Sights

Near Berel you can visit the excavations of a famous group of Scythian burial mounds, where in 1997 archaeologists discovered the amazingly preserved body of a 4th-century-BC prince, buried with several horses and carriages.

Guided Tours

The season of easiest movement and decent weather is short in the Altay: mid-June to the end of September. Caravanistan (www.caravanistan.com) works with several local tour operators in Altay and can organise pretty much any tailor-made trip you want, from treks and rafting to horse riding and homestays. Imperia Turizma offers 12-day trips from Ust-Kamenogorsk, with a week's trekking in the Belukha foothills, for 75,000T per person in groups of around 10 (bring your own tent and sleeping gear). Altai Expeditions offers a trip to the foot of Belukha with packhorses, English-speaking guide, cook, tents and sleeping mats included, and some nights in guesthouses or hotels, for €2430/1890/1440 per person in two-/four-/six-person groups. It also does a 13-day 'Altai Lakes' trip, with eight days on horseback, for €3200/2550 per person in two-/four-person groups.

Sleeping

Accommodation in Altay consists almost exclusively of homestays in villages such as Urunkhaika (the gateway to Lake Markakol) and Poperechnoe (northeast of Ridder). There is also an appealing spa hotel in a remote corner of Altay, near the famed Mt Belukha.

Eating

Home-cooked meals can be organised at all village homestays. The region's sole spa hotel's rates include full-board.