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“Views as good as any US National Park, but without the crowds!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Charyn Canyon

Charyn Canyon
Charyn National Park | Charyn River, Kazakhstan
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Type: Canyons, Outdoors
Attraction details
Warwick, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Views as good as any US National Park, but without the crowds!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2011

We visited Charyn Canyon whilst we were in Almaty visiting friends. The trip to the Canyon takes 3-4hrs and the road is very bumpy - expect to fly up out of your seat on numerous occasions. When we got to the car park it was cold and windy. We scrambled down the path - no chance of stopping once we'd got going! But once we were down, it was warm and beautiful. We walked around 3km down to the river and had a picnic (that we took with us) by the river bank. At that point we honestly hadn't seen anyone else there! (it was a weekday to be fair) Having eaten our picnic we made our way back up the canyon and chose a different route up to the top so we could look down into the canyon from the top. There was a little scrambling up and down steep gravel slopes to enter/exit, but otherwise the walk was pretty easy going.

The views were spectacular, but the best thing about our visit was the lack of crowds. We saw two groups of people on our way back up the canyon (one pair was equipped with tents so I guess they were staying the night) It was a real privilege to have such a beautiful place to ourselves - see it now before other people find out!

Visited April 2011
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Stockport, United Kingdom
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147 reviews 147 reviews
84 attraction reviews
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332 helpful votes 332 helpful votes
“Charyn Canyon - An impressive natural wonder”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2008

Charyn Canyon is located about 220 km east of Kazakhstan. We booked a trip with a local coach company called Asia Travel, and we paid 2,200 KZT per person. That is about 19 USD, 10 GBP, or 12 EUR. The coach trip was about 3.5 to 4 hours each way, and not exactly comfortable. We went in the middle of April and the coach was cold and drafty on the way there and too hot coming back. The trip started out from Almaty at 08:00 and we didn't get back to Almaty until about 20:00 at night, so the trip takes the whole day.

Our coach didn't have a toilet and the facilities at the service station on the way can only be described as basic. There is a toilet near the picnic site inside the canyon that looked to be a bit better, but as I didn't use it I can't be sure. Note that apart from the river, there is no water available at the picnic site. So some wet towels for cleaning is recommended.

Having suffered for close to four hours in a cramped seat on the freezing cold coach I was starting to think it had been a big mistake coming out to the canyon in the first place, and particularly at this time of year. During the last stop the wind had been cold and so strong that we struggled to stand upright. But once outside we were relieved to find that there was little wind, and that the temperature was actually quite comfortable.

After as short walk from the place where the coach parked, we caught our first glimpse of the canyon. It was an impressive sight. The climb down to the bottom of the canyon was a little bit tricky, but not too bad as long as you are a reasonably fit person. However, if you are struggling with moving up or down steep hills, or if you are very scared of heights, then you may need to follow the car track down to the bottom of the canyon instead. Note that there are no facilities for handicapped people.

Once down at the bottom of the canyon the view was perhaps even more impressive. And at the bottom it soon started to feel quite warm as we were now completely sheltered from the wind. After about 20 minutes we arrived at the picnic place next to the river.

We opted for a short lunch (brought with us - there is no shops at the picnic site) and went for a walk together with our guide. The walk followed a quite challenging track around the cliffs in the canyon. Most of the track was pretty steep and in a few locations we had to do some rock climbing. The track is only suitable for reasonably fit people. Although the guide did his best to keep us away from the more dangerous places, some parts of the track followed narrow crests with high drops on both sides. We had some young children in our party and they didn't seem to have any trouble, however, personally I would not recommend anyone younger than eight years old coming along.

The climb up to the top of one of the cliffs was quite a challenge for me, and I think we all were pretty exhausted by the time we got there. The whole climb had taken about an hour or so, and the warm weather also played a part. I can only imagine what it must be like in the middle of the summer when the temperature is 10 to 15 degrees higher than when I went there. But the view from the top was worth the effort. Luckily the trips back down was pretty easy compared to the climb up, and after about 20 minutes we were back down at the bottom of the canyon.

We opted to follow the guide along an alternative route back tot eh coach rather than along the path we had come down on. This we had been told was like a walk in the park, but of course that was a lie. It was another half hour climb around the cliffs, but again the views along the route made it all worthwhile. All in all it was a good day out and definitely one of the best places I have visited in Kazakhstan.

A few final tips: Bring a rucksack if you are planning to follow the guide up around the cliffs. Bring plenty of fluid with you, and leave some of it on the coach for you to drink on the way back. You will be glad you did, and it will save you from having to carry it around with you. Bring all the food, snacks and other supplies you need with you (don't forget toilet paper and some wet wipes) as there are no shops available at the canyon. And don't forget to bring your camera and spare batteries!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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