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Altai - Four Corners of Asia

  • Itinerary:
    China - Kazakhstan - Russia - Mongolia
  • Duration:
    22 days / 21 nights
  • Price:
    on request
  • Tour program
    Itinerary of «Altai - Four Corners of Asia»
    Day 01: Arrive Urumqi – Flt (China)
    Meeting on arrival assistance and transfer to hotel.
    Overnight

    Day 02: Urumqi/Kutun/Karamay – 380 kms
    Morning depart for Karamay with short stop enroute stop at Kaytun City
    Later after lunch stop we continue to Karamay more northwards in the Ili country and on arrival transfer to hotel.
    dinner and overnight

    Northern Xinjiang was part of an interesting socio political conformation which has
    come to a standstill with the rise of new geo political borders. The region called Altai means ‘Golden Mountains’, once was an important part where various Turkic speaking tribes culminated. It stretches in the northern corner of present day Xinjiang, north eastern parts of Kazakhstan, the southern part of Siberia and the western part of Mongolia.
    These Turkic speaking tribes moved in this part around 2nd millennium BC displacing a flourishing Scythian community pushing them further westwards. Scythians have left their marks with the presence of kurgans or the burial mounds spotted throughout the
    region a rich grave culture has been discovered throwing light on the way of life in Altai region. Hordes of Turkic tribes moved into settled areas as cattle breeders moving with seasonal changes. Of these Altaic tribes Tuvans are larger in number and are present through out the region. Tuvans a traditionally bound people, still observe their age old social practices which makes them a unique folk. They live in Yurts raise cattle, sheep, goats, camels and yaks. Tuvans of upper regions also raise reindeers.
    They live a very pastoral life moving from places with the changes in the climatic conditions. Tuvans are spread out in Mongolia, China and Russia.
    Chinese Tuvans live along with Kazakhs who form a considerable community in northern Xinjiang.

    Day 03: Karamay/Fuhai/Burjin – 450 kms
    Morning depart for Burjin via Fuhai – we will be heading towards the higher Altai passing through the high Gurbantunngut desert zone of the Zhungar plateau. We shall be making short photo stops enroute.
    Lunch by the banks of Ulungur Lake after Fuhai
    Afterwards continue northwest wards to Burjin as we are nearing the mountain region of Altai nearing Burjin.
    On arrival transfer to hotel.
    dinner and overnight

    Day 04: Burjin/Kanas lake/Hemu village – 160 kms
    Morning explore Burjin city with short visits and later in the afternoon proceed to Kanas Lake
    On arrival transfer to Hemu village hotel
    Short walks around the village
    Meals and overnight

    Day 05: Kanas Lake
    Full day tour to include visit to the beautiful lake, later visit a Tuvan village and talk with the local folks perhaps listen to their throat singing. We shall be visiting a local Tuvan family house and join them for a meal. Later we shall take short boat ride on the lake
    free walks, explore the village
    meals and overnight

    Day 06: Hemu village/Jemunai border/Zaisan – 260+73 kms (Kazakhstan)
    Early morning depart for the border with Kazakhstan we shall pass through the semi desert region to reach Jemunai village and proceed to the border. After the border formalities we shall change transport to our Kazakh counterpart. Later depart for Zaisan reaching the village and transfer to local Guest House
    meals and overnight

    Day 07: Zaisan/Terekty/Markakol Lake – 222 kms
    We depart for the beautiful lake of Markakol – as we drive through the desert initially crossing Black Irtysh river we start gradual climb to the higher steppes nearing the mountain zone
    climbing the Maramar pass 900 m. We arrive at the lakeside and transfer to Home stay
    meals and overnight

    Day 08: Markakol Lake – Rest Day
    Spend the day walks around the lake or into the village. Hot water bath available
    meals and overnight

    Day 09: Markakol/Austrian Road/Bukhtarma Valley – 242 kms
    Morning depart for Bukhtarma valley via Alatausky as we cross Altaisky Pass driving over Austrian Road. This high section of hair raising drive section is the short cut to enter the valley of Bukhtarma. The road was constructed by Austrian prisoners of World War I and were sent during the Czarist period for construction of road. As we climb the scenery becomes rapidly scenic. We descend into the valley to arrive at our camping spot of Maimiry
    we shall transfer to Yurts or camping
    meals and overnight

    Day 10: Bukhtarma valley
    Day excursion to to Berel and to the view point of Mount Belukha
    We shall visit the Scythian kurgans, the burial mounds
    This is a long day’s drive up and down the valley
    Meals and overnight

    Bukhtarama Valley - The Cultural Landscape of the High Altai Scythians
    The remote nature of Bukhtarma valley has preserved its natural habitat as very few tourists visit the valley. Besides its scenic beauty and changing panorama Bukhtarma
    must have been a very inviting place for the Scythian highlanders who may have resorted to this place owing to its perfect natural surroundings and climatic conditions. Scythians may have been herders here or the those semi-migratory folks who escaped the heat of the lower steppes.
    The village of Berel is an important place where we can see presence of many ‘kurgans’ or the burial mounds exist. The French archaeological mission found some surprising discoveries of well preserved mummies in the permafrost of the upper valley. A prince with all his armory and household objects, personal effects and sacrificed horses was a major discovery from a kurgan which could be dated around 3rd – 2nd BC. This is the period when several Scythian tribes resided in the region making them a formidable force exerting pressure on their neighbors. A valuable collection of objects gives us insight into the life style of the roaming tribes. Scythians were known for their excellent animal art which is depicted in their jewelry, wooden objects, totems and tattoos on the well preserved mummies. The tribal chain of Scythians was well spread upto the Pamir and beyond even into the Indus Valleys of northern Pakistan. The fabric and many other materials discovered throws light on the trading connections of these tribal groups. Before the traditional Silk Road came to light, these tribes were already involved in trading connections with places beyond Indus Valley, the Black Sea and to the Korean peninsula. Thanks to the natural resources these tribes must have enjoyed a fairly rich period their existence during the bronze and Iron periods.

    Day 11: Bukhtarma Valley/Ust Kemenogorsk – 330 kms
    Morning depart for Ust Kemenogrosk(Oskemen) a relatively easier but a long day’s ride to the capital of Kazakhstan’s major city of Altai region. Enroute short picnic stop at Katon – Karagay Maral(deer) Farm – see the antlers collected from the deer known for their medicinal properties(Pantocrine – cornus cerviparvum) containing vital components for human metabolism.
    Later continue to Ust Kemenogorsk with short stops enroute.
    On arrival transfer to hotel.
    Dinner and overnight

    Day 12: Ust Kemenogorsk/Astana - Flt
    Morning transfer to airport for flight to Astana – on arrival transfer to hotel.
    Later we shall do the sightseeing tour of new City of Astana, a beautiful architectural complex
    see the buildings with modern trends in traditional themes.
    Meals and overnight

    Day 13: Astana/Novosibirsk – Flt
    Novosibirsk/Barnaul – 221 kms
    Morning transfer to airport for flight to Novosibirsk – on arrival we shall proceed to Akademgorodok (scientific village)
    Lunch at local restaurant
    Visit of the museum see the famous Pazyryk finds. Later we shall drive to Barnaul and on arrival transfer to hotel.
    Dinner and overnight

    Day 14: Barnaul/Gorno Altai/Artybash Village – 403 kms
    Early morning depart for Lake Teletskoe we shall make several short stops enroute
    Lunch stop at Bysck
    Later proceed to Gorno Altaysk we shall visit Anokhin National Museum to see the new arrival – The Ice Lady of Pazyryk. We shall visit the museum and later proceed to Artybash on the northern bank of Lake Teletskoe. On arrival transfer to a local hotel by the lake
    Dinner and overnight

    Pazyryk Burial sites:
    Although Peter I had laid the foundation first scientific expedition to Siberia and Altai region but it was the genius approach of Catherine II that a more scientific approach led to the expeditions between 1768-1774 which reached the Altai region and beyond. It was in the spirit of pursuit for the greater exploration into Siberia that led many academic expeditions covering a vast area of interest. The search for such motives continued till the fall of the last Tczar whereby creating a period of standstill till it was during the Soviet Union that once again expeditions restarted. Pazyryk was a rich pastoral culture in Altai where the tribes moved through out the region carving out their own areas of administration and control. The finds from various kurgans or the burial mounds has revealed some surprising facts into the daily life and culture. These tribes were of Scythian origin divided into various sub-branches. These tribes had some sort of control over the trade routes as early as 2500 years ago whereas the term Silk Road was not invented. These tribesmen were trading in horses with China and as far off places like India and Persia. The piles of objects collected from the burial mounds contain imported items like carpets, silks felt hangings. The bodies found in
    the permafrost are very well distinguishable and tattoo designs look like fresh markings depicting animals, birds and some legendary elements.
    In 1993 archaeologist Natalia Polosmak’s found was a perfectly preserved mummy of a princely lady. The coffin was stylized with rich carvings of snow leopards and deer. Her very neatly embalmed with peat and bark and she had high felt headdress. Her body bore finest tattoo markings in animals and birds. This beautiful lady was nicely dressed in crimson and white striped woolen skirt with felt stockings. Along her were also buried six well adorned horses with elaborate harnesses. The other mummies were similarly richly dressed with their items of daily usage and armaments.

    Day 15: Artybash Village/Chulyshman – boat ride
    Morning boat ride to the southern part of Lake Teletskoe and on arrival depart by jeep to Chulyshman with short stops enroute at Altayan villages, the adventurous jeep drive and the curious rock formations – the so called stone mushrooms!. On arrival we shall camp by the River side
    Meals and overnight

    Day 16: Chulyshman/Ust Ulagan/Kurai – 200 kms
    Morning proceed to Kurai continue via the adventurous Katu Yaryk Pass across to Chuya river valley on the other side. The sharp bends are at times quite scary but offer some awe inspiring views of Ak Tru mountain range. En-route stop at Ust Ulagan to visit the Pazyryk site of the beautiful mummies. We shall visit kurgans the burial sites of Scythian aristocracy.
    Later continue to Kurai and on arrival transfer to a Guest House
    Meals and overnight

    Day 17: Kurai/Tashanta/Tsagaan Nuur – 201 kms
    Morning depart for Mongolian border point – after the Russian border formalities we drive to the Mongolian part dismount our vehicles to go through the Mongolian border formalities. We shall meet our Mongolian counterpart and proceed southwards to Tsagaan Nuur. This is wide open scenery with distant Altai peaks On arrival at the lake Tsagaan Nuur transfer to a Ger camp
    Meals and overnight

    Day 18: Tsagaan Nuur/Olgii/Tsengel Khairkhan – 210 kms
    Morning depart for Tsengel we shall make short stop in Olgii before proceeding further.
    continue to Tsengel Khairkhan with beautiful views of the mountain scenery situated in the foothills of Altai. On arrival transfer to a Ger camp.
    We shall spend our afternoon visiting the local Kazakh and Uriankhai communities which live here since centuries and forms and integral part of Mongolia. We shall visit felt makers and other handicraft makers. We will also meet and see the eagle hunters who are known to be the best in the world. Also see the traditional archers known since the times of the Great Mongols
    Meals and overnight

    Day 19: Tsengel Kharikhan/Tolbo Lake/Olgii – 260 kms
    Morning we shall leave for Tolbo lake more southwards and we may spot Kazakh Yurts and may have a chance of seeing an eagle hunt. After short walks around we shall depart for Olgii in the late afternoon
    On arrival transfer to hotel.
    Meals and overnight

    Day 20: Olgii
    Nadaam Festival in Olgii
    We shall take part in the most festive occasion of a Mongol, Nadaam Festival. This festival is widely popular and celebrated throughout Mongolia by all the tribal communities of the land.
    This comprises of horse racing, traditional Mongol wrestling and archery. We shall people in all the best of their costumes of various colors come from nearby countryside
    Meals and overnight

    Day 21: Olgii/Ulanbataar – Flt
    Morning flight to Ulaan Baatar and on arrival transfer to hotel.
    We shall visit the venue of Nadaam Festival in the capital. This is one of main festival of the city and we have the opportunity of seeing a more bigger celebration
    Meals and overnight

    Day 22: Ulaanbataar/Depart
    Transfer to airport for your destination flight
  • Details
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  • Prices
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      Price available on request.

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