Top things to do in Southeast Kazakhstan

Top Choice Canyon in Southeast Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon

Over millions of years, the swift Charyn (Sharyn) River has carved a truly spectacular 150m- to 300m-deep canyon into the otherwise flat steppe some 200km east of Almaty, and time has weathered this into some weird …
Top Choice Lake in Kolsai Lakes

Kolsai Lakes National Park

Located around 12km by paved (from 2018) road from Saty village, these three spruce-and-mountain-hemmed lakes are Alpine-esque beauty at its best and a Kazakhstan highlight. As you hike between the lakes, graze on w…
Top Choice Lake in Kolsai Lakes

Kaiyndy Lake

Created by a major earthquake in 1912, this deep, cerulean lake is fed by a glacial river and is notable for its forest of drowned spruces, the branches below the water so beautifully preserved by the cold water tha…
Top Choice Lake in Ozero Bolshoe Almatinskoe Area

Big Almaty Lake

This picturesque turquoise lake, 1.6km long, rests in a rocky bowl at 2500m altitude, reflecting the Tian Shan mountains and the giant fir trees in its still depths. Border guards are present around the lake and cli…
Top Choice Gorge in Southeast Kazakhstan

Turgen Gorge

Part of the Ile-Alatau National Park and located 70km east of Almaty, this beautiful, densely forested gorge, carved out of rock by the whitewater of Turgen River, is a hiker's wonderland. The gorge sees relatively …
Top Choice Italian in Medeu & Chimbulak

Bellagio

There's no denying that the setting is idyllic: yurts with dining tables against a snowy mountain backdrop, a glacial stream crossing the property. The dishes are a mix of Italian and international ones, and there a…
Top Choice Dunes in Altyn-Emel National Park

Singing Dune

A couple of hours' drive from the settlement of Basshi that's part of the Altyn-Emel National Park, this sand dune emits a rumbling sound not unlike an aircraft engine when the weather is windy and dry and the sand …
Archaeological Site in Southeast Kazakhstan

Tamgaly Petroglyphs

The World Heritage–listed Tamgaly Petroglyphs are the most impressive of many petroglyph groups in southeastern Kazakhstan. Set in a lushly vegetated canyon near Karabastau village, 170km northwest of Almaty, they n…
Historic Site in Southeast Kazakhstan

Issyk Kurgans

Some 69km east of Almaty, the main road into the settlement of Esik/Issyk is lined with a dozen or so Saka burial mounds dating back to the early Iron Age period. This is where Kazakhstan's most significant archaeol…
Historic Site in Altyn-Emel National Park

Besshatyr Burial Mounds

Located in the western part of Altyn-Emel, near the Terekty Petroglyphs, this Iron Age site comprises 31 Scythian kurgans (ritual burial mounds), believed to be final resting places of tribal leaders and distinguish…