4 days tour to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in siberian wilderness
Golden Mountains of Altai
In 2018 will be the 20th anniversary since the Altai was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Golden Mountains of Altai nomination includes Altaisky Nature Reserve and Lake Teletskoye, Katunsky Nature Reserve and Mount Belukha and the Ukok Plateau. Celebrate this event visiting all the UNESCO Sites of the Altai Mountains and hoisting your flag in those off the beaten destinations extremely essential for global biodiversity conservation.
Map of the Great Altai
Red lines - state borders of Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan

Great Altai or Altai Mountains is a mountainous transboundury region at the intersection of four countries - Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan

Area, outlined by the blue line
- the Altai Republic (venue of current trip)

Map of Day 1
Red line - itinerary of the tour;
Blue points - hotels and must-see places

1- airport of Gorno-Altaisk;
2 - Altai Village Hotel (on the bank of Lake Teletskoye, UNESCO Heritage Site);
3 - Korbu Waterfall, Altaisky Nature Reserve (UNESCO Heritage Site)

Map of Day 2
Red line - itinerary;
Blue points - hotels and must-see places

1- Altai Village Hotel (on the bank of Lake Teletskoye, UNESCO Heritage Site);
2 - Mars
3 - Severo-Chuisky Ridge;
4 - Geizernoye Lake;
5 - Inegen Lodge

1-2 - helicopter transfer
2-5 - bus transportation
Map of Day 3
Red line - helicopter itinerary;
Blue points - hotels and must-see places;
green line - optional helicopter route to the Ukok Plateau

1 - Inegen Lodge;
2 - Mt Beluka and Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge (UNESCO Heritage Site)
3 - the Ukok Plateau (UNESCO Heritage Site), optional

Map of Day 4
Red line - itinerary of the tour;
Blue points - hotels and must-see places
1 - Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge;
2 - shaman;
3 - Altai Resort Hotel
tour program
Day 1. Lake Teletskoye
Accommodation: Altai Village Hotel
Full board meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner - Altai Village restaurant
Distance: helicopter - 160 km (1 hour), ship - 50 km (4 hours)

Upon arrival in Gorno-Altaisk you will be transferred to Altai Village Hotel by helicopter. The hotel is situated on the bank of Lake Teletskoye. You will be served the breakfast at the restaurant of the hotel surrounded by majestic views of the lake. Then you will have spare time for leisurely walking, enjoying the lake and breathing invigorating alpine air in coniferous forest. Also you can choose various SPA&activities in the hotel on your own. After the lunch you will enjoy the astonishing landscapes of the Lake Teletskoye during the cruise by ship and excursion to the Korbu Waterfall (4 hours).
Return to the hotel and leisure time
The deepest lake in the Altai Mountains (325 m) and one of the deepest lakes in Russia. Inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the most pristine places it is commonly known as the Baikal's junior brother. Among the indigenous inhabitants the name of the lake is Altyn-Kyol or Golden Lake. Numerous tributaries (over 80) cascading to the lake with stunning waterfalls. The most picturesque is the Korbu Waterfall (12 meters high). Lake Teletskoye gives the birth to the only river - the Biya River, one of two sourcing rivers of the Ob River. The last one is ranked among the 10 largest rivers of the planet. Lake's right side is conserving as a part of the Altaisky Nature Reserve.
Day 2. Wonders of Chuisky Trakt
Accommodation: Inegen Lodge
Full board meal: breakfast - Altai Village restaurant, lunch at the cafe of tourist camp on the way, dinner - traditional Altaic cuisine at the cafe of Inegen Lodge
Distance: helicopter - 230 km, bus - 170 km, hiking - 6-7 km

Program of the third day consists of several parts. In the morning we'll fly over Lake Teletskoye towards the most powerful and awesome waterfall of Altai - the Uchar or Large Chulchinsky Waterfall by helicopter. The waterfall is a part of the Altaisky Nature Reserve (UNESCO Heritage Site). It's cascading from the 160 meters height through gigantic rock blocks.
Then you will enjoy the breathtaking flight over the Chulyshman River Canyon - hardly approachable gorge in the valley of the largest tributary of Lake Teletskoye.
Day 2. Wonders of Chuisky Trakt (continuation)
After crossing the Ulaganskoye Plateau and the Kuraisky Ridge, we'll land in the Chuiskaya Steppe - the coldest and most arid location in Altai. Its semi-deserts and highlands are more typical for neighboring Mongolia rather than Altai mountain ridges with stretches of coniferous forests and cascading rivers. In the outskirts of the steppe we'll visit the Kyzyl-Chin River valley. Due to its surreal geologic features embracing a various kind of red hues and extremely similar to Mars landscapes, this site is also called Mars. Sculptured by powers of nature millions of years ago these formations originated long before the birth of the Altai Mountains. Here we'll start our bus route along the Chuisky Trakt, the famous mountain road in the Altai, appeared long ago as a caravan road between Siberia, Central Asia and eventually China and Middle East.
Moving further along the Chuisky Trakt we'll arrive to the Kuraiskaya Steppe. This location provides the astounding scenes of Altai. Snow capped Severo-Chuisky mountain ridge, ascending to the 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above the see level, and winding silver band of the Chuya River will evoke your heart. This extremely magnificent site will be the very appropriate place for the lunch.
Afterwards we'll explore small mountainous Geizernoye Lake (lit. geyser) in forest. It has unusual patterns on turquoise surface due to air bubbles on its bottom.
We'll immerse into history and mythology of ancient inhabitants of the Altai Mountains while exploring rock drawings of Kalbak-Tash site.
We'll need to have a stop to admire with confluence of two grandiose rivers of Altai - the Katun and Chuya merging.
Precipitously rocks so-called boms will ascend above the road on the whole itinerary of our trip along the Chuisky Trakt.
The final point of the bus route will be Inegen Lodge situated not far from the confluence of the Katun and Chuya rivers in a scenic valley. We will descend to the lodge from the top of a breathtaking windswept pass.
After check-in into the lodge you will immerse in nomadic culture and lifestyle. You will enjoy the traditional Altaic cuisine based on cereals, meat and milk products. Later you will guest in the ail - national dwelling of Altaians. The gripping concert of Altai throat singing will be a fitting end of the day, full of adventures and emotions. Deep vibrating sounds of various intensity and hues performed by a kaichi - master of throat singing in front of the fire, will evoke transcendental feelings in your soul and make you realize soleness and unlimited eternity of this Universe.
Overnight at Inegen Lodge.
Mountainous highway through the Altai Mountains to Mongolia. It is considered as the northern branch of the Great Silk Road. The highway was ranked in the 10 most beautiful roads of the world listed by National Geographic of Russia magazine.
Kalbak-Tash Rock Drawings
It is an open-air museum, rich treasury of ancient cosmological ideas and beliefs of ancient dwellers of Altai curved on rock surfaces. Various mythological plots and ritual scenes from the end of Stone Age to Medieval battles and runic inscriptions unfold before your eyes through exploring those unique petroglyphs.
Day 3. Mount Belukha
Accommodation: Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge, located within the boundaries of the Belukha natural park (UNESCO Heritage Site).
Full board meal: breakfast - Inegen Lodge, picnic lunch near Mount Belukha, lunch and dinner - Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge
Distance: helicopter - 80 km, hiking - 6-7 km

Please, notice that Mt. Belukha is located on the Russian-Kazakhstan border. We need to prepare special permit to visit the border zone. Documents should be submitted not less then 60 days before the visit date.

Helicopter excursion to the highest mountain of Siberia, Mount Belukha (4506 meters, or 14783 ft), would be the highlight of the whole trip without any doubt. We'll cross the vast ocean of the Altai Mountains by helicopter towards the summit of the Altai - Mt. Belukha. We'll observe crowned by glaciers peaks from the bird's view and finally land at the bank of Lake Akkemskoye. This lake was formed by one of the glaciers descending from the slope of Mt Belukha. The two glittering peaks of Mt Belukha reflect in the lake surface like in a mirror.
We'll explore the picturesque banks of Lake Akkemskoye and hike towards the Chapel of Archangel Michail near the Akkemsky Glacier (2,5 hours round trip).
On way back to the lake we will have a packed lunch or picnic. Afterwards we'll be transferred to Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge, located nearby in the another gorge, on the bank of turquoise lake at elevation of 1790 m (5873 ft). This lake is also formed by Mt Belukha glaciers and included into UNESCO World Heritage List as a part of Golden Mountains of Altai nomination. Upon the arrival to the Lodge you will be served a lunch surrounded by majestic views. Your late afternoon could be devoted to various optional activities such as leisurely walking along the lake bank, fishing, visiting bath house and so on.
Overnight at Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge.
Please note that the lodge is situated in the alpine zone. There is high probability of low night temperatures, rains, and even sudden snow storm. It is highly recommended to take warm and waterproof clothes.
Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge is especially valued for magnificent landscapes, invigorating alpine air and crystal pure lake waters. Accommodation in cozy cabins with two types of rooms: with en-suite WC and with shared WC in separate building. Due to hard-to-reach location the lodge doesn't provide shower with hot water. Only bath house is available.

Note. If we will plan the helicopter excursion to the Ukok Plateau, the Day 3 is the most appropriate for it according to the flight logistic.
We need to prepare special permit to visit the border zone of the Ukok Plateau. Documents should be submitted 60 days before the visit date.
The summit of the Altai Mountains and UNESCO World Heritage object. Mt Belukha, crowned with two sparkly white peaks and more then 160 glaciers, stands high above the Katunsky Ridge and Altai mountains. Its peaks can be observed far away from many passes and ridges. Mt. Belukha is depicted in the Coat of Arms of the Altai Republic symbolizing vast Altai ridges itself. Its name originated from the Russian word belaya or white due to the large snow cover on the slopes. Indigenous inhabitants of Altai used to name it Kadyn-Bazhi that means the source of the Katun River. One should be very lucky to see this majestic and capricious Tzarina of Altai hidden behind clouds most of the year.
Day 4. Sacred Powers of the Altai
Accommodation: Altai Resort Hotel
Full board meal: breakfast - Lake Kucherlinskoye Lodge, picnic lunch, dinner at the restaurant of Altai Resort Hotel
Distance: helicopter - 300 km

Today we will visit the dwelling of the shaman who had been the most respected and powerful person among the nomads. He provides dialog between mortal world, spirits and deities. The shaman will perform the rite of purification and blessing. Afterwards we'll enjoy the indigenous sports known as kok-booru or kozlodraniye. It is a special nomadic competition for two teams of horsemen, who are trying to seize a goat corpse and throw it into the gates of rival team.
After lunch we will be transferred to Altai Resort Hotel by helicopter. You can take health&beauty procedures in the Health center of the hotel, visit swimming pool or just drink a cup of aromatic herbal tea in the cafe on your own.
Then you will enjoy specially created festive dinner based on the best eco-products of the Altai.
The most mysterious and sacred area of Altai. For centuries this 2 thousand meters above the see level elevated vast wilderness had been providing cultural and trade contacts between Siberian and Central Asian nomadic tribes. Severe and marshy plain is located on the border intersection of four countries - Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. Numerous archaeological monuments such as the most prominent Siberian Ice Maiden's burial mound are particularly common in the Ukok Plateau. The Ukok is crowned with 4-thousand metes ridges with never melting snow and glaciers. One of them, the Altai Tavan Bogd or Tavan Bogdo Ula mountain massif (Five Sacred Mountains), symbolizes the plateau itself.
Day 5. Farewell to Altai
Driving distance: 50 km by bus

After early breakfast (6.30 a.m.) you will be transferred to the airport of Gorno-Altaisk. Farewell and see you again!
Watch a video of Golden Mountains of Altai provided and kindly shared with us by Pavel Filatov:

Photo credits: Pavel Filatov

All graphic materials belong to their owners and are used for demonstration purposes only. Please do not use them in commercial projects.
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