After a long but exciting journey from London, my partner and I arrived in Tungur at the Visodnik Camp. Met by the most friendly and helpful Russian owners, who hailed from St Petersburg, we felt most welcome.
The next day we took our horses and local guide, Andre who guided us all the way to the Ak-em Lake and our breathtaking views of Mt Belukha. Camping by the exquisite lake and taking long day walks into the alpine highlands and Mt Belukha's glacier fields, we could not have asked for more.
It is truly worthy of a World Heritage site. The lack of people is bliss. Those that are there, locals and a few tourists, Russian and international were so friendly. At night shared camp side sing songs, and yes a few shots of vodka form student hikers from Moscow. The local bread made every day deserved the half hour trek to the hut in the hamlet where it was made.
The two and a half day trek by horses is not for the faint-hearted but my goodness you feel like the original explorers of old as you carefully pick your way with trusty horse along the narrow but supportive high mountain pathways. The horses get 20/10 as they are the most extraordinarily content, hard working I have ever come across.
The Russian Banyas (saunas) are to die for. Hot sauna then cool in the near zero pristine lake. Closest to heaven I have come in life!
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