The road to Tyungur branches off the northern Chuysky Trakt at Cherga and crosses a delightfully isolated, mostly forested area via Baragash. After the high grasslands of Ust-Kan, there are glimpses of the distant white tops from the Kyrlykskiy Pass as the road descends into the Koksa Valley.
This rundown and isolated village, whose name means ‘white stone’ in the Altai language, commands a dramatic area of craggy valleys. It could make a base for mountain adventures in the lovely Northern Chuya Range with its challenging mountaineering on Mt Aktru (4044m) and Mt Maashey (4177m) or for trekking to the Shavlinsky Lakes for idyllic mountain views.
Translating literally as ‘10 gods’ (for the 10 surrounding peaks), this large village isn’t especially appealing but it makes a good base for several excursions to the north of town. The rote basic Kok Boru Hotel is right in the centre of town. About 22km north of Onguday, the village of Tuekta has several kurgany (burial mounds).
Tyungur & Mt Belukha
The holy grail for many mountaineers visiting Altai is Mt Belukha (4506m), Siberia’s highest peak. This is no peak for amateurs, but recreational hikers can hike around Belukha's base, which has some of the the best scenery Altai has to offer. The catch, of course, is accessibility.