What do we know about Kazakhstan? It is the ninth largest country in the world and one of the countries of Central Asia standing on the Silk Road. What we do not know about Kazakhstan is that the country is a real wonderland with so many natural wonders and historical treasures. The country is not a popular touristic destination but as soon as you start exploring Kazakhstan, a whole new world will open up before you.
Kazakhstan presents a dramatic collision of eras. Two major cities, Almaty and Nur-Sultan are super modern European cities with futuristic skyscrapers, highways, large shopping malls and an active nightlife. While outside the cities, you have those endless deserts, snowy peaks of Tian Shan, a herd of horses on the green valleys and the traces of ancient civilizations on the way of great Silk Road. And finally, the best way to get the most of Kazakhstan is adventure travel. Here are some of the extreme ways to spend time in nature.
Adventure Travel in Kazakhstan: trekking in Tian Shan mountains
One of the most popular natural wonders that attract the lovers of trekking, camping and mountaineering is Tian Shan Mountains. Mountains of Heaven (Tengri Tagh), this is how the Tian Shan is called, and they are really heavenly beautiful with snowy peaks in the clouds, almost blended with the sky. Trekking in the North Tian Shan is not only the views of the mountain range but also clear mountain lakes, deep gorges, rich flora and fauna and the authentic lifestyle of nomads.
The starting point of the trekking route is Almaty, the second largest city of Kazakhstan and the major touristic centre. The next stop is Big Almaty Lake in Zailiysky Alatau Mountain Range that is a true wonder of Central Asia. The lake changes its colour depending on the season; it may be deep green, clear turquoise and grey. The trail continues through coniferous forests and vast alpine meadows. The view will gradually change into glaciers and finally, majestic Tian Shan Mountains will open before your eyes.
Adventure Travel in Kazakhstan: Rock climbing
Active sports and adventure tourism is getting more and more popular in Kazakhstan. It is great because this is another big step towards attracting tourists and promoting the country as a wonderful destination for active tourism.
On the vast territory of Kazakhstan, there are hundreds of destinations for adventure and one of the most popular routes for climbing is Tamgaly-Tas rocks in the canyon of the Ile river. This is the oldest route for rock climbing in the country. There are about 50 climbing routes of varying difficulty for beginners and professionals. The location is 110 km from Almaty, the nearest inhabited area is 40 km from the canyon. More often tourists organize camping spending daytime climbing in the canyon. The best season to visit Tamgaly-Tas rocks is from March to May and from September to November.
Adventure Travel in Kazakhstan: Off-road tour
One of the most spectacular places in Kazakhstan is Charyn Canyon in Zhetysu region (the name of the region means the Land of Seven Rivers). This is the most picturesque region of the country with all-natural wonders that are worth to visit.
Charyn Canyon stretching 154 km along the Charyn River (the deepest river of the Northern Tian Shan Mountains) resembles the Grand Canyon and gives you the same emotions of freedom. The canyon formed for 12 million years and as a result, we have an impressive picture of red rocks rising high. The unique shapes of the volcanic lava rocks have got names like Valley of the Castles, the Ghosts Gorge and the Devil’s Gorge.
It is advised to spend at least two days in the canyon exploring all the corners and conquering all the crazy rocks of Charyn Canyon. Still, you can take a wild off-road ride through the canyon in the spirit of the Wild West.
Adventure Travel in Kazakhstan: Rafting
Another great way to enjoy bountiful gifts of nature of Kazakhstan is rafting or kayaking on one of the rivers of Central Asia. For beginners and family trips Ili river is the best choice. This is more like a boat trip with amazing views. The best season for rafting lasts from the second half of April to June. During summer the temperature is above 40 degrees and rafting can be harder.
For professionals, extreme rafting is possible on the river Chilik. The glacier-fed river starts from Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains and stretches for 240 km. The rafting season lasts from the second half of June to the second half of September and even early October when the river is of 2 meters depth.
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