The Altai mountain range that divides Siberia and Mongolia remains one of the most undiscovered areas of Central Asia. This region comprises of a complex mountain system that maintains an untouched appeal and is visited by few foreigners. Although very little is known about this region, it is famed for its petroglyphs that date back 5,000 years, hidden amongst its secluded peaks, with new finds constantly being uncovered. This journey is a great opportunity to gain unique cultural and historical perspective, with memorable overnight stays in traditional Kazakh-style felt gers. Find yourself as you overlook panoramic views on desolate mountain passes, swept by austere alpine winds.
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A guide will greet you upon your early morning arrival in Novosibirsk Airport and take you to a modern hotel. Enjoy breakfast and rest at your leisure before meeting again at 2pm to sample traditional Siberian cuisine followed by a guided tour around the city. The tour covers popular attractions including the iconic Novosibirsk Railway Station, traditional Siberian architecture on Gorkogo street and the lively farmers market. In the evening there is free time to explore the city center and dine before returning to your hotel.
Following an early breakfast, embark on a 300-mile drive to the Altai mountains, through lush landscapes and past crystal-clear rivers. The mountain range is the highest and largest in Central Asia with majestic rising peaks that reach impressive heights of 14,783 feet. Known as the ‘Siberian Switzerland’, this region features verdant alpine meadows and striking lakes. The journey is broken up with a stop in the historic city of Biysk for lunch. Tonight is an opportunity to connect with nature with dinner and an overnight stay in a charming eco chalet.
After an early-morning breakfast, travel 143 miles by bus to the Chibit Settlement via the Chuysky Tract Highway. This expansive stretch of road boasts a surreal landscape that is abundant in pure, natural beauty, previously ranked as the 5th most scenic road on the globe by National Geographic. Each turn unveils more breathtaking rural scenes that are filled with rustic Altian villages and snow-capped peaks under an azure sky. There will be a number of stops en-route to Seminsky pass at 5,705 feet and Chiket-Aman Pass at 4,248 feet where you can take in the unspoilt views. The day will end at a nomad camp for dinner, followed by an overnight stay in wooden chalet.
Prepare to cross over to Mongolia with an early morning breakfast. A 93-mile bus ride will bring you to the Tashanta Settlement to then be brought over the border by a Mongolian guide and continue the journey south westerly to reach Kazakh Eaglehunter’s family. Here, you will have the chance to gain insights into eaglehunting culture. Spend the night in traditional Kazakh felt gers with sleeping cots that are typical of this region.
Setting off from the rustic ger camp, you will be taken over sparse desert mountains towards Altai Tavanbogd National Park. Rich in archaeological remains, the Bayan-Ölgii province is a stark reminder of eras gone by, including the Bronze Age and Huns and Turkic invasions. Shiveet Hairhan within the National Park is where you will stay tonight, in a Kazakh felt ger. Also known as the ‘Sacred Mountain’, this area is inhabited by numerous Tuvan Nomads that consider it holy and features a large rock painting site that dates back to around 200 BC.
Embark on a drive to the nearby sites of Hurgan Nuur and Hoton Nuur after an early breakfast. Ancient Turkish stones line the road along the way and the snow-capped mountains that divide China and Mongolia make picture-perfect scenes on the right. After five-to-six hours, stop at Biluut Tolgoi mountain to explore the numerous rock-printings displayed here. Opt for an afternoon of fishing for the largest subspecies of Mongolian Grayling or soft hiking along the lake. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner and overnight stay in a Kazakh felt ger.
Today is reserved for relaxing and enjoying the picturesque remote scenery along a six-to-seven hour journey to the national park of Mongolian Altai-Tsambaragarav, which covers a huge area of 430 square miles. Pitch camp on the northern side of the sacred Tsamba-Garav Uul, one of the highest peaks in Mongolia, standing a grand 13,737-feet high. Dine amidst stunning scenery and admire breathtaking alpine views before spending the night in a Kazakh felt ger.
A three-hour drive over 93 miles will take you to Hovd town, located on the northern part of the infamous Silk Road. There are a number of historical charms to uncover here, including the Sagin Cherem fortress built in 1763. Spend the afternoon exploring the local sights of the town and visit Hoomii-man, a local throat singer, who will teach you a few basics of his art. Tonight, savor one last night under a beautifully lit Mongolian night in a Kazakh felt ger.
Your last breakfast in this colorful province is followed by a transfer to the domestic airport. From here, catch a flight to the alluring and charming Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar and to your onward destination.
Doubletree by Hilton is a four-star hotel in Novosibirsk, ranking among the best places to stay in what is Russia’s third-largest city. The large, modern hotel is located right in the heart of the city, although the actual road is slightly quieter than the nearby busy streets. Doubletree is just a short walk away from the famous Opera Theatre, and also a handful of other major tourist attractions in Novosibirsk. Most of the rooms and suites here present excellent city views from the large windows, which also allow light to flood into the spacious rooms during the day. The range of double and twin rooms here come fully furnished with a long list of facilities including a 32-inch LCD TV, a mini-bar, a safe, air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. Those upgrading to a suite can enjoy the added luxury of a refrigerator, adjacent dining area, and additional queen-sized pull-out sofa. The on-site restaurant, Paris, serves a buffet breakfast every morning from 7am and stays open until late serving international food. The hotel also has a large swimming pool, fitness center and various business facilities.
This luxurious five-star hotel was only opened in 2014, and now stands as one of the top places to stay in the central Russian city of Novosibirsk. Marriott really is a global name you can trust, and this Novosibirsk branch is no exception; expect a great location, stylish and spacious rooms and a whole host of onsite facilities and amenities. Located in the heart of the city, Marriott Hotel Novosibirsk is just steps away from the metro, shops and major attractions in the city such as the popular Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet. The hotel caters for many different types of guests, such as travelers making their way through Siberia on the train, and this is also a popular choice for business guests with its conference room facilities. In terms of leisure opportunities, Marriott Novosibirsk boasts an excellent rooftop bar with great views across what is Russia’s third-largest city. There’s also a large, all-day international restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast in the morning and a varied menu throughout the rest of the day.
The Altai Mountains present some of the most stunning scenery in the whole of Russia, and this quaint wooden lodge-style hotel takes full advantage of the surrounding natural beauty, situated near the banks of the River Katun, 20 miles from Gorno-Altaisk city. There’s a flexible range of accommodation options here, from large shared cabins to private double and twin rooms. This unique hotel offers an excellent combination of modern facilities and nature. Each room is well-furnished, coming with large and comfy beds, heating, electricity, en-suite bathrooms and a range of other home comforts to make for a pleasant stay. The grounds, set around a delightful pine forest near the river, consist of several wooden lodges and a main restaurant building where breakfast is served every morning alongside a daily menu catering for local and foreign visitors.
This five-star contemporary hotel is situated in the city’s business district and more interestingly in Ulaanbaatar’s tallest building. The hotel, decorated in a classic European style, has many top quality facilities including an indoor pool, gym, wellness centre, sauna and a business centre. There are many services on offer to make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible such as 24-hour room service, car rentals, currency exchange, laundry services, luggage storage, safety deposit boxes and a 24-hour front desk. Diners will be spoilt for choice with the Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and western food on offer at the hotel’s restaurants. The rooms feature free WiFi, flat-screen TVs with cable channels, en-suite bathrooms with a bathtub and shower facilities as well as a minibar luxury toiletries, hairdryers and slippers.