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!
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