Altai Travel Guide

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The Katun river with looming hills.

The Katun river with looming hills.

Val Buzeta

Altai is a region of southern Russia which borders Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. Accessable only from Barnaul in Siberia or nearby Biysk, it is famous for it's mountains and rivers which provide hiking and adventure sport opportunities.

Historically, Altai offers the chance to see ancient kurgans and the land of tatooed mummies: some of the oldest evidence of human habitation in Russia. Today, Altai is sparcely populated with a large number of the local peoples living in villiages along the Chyusky Trakt. As a result, it is easy to get away from civilisation and see some truly isolated and unique nature.

The main method of travel around Altai is the Chyusky Trakt - a road which cuts a swaythe through the centre of the area, winding precariously around hills and mountains at several points. Some small roads can be found in the west towards Mount Belukha (4506m) and in the north east around Lake Teletskoye. Beyond this, the numerous rivers often provide a lifeline to the people who live alongside it. The most well known routes for white water rafting include the Katun and Chuya rivers, both ranging from level 0 all the way to level 5.

Thanks to the difficulty in travelling around Altai, many suggest travelling either with an organised group or with a well-known and trusted guide. In-depth knowlege of the local area is essential, as even a trip down the river can quickly leave travellers stranded and far away from the nearest road.

Contributors

March 10, 2008 new by alekto (1 point)

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