Singing Dune and Aktau Mountains: Three-Day Tour

The Singing Dune and the Aktau cretaceous mountains are the well-known and recognizable symbols of Altyn-Emel, unique natural monuments under the protection of UNESCO.

We offer you a three-day tour along the most famous routes of the Altyn-Emel National Park. You will see and hear one of the 7 wonders of Kazakhstan, the legendary Singing Dune by the name of Aigaikum, and also make a trip to the fantastic mountains of Aktau and Katutau.

Total distance: about 780 km

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

Excursion routes: Route 1 (Singing Dune), marked in yellow on the map, and Route 3 (Aktau mountains), marked in red

Number of tourists: any

Season: all

Tour Programme

Day 1:

Transfer from Almaty to the Basshi village - about 250 km (Almaty-Basshi road takes about 4 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 Saryozek, the picturesque passes of Arkharly and Altyn-Emel.

Accommodation in the guest house of the Caravansarai campsite.

Day 2:

Transfer to the Aktau mountains - about 70 km from the Basshi village. The road passes through the steppe, via the villages of Nurym and Aktobe, and the Zhagalbaily post.

Walking along the canyons of the Aktau mountains, photo shooting.

Transfer to the Katutau mountains - about 25 km from the Aktau mountains.

Walking around the lava gorge of Katutau, photo shooting.

Transfer to the 700-year-old willow in the Kosbastau oasis with a warm radon source - about 20 km from the Katutau mountains.

Walking, photo shooting.

Return to Basshi.

Day 3:

Transfer to the Singing Dune - about 50 km from the village of Basshi. The road passes through the steppe, surrounded by the Dzhungarian mountains, the mountains of Katutau and Kalkans, via the Shygan and Mynbulak posts.

Climbing the sand dune, photo shooting.

Stopping at Chokan Valikhanov's spring, "Dinosaur Trail".

Visiting the Oshaktas steles.

Return to Almaty.

Places of Interest:

The Singing Dune and the Aktau cretaceous mountains are the main places to see in the Altyn-Emel National Park. The tour program includes the volcanic mountains of Katutau, the 700-year-old willow, as well as historical monuments, Oshaktas stone steles (13th century) and the spring of Shokan Valikhanov (mid-19th century). Optionally, you can also make a stop on the "dinosaur trail" at the foot of the Small Kalkan mountain.


The tour program is variable. On the first day, you can leave Almaty early in the morning and visit the Singing Dune that day, and on the third day, leave the village of Basshi immediately for Almaty.

It is always advisable to leave a visit to the Aktau mountains on the second day (middle of the tour), since this major tourist site is the farthest and requires more time to explore.

The routes of the Altyn-Emel park are long, and the roads are unpaved, a part of the Saryozek-Basshi road is under reconstruction, so it takes more time to travel than you can expect.

The trip to the Altyn-Emel National Park is long (about 8 hours only on the road from Almaty to the village of Basshi and back, apart from the transfer through the park).

A two-day trip to the Singing Dune and the Aktau mountains is theoretically possible, but it will be very tiring for both the driver and the tourists themselves, so we usually practice three-day tours.


If you want to stay overnight at the foot of the Aktau mountains and see these multi-coloured mountains at sunset and sunrise, then it is better to choose a camping tour.

Learn more:

Singing Dune and Aktau Mountains: Three-Day Camping Tour >>>


Prices are valid for 2023.

The cost of a 3-day tour to the Singing Dune and Aktau mountains 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 Basshi village and back
  • Transfer within the park
  • Driver's service
  • Park fees
  • Accommodation at the guest house of the Caravansarai campsite in Basshi

Meals are not included in the tour. You can order national meals in Basshi. Also, at the Caravansarai campsite, you can cook any meal at any time (the campsite is equipped with kitchens with all the equipment, there is a summer kitchen, outdoor grill). To do this, you need to bring food and drinks with you. There is a small shop on the campsite where you can buy basic foodstuff but it is better to buy food in Almaty.

In the city of Kapchagai (now Konaev) there is a cafe of national and European cuisine on the way.

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