Saturday, September 17, 2011

Almaty Adventure: Destination Almaty - The Attractions


We stayed for 4 days and nights in Almaty. We researched on the internet before the trip and ended up hiring a guide from City Tours for about ~$600 USD for both of us 3 of the days to take us on a city tour, Charyn Canyon and Issyk Lake. $600 USD is not cheap but decided against trying to figure it out by ourselves would be too difficult due to the lack of English speakers. It turned out to be a good decision as the tours were pretty good especially the excursion to Issyk Lake due to having a really good guide that went above and beyond by explaining the history, culture and background of Kazakhstan.

The city tour was your "typical" run of the mill city tour showing the highlights and monuments of the city like Panfilov Park, Medeu Gorge and Kok Tobe Hill. The excursion to Charyn Canyon was underwhelming due to maybe unfair comparisons to the Grand Canyon and it took a good 3 hours on a bumpy road to get there. We did however really enjoy the trip to Issyk Lake. The lake was blue and clean and it was really nice to get some clean air and hike/walk around the lake. I was definitely interested in coming back to Kazakhstan to visit other lakes for some camping and hiking!

Panfilov Park:

Ascension Cathedral
Memorial Flame

Heroes Monument

Kok Tobe Hill:

Kok Tobe

Cable car from Kok Tobe
Beatles Tribute at Kok Tobe
Medeu Gorge (Outdoor ice skating ring in the winter):


 Issyk Lake:

Charyn Canyon:

$5 for a ride on the Lada to take us around the Canyon

River in the Canyon

On the one day we didn't have a tour planned, we explored the city by ourselves. We walked around the hotel, checked out some stores and went to the National Museum which had some interesting exhibits like a replica of the "Golden Man".

National Museum
 Random Pictures of Almaty (as you can see, nothing like Borat!):

Paris in Almaty?

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