole look of the osier reminds the old, wise man that keeps the secret of the meaning of life.
In the evening, we come back to the guesthouse. After dinner, rest and overnight. 
Overnight at the guesthouse.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Altyn Emel National Park

Day 3. Altyn-Emel – Charyn Canyon – Kolsay Lakes by road (480 km).
This day we continue to explore the beauty of Altyn Emel National Park. Our next site is Singing Dunes. This is another phenomenon of nature famous for the fact that when the weather is dry, the sand dune emits a sound similar to the tune of an organ. In addition, the dune is known for the beautiful views, overlooking the surrounding countryside. The Singing Dune is a popular tourist attraction and a “must see” location.
After we move to another National Park – Charyn, but before we visit Zharkent city – a small town just 30 km from the Chinese border. The town has several places to stop by, including a Dungan Mosque – museum, local church and local market (bazaar).
Lunch at local café.
Charyn canyon is one of the popular and magnificent natural attractions of Kazakhstan, located 220km to the east of Almaty. Charyn is also called a “small brother” of Grand Canyon in the US, as, comparably, the length of Kazakhstan canyon is only 154km, but the beauty of Charyn is unique and cannot be compared to elsewhere in the world.
After leaving Zharkent, within 2 hours of driving, we turn from the main road to the road that leads to “Valley of castles” – the main touristic point of Charyn. There we park the vehicle and start our 40 minutes’ walk inside the canyon until we reach Charyn river. After exploring the area, we head back to the parking and drive further to Kolsay lakes.
We arrive to the guesthouse late in the evening. Time for rest and dinner.
Overnight at the guesthouse.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Singing Dune

Day 4. Kolsay lakes.
Breakfast at the guesthouse and transfer to Kolsay lake.
Kolsay Lakes is a group of high mountain lakes at Northern Tien Shan, close to Kyrgyzstan border. The place is for true lovers of nature, surrounded by mountains and coniferous forests, these lakes are located at 1,800m, 2,300m and 2,900m above sea level. No surprise, this area has other names like “The Necklace of Tien Shan” or “Pearls of Zhetysu region”. You will love the landscapes and remember it for long.
This day you can do trekking from the first lake to the second Kolsay lake; it takes around 3-4 hours one way (lunch boxes included). Optionally, take a horseback ride instead and shorten your trip.
If you are not willing to walk, you can just enjoy the untainted nature of Kolsay with its fresh air, marvelous sceneries and ice-clear water. You can even rent a boat to sail on the lake.
Dinner and overnight at guesthouse. 
Overnight at guesthouse.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Kolsay Lakes

Day 5. Kolsay Lakes – Kaindy lake – Almaty by road (350 km).
After breakfast, checkout from guesthouse and take a ride to Kaindy lake – famous for its origin. It was found by result of strong earthquake in 1911. The landslide covered the gorge and water flooded into the coniferous forest. The water at lake is cold and, therefore, trees are still well preserved until now and can be seen through the water. No words can describe this mystical magnificence; you have to see it with your own eyes.  
Once we pass off-road area and stop by the slope, you are going for walking until Kaindy lake, where fascinating view of the lake opens from top of the hill. Alternatively, you can get there by horseback, as locals are happy to offer this service for you for additional charge.
On the way back we stop by local house in the village for a tasty homemade lunch.
Once you have partaken of your meal, take a seat, relax and enjoy your ride until we get back to Almaty.   
Arrival to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel / or near the hotel. Check – in and overnight.
Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Kaindy Lake

Day 6. Almaty.
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, you are going to explore the city’s main attractions – the Ili Alatau mountains.
The National Park of Ili Alatau was founded in 1996, the park is spreading for 120km and the total area is 202,292 hectares. The altitude varies from 600 to 5,000 meters.
Medeo is an essential part of the Ili Alatau park and it is a historical object of Almaty’s development as a city. Located at the height of 1,690 meters, the Medeo skating rink is the highest rink location in the world. 
However, our main purpose of visit is Shymbulak - a mountain resort located at the elevation of 2,260 meters above sea level. In 1950s, ski lovers used to climb the mountain for 3 hours for a 15 minutes’ descent. Nowadays, it is a developed resort with high-level equipment and infrastructure.
After we are going to visit the only falcon farm in Kazakhstan – “Sunkar”, where you will enjoy a spectacular show with specially trained hawks – hunting with them is one of the unique features of the Kazakh way of life. Five species of predators including golden and bold eagles, owl, vulture and falcon take part in the show and interact with the spectators.
Another stop on the way is the Park of the First President.
Transfer to the hotel and overnight.
Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast.

falcon farm

Day 7. Almaty, departure.
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out before 12:00.
Transfer to the International airport for departure.
Meals: breakfast.


Cost of the tour in USD per person, season 2024:

Group 2-3 pax 4-5 pax 6-7 pax 8-9 pax 10-11 pax SGL supplement
Hotel 3* 1580 USD 1130 USD 1050 USD 1030 USD 910 USD +110 USD
Hotel 4* 1660 USD 1220 USD 1130 USD 1095 USD 995 USD +150 USD

Tou price includes:

  • Private A/C transport with driver as per program:
    • 2 pax - sedan up to 3 seats,
    • 3-7 pax - minivan up to 10 seats,
    • 8-14 pax - minibus up to 18 seats,
    • 15 pax and more - coach up to 42 seats.
    • Note: In Almaty region guests will have a Jeep tour, SUVs, 4WD (2-5 days), 3 pax per car
      - Toyota Land Cruiser (or similar).
  • 3 nights' accommodation in the hotel in Almaty city on BB in DBL/TWIN.
  • 1 night accommodation in guesthouse at Altyn Emel National Park (TWIN shared).
  • 2 nights' accommodation in mountain resort at Kolsay Lakes. PLEASE NOTE: accommodation at Kolsay Lakes:
    • Group of 2-20 pax on Twin sharing basis,
    • Groups of 21- 30 pax QDRL rooms (4 persons per room) *, TWIN rooms.
  • Ecological fees in accordance with the program.
  • Sightseeing tours according to the program.
  • English speaking guide services.
  • Entrance tickets.
  • Meal: breakfasts, full board in Almaty region days: 2-5.
  • Hunting birds show at Falcon farm.
  • Mineral water 1L p/p daily.

Tour price does not include:

  • The cost of international flights.
  • Meals (except breakfasts) – supplement for 2 lunches and 2 dinners in Almaty city: 70 USD/per person;
  • for 2 lunches: 30 USD/per person.
  • Horseback riding at Kolsay Lakes - from 25 USD/per person.
  • Medical expenses and insurance.
  • Porters at the hotels, train stations and airpots.
  • Tips and gratitudes.
  • Visa fees.

Information on the hotels

City Hotels 3* Hotels 4*
Almaty Kazakhstan Hotel 3* or similar Kazzhol Park Hotel 4* or similar
Altyn Emel National Park Guest house Guest house
Kolsay Lakes Guest house in Saty village
(15 km from Kolsay Lake)
Qolsay Village Mountain resort
(near Kolsay Lake)

On this route will be used the following type of transport (depending on the number of people in a group):

Group Type of transport
Group of 1-2 Sedan car for 3 seats
Group of 3-7 Mercedes Sprinter or Huyndai Starex or Mitsubishi Delica minibuses for 10 seats
Group of 8-14 Minibus for 18 seats
Group of 15+ Bus for 45 seats
Any Toyota Land Cruiser or similar for transfers in Almaty region (3 persons per car)

Photos of the tour:

View all photos »»

© Copyright © Central Asia Travel
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the copyright owner.

to the top »»

Heritage group tours:

Adventure group tours:

Other interesting tours:

Usefull links:




Tour name *

Full name *


Phone number * 


E-Mail * 

Number of

Accommodation on the route:

Preferable form of communication:

Comments, wishes on the program:

Inserting your personal data in this form you give your consent to the processing of your personal data

Book a guided tour


Sightseeing tour name *

Full name *


Phone number * 


E-Mail * 

Number of

Preferable form of communication:

Your comments and suggestions:

Inserting your personal data in this form you give your consent to the processing of your personal data

Send to a friend


Search on the site

Whats new on the site