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  • International Expedition: Altai Golden Mountains

  • Destination: Around Altai Mountains including Russia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan
    Accommodation: hotels, tourist camps, ger-camps, alpine base camp, tent camps
    Lengths: 23 nights / 24 days
    Adventure level: extreme
    Total driving km: 5000 km
    Vehicle type: 4WD Japanese jeep
    Season: 15 May – 15 September
  • The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh, Ob and Yenisei have their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the Turkic people’s birthplace. The name in Turkic Altai means Al -gold, tau – mount, the Mountains of Gold. The proposed Altaic language family takes its name from the mountain range. A vast area of Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Mount Belukha and the Ukok Plateau – comprise a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai. The region represents the most complete sequence of vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation. Altai Mountains has globally endangered mammals such as snow leopard and the Altai argali.

  • Russian Part:

    Day 1.

    Belokurikha resort town. Professional “Belovodie- tur” team will greet you at the international airport of Barnaul or Novosibirsk and transfer to the four-star hotel “Belovodie” in Belokurikha. Belokurikha is a federal resort city located on a spur of the Chergiyski ridge at the elevation of 250m above sea level, in the valley of a beautiful mountain river Belokuriha. In the South the resort is surrounded by high mountains with fantastic granite rock formations. Belokuriha competes with the Crimea and the Caucasus in the quantity of sunny days. The fresh air of Belokurikha is often compared with Swiss Davos. The territory of Belokurikha resort exceeds 400 hectares. Numerous sanatoriums, comfortable hotels and medical centers are situated here. Large parks with decorative trees marks the center of the place. After having a rest, we will start our first day tour of exploring Belokurikha. We will have an opportunity to reach the peak Tserkovka in a tram cabin and have a walk to the picturesque rocky banks of the river Belokurikha, which springs from the southern slopes of the pick Sinyuha, and enjoy countless waterfalls. Overnight in the international hotel “Belovodie”. www.belovodie.su

    Day 2.

    Artybash village. Today we will visit the Regional Museum and the exhibition of Nikolay Roerich. Nicolay Roerich was an outstanding artist, philosopher, archaeologist, teacher and traveler. He explored Altai more than 20 years and came to the conclusion, that cultures of the West and East have the same origin in Central Asia. Then we will visit Aya lake with wonderful views and warm bathing opportunity. After crossing mountain river Katun, we are in the Archeological park “The Crossroad of the World”, where the Tavdinskie caves are waiting for you on the territory of the special economic zone “Skyblue Katun”. Here you can enjoy an artificial lake with well equipped beach and aquatic attractions. On the way, we will see the lake Mangerok, where water-nut chillum-registered in the Red Book of Russia. We will also visit the capital of the Republic of Altai Gorno- Altaisk with a unique regional museum founded in 1920. The valuable scientific collection of historian C. Gulaev is the core of it: rock patterns, archeological rarities and other historical findings. Overnight in the tourist camp “Yurtok”, the village Artybash.

    Day 3.

    Teletskoe lake. Today is a day of exploration of the Teletskoe lake and its treasures. The Teletskoe lake is situated in the north-east of the Altai Mountains. It is one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in Russia.You will cruise through the lake and visit the most picturesque places: waterfalls Korbu and Kishta, fruit gardens in Yalu, Stone and Kamginskiy bays.The east bank of the lake is Altai National Park- the biggest wildlife refuge in Russia. Overnight in the hotel “Altyn-Tuu”, on the hill of Karsay, near the village Balikcha.

    Day 4.

    Balikcha-Ust-Ulagan-Aktash. After a pleasant breakfast we will start our route: Balikcha-Ust-Ulagan-Aktash. We will ride through a scenic canyon of the mountain river Tchulyshman, then through the wild mountain pass Katu-Yaric. The Ulagan plateau is famous for the discovery of archaeologists of Novosibirsk- the tattooed mummy of Scythian princess. Today the Scythian princess and all the findings are located in the Hermitage in St Petersburg. On our way we will visit the museum of Paziric culture in the village Ust-Ulagan. Then we will get to the mountain pass Ulaganskiy, which provides the majestic vies on the South-Tchuyskiy ridge. Down the pass we will drive through the Red Gates. Overnight in the alpinist camp Aktru.

    Day 5.

    Aktru and Seven Lakes. Today is a day of relaxation in the alpinist camp Akrtu and surrounding area. We will visit to Aktru camp located at the elevation of 2000m promises to be an exciting event: unusual beauty and primeval wildness of the alpine landscape, the cleanest mountain air, plenty of rivers with icy water are unforgettable. The highest peaks are higher than 4000 m. The mountain slopes are covered with ice and snow all year around. Here you can make one day trip to the Blue lake and Cascade of Seven lakes or conquer the peak “Cupola”, under the supervision of an experienced instructor. In the evening you can enjoy a bath-house with switch of green birch twigs and beer on the hot stones.

    Day 6.

    Kuraiskaya Steppe. After a relaxing day in Aktru, we will continue our adventures journey and cross the Kuraiskaya Steppe - a panoramic hollow between the Kuraiskiy and the South-Chuysciy ridges. In the steppe we will see the first huge stone obo-Mongolian memorable worship of spirits. Now the route leads to the river Chuya. Soon we will drive to the Red hills. We will meet the last trees here. The limitless space of stone desert- the Tchuyskaya Steppe opens wide. It is the historian Altai Gate. We will visit the museum of the Kazakh culture in the village Tzana-Aul. Overnight in the hotel Tzana-Aul.

    Mongolian part:

    Day 7.

    Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Today we will arrive in Mongolia. Our wonderful safari ride will start from today. We will drive to the Altai Tavan-Bogd National Park, where we can see huge stone carvings. We will also see the icy summit of Tavan Bogd Uul, the highest point of the Mongolian Altai. Then we will drive to the Hoton-nur lake. Overnight in the ger camp.

    Day 8.

    Khoton lake. We will have a full day relaxing on the Hoton-nur lake shore. We will have an opportunity for fishing or taking photos of surrounding landscapes. In the evening we will taste a traditional Mongolian dish Horhog- mutton ribs stewed in a pressure cooker.

    Day 9.

    Ulgii. In the morning we will drive to the capital of aimak-Ulgiy. On the way we will enjoy the Mongolian Steppe. We will visit an Ulgiy fair, where you can buy various souvenirs. In the afternoon we will come to the beautiful lake Tolbo-nur. Tolbo-nur is a mountain freshwater lake. You can bathe there, but water is ice-cold. Memorable plaque is an evidence of the big battle between the Red Army and the White Guard in 1923. Overnight in a tent camp on the bank of Tolbo-nur.

    Day 10.

    Khovd. After a peaceful breakfast on the shore of Tolbo-nur we will start our trip to the town Hovd. On the way we will ride through the valley of the river Khovd and make photos of the mountain summit Tzambagarav-Ula. Every inch of the land can be seen in the pictures of N. Rerix. In the afternoon we will explore Khovd. We will also visit the Kazakh mosque Ahmet-Ali-Megit, Buddhist monastery Nuremel Amagulai Giyd, a memorial of Mongolian hero Amarsanaa. Overnight in the hotel Manhan.

    Day 11.

    Mankhan. All day long we will explore the village of Manhan. There are no people, no cars, no houses here, but the roads of Mongolia.In the afternoon we will visit a mystic cave of Gurvan- Hoyd-Tsenheriyn. This cave is a holy place for Mongols. Altai shamans perform ceremonial dancing here. The energy of this place helps to get the lusid mind. Overnight in the hotel of Manhan.

    Day 12.

    Bulgan province. This day we will continue our trip from Manhan to Bulgan province. On the way we will see the Goat hill with petroglyphic drawings. Perhaps we will see a fox, crossing the Red mountain pass. Then we will drive through the river Bodontch. The construction of Russian-Chinese road is planned here.

    Chinese part:

    Day 13.

    Taikishken. After early breakfast we will cross the border in Bulgan-Taikishken. Then we will get to the territory of the Chinese Altai. Our perfect road goes through the Zhungary. From the south-western side we will see the desert Gurbantungut- the Chinese Gobi. The river Irtysh springs from here. It is a wild, mountain river, that is why it is called Kara Irtysh. Kara means black. We will also visit Alashan hydrothermal wells. They are situated in the village Karamak. The temperature of water is 30 - 60 degree. You can bathe there even in winter. It is known to altai nations from pre historical ages. The valley of butterflies is not far from the wells. Then we will drive through the mountain serpentine. Overnight in the hotel on the Kanas lake.

    Day 14.

    Kanas Lake. The day to explore the Kanas lake. It is the deepest freshwater lake in China. Three blue bays are waiting for you. A fascinating isle the Chinese Dragon is in the centre of the lake. This day we will visit ethnographic village Dengelek and the territory of Kanas National Park. Overnight in the hotel in Kanas.

    Kazakhstan part:

    Day 15.

    East Kazakhstan. We leave China and drive to the East Kazakhstan through Zimunai-Maikapchagai. It is a territory of dunes, thorns and camels. Coolness of the lake Zaisan saves from blazing winds of Karakum dunes. You can sun-bathe on the uninhabited banks. On the southern bank of the lake, in the Zaisan Plain the Town of silent statues is located: masterpieces made by the wind that carved towers, spikes and canyons in clay and sandstone. From the Valley of winds we will drive to the Markakol lake. The lake Markakol is surrounded by taiga. It is the centre of the Markakol National Park. Overnight on the lake Markakol.

    Day 16.

    Rakhmanovskie Spring. This day we will drive through the ridge of the South Altai to the sanatorium “Rakhmanovskie Springs”. We will get there from Berel. The comfortable sanatorium is located on the bank of the Big Rahmanovskoe lake. You can go to the mountain pass Glad for an hour. From this pass we can see the peak Belukha. If you like primival nature, you will be able to visit the botanical geological natural area «Rakhmanovskie Springs”. Countless mountain rivers flow out the Big and Small Berelskiy glaciers. You will see the Natural Park “ Ukok Plateau”. The mountain river Kokkol flows out the Ukok plateau. You will see the Kokkol waterfall(60m) here.

    Day 17.

    Rakhmanovskie Spring. All day we will explore the territory surrounding the sanatorium “Rahmanovskie Springs”. We will be near the highest summit of Siberia Belukha. Belukha is the highest two headed peak of Altai. It consists of the West Belukha(4440m) and the East Belukha(4506m). It is a holy place. A legendary land Shambala is located here.You can also bathe in hydrothermal wells within the territory of the sanatorium.

    Day 18.

    Bukhtarma. The road to the Bukhtarma Reservoir goes through the river Bukhtarma. On the way we will see majestic barrows, which are called Royal. To the west there are 19 stone steles, their height increas with the distance from the barrows.Then we will see the Bukhtarma Reservoir. The Reservoir is formed by the hydroelectric dam on the river Irtysh. It consists of two parts: the river part-along the valley of the Irtysh and the lake Zaisan.The Bukhtarma Reservoir suits perfectly for swimming, sunbathing and fishing. Overnight in the comfortable tourist camp “Blue Bay”, where you can relax on the sandy banks of the warm Reservoir.

    Second Russian part:

    Day 19.

    Kurya. This day we will cross the Kazakh-Russian border Uba-Mihailovka. Our next move is Kurya-the native town of Mikail Kalashnikov-the designer of the best assault rifle AK-47. Next stop is Mountain Kolivan. It is a center of stone cutting with such masterpieces as the lake named White, where fascinating granite rocks form special panoramic views of the place. Swimming is pleasant here at any time. The water is warm and soft. Overnight in the tourist camp “Belovodie” on the White lake.

    Day 20.

    Mountain Kolivan. The whole day we will explore the Mountain Kolivan-the center of the stone-cutting and mining industry in Altai. Miracles of engineering, personal skills and nature are inalianable from each other. Every inch is history. We will start our excursion from the lake Savushki and the peak Sinyuha-the outpost of huge mountain system in the steppe Altai. The peak provides a fascinating panoramic view. Here you can see the Kolivan stone-cutting plant, which was founded by the Ural manufacture A. Demidov. A Kolivan Museum on the plant territory has to be seen. The altai stone collections and the masterpiece bowls pictures are to admire.We will also visit the village Kolivanstroy and deposits of jasper.

    Day 21.

    Belovodie. We will continue our discovery of the land “Belovodie”. One more time we will drive from people to the forests and mountains, go up the river Charysh. During our journey we will see villages Bugrishin and Tulata. The river Charysh is the place of famous rafting of V. Putin.Then we will drive to the village Charyshskoe and relax in the tourist camp “The Bear’s corner”.

    Day 22.

    Ust Kumir and Ust Kan. Today you we will visit the village Sentelec and Siberian stags farm, where Altai deer are bread. You can take heeling baths with deer antlers extracts. Then you will drive through villages Ust-Kumir and Ust-Kan, surrounding mountains. Overnight in the tent camp on the river Kumir.

    Day 23.

    Black and White Anuy. We will start our last but unforgettable day. We will leave Ust-Kan and drive through the valleys of the rivers Black and White Anuy. We will explore the Denisova cave. The Denisova cave is a unique archaeological complex, where the stopping places of different historian ages dating back to 400 000 BC were discovered. This cave is commonly known as genetic stock of Euroasia. Then we will go 3 km to the waterfalls Shinok. The height of the largest waterfall is 60 meters. Over the waterfalls there is the mountain “Oreshnaya”. A wonderful cedar grove is situated here. Our adventure comes to the end. We will finish our expedition in the resort city Belokurikha at the comfortable hotel “Belovodie”.

    Day 24.

    SponsorAds. Transfer to the international airport Barnaul or Novosibirsk.

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