Assy plateau — Kaindy lake — Kolsay lake — Tekes river valley — Tuzkol lake — Shalkode valley — Ketmen pass — Chundzha hot springs

длительность

8 days

duration
доступность

July-September

season
протяжённость

1200 km

total distance
длина велочасти

300 km

cycling distance

Route description

The route runs through picturesque areas of Ile-Alatau National Park. We will drive up the Turgen gorge to the top, i.e. Assy astronomical observatory. Here the cycling route starts. The cycling route passes through the high-mountain Assy plateau. Assy plateau reaches a height of up to 3,000 meters above sea level. It is famous for rich landscape and photo enthusiasts can enlarge their collections with excellent shots! This is the land with a rich history: we will see the ancient mounds, while eagle-eyed tourists might notice the rock paintings. In summer, the plateau is used by shepherds as a pasture for cattle. Here you can see a lot of nomads’ tents (yurts) and huge herds of domestic animals. Assy plateau is beautiful in its own way at any time of the year!

Further, we will travel to the most famous Kazakhstan lakes!

Lake Kaindy is a popular tourist destination in one of the gorges of Kungoy Ala-Too, formed in the early 20th century as a result of an earthquake, when a large limestone landslide blocked the gorge. Despite the low water temperature, Lake Kaindy is popular among diving enthusiasts. The main attraction of the lake are Picea schrenkiana trees that rise above the surface of the lake. The lake is often called dead, as there are no fish in it. The maximum depth of the reservoir reaches 21 meters.

Kolsay Lakes is a system of three lakes on the north slope of the Tian Shan Mountains, in the Kolsay gorge, that is in the bridge connecting the Kungoy Ala-Too and Zailiyskiy Alatau ranges. The lakes are located 10 km to the north of the border with Kyrgyzstan, 330 km southeastward of Almaty. The lakes are called Pearls of Tien Shan. The lakes are surrounded by a pine-wood of Schrenk’s spruce. The depth of the lakes reaches 50 m. It even has rainbow trout. We will visit the third Lower Kolsay Lake.

After exploring the famous mountain lakes, we will travel by cars to the valley of the Tekes river valley for an overnight stop and will go for a short walk to the waterfalls: the first one can be seen and visited by tourists, while the second waterfall is hidden deep in the gorge.

From the Tekes river valley we will drive to a saline lake Tuzkol located in the Shalkodesu river valley, also known as Kegen valley. It is the most extensive valley in the Kazakhstan part of the Tien Shan. Its size is almost twice the size of the Assy plateau. The Shalkode valley is more than 100 km long and up to 30 km wide. The upper point of the valley is located at an elevation of 2,700 meters above the sea. The Shalkodesu river flows through the center of the valley, giving rise to one of the largest waterways of the Almaty region, which is the Charyn river.

The final chord of the bike tour will be a travel over a rough mountain pass bordering China. We will cycle to the border with China at a distance of less than 30 km. There are also many pastures and a lot of nomads’ tents (yurts) in this region. This area is almost never reached by tourists because of its remoteness.

We will finish the journey with a good rest at one of the hot springs in the Chundzha valley, where we will spend the night and enjoy swimming in a hot pool with mineral water.

Schedule

Day one
Turgen gorge — Assy astronomical observatory — Assy plateau

Cycling: 40 km
Vertical climb: 500 meters
Descent: 1,400 meters
Terrain — plateau, one mountain crossing

06:00 — 09:00 — Travel by car from Almaty to Assy astronomical observatory.
09:00 — 11:00 — Breakfast, preparation for the cycling route
11:00 — Start of the cycling route, cycling along Assy plateau and high-mountain summer pasture
17:00 — Approximate arrival time to the field camp
17:00 — 19:00 — Installation of the field camp. Leisure activities
19:00 — 20:00 — Dinner

Day two
Assy plateau — Bartogay lake — Charyn Canyon — Saty village

Cycling: up to 25 km
Vertical climb: 700 meters
Descent: 1,300 meters
Terrain — plateau, one mountain crossing

07:00 — 08:00 — Breakfast
08:00 — 09:00 — Decamp and preparation for the cycling route
09:00 — 12:00 — Cycling route from the camp to the Bartogay lake
12:00 — 13:30 — Travel by car to Charyn
13:30 — 15:00 — Cycling route to the Valley of Castles
15:00 — 16:00 — Lunch after cycling around Charyn, loading to cars for travel to another overnight stop
16:00 — 19:00 — Travel by car to Saty village and check-in at a guest house
19:00 — 20:00 — Dinner
20:00 — 22:00 — Refreshment time, a chance to take a shower

Day three
Kaindy lake

Cycling: 30 km
Vertical climb: 750 meters
Descent: 750 meters
Terrain: smooth ascent to the lake and descent to the guest house

08:00 — 09:00 — Breakfast
09:00 — 11:00 — Cycling up to Lake Kaindy
11:00 — 13:00 — Walk around the lake
13:00 — 14:30 — Descent to the guest house
14:30 — 15:30 — Lunch at the guest house
15:30 — 19:00 — Leisure activities, you can either walk, order a horse ride walk (at extra charge) along the Chilik river, ascend on foot or by bicycle to the Satinskoye gorge.
20:00 — Dinner at the guest house

Day four
Kolsay lake — Tekes river valley

Cycling: 30 km
Vertical climb: 500 meters
Descent: 500 meters
Terrain: smooth ascent to the lake and descent to the guest house

06:00 — 07:00 — Breakfast
07:00 — 08:00 — Travel by car to the third Lower Kolsay Lake
08:00 — 10:00 — Walk along the lake
10:00 — 12:30 — Descending on bicycles to the village
12:30 — 14:00 — Lunch, a chance to take a shower, packing
14:00 — 19:00 — Travel by car to Tekes river valley for an overnight stop
19:00 — 20:00 — Installation of the field camp, leisure activities
20:00 — 21:00 — Dinner

Day five
Tekes river valley — Tuzkol lake

Cycling: up to 60 km
Vertical climb: 500 meters
Descent: 1,200 meters.
Terrain: cycling along Tekes river valley

07:00 — 09:00 — Breakfast, decamp
09:00 — 11:00 — Walk to Tekes waterfall
11:00 — 16:00 — Cycling route to the overnight stop by Tuzkol lake; bring snacks with you. Break for a snack.
16:00 — 17:30 — Travel by car to the overnight stop by Tuzkol lake
17:30 — 19:00 — Installation of the field camp, leisure activities.
19:00 — 20:00 — Dinner

Day six
Tuzkol lake — Shalkode valley

Cycling: up to 60 km
Vertical climb: 700 meters
Descent: 300 metres
Terrain: cycling along Shalkode valley

08:00 — 09:00 — Breakfast
09:00 — 17:00 — Cycling route to the overnight stop before the Ketmen pass, we will make a stopover to enjoy a meal from lunch boxes
17:00 — 19:00 — Installation of the field camp, leisure activities
19:00 — 20:00 — Dinner

Day seven
Ketmen pass — Hot springs

Cycling: up to 50 km
Vertical climb: 500 meters
Descent: 2,500 metres
Terrain: mountain pass, descent to Chundzha valley

08:00 — 09:00 — Breakfast
09:00 — 10:00 — Decamp and start of the cycling route
10:00 — 15:00 — Cycling route. Cycling through the mountain pass and downhill to Chundzha valley
15:00 — 16:00 — Travel to the overnight stop at the hot springs
16:00 — 19:00 — Leisure activities, rest after the active part of the route
19:00 — 20:00 — Dinner in a cafe, leisure activities

Day eight
Chundzha hot springs — Almaty

08:00 — 10:00 — Breakfast at the hot springs
10:00 — 14:00 — Leisure activities, while you can swim in a pool, packing for a return journey
14:00 — 19:00 — Travel by cars to Almaty, a stopover in a cafe for dinner

Cost

  • Lead car

    on request
    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus (4 WD) with six seats in the passenger compartment, equipped with THULE bike racks
  • Additional car

    on request
    Mitsubishi Delica minibus (4 WD) with seven seats in the passenger compartment, equipped with THULE bike racks

FAQ

  • Transportation of participants and bicycles to the start of the cycling route and back to the city
  • Full car support along the route
  • Bicycle mechanic with an extended set of tools
  • Cycling guide accompanying the participants along the cycling part of the route
  • Cook’s services and meals along the route (except for cafes)
  • Environmental fees at the entrance to the national parks
  • General tourist equipment: tables, chairs, dishes, tent, canteen tent, washbasin, gas burners
  • Two-person tents (double occupancy), sleeping pads (to be placed in tents)
  • Accommodation in guest houses and recreation camps that are included in some routes
  • Meals in cafes during scheduled stops
  • Services not provided along the route, such as horseback riding, which is available at certain stops along the routes
  • Bike rent in case you do not have your own bike

You can rent a bike with us. You can also travel along the entire route in a minibus. It’s a bit more boring than on a bike, but you will see all the same places and landmarks.

Bike rental price:

  • Hardtail

    240 €
  • Full suspension

    400 €
  • Bicycle
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad
  • Helmet, cycling gloves and other safety equipment if you like
  • Individual medical kit (if you have any diseases)
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Cycling backpack
  • Windbreaker, raincoat
  • Clothes according to the weather for the active part of the route and for evening hours in the camp
  • Proper shoes for the active part of the route and another pair of shoes for the camp
  • Passport or other ID (you should always have one at hand, as many routes run across border areas, and there may be random checks)
  • Simple carbohydrates to consume while cycling
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