What do you know about the largest metropolis of Kazakhstan? More than 2 million people live in it, it is located right in the heart of the mountains. Why do you need to go there for the weekend? We will tell you!
The nature of Almaty is an amazing and unique range of landscapes: picturesque mountains, foothills, gorges of the Dzungarian and Zailiysky Alatau, cool coniferous and deciduous forests, desert and semi-desert zones of the Altyn-Emel and Charyn national parks, steppes, river network and their marshy deltas, comparable to the sea Balkhash and secluded mountain lakes. Each of these locations is unique and of interest to ecotourists and backpackers. And most importantly, it is easy and quick to get to them — a maximum of three hours by car from Almaty. If you are a nature lover without a long break from urban comfort, then Almaty is the perfect city for you.
Almaty is warm from mid-spring (+18-23ºC) to late autumn (+8-16ºC). In summer, the temperature usually stays around +24-30ºC. At the same time, the city is surrounded by greenery and is full of cafes, restaurants with summer terraces where you can drink soft drinks and eat delicious food.
Almaty is famous for the most extensive «flea markets» — shoes from five bucks. As well as an abundance of malls, international branded boutiques. The price-quality ratio in restaurants and cafes is very democratic, you can eat tasty and inexpensive. The city is full of hotels and hostels. Well, there’s always airbnb and couchsurfing. A night in the hostel will cost you about 3,000 tenge. The catering sector offers the entire price range, so you can easily find a place where you can eat delicious and satisfying food for about 1,000 tenge.
For a kazakh, taking care of a traveler is a tradition, a sacred duty and at the same time a pleasure. Therefore, you will be welcome in any party — they are very friendly to tourists here. In Almaty you will find something to do every day: festivals, concerts, parties — the cultural program never stops.
Have you ever dreamed of trying real plov? Authentic lagman? Incredible manty with dzhusay or epic beshbarmak? Have you heard about kumiss or shubat? Oriental cuisine is waiting for you. Almaty is the epicenter of oriental cuisine: Uzbek, Chinese, Dungan, Uighur and Kazakh cuisine in all its multicolored variety. It’s a taste explosion and a hurricane of spices. Come try it! It’s very delicious and inexpensive only in Almaty.
6. Charyn Canyon
This is ancient, extinct everywhere, but not here, the Sogdian ash tree. This is the Mysterious Valley of Castles. The reserve zone «Small Buguts», where the gazelles listed in the Red Book. What else? Charyn Canyon, which has existed for millions of years and preserves the memory of bygone eras. For thousands of years, time has piled up on its red, weather-beaten surface. Who knows what interesting things you will run into, walking between the «jaws of the ancient» canyon. Charyn National Park is a picturesque time machine that will take you back to prehistoric times, because almost nothing has changed here in 12 million years…
7. Buddha in the Tamgaly Gorge
According to legend, in the 10th century, when Buddhist missionaries stopped near the Ili River, an earthquake occurred and a large piece of rock fell to the ground. The missionaries took this as a sign urging them to return to India. Before leaving, they carved three Buddha images on this piece of rock. They say that if you touch the image of the Buddha in the Tamgaly gorge, your most cherished dream will come true.
8. City of Apples
This is how the historical name of Almaty is translated. The elders remember that once numerous apple trees grew along the ditches drowning in greenery, and ripe fruits of aport fell under the feet of passers-by. The delicate aroma and taste of these apples is still the pride of the townspeople. By the way, the weight of one apple of the aport variety can reach up to 500 grams. Every year in the fall, the city hosts Apple fest — a big apple festival. At this festival, you can taste dozens of varieties of apples, participate in the harvest and get an unforgettable experience.
9. Singing Dune
A trip to the Singing Dune of the Altyn-Emel National Park will be one of the most memorable events in your life. According to legend, Genghis Khan himself and his fighting companions were buried under the sands of the dune. In their honor, the dune emits a mysterious hum, vaguely similar to a sad song. The park is a two-hour drive from Almaty.
10. Kaindy Lake
On its mirror surface, as if a forest of masts had grown. These are the trunks of ancient fir trees that grew here long before the appearance of the lake. Kaindy lake, by the way, is a little more than 100 years old. After the earthquake, the water flooded the gorge and the fir trees growing in it. If you are a diving enthusiast, then under the water you will see that the dead fir trees have found a new life. The spruce branches preserved by water are bizarrely overgrown with algae, whose dense green cascades touch the very bottom. Sometimes it resembles mysterious sunken ships, sometimes — green underwater canyons. The most importantly thing is that nothing alive: neither fish, insects, nor amphibians live in the lake. What secrets does the silent underwater forest keep?