Altyn-Emel Reserve and Charyn Canyon Tour3 Days | Almaty, Tamgaly-Tas, Altyn-Emel Reserve, Charyn Canyon

Private Tour from US$ 450
  • Altyn-EmelAltyn-Emel
  • Itinerary MapItinerary Map
  • Altyn-EmelAltyn-Emel
  • Charyn CanyonCharyn Canyon
  • Charyn CanyonCharyn Canyon
  • Altyn-Emel
  • Itinerary Map
  • Altyn-Emel
  • Charyn Canyon
  • Charyn Canyon

3-day Altyn-Emel Reserve and Charyn Canyon Tour will introduce you to amazing natural sites of Almaty vicinities. You will enjoy wonderful and different views of the biggest Kazakh natural reserve – Altyn-Emel, walk along the Aktau mountains, and listen to the Singing Barchan (singing-dune) song – a unique occurrence of the nature that has many related legends. You will also have a trip to Charyn Canyon, a beautiful valley of red rocked ‘castles’ as if erected by unknown giants. Positive emotions and exceptional selfie photos are guaranteed!

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Almaty – Tamgaly Tas – Altyn-Emel
Departure from Almaty at 07:00. Transfer to the Tamgaly-Tas located on the Ili River to begin Altyn-Emel Reserve and Charyn Canyon Tour. Tamgaly Tas is a unique monument, where you will see rock-carved images of Buddha’s and writings in Tibetan, Kalmyk and other languages. Discover interesting facts and legends about Tamgaly-Tas and enjoy the beautiful views.
Continue to the village of Baschi. After lunch, excursion in Altyn-Emel National Park. Drive to the Singing Dune located in one of the corners of the Altyn-Emel National Park, a few kilometers from the Ili river, between the mountains of Big and Small Kalkan. This sandy hill has a height of 120 meters and a length of about 3 km. It consists of very fine pure sand, which starts to "sing" in windy weather and its sound reminds the organ music. Before a sandy storm the dune sounds like a drum. From the top of the Dune you can observe the grand panorama of the surroundings. In the south - thin strip of the Ili River is visible as well as purple mountains of Sogety and Boguty, looking out from the white peaks of the Ketmen ridge. On the west the horizon is obstructed by the steep slope of the Big Kalkan, and the Small Kalkan – from the east. In the north - violet-blue ridge of Djungarian Alatau mountains, Chulak mountain, Matai and Altyn-Emel are visible. If the weather is dry and windy, the sand-dune will "sing" you its song, which could be heard as far as several kilometers. Night in the hotel.
Day 2: Altyn-Emel
Breakfast at 07:00. Drive to mountains of Aktau and Katutau. Katutau Mountains (Harsh Mountains) are ancient ruined mountains with volcanic outputs. Water, time and wind carved intricate shapes in the rock. Sedimentary rock of the bottom of the ancient Tethys Ocean is preserved there. Aktau Mountains (White Mountains) are one of the largest paleontological fields in the world. The chalky hills consist of sandstone and red clay, layered with yellow and pink cornelian, jasper and white quartz. Late in the afternoon return to the hotel.
Day 3: Altyn-Emel – Charyn Canyon – Almaty
After breakfast depart Altyn-Emel and drive to Charyn Canyon. En route stop to see the old ash-tree grove on the Temerlik River. After some time for picnic and rest continue drive to Charyn Canyon. Arrive in Canyon. Walk along Canyon and enjoy its beautiful views, one of which is the so-called “The Valley of Castles”. It is thought to be one of the sights of the Canyon – these rock deposits resembling a tower by its form seemed to be created by unknown giants.The Valley of Castles is over 2 km in length and its width reaches from 20 to 80 m at some places. Late in the afternoon return to Almaty (4hrs). Transfer to the hotel. End of Altyn-Emel Reserve and Charyn Canyon Tour.
  • Transport throughout the tour;
  • Accommodation at hotel based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • English speaking tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Full board (3 lunches and 2 dinners).
  • Accommodation in Almaty;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees, visa support for Kazakhstan tourist visa;
  • Registration;
  • Tips are not included, but would be appreciated;
  • Personal travel insurance.


Prices per person

1 person
US$ 1,250
2 persons
US$ 640
3 persons
US$ 465
4 persons
US$ 450
Prices are for 2024 in US$ per person, with discounted prices for larger groups available on request.


Altyn-Emel - 2 nights
Aigai Kum Guesthouse

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Altyn-Emel Reserve and Charyn Canyon Tour Reviews

Author: Helen K.   |   Rating: 527 August 2015
We were very pleased with our tour in Kazakhstan. We saw many interesting places and our guide and driver did everything they could to make the trip as comfortable and interesting as possible. The hotels were not luxurious but they were adequate for our needs and the people at the guest house in the national park were very hospitable. The transfers were satisfactory as we were met and dropped off at the airport in a timely manner.

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