A 2 days program to link the former Kazakh capital Almaty to the Kyrgyz town of Karakol
During these two days you will see the most interesting spot on the way to Kyrgyzstan : the Charyn canyon, the first Kel Say lake, the Kaindy lake, Stones of Tamerlan
From Almaty, you head straight to Charyn Canyon. The walking tour will start in the “Valley of Castles". After lunch, you continue to the Shilik valley and visit of the first Kol-Say lake. Late in the afternoon, you drive back to Saty village. Dinner and overnight at homestay.
After breakfast, we drive to Kaindy Lake, taking picture and head to the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. After formalities on the border, head to Karakol City. One stop more on the way to see the stones of Tamerlan.
Bonjour, il y a 2 semaines, j'ai participer au trek Chon Kenim organise par Nomad's Land, c'était EXCELLENT du fait des paysages découverts, de l'encadrement Français, de nos guides et cuisiniers. Je remercie en particulier Alex et Fabien et tous les participants. Comme le conseille Paolo Coelho, laissez vous tentez par l'aventure
We left with Nomad’s Land this summer for a week of exploring the surroundings of Kel Suu and we can only applaud the seriousness and professionalism of the agency. Getting in touch was easy, the team was always available and attentive to our needs. In addition to being able to discover a place that is difficult to access for independent hikers - and absolutely superb - we also took a real pleasure in getting more deeply into the Kyrgyz culture by sharing for a few days the life of a local family. A big thank you to our guide for his dynamism, his good humor and for providing us with the keys to understanding the country better. We hope to come back soon and be able to experience another trek with Nomad’s Land!
On your way
Charyn canyon (Sharyn) KZ
Charyn Canyon is a picturesque deep gorge in Kazakhstan, stretching for 154 km along the Charyn river valley, not far from the border with China and Kyrgyzstan. The dried up bed of the ancient river, a unique natural monument, more than 12 million years old, fascinates with its cosmic landscapes. Given the size and geological features of the Charyn Canyon, it is often referred to as the "younger brother" of one of the largest gorges of the planet: the American Grand Canyon. We can also observe a Relic Forest of ash tree. Reddish cliffs and abysses that are similar to castle towers, depths from 150 to 300 m, impress everyone who has been here. The most visited and famous is the site of the canyon, called the "Valley of Castles". Enjoy a walk along a narrow valley with fantastic-shaped walls.
It was declared a protected reserve in 1964 and today intagrated in the Charyn National Park.
Scythians kurgans of San Tash KG
The San-Tash burial mound, which means "counting stones" or "reading stones" in the Turkish language, is located on the bank of the Tiup River, near the eastern border post with Kazakhstan A363, at an altitude of 1996 metres alt . Most of the Scythian tombs in the vicinity are dated to the 6th to 1st centuries BC. But the stone heap remains an enigma as it is linked to a legend of Tamerlane which was used to count the number of dead soldiers during battles.
The grave is very similar to the Pazyrsky burial mound in the Altai which was a Saka (Scythian) prince and typical of most Sakas kurgans found from the Ukraine to southern Siberia. There are more than 250 tombs in this area, and many more have disappeared into the grasslands. These kurgans are dated as early as the 6th to the 1st century BC.
The ruins of an ancient caravanserai, probably built between the X-XII of our era, a square enclosure of 48 meters long, with a tower in its centre, and a dwelling inside of 35 meters by 8 meters, were also found. It was not only used for caravanserais but also as a defence post.
At the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul, Karakol is a fertile garden town of wooden chocolate-box cottages and shady, poplar-lined avenues. Fringed to the east by the Terskey Ala-Too Mountains, which tower dramatically over its low-rise skyline, Issyk-Kul ripples 10 km to the west.
Karakol is the best base from which to explore the lakeshore and Central Asia's prime trekking and mountaineering routes. With the most spectacular parts of the Central Tien-Shan right on its doorstep and newly open to foreign visitors, the town attracts trekkers, hikers and climbers from all over the world.
Karakol and its surroundings have just as much to offer their less energetic visitors. Besides one of Kyrgyzstan's largest and most colorful bazaars, a nomadic livestock market and several good museums, its spectacular environs boast an endless array of truly unique day trips. Blood-red cliffs, hot springs, Scythian burial mounds, nomad camps and sandy beaches thousands of miles from the sea are all within easy reach.
The town was build since 1869, one year after Teplokluchenka (actually name Ak-Suu). There is a unique building in the center of Karakol - ancient wooden orthodox church. But you may visit also the zoo, the regional museum, the wooden mosque, the Panfilov park, the Park Victory, the museum and memorial Prejwalski.
Despite Karakol's status as the administrative center of the Issyk-Kul region, it has only 75,000 residents and a gentle, small-town atmosphere.
Almaty - one of the major cities of Kazakhstan, located in the southeast of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in the foothills of Zailiyskiy Alatau; the city's population is about 1.5 million inhabitants.Although Almaty is not anymore capital of the republic, the city is still the financial, economic and cultural center of Central Asia.
Picturesque mountains are the hallmark of Almaty. You can enjoy views of the cable car climbing to the highest point of the city of Kok-Tobe ("Blue Mountain"), located at an altitude of 1,130 meters above sea level. From this summit offers a magnificent view of the mountains and the city. It is especially beautiful at night when the city is illuminated with colored lights.
Two big rivers - the Big and Small Almaty flow down from the mountains and provide the city with fresh water reservoirs and fountains fill the coolness and freshness.
Kolsay lakes KZ
There are 3 mountain's lakes which are strung along the Kolsay river. The source of the river Kolsay start from the South at the border between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, in the Kungey Alatoo range :
- The lower lake is about 1 km long, 400 meters wide, and 80 meters in depth. It is accessible by road and has guest-houses and campsites. (altitude: 1818 meters).
- The middle Kolsay Lake (Mynzholky - meaning "1000 years old"). Five kilometers upstream from the lower lake, the middle lake is the largest of the three, and reaches a depth of 50 meters. (altitude: 2,252 meters). It is considered the most scenic of the three Kolsay Lakes. In one day, you can hike from the lower lake to the middle lake and back.
- The upper lake is situated six kilometers above the middle lake, the upper lake is surrounded by spruce trees and alpine meadows. It is 6 km from the Sary-Bulak pass and Kyrgyzstan. (altitude: 2,850 meters). Today the access to the upper lake is restricted and you need a special permit.
All glacial lakes of the region are located at altitudes of 3200–3500 m closer to the central part of the Kungei Alatau range. Most of these lakes are not stable, the water level often change, appear and disappear. You may have in mind that in the hot summer months, the moraine dams of these lakes sometimes break through and form mudslides, which are dangerous for tourists. The main causes of mudflows are torrential rains, slipping of glaciers and moraines into moraine lakes, breakthrough of natural dams created by avalanches or debris on rivers.
In order to protect this unique environment, the State National Natural Park "Kolsay Lakes" was established in 2007.
Kaindy lake KZ
Kaindy Lake is located on the northern slope of the Kungei Ala-Too mountain range at an altitude of 1867 meters above sea level among a dense coniferous forest, which culminates at 2900 m. alt.. The top of the valley rises to nearly 3400 meters and marks the border with Kyrgyzstan. The bottom of the valley joins the village of Saty. Kaindy Lake lies in the second valley further east than the first lake Kolsay. The length of the lake is about 440 meters, by 110 meters wide , the greatest depth of the lake is 30 meters.
Translated from the Kazakh language, Kaindy means “Birch”. This name was given to the lake because of a large birch grove planted once by people five kilometers below the lake. The current size of the lake results of the Zhalanash-Tyup earthquake on March 25, 1978, with an amplitude of about 7 points. It seems that the lake appeared for the first time after the Kemin Earthquake in 1911. The age of the Schrenk and Tyan-Shan spruces in the lake is not clear. Some trees in the water have not yet rotted, but most of the rotten trees are under water. The peculiarity of this lake are the visible dry trunks that rise above the surface of a cold lake, giving it an amazing and unique appearance.
What is included
All transportation in a private vehicle
All airport transfers
Accommodation as described in the program
Meals (3 per day)
Bottled water & tea
All the activities listed in the program
Entry fees at national parks and/or border zones listed in the program
Entry fees at museums and historical sites listed in the program
Domestic flights mentioned in the program
A contribution to our sustainable development projects
Organisation of the trip & local taxes
What is not included
International banking fees (PayPal, ...)
Travel & repatriation insurance
Visas / LOI (if applicable)
Alcoholic and soft drinks
Additional costs due to unexpected personal events (health, loss of luggage, ...)
Tips for guide & driver (always optional, always appreciated)
May we help you?
Our trip designers are at your disposal for building your dream! Feel free to contact us.
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Looking for a taylor-made experience? Check our trip planner.
Through various ecotourism projects and initiatives, Nomad's Land aims to increase awareness of ecotourism and responsible travel, for a sustainable development of the tourism sector.
Trainings for tourist facilities of Zheti Oguz district 2023
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Teskei Geopark in Issyk Kul region
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