Breakfast this morning was porridge made with Manka (semolina). Sooooo much better than regular porridge, though this could be due to the unknown amount of sugar that was put in it before it was served to me 😉
We said goodbye to our hosts and left the village of Saty with greatly improved weather, calling in to take a quick peek at one of the ubiquitous Islamic cemeteries that dot the landscape here.
We re-crossed the broad grassy plains with the herdsmen, but this time with great views of the Tian Shan Mountains
and stopped off at the Black Canyon
on our way to our key destination for the day – the Charyn Canyon
This is the most touted natural feature of Almaty region, and, although beautiful, it wasn’t quite as impressive as I had imagined. It would have been great to have more time to explore more than just this famous part of the canyon, and to see it in different light – rather than the harsh midday sun.
It is about a 3km walk along the bottom of the canyon – through the Valley of Castles initially (reminiscent of the Grand Canyon)
and onto the “Witches Gorge” – so known because people would leap to their deaths off the cliffs, spurred on by the call of the witches – and the Charyn River.
We ended up seeing 2 snakes (something that got Emil very excited) and quite a few of these little guys – gerbils I think.
After exploring the Canyon for a few hours, we started the long road back to Almaty, stopping along the way for a very late lunch at an Uighur restaurant.
We had our own private partitioned space, and I asked Emil to order something for me that I hadn’t tried yet. He ordered Kazan Kebab and Etken Chay (Uighur milky tea) for me.
Both were delicious – made even more so due to the fact that I was starving. And it was a lovely ending to the trip.
I can highly recommend the 3-day Kolsai Lakes, Kaindy Lake and Charyn Canyon tour offered by Almaty Tours. Although it is a bit pricey, you are really well looked after and the places you visit really are spectacular.
Time: 3 days
Cost: USD$390 which includes everything: transportation, lodging, meals and entrance fees
Oh, and Almaty Tours also give you a welcome pack 🙂