Rating in Russia
$ 1938

Ethnographic tour Golden Ring of Altai

min $ 1938
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Barnaul, Biysk, Gorno-Altaysk, Katun River, Lake Teletskoye
Guide language: English, Russian
Price: min $ 1938
Group size: min 4 — max 14
Duration: 12 days
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  • Itinerary
  • Price
  • Important Info


A great round tour represents the majority of important historical places and natural diversity of Altai.  You will have an opportunity to go by boat on the Pearl of Altai mountains Teletskoe lake, to visit Karakol Valley, the bunch of numerous archeological monuments, to enjoy beautiful view of mountains from the 2000m height; to see one of the most wonderful rivers of the world – Katun River, Pazyrykskie burial mounds (6 th century BC); to be imbued with ancient culture of Altai population, to hear traditional Altai throat singing.

During the tour you ride on a comfortable bus with an experienced guide.


Total duration: 12 days/11 nights

Season: June-September

Tour mileage: 1600 km by bus, 80 km by boat, ~ 19 km on foot

Number of people in a group: 4-14 pax

Age: 14+ (accompanied by adults)

Level of physical training: no special physical training


Day 1. Sunday. Barnaul

Morning arrival in Barnaul. Meeting at the airport.

Accommodation at the Barnaul hotel (twin rooms). Rest.

Meeting with guides in the hotel's hall at 13:00. Excursion around the central and historical parts of Barnaul.

Visit to Altai State Local History Museum. Nowadays museum collection contains more than 150 thousand exhibits; among them is the only model of steam engine in the world, which was invented by Ivan Polzunov in 1763 in Barnaul. Archeological finds are of a special interest, they tell about history of ancient Altai; home appliances, embodying ethnical and social features of local people, as well as historical and technical (including military remnants), numismatic and mineralogical collections, natural-science collecting, representing biodiversity and natural resources of Altai.

Then visit the museum of pharmacy of the Altai mountains. The exhibition includes medical items, glassware, tools for the preparation of medicinal tinctures and pills. In the museum you can find also production of various biopharmaceutical Altai companies, medicine consists of the Altai honey, local herbs, sea buckthorn and products of reindeer antlers, which can be purchased.

Return to the hotel.

*Lunch and dinner independent


Day 2. Monday. Manzherok, the spring Arzhan Suu

Morning meeting with the guide in the lobby of the hotel.

Transfer by a comfortable bus through the old town of Altai-Biysk which is the symbol of the gateway to the Altai Mountains, as well as the start of the main artery-an ancient trade route - Chuysky tract.

On the way of our trip we visit the village Manzherok where the lake with the same name and ski-resort is located. In the lake grows the water nut – chestnut, preserved from pre-Ice Age.

After lunch, walk by cableway to the Malaiya Sinukha Mount (1196 m. above sea level). From the top of the hill you can see a beautiful view of the valley Katun and the surrounding villages.

Next stop is the spring Arzhan Suu. Water in the spring is full of silver, cooper and other mineral impurities that is why the water is stored for a long time and have a beneficial effect on the improvement of metabolic processes in the body.

A large gift market is located near the spring where you can buy maps, books, art articles made of cedar.

Moving along the river Katun to the Chemal village located in the heart of the Altai Mountains.

Accommodation in hotel Usadba Kedr

Breakfast at the Barnaul hotel, lunch in a cafe, dinner at the Kedr hotel

360 km by bus


Day 3. Tuesday. Chemal

At the first part of the day we organize a walk around Chemal village.

During the tour we will visit Chemal Hydroelectric power station which is located in the southern part of the village. The station is one of the first in the region, built in 1935.

Then we go on the “goat trail” along the river Katun and appears on the rocky island Patmos. On the Patmos island we can visit little church of the femail monastery. The island is connected with the shore of the river with the help of suspension bridge. Next to the temple in the rock is carved image of the Virgin and Child.

Excursion to the national Altai dwelling-Ail. During the visit of Ail you can experience the atmosphere of the 10-13 century, travel back in time and get acquainted with the way of life, traditions, customs, culture, history and pagan religion of Altai nomadic tribes.

After lunch departure to Oroktoiski bridge to the narrowest and deepest place on the river Katun. On the way we visit the tract Che-Chkysh, take a short climb along the creek to the observation platform where we will see the shaman cave.

Then return back to the hotel Usadba Kedr for dinner.

Accommodation in hotel Usadba Kedr

Breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel

80 km by bus, 3 km on foot


Day 4. Wednesday. Tasting national dishes and Concert of throat singing

Moving along the ancient trade route - Chuyski tract through its highest point Seminskii pass (1739 m above the sea level) to ethno-park Uch-Enmeck.

Accommodation in tourist complex Karakol in four-bed felt yurts or ails. Facilities are on the territory. During lunch you will be able to taste traditional cuisine. Archi is cultured milk food which tastes like yogurt; Altai cheese Kurot; Talhan – specially processed wheat mixed with butter and honey in shape of balls.

Late in the evening at the light of a fire and bright stars you will enjoy a folk program with throat singing and playing national musical instruments. This performance awakes deep personal background, helps to feel the spirit of Altai people, natural devotion, allows enjoy unsurpassed skills of musicians, some of whom are international festivals winners.

And later, coming back to the ail, you will feel like traveling in a time machine back to ancient times. Before going to sleep, they make a fire in the center of ail and the smoke will go out through a hole on the roof. Ancient Altai household facilities, which decorate the habitation, create a special flavor and a spirit of the time.

Accommodation in yurts or ails at the camp Karakol

Breakfast at the hotel, lunch and dinner at the camp

170 km by bus


Day 5. Thursday. Karakol Valley, Kalbak-Tash Hole

Karakol Valley is believed to be a Sacred place among natives – Altai people. Whole groups of ancient burial mounds and a great number of rock paintings are situated here. It is believed that ancient monuments of the valley represent an informational code about laws of universe in the light of traditional culture of natives. People of the valley differ by its peculiar mentality and believe they are connected with the nature of this valley spiritually. Temple and funerary complexes Tuekty, Bashadara, Boochi, Karakol – where Afanasyev and Karakol people, royal Scythians and warrior Turkic people build their temples and altars, buried their chiefs and priests. Ride to Boochi. There are a great amount of archeological monuments around this place: steles, stone fences, mounds with balbals – the main part of them oriented to Uch-Enmek peak. Visit of Bashadar mounds group that is a special place, a sacral center. It is proved by systemacy of placing burial mound and a detection of geomagnetic fields within the limits of this system, that response to the human stay in this zone.

Departure to the head water of the Katun and Chyia river. On the way we pass Chike-Taman mountain pass (1295 masl).

Then visit Kalbak-Tash Hole and see rock paintings – petroglyphs. More than 500 formations with more than 5 thousand pictures are drawn on the rocky flattened elevation, situated across the valley of Chuya River. They all are carved with stone or metal tools mainly in a dotty way. The most ancient pictures are dated to the 8th century BC.

Arrival to the tourist camp Nomad. Accomodation in the four-person Mongolian yurts. Facilities on the territory. Russian banya (bath-house).

Accommodation at the tourist camp Nomad

Breakfast and lunch at the camp Karakol, dinner at the camp Nomad

1 km on foot, 235 km by bus


Day 6. Friday. North-Chuysky range, Geyser lake

Excursion on the Chuysky tract towards the Mongolian border.

From a vast intermountain basin a magnificent view is opened on the top of the North-Chuysky ridge, on the highest peaks: Actru-Bash (4075 m) and Karatash (3534 m).

On the way back short hiking to the picturesque Geyser lake. The lake is the only one of its kind in the Altai - a rare beauty, clean, non-freezing even in winter, amazing turquoise color. On the mirror of the lake can be seen divorces rounds or ovals in shape, which is essentially a reflection of the processes taking place at the bottom of the lake. There, in the mysterious depths, from time to time come to life "geysers", throwing on the surface of a mixture of bluish clay and sand that form visible concentric circles at the bottom. 

Return to the tourist camp.
Free time. Walking in camp vicinities. Russian banya (bath-house).

Accommodation at the tourist camp Nomad

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the camp

100 km by bus, 4 km on foot


Day 7. Saturday. Pass Katu-Yaryk, the Chulyshman river

Today you will travel away from the main roads into the depth of the Altai mountains.

You’ll pass natural monument Red Gates, where the road goes through a narrow passageway between two rocks of reddish color.

On the road visit the place Pasyryk with ancient Scythian burial mounds, which were the graves of tribal leaders.

Descent from the Katu-Yaryk pass to the Chulyshman River. You will go down to a serpentine road, carved directly on the hillside. On the one hand – a slope, on the other – a break of several hundred meters height. Descent extent — 3,5 km on foot, luggage by car, altitude 1200 m. The magnificent view on the valley of Chulyshman and on a hundred meter waterfalls on the other side has been opened from the pass. The Chulyshman valley is one of the most beautiful places in Altai and also it is entered in the list of Objects of the World Natural Heritage.

Arrival to the tourist camp Ezen in the Chulyshman Valley, twin houses, facilities on the territory. Russian banya (bath-house).

Accommodation at the camp Ezen

Breakfast at the camp Nomad, lunch and dinner at the camp Ezen

120 km by bus, 3.5 km on foot


Day 8. Sunday. Waterfall Kurkure

Hiking to the waterfall Kurkure, located on the river Kurkure, a tributary of the Chulyshman river, on the opposite side of the camp. The hiking to the waterfall crossing the river takes about 3 - 4 hours.
Kurkure is translated from the Altai means “violent" and this is consistent with the nature of the waterfall. It has an incredible power, strength, and at the same time defenseless natural beauty. The height of the falls more than 30 meters. People living in the surrounding worship this marvel of nature and consider it to be sacred. Therefore, a few kilometers around no cattle!

After the tour, return to the camp. 
In the afternoon walking around, active outdoor games. Russian banya (bath-house).

Accommodation at the camp Ezen

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the camp

6 km on foot


Day 9. Monday. Stone Mushrooms

Early breakfast. Departure.

We will do a radial hike to a Karasu river ravine to see a unique natural object – “Stone Mushrooms”. “Stone Mushrooms” is a very interesting natural structure. There are cones rising above the slope of the valley on tops of which, as if by magic, lay huge rocky plates. The foundation of the cone is rather friable sandstone. Some “mushrooms” rise above the slope up to 10 or more meters. A beautiful view on the Valley opens here. A man is charmed by greatness and beauty of nature. You need comfortable trekking shoes for the excursion.

Departure to the Teletskoye Lake to cape Kyrsay. 
Accommodation at the tourist camp of the same name, twin houses, facilities outside. Russian banya (bath-house).

Accommodation at the camp Kyrsay

Breakfast at camp Ezen, packed lunch, dinner at the camp Kyrsay

90 km by bus, 5 km on foot


Day 10. Tuesday. Pearl of the Altai Mountains

Boat trip along the water area of the Teletskoye lake to its northern part.

The Teletskoye lake belongs to the 20 world deepest lakes. Length is 77,7 km. Average width is 2-3 km. Maximal width is up to 5 km. Its area is not large – 223 км². However, due to its depth (average depth is 175 m, maximum is 325 m) it contains huge amount (40 km³) of excellent fresh water saturated with oxygen, and  transparent to the depth of  12-15 meters. About 70 rivers flow into the lake, though 70 % of all water is given by Chulyshman  flown from south. Giving its waters to the Biya river (98% of drain) the lake feeds the Ob to a considerable extent.

On the way we will visit Waterfall Korbu – the most picturesque waterfall in the surroundings of the Teletskoye lake. It is situated on the territory of Altai reserve in 100 meters from the mouth of the Big Korbu river flown into the Teletskoye lake in its eastern part. The waterfall height is 12,5 meters. In the middle of the Teletskoye lake opposite the waterfall is situated the deepest place – 325 meters. Old Altai legend says that a gold sword of khan Tele fell down at exactly this place and because of this the lake appeared.

Arrival to the lake's north. Accommodation in the Artybash hotel situated at the Biya river source. 
Walking around the village Artybash to the bridge over the river Biya to continue to souvenir shops. There will be an opportunity to purchase honey, local herbs, art items made of cedar.

Accommodation in the Artybash hotel

Breakfast at the camp Kyrsay, lunch in a cafe, dinner in the hotel

80 km by boat, 2 km on foot


Day 11. Wednesday. National Museum of Altai Republic

Departure to Gorno-Altaysk where we will visit National museum named after Andrey Anohin with one of its main exhibits, mummy of “Altai Princess” found on Ukok Plateau.

Arrival to Barnaul, accommodation in the Barnaul hotel in twin rooms.

Accommodation at the Barnaul hotel 3*

Breakfast in the hotel Artybash, lunch in a cafe, dinner in the hotel Barnaul

430 km by bus

*Dinner independent


Day 12. Thursday

Transfer to the airport or railway station of Barnaul. 
The tour is over.

Breakfast in the hotel


Tour price per person
1700 € Price includes:

  • transfer from and to Barnaul airport
  • all tour rides on a comfortable off-road minibus
  • 3 meals a day according to a program
  • program excursions
  • an English speaking guide-interpreter
  • rent of a boat on the Teletskoe Lake
  • folk entertainment with throatsinging
  • museum tickets
  • recreational meetings
  • all permits and licenses
  • insurance (medical costs - 300.000 rubles)
  • registration of foreigners
  • Russian banya (bath-house) 5 times

Price does not include:

  • air or train tickets to Barnaul and back
  • additional charges in touristic complexes
  • lunch, dinner on the 1st day, dinner on the 11th day
  • souvenirs
  • alcohol
  • personal expenses
  • porter services

For extra charge:

  • Single accommodation 190 €/person
  • Double accommodation (big-size bed) 110 €/person

Important Info

thnographic tour Golden Ring of Altai (12 days/11 nights, June-August) takes place in the Altai Territory and Altai Republic.


Altai is an inimitable in its beauty, full of charm and mysteries land located on the crossing of borderlines of four states, they are Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. It’s home for the largest in the world Western-Siberian plain and the Altai Mountain Range. In Turkish language Altai means “golden mountains”. In its name are closely interwoven the legends about countless treasures of nomads’ tribes and mineral generosity with spirituality and primodial beauty of the mountain land.

The Altai Mountains are the highest mountain ranges in Siberia, the highest point of Altai and Siberia in general is the mount Belukha (4506 m). The mountains are of mainly volcanic origin. In the Mesozoic era the Altai Mountains were gradually destroyed by the action of the sun, wind and other natural forces. Over millions of years, the former mountain country became into a plain with raised areas. In the Altai Mountains there are many intra-basins of different height with cold mountain lakes. Altai is often called "Russian Tibet" or "Siberian Alps".

Since 1991 the territory of Altai is situated in two regions of Russian Federation – in Altai Region (capital Barnaul city) and Altai Republic (capital Gorno-Altaisk city).

The climate of Altai Region is extremely continental, as Altai is located in the very centre of Eurasia. The oceans are thousands km away from Altai, that’s why in summers the land gets very warm, so that the weather is rather hot (about +30C). In winters the situation is the other way round, the land cools down very quickly and the weather is frosty with clear sky and low temperature. Winters last 5-7 months, the coldest one is January (-20˚C on the average). In flat steppe lands the number of sunny days is rather high like in the Crimea or in the North Caucasus.

Time difference +3 hrs from Moscow time.

Meeting and seeing off

The meeting point of the tour is Barnaul city. We will meet you:

at the airport at 07:00, in the arrival hall, 4 from 5 flights from Moscow arrive to Barnaul by 07:00. The guide will meet you witha meeting board, where your name or company logo will be printed.

at the railway station at 07:40, at the main entrance under the clock.

If you arrive later than 08:00, it is necessary to pre-notify the manager. For visitors arriving in advance, the meeting with the guide is at 13:00 in the lobby of the Barnaul hotel.

You will get the guide's contact numbers 7 days before tour starting. 

After check-in in the hotel we offer guests a breakfast and time to rest after long flights. At 13:00 all participants will be met by the guide in the hotel lobby. An introductory briefing on safety in traveling will be held there. Unnecessary traveling luggage can be left in the storage.

In order to avoid unpleasant moments associated with the delay, please arrive at the airport / Barnaul hotel in time. Delays may result the loss of service, uncoordinated and unmotivated departure is not compensated.


The journey takes place by a comfortable minibus accompanied by an English speaking, well-qualified guide. If the group's size is over 8 persons, the minibus will be accompanied by a second van for luggage. Tour route passes both asphalt and gravel roads, as well as off-road. The total distance of the route - 1600 km. We travel 60-400 km daily, it takes from 1 to 7 hours daily.


Meals on the tour.
1 day - breakfast,
2-10 days - breakfast, lunch, dinner
11 day - breakfast, lunch,
day 12 - breakfast

In hotels and tourist centers all meals will be served in cafes and restaurants. On the way in roadside cafes. During radial outputs - packed lunch.


Barnaul hotel (2 nights). Twin rooms with WC, shower. Overnight in double or single rooms for extra charge. Address: Barnaul, Pobedy Square 3

Usadba Kedr hotel (2 nights). Twin rooms with WC, shower. Overnight in double or single rooms for extra charge. Address: Altai Republic, Chemal village, Topolinnaya str 24

Karakol tourist complex (1 night). F our-bed felt yurts or ails. Shared WC, shower on the territory. Overnight in double or single yurts for extra charge. Address: Altai Republic, Karakol village

Nomad camp (2 nights). Four-bed houses. Shared WC, shower on the territory. Overnight in double or single houses for extra charge. Address: Altai Republic, Chibit village.

Ezen camp (2 nights). Twin houses. Shared WC, shower on the territory. Overnight in double or single houses for extra charge. Address: Altai Republic, 2 km far from Katu-Yaryk pass.

Kyrsay camp (1 night). Twin houses. Shared WC, shower on the territory. Overnight in double or single houses for extra charge. Address: Altai Republic, Balykcha village (the south of Teletskoye lake).

Artybash hotel (1 night). Twin rooms with WC, shower. Overnight in double or single rooms for extra charge. Address: Altai Republic, Artybash village, Teletskaya str 2a.

Necessary equipment

We provide first-aid kit with the necessary set of medicines, camping utensils and thermos for picnics.

You will need:

  • Bag for personal items. You can take a small backpack for hiking to put the camera, water and raincoat there. Large backpacks are not needed on the route;

  • Convenient travel clothing: pants, T-shirts, lightweight waterproof jacket with a hood, a hat with a visor;

  • Long-sleeved shirt, sweater, warm trousers and jacket, wool cap, rain-coat, wool socks, plain socks 3-4 pairs, change of underwear;

  • Footwear: 2-3 pairs of shoes (sneakers / shoes - for travel and movement on camp sites, hiking boots for hiking, slippers for the bath);

  • Personal belongings: photos and video, sunglasses, flashlight with spare batteries, sunscreen and after-sun creme, a small polyurethane mat for sitting, personal care items;

  • Personal first aid kit;

  • Passport, insurance, contract.

Mobile phones

The mobile communication is working alright in Barnaul (MTS, Beeline, Megafon), in other settlements the connection may be poor.


Day temperature +10 +30 C, at night -5 +10. Raining is possible.


We provide the insurance of the company Rosgosstrakh, which includes the cost of medical care and evacuation from an accident site, as well as accident insurance. The qualified drivers, guides and instructors work on the route. First Aid Kit (pain relievers, cough, allergy, repellents, bandages, wound treatment agents, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal medicines) is provided by the driver.

Safety induction will be completed before departure from Barnaul, in the lobby of the Barnaul hotel. More detailed instructions will be issued by the instructor before going to the route in field conditions. Each participant is obliged to follow the safety rules and guide's commands.

Tour pecularities

The route is not active, butby a way we overcome several car passes and make some radial hiking. The program may be changed due to the weather conditions. The decision to change the route is taken by your guides. We recommend to have a vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis (especially for arrivals in June). Children under 14 are not allowed to participate in the tour, up to 18 years they should be accompanied by their parents. Please tell us before your trip about chronic diseases or contraindications to participate in the trip with moderate physical activity.

If you have any problems with the service provided, please solve it with our representatives.

Extra services

  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner on the 1st day; dinner on the 11th day.

  • Russian banya from 200 Rub/hour per person, a broom, a sheet

  • Souvenirs

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Personal expenses

  • Tips

Have a nice trip!

All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Sayan Ring
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