Whether you are coming for one day or planning to stay longer, Altyn-Emel offers you many ways to have fun and enjoy your time in the park.

Here is a selection of interesting outdoor activities in the Altyn-Emel National Park.

Hear the Sound of the Singing Dune

The Singing Dune, one of the seven wonders of Kazakhstan, is the most popular attraction of Altyn-Emel, with a magnificent view of the desert, the Ili river and the ridges of the Kalkans and Dzhungarian Alatau mountains.

Climbing up the dune will be no trouble, and the soft sand will massage your feet if you walk barefoot. In dry windy weather, you can hear the low hum of the dune. The same sound is heard if you move your foot down the sand or slide down the dune.

Singing Dunes in Kazakhstan
Singing Dune in Altyn-Emel
Altyn-Emel Tours

Go Cycling

Altyn-Emel attracts cyclists from all over the world with its vastness and varied landscape.

The road to the Singing Dune passes through the wild steppe surrounded by desert and the Dzhungarian mountains. And the narrow labyrinth of the canyon of the Aktau mountains is one of the most interesting and picturesque places for walking and cycling.

Cycle Tour in Altyn-Emel
Bicycle Touring in Altyn-Emel
Aktau Mountains, Kazakhstan

Ride a Motorcycle or ATV

The huge territory of Altyn-Emel is an ideal place for riding motorcycles or ATVs.

Riding Motorbikes in Altyn-Emel
Singing Dune: Motorcycle Tour
Altyn-Emel: Motorcycles

Go Hiking in the Mountains

Altyn-Emel has many trails for mountain hikes. The northern and western boundaries of the park are the spurs of Dzhungarian Alatau with numerous gorges.

Unlike the traveled routes of Zaili Alatau, the Dzhungarian mountains (the longest in the region) are poorly explored and are of great interest to those who like to discover new places.

Dzhungarian Alatau in Altyn-Emel
Kyzylauyz Gorge in Altyn-Emel
Mountain Hiking

Walk Along the Bottom of an Ancient Ocean

Millions of years ago the Aktau mountains were the bottom of an ancient ocean, and now it is one of the main natural attractions of Altyn-Emel.

You can only walk on foot or ride a bicycle among the multi-colored layered rocks (motorcycles, ATVs are not permitted inside the canyon). You should definitely come here with an overnight stay to enjoy the beauty of these places in full.

Aktau Mountains in Altyn-Emel Park
Aktau Cretaceous Mountains in Altyn-Emel
Aktau Mountains Tour

Climb Up the Volcano

The Katutau mountains are the largest and highest massif of desert mountains in Altyn-Emel.

The Katutau mountains are the remnants of an ancient volcano eruption. The frozen lava has formed bizarre shapes. Katutau is usually visited on the way to the Aktau mountains or on the way back.

Katutau Mountains
Katutau Volcanic Rocks in Altyn-Emel
Katutau Mountains in Altyn-Emel

Fly a Drone

In Altyn-Emel you can take the most impressive large-scale photographs of alien landscapes and see in full all the amazing beauty of the Aktau and Katutau mountains.

It is also notable that these mountains are subject to intense erosion and destruction, and it will take relatively little time in geological terms for this beauty to disappear from the face of the earth.

Aktau Mountains
Aktau Mountains in Altyn-Emel
Aktau Mountains in Kazakhstan

Go on a Professional Photo Tour

A photo tour in Altyn-Emel is an exciting three-day trip through the national park and a master class with famous photographer Ilya Afanasyev.

Altyn-Emel Photo Tour
Altyn-Emel Park Photo Tours
Altyn-Emel National Park Photo Tour

Go Caravanning

Some attractions in Altyn-Emel, such as the Aktau and mountains, are located far away from water sources and posts, there are no hotels and guest houses there, so it makes sense to go there with a campervan for a couple of days.

Enjoy privacy in a beautiful wild place.

Altyn-Emel Tour
Caravanning in Altyn-Emel
Altyn-Emel Tours


Artificial lighting in cities hides the night sky completely from our eyes. Natural darkness and nature's silence have become a valuable rarity these days.

Altyn-Emel with its purest transparent air is one of the few places where you can take a break from the harmful city noise and light pollution. You can stay overnight in the national park or in the Basshi village where you can rent a telescope to admire the scattering of stars in the night sky without interference. You can take a map of the constellations with you or download a mobile application to study them “live”.

Sunset in Altyn-Emel
Altyn-Emel Night Sky

Gain the Power of the Supercentenarian Tree

The Kosbastau oasis in Altyn-Emel is notable for a very old tree which has been living on a warm underground spring for over 700 years. Plucking branches or leaves off the tree is not permitted, the tree is believed to be a sacred one.

Groves of relic Asiatic poplar (turanga) that survived the Ice Age also grow here. Turanga trees are found throughout the Altyn-Emel National Park where there is water, but in the Kosbastau oasis, thanks to warm springs, they have meandering trunks, so they are called "dancing turanga".

700-Year-Old Willow in Altyn-Emel
700-Year-Old Tree
Asiatic Poplar (Turanga) in Altyn-Emel

Take Warm Radon Shower

Near the Kosbastau oasis, there is a warm all-year-round radon source. Experts say that this water is in no way inferior to the Saryagash mineral water from the sources in the south of Kazakhstan, which is quite possible, if to take into account the age of the trees in the area.

The place is not equipped for swimming, but this does not stop some tourists - they take a healing shower after a dusty road in the desert.

Altyn-Emel Warm Springs
Altyn-Emel Warm Springs
Altyn-Emel Warm Springs

Extend Knowledge in Botany

Many endemic plant species can be found in Altyn-Emel. They grow only here and in the surrounding areas.

In spring, you can observe the beautiful flowering of desert plants.

Cistanche Salsa in Altyn-Emel
Iridodictyum Kolpakowskianum in Altyn-Emel
Tulipa Alberti in Altyn-Emel

Take Wildlife Photos

Altyn-Emel is one of the few places where you can see gazelles, kulans, argali and other wild animals. Of course, it is difficult to get close to them, but with a good camera you can capture the cute inhabitants of the national park or admire them from afar. 

Some animals, such as speedy lizards in the sands of the Singing Dune, are not so shy - they feel like masters of the national park.

Gazelles in Altyn-Emel
Kulan in Altyn-Emel
Toadhead Agama in Altyn-Emel

Watch Birds

Altyn-Emel is one of the best places for birdwatching (there are about 300 bird species here).

Here you can meet the Himalayan vulture, the largest bird of the Old World, and many migratory species that stop here for feeding, returning from warm southern countries.

Himalayan Vulture (Kumai) in Altyn-Emel Park
Pheasant in Altyn-Emel Park
Ili River Birds

Study Rock Art

In the gorges of Kara-Espe, Taigak and Terekty (Dzhungarian Alatau) there are a lot of petroglyphs, rock carvings made by ancient tribes that inhabited this territory since the Bronze Age. Unknown masters drew on stones timeless pictures of people, animals, hunting scenes, everyday life, rituals.

The Tanbaly Tas petroglyphs in the Altyn-Emel National Park are part of one of the main and largest rock art centers in the world, which stretches along the Sayan and Altai to the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains.

Petroglyphs in Altyn-Emel
Altyn-Emel: Tanbaly Tas Petroglyphs
Tanbaly Tas Petroglyphs

Visit the Tombs of Ancient Saka Leaders

One of the main historical and cultural attractions of Altyn-Emel is the royal burial mounds of Besshatyr, dating back to the 1st millennium BC.

Large, medium and small tombs were erected for leaders, commanders and nobility of the nomadic tribe of Saka Tigrakhauda, who lived on the territory of Semirechye (Jetysu, Seven Rivers) about 2.5 thousand years ago. The Besshatyr necropolis also served as a place for religious ceremonies.

Besshatyr Mounds in Altyn-Emel
Besshatyr Burial Mound in Altyn-Emel
Besshatyr Mound Inside

Go Off the Beaten Track

Altyn-Emel has manу little-known places that you will not see in regular tours.

Алтын-Эмель: туры
Алтын-Эмель: туры
Алтын-Эмель: туры
Arba Travel

Arba Travel offers accommodation and tourist services in the Altyn-Emel National Park.

Caravansarai Campsite
Kazakh Yurt

We are based in the village of Basshi near the central office of the Altyn-Emel National Park.

We have our own tourist transport and the largest Caravansarai campsite with caravans, yurt and guesthouse in the village of Basshi.

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Phone: +77089711687

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Arba Travel

Your Guide to Altyn-Emel National Park

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Phone: +77089711687

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Arba Travel Contact Info:

Phone: +77089711687

Contact us by WhatsApp >>>

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