Besshatyr and Tanbaly Tas: One-Day Tour

The royal mounds of Besshatyr, scattered in the valley between the Dzhungarian mountains and the Ili river, are the sacred heritage of the era of the powerful nomadic tribe named Saka (I millennium BC).

We offer you a one-day tour to the isolated part of the Altyn-Emel National Park with a very ancient history. You can climb the largest Saka pyramid and look at the ancient rock paintings of Tanbaly Tas. Here, in the protected part of the national park, you can also see wild kulans and gazelles.

Total distance: about 380 km

Duration: 1 day

Excursion route: Route 2 (Besshatyr), marked in green on the map

Number of tourists: any

Season: all

Tour Programme

Transfer from Almaty to Checkpoint 1 of the Altyn-Emel National Park - about 150 km (Almaty-Checkpoint 1 road takes about 2 hours, excluding stops). The road passes through the city of Kapchagai (now Konaev), the Ili river in its widest place, where it flows from the Kapchagai reservoir, the village of Shengeldy, further along the bank of the Kapchagai reservoir.

Transfer to the petroglyphs of Tanbaly Tas in the Terekty gorge of the Sholak mountains - about 17 km from Checkpoint 1. The road passes through a picturesque valley between the Dzhungarian mountains and the Kapchagai reservoir.

Walking along the gorge with rock paintings, photo shooting.

Stopping at the Kapchagai reservoir - about 3 km from Tanbaly Tas (optional).

Transfer to the Besshatyr Saka mounds at the foot of the Degeres mountains - about 15 km along the delta of the Ili river, via the Zhantogai post.

Visiting the Besshatyr necropolis, photo shooting.

Return to Almaty.

Places of Interest:

The main historical monuments of Altyn-Emel are the Saka mounds of Besshatyr and the petroglyphs of Tanbaly Tas. We also make a stop on the wild coast of Kapchagai in the reserved part of the national park.


The routes of the Altyn-Emel park are long, and the roads are unpaved, a part of the road from the village of Shengeldy to Checkpoint 1 is very hilly, so it takes more time to travel than you can expect.


Prices are valid for 2023.

The cost of a 1-day tour to Besshatyr is shown for a 4-seater and a 7-seater car (for the total number of tourists and for 1 tourist).

The price includes:

  • Transfer from Almaty to the Besshatyr mounds and back
  • Driver's service
  • Park fees

Meals are not included in the tour (you bring your own food and drinks). In the city of Kapchagai (now Konaev) there is a cafe of national and European cuisine on the way.

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Your Guide to Altyn-Emel National Park

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