Journey to the land of canyons UNESCO

A comprehensive introduction to the canyons of the Charyn and Temirlik rivers

Tour Cost from: 155 USD
2 days trip

Almaty oblast is rich in a variety of mountains and steppe metamorphoses of nature. These include canyons which basically are in the immediate vicinity of the Charyn and Temirlik river basins. However, there are canyons that are not directly related to the rivers.

Outfitter KZ prepared 2 days itinerary that fully reveals the beauty of Almaty canyons.

Big Almaty water channel, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

An alternative to a boring road along Kulja path is a road along the Big Almaty Canal, that built at the initiative of Dinmukhamed Akhmedovich Kunaev. The road runs along the scenic foothills which provide with excellent panoramic views.

Raiymbek District welcomes its visitors. The majority of the canyons are on its territory. The Canyons are perfectly visible from the Almaty-Narynkol highway.

The first stop is a visit to the Valley of Castles at Charyn canyon. In addition to the passage along the bottom of the canyon of the second point of the route there is a visit to the panoramic site of the top view of the Valley of Castles.

The Valley of the Castles, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

The next point of the route is a visit to the Lunar (Zhabyr) canyon. Inside the canyon an hour walk around the neighborhood with a final exit point to the Charyn River is scheduled.

Lunar canyon, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

The Lunar canyon abounds with streams and small waterfalls. The road to the river is interesting with its small rocky obstacles. After visiting the canyon we visit a view point - Lunar canyon panorama, top view.

Lunar canyon panoramic site, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

Passages are carried out on dirt roads, sometimes there are obstacles surmountable only on car with large clearance. Landslides and avalanches are frequent. Particular difficulty may be caused at the rise of the cars from the bottom of the canyon: canyon descents in the majority are simple, and climbs back may cause problems for some drivers.

The Stone Shelf, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

Another panoramic platform of the rout is an unforgettable stunning view onto the Charyn river and the mountain gorge, where we take a little break for a late breakfast.

The stone shelf is a unique place in the Sharyn Gorge. The majestic view suddenly opens to visitors, capturing the spirit. Visitors should observe precautions when visiting a stone shelf, the height of the wall reaches 250 meters. The landscape of the stone shelf resembles the landscapes of mountain belts, which are located at an altitude of 3 500 meters, but in fact tourists are at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level.
Unforgettable, stunning views of the river and the mountain gorge Charyn.

After 30 minutes there is a planned stop at the next viewing platform - a view of the Valley of Castles. Photo session is for 15 minutes.

Napoleon panoramic site, Alan Shafigulin

The next place to visit in Sharyn canyon is called a panoramic view of the valley of the castles. In fact, we go around the Sharyn River and return to the first location, where you can see the valley of the castles from the right bank of the Sharyn River.

Bestamak canyon, Alan Shafigulin

Scale landscape, castles of the red canyon in the form of Greek amphitheatres will remain forever in the memory of tourists.

Canyon that is comfortable for the night is Bestamak Canyon – it is compact and small with a characteristic reddish tinge of the rocks.

Overnight in Bestamak canyon, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

In Bestamak we prepare for the dinner and overnight in tents by the river. After dinner in the dark the night walks through the canyon are especially interesting - daytime slopes at night create other opposite feelings.

Temirlik canyon, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

The next morning there is breakfast and relocation to Temirlik Canyon. We take one and a half hour sightseeing tour of the canyon. Temirlik Canyon runs along the bed of the river of the same name, sometimes extending for several hundred meters.

Zhalanash Valley, Azamat Mukhametzhanov

All movement between canyons are taking place across the steppe of Sogetinskaya Valley. The spring valley is particularly unique with its yellow-green grass.

After visiting the Temirlik canyon we return to Almaty.


Day 1.

Almaty - trekking in the Valley of Castles of the Charyn river (5 km) - Trekking in the Lunar Canyon (4 km) - a panoramic area of the Lunar Canyon - panoramic area so called Stone shelf - a panoramic area of the Valley of Castles - a small trekking in the Bestamak canyon - dinner and overnight in Bestamak.

Day 2. 
Bestamak Canyon - Trekking (4 km) in the canyon Temirlik - Almaty.

The Valley of the Castles, Deonisiy Mit'

Route Difficulty: standard, suitable for people with average physical training.

Precautions: a mandatory cap, sunglasses, anti-bugs repellents (spring period). 

The average time on the road is 9 hours per round trip.

Overnight in the Bestamak canyon, a night walk.

The total length of the route: it is a two-day itinerary of a weekend, 600 km by car and 10 km of hiking trails.


155 USD per person in a group of 6 , total 930 USD.
180 USD per person in a group of 5, total 900 USD.
170 USD per person in a group of 4, total 680 USD.
220 USD per person in a group of 3, total 660 USD.
300 USD per person in a group of 2, total 600 USD.
570 USD for an individual tour.

The price includes:
- transport, 
- services of Russian-speaking/English-speaking guide, 
- eco-fees, 
- food, 
- mineral water 1.5 l per guest/day,
- accommodation in tents. 

Price does not include:
- soft and alcohol drinks, snacks
- rent of personal clothes, shoes
- telephone calls, personal expenses
- breakfast of the first day, dinner of the last day.

Annika van Beek, a Dutch Travel Journalist visited Almaty region in the fall of 2019. We were pleased to help organize a trip with a visit to Charyn Canyon, Kolsay and Kaindy Lakes. An article on visiting canyons and mountain lakes can be found here (in Dutch).

We use photographs of famous Kazakhstan photographers Deonisy Mit' and Alan Shafigulin in the promotion of our tours.

Order tour by clicking "Book A Tour", by calling Outfitter KZ team's telephone number: +7 701 457 6666 (Mariya, member of OUTKZ team). What'sApp, Telegram is available also on +7 701 457 6666.

or by email: (Mariya).


A few words about Outfitter KZ team.

Lonely Planet marked us as TOP outdoor provider in Almaty city. Our team became a member of Kazakhstan Tourist Association in December 2018.


TripAdvisor awarded "Traveler's Choice" nomination to the Outfitter KZ team twice in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 as a local business with consistently positive traveler reviews.

The international tourist platform Indy Guide, in partnership with the national company Kazakh Tourism, awarded Outfitter KZ to SuperHost status.


The detailed review by Nathan Cooper about trip to Charyn with us.


Charyn canyon, Sharyn canyon, Zhabyr canyon, Lunar canyon, Rayimbek district, Charyn river, tour to Charyn, Choundzha, Sogety, Zhalanash, Ulken Buguty, Bala Buguty, Kokpek, Toraigyr, Baiseit, Shelek, Chilik, Ile Alatau, Ile river.

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Tour Cost from: 155 USD
2 days trip

14 February 2017       5956 views


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