Itinerary Details

Upon your arrival at Almaty international airport, you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative and transferred to the hotel. Note: one group airport transfer is included in the price. Additional transfers can be arranged at an extra cost. You will then enjoy a half-day tour around the most famous landmarks of the city. Almaty means 'city of apple trees', and, because of its relatively mild climate, it has a wide range of apple trees. The Almaty area is said to be the ancestral home for many varieties of apples and is often visited by researchers and scientists in search of the real beginnings of this domesticated fruit. A folktale suggests that Eve tasted the famous apple (in the old testament) in Almaty. Also, the Turkic name for apple is Alma, and Ata means forefather, indirectly connecting Almaty with the Garden of Eden. The city, located at an altitude of around 850m in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau, is particularly beautiful as the the backdrop of mountains against the taller buildings makes a dramatic and impressive sight. Welcome dinner at the Central Asian Restaurant, where you will also enjoy traditional Central Asian performances. Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Almaty. 
After breakfast, you will head towards the Shymbulak ski resort, at an altitude of 2,000m (an approx. 40-50-min drive, 25 km). There, a cable car will take you even higher, to the snow-capped peaks (over 3,000m altitude), for a 3-hour scenic hike above the clouds. In the afternoon, you will head to the Sunkar falcon farm (a 1-hour drive) to will watch a 1-hour Eagle and Falcon show, one of the most traditional activities of the nomad Kazakhs. You will then return to your hotel for the night (a 40-min drive). Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Almaty. 
After breakfast, you will jump on the 4x4 cars and leave Almaty for an authentic Kazakhstan adventure on the ancient “Silk Road” path. On the way (after about a 2-hour drive, 92 km), you will stop at a place locally known as ‘Bear Waterfall’. A medium-level, 1.5-hour hike takes you across a rapid, limestone-infused river that flows through the dense foliage and into the lush green hills, reaching, in the end, a grand waterfall (altitude around 1700m. You will then continue on the Silk Road for about one hour, heading towards the vast plains of the Djaylau Valley (3000m+ altitude). There, amidst stunning landscapes, you will be introduced to the traditional Kazakh lifestyle: you will meet the local nomads, observe their daily routine, and live for a while like them. You may even help them chop firewood and prepare the meal. Lunch will be picnic style, while diner will be traditional, cooked at the camp. Overnight: camping under the stars.
After an early breakfast you will head to the Charyn Canyon (a 3-hour drive, 170 km) which, with its thinly stratified red sedimentary rock, is said to resemble the Grand Canyon in the US (though it is smaller). Charyn Canyon consists of 5 canyons, of which the Valley of Castles is the most well-known and easy to access. It got its name from the pillars and rock formations that resemble man-made towers and turrets. You will explore the canyon, hiking through its formations and taking amazing photos of the landscape (a total hiking distance of around 5 km). You will then head to the Lunar (or Moon) Canyon, which is strikingly beautiful as a spring with crystal clear water flows between its white walls. After a picnic lunch there, you will visit the "Stone Shelf" and the “Napoleon” location, before heading to Saty Village (an approx. 2-hour drive, 110 km) Optional activity: exploring Kolsay Lake. If the group opts for a visit to the lake, then less time will be spent in Charyn Canyon. Overnight in an eco-hotel/guest house.
After a traditional breakfast at the eco-hotel, you will head to Kayindi Lake (a 40-min drive, around 12 km). The lake is widely known for its scenery, especially the trunks of submerged birch trees that rise above the surface of the water. The area is often referred to as the "sunken forest". You will spend a few hours around the lake, hiking (2 hours, 1800 m altitude), relaxing in the serenity of nature, and enjoying a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you will return to Almaty (approx. a 4-hour drive, 293 km). Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Almaty.
Today, you can enjoy some free time exploring the city at your own pace and maybe do some last-minute shopping until you head to the airport for your flight back home. Note: One group airport transfer is included in the price. Additional transfers can be arranged at an extra cost.