Touch the glacier

Challenge yourself!

Experience the real off-road driving

Uncover thousands of years of history

Dates

On request                 (12 days)

Fee

from 1.349 EURO         (from Gorno-Altaisk)

Group size

min. 4, max. 9     participants

Itinerary

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Day 1. Welcome!

In the morning we will meet you at the airport in Gorno-Altaisk.

First, we will get acquainted and then transfer you to the hotel. You will have time to rest as we do understand that the night flight is quite exhausting. In the afternoon you will visit the National Museum of the Altai Republic. It exhibits the famous “Siberian Ice Maiden” and other interesting items about the past in the Altai Republic. We will end the day with a dinner together in a national yurt and will enjoy a concert of kaichi.

Night: hotel | Meal: 3 times | Driving: no Walking: in the city

Highlights: excursion to the museum and around the city, kaichi concert

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Day 2. To the sacral Karakol valley

After breakfast we visit the border office in order to get our permits to travel in the Russian border zone with Mongolia.

Next, we will travel along the famous road – Chuiskiy Tract – which connects Russia with Mongolia. The National Geographic magazine named Chuiskiy Tract as one of the world’s most beautiful roads. During our drive we will stop at several picturesque and interesting places.

After lunch you will visit the Karakol valley which is considered a sacral place among Altaians. There you will enjoy beautiful views and have a look at the historical monuments of different epochs – petroglyphs, burial mounds and stone stelas.

In the evening you will meet the kaichi and enjoy his concert.

This night we will stay at the home of a local woman, where you can get acquainted with the way of life in Altai and customs of modern Altaians.

Night: houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 200 km asphalt road| Walking: moderate

Highlights: excursion in the valley, way of life in Altai 

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Day 3. Along one of the most beautiful roads in the world

Today we continue driving to our main destination and will have a lot of interesting places to visit, enjoy the views and make wonderful pictures. After packing we will go to the Chiketaman pass, followed by the confluence of the Chuya and Katun rivers, the river Katun terraces and the Inya Bridge.

While lunch is being prepared, you will have an excursion around the famous Kalbak-Tash rocks with petroglyphs.

In the evening we will enter the Kurai steppe, a very beautiful intermontane basin where you can admire, depending on the weather conditions, impressive views of the mighty North-Chuyskiy Ridge with eternal snow and glaciers. Besides, we will observe some interesting geological phenomena – the giant current ripple marks.

We will have our first camping night in one of the most picturesque places in the Kurai steppe. 

Night: tents | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 200 km asphalt road| Walking: moderate

Highlightsexcursion over petroglyphs rocks, a lot of stops at beautiful places, North-Chuyskiy Ridge

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Day 4. Sunrise over snow-capped mountains and beautiful mountain lakes

We will get up early in order to see how first sun rays make snowy mountains pink and brighten the whole steppe. We do hope that the weather will allow us to have this experience. 

After breakfast we pack our stuff and have a short drive (about 40 minutes) to another destination. We will accommodate in theguesthouses and start out our daytrip to the Kuektanar lakes. 

The Kuektanar lakes are a whole system of lakes which flow from one into another, forming rivers, waterfalls or even disappearing under the huge stones. The first two lakes are surrounded by beautiful forest and taiga. Higher, a zone of bold mountains starts (more than 2000 metres high). It will take take about 2 hours to get to the first and second lake. But the next 1 km to the third lake will be a challenge. The path is rather steep, sometimes you will have to go through bushes and climb some rocks.

In the evening we will return to the guesthouses and will enjoy banya (russian sauna). 

Night: houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 40 km asphalt| Walking: intense (10 km)    

Highlights: sunrise in the mountains, mountain lakes

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Day 5. Coloured mountains

In the morning we drive to another destination – the coloured mountains of Kyzyl-Chin. Some people call this place “Mars on Earth”. Clay layers of yellow, white, orange, red and burgundy colours make the hills really fantastic.

After exploring so called Mars-1 and having lunch we will walk to Mars-2. Our path goes along the river which has formed its way in red hills, making very remarkable views. Finally, we will see in the distance striped mountains which resemble the Rainbow mountains in Peru.  

Night: tents| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 30 km | Hiking: intense (8 km)    Highlights: Mars-1 and Mars-2

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Day 6. Deeper to the mountains through the Moon

It is a good idea to get up early and see how first rays of sun wake up Kyzyl-Chin and it brightens all the colours of the hill.

After that we start driving deeper into the mountains to the South-Chuyskiy Ridge. We will pass areas fancifully covered with layers of white clay looking like the Moon landscape.

You will see the village Beltir which was damaged very badly by an earthquake in 2003. After Beltir you will enjoy real off-road driving on our way to the upper reaches of Akkol River. You will pass two beautiful lakes – Akkol (White Lake) and Karakol (Black Lake). There is a chance to meet camels. This night we will spend on the bank of the River Akkol, high in the mountains and it can be very cold due to the altitude.

Night: tents| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 40 km mountain road | Hiking: moderate

Highlights: abandoned village, white and black lakes

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Day 7. Hiking to the glacier

It is a day of a very interesting hiking up towards the snow mountains and glacier (7 km one way). On our way you will admire beautiful views of the Sophia glacier and rock towers over it. You will be able to touch eternal snow and watch how the River Akkol impressively emerges from the glacier.

After hiking we will pack and drive down to the Chuya steppe to have the night in the yurts and enjoy banya.

Night: yurts| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 55 km mountain road | Walking: intense (15 km)

Highlights: a path through moraine, lunch at the glacier 

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Day 8 & 9. Wildlife of Sailugem national park

We start the day driving across the Chuya Steppe to another destination – Sailugem national park

In Kosh-Agach (district center) you will visit the market where you can shop for souvenirs and goods from Mongolia.

This day and the next you will travel on the territory of Sailugem park towards the Sarjematy and Bayan Chagan valleys where you again have the possibility to see beautiful landscapes and wildlife. The park is the habitat of many wild animals. You have a great chance to observe and take pictures of argali, marmots, ground-squirrels and birds of prey.

You will also have an opportunity to hike to several points with fantastic views of rivers, lakes and mountains. Together with a ranger of the park we will check one of the wildcams. It is a unique opportunity and we are allowed to watch the pictures.

In the evening of the 9th day you will go to the visitor’s center in Chagan-Byrgazy, where we spend the night in the houses.

Night: tents/ houses| Meal: 3 times | Driving: ~50-70 km/day mountain road | Walking: moderate

Highlightsmeeting wild animals and birds of prey, stunning viewpoints 

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Day 10. Tarkhata megalithic complex

Sorry to say – our way home begins. But you have a consolation as we will drive along a very beautiful road and still have enough interesting places to stop.

You will visit the Tarkhata megalithic complex. The megalithic complex is a place where huge rocks are put in a circle with a diameter of 60 meters. Some of them are engraved with petroglyphs. Most of the scientists consider it as an ancient astronomic observation and sacral place.

 We will stop for the night near the Katun River.

Night: tents| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 200 km asphalt road | Walking:  moderate   

HighlightsAncient smelting furnace, megalithic complex

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Day 11. Back to Gorno-Altaisk

Today we continue the drive along the Chuiskiy tract back to Gorno-Altaisk. There we will enjoy the last dinner of this trip together.

Night: hotel| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 260 km asphalt road |

Highlights: botanical garden, dinner in the restaurant  

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Day 12. Farewell

After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport for your flight home or your next destination.

Kaichi Travel

Adventure travel, nature tours to Altai - one of the most beautiful places in Siberia.

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