“You will see everything in one tour” – what is behind it and why we do it differently
It is no secret that domestic tourism in Russia has been rapidly developing over the past two years. Baikal, Altai, Kamchatka – all have become super-popular destinations, the number of tour operators and even more unofficial organizers of author’s tours is vastly growing. And now the number of offers on aggregator sites exceeds hundreds. There are many tempting offers:
- “All famous locations in Altai in 7 days of travel!”,
- “The whole Altai in 10 days. Uncompromising tour”.
- “Everything at once” in one trip to Altai!
- “In 12 days you will explore Altai far and wide”,
- “If you want “all at once” for the weekend, then this is definitely for you!”.
Perhaps someone will be surprised, but Altai occupies a fairly large territory. The area of the Republic of Altai is 2 times larger than the area of the Netherlands or Switzerland. The length of the Chuisky tract in the Altai Republic is about 500 km. And although this is an asphalt road with excellent coverage, in the first place, this is a mountain road, with many turns, clamps, and dangerous sections. The average speed of driving on it is much lower than on a flat road.
And as soon as you turn from the Chuisky tract, for example, towards Ust-Koksa or Chulyshman, you find yourself on dirt roads. Most dirt roads however have an unpleasant property as increased waviness, called a comb, and most persons gets tired very quickly from constant shaking and dust in addition. Even if there are fantastic beauties outside the window.
So it turns out that, having gone on a 7-day tour, which includes all the top sights of Altai, tourists spend most of their time in the car, and in strictly time-limited stops at the main attractions. Yes, for some, such a tour is a great trip if a conscious choice is made. But for many it turns out to be a surprise that the distances in Altai are so large, and the journeys take so much time.
Frankly speaking, our first tours in 2016 were also full of locations far from each other, long driving. But gradually, taking into account the reactions and wishes of our guests, we began to include more hiking trips, abandon some interesting, but far away objects, and spend more nights in one place.
And gradually we came to the format, which we decided to give a name – “Travel Ne Spesha” or “Slow Travel”. What are the key points our tours?
Firstly, for one trip we choose one remote region – either the Kosh-Agach region, or the Ust-Koksinsky region, or the Chulyshman valley. In each of them, there are enough sights and interesting places for a trip of several weeks. Thanks to this, we significantly reduce the number of hours spent in the car. And if there is still a long drive, we break it down into several days. After all, the roads in Altai are so beautiful that you want to take pictures at every kilometer.
Secondly, we stay in one place for 2-3 nights. Every evening, unpacking bags and suitcases, and packing them again in the morning is a very tiring task both for travelers and for us, the organizers. It is much more pleasant to stay in a cozy guest house for a couple of days.
Thirdly, we fill the free days between moves with exciting events – hiking to a glacier, lake or waterfall, watching animals, participating in some original master classes, communicating with local residents. Departure by car is possible, but for a short distance.
Fourthly, we keep in mind that our guests are on vacation and they came to rest, so we do not have early get up and late arrivals. As a rule, we have breakfast at 9.00, start to a new place or start activities at 10.00-10.30. And only if we want to see a super-popular place without crowds of tourists or meet the sunrise, we can offer to leave early in the morning. We return or arrive at a new place at 16.00-17.00, so there is always time to relax, walk around and take pictures.
Fifthly, our travels are long in time. Summer tours last 10-14 days, winter – 8-10 days. Otherwise, it is simply impossible to implement all that is said above.
According to the reviews of our tourists, this format allows you to enjoy the nature of Altai at a comfortable pace, learn about its history, culture, traditions and meet locals, and at the end of the trip, you feel great and full of energy.