Altai Photo Tour, Shimmers of Siberia’s Autumn

Duration11days

Price fromUSD $2,780 ?Currency ConversionConverted from USD based on the latest exchange rate. Final amount and payment will be in USD. Final conversion rate is determined by your bank.

Trip StyleLandscapes Photography

Time of year

A landscape photo tour of Siberia’s magnificent Altai Mountain Ranges, capturing the magical colours of Autumn.

The Altai Photo tour promises cinematic scenery all year round. But visit Altai in autumn and you’ll truly understand why this enchanting place is known to the local Altayans as “The Golden Mountains of Altai”.

You’ll be given ample opportunity to snap stunning landscape photos of Altai at its very best. Contrasting colours are everywhere - red canyons, silver mountains, white glaciers, yellow grasslands, azure lakes, amber larch trees and evergreen cedar. Every day is more beautiful than the next! This Altai Photo tour was perfectly created for photographers - beginners up to pros are all welcome!

There will be some early starts with few return trips to the same location at different times of day, as well as photography workshops during our downtime. While some light hiking will be necessary, between locations, you and your camera gear will travel in an extra-spacious vehicle. You’ll also stay in comfortable, heated lodging in some of the most remote parts of the Altai Republic!

Landscapes of Altai Photo Tour Highlights:

  • Visit one of the most spectacular places for wide-angle photography in Altai, the Kurai Steppe, where a chain of mountains rise up like giants from the semi-desert plain
  • Explore the incredible Aktru Canyon and the Aktru Glaciers. Temporary ice caves are naturally hollowed out at the base of the glaciers, allowing us to step inside hidden vaults aglow with translucent blue ice.
  • Discover one of the most beautiful sights in Altai. Jangyzkyol Lake (or Blue Lake) is a high-altitude lake, set against the striking backdrop of the North Chuysky Range and its snowy peaks.
  • Photograph the alien landscapes of the Kyzyl Chin River. With its strange rock formations coloured in unearthly bright reds and oranges, you’ll see why it’s been given the nickname Altai Mars.
  • Spend two nights at the Tydtuyaryk Yurt Camp on the Chuya Steppe. In a picturesque gorge at an altitude of 1,800m, this is glamping style accommodation surrounded by amazing scenery. The spacious yurts replicate the traditional style of the Altay, Mongol and Kazakh nomads.

Arrival

Gorno-Altaysk

Departure

Gorno-Altaysk

Accomodation

Lodge, Yurt, Hotel

Trip style

Landscapes Photography

Duration

11 Days / 10 Nights

Action rating?

     

Group size

min 6 people

Type of tour

Guaranteed departures

Itinerary View map

Day 1 Welcome to Altai

Arrive at the airport in Gorno-Altaysk, the capital of the Altai Republic.

From the airport, you’ll be transferred to the eco-hotel on the shores of the Katun River. About an hour’s drive south from Gorno-Altaysk, it’s a beautiful spot to relax after a long journey to reach the Altai Republic.

Day 2 Along the Chuysky Highway

In the morning, we make our way south along one the most spectacular mountain roads in Siberia, the legendary Chuysky Trakt or Chuya Highway. Around half of the day will be spent cruising along the majestic, desolate, sealed highway - undoubtedly one of the most beautiful roads in all of Russia. 

We’ll cross several incredible mountain passes along the Chuysky Trakt. Chike Taman Pass (1,295m) and the highest of all, Seminsky Pass (altitude 1,717m). By the end of the day, we should arrive at the yurt camp in the Chuya Steppe, a full-service tourist camp with spacious yurts built in traditional nomad style. With some luck, we’ll get in early enough for the 15-minute scramble up to the nearby viewpoint for a phenomenal sunset view over the pristine steppe and its rugged surrounds.

Day 3 Snapshots among giants

Today we hike out from camp early in the morning. Our goal is the dramatic massif of mountains hidden behind Chuya Steppes. We’ll shoot snow-covered mountains with a panoramic view that extends all the way to the beautiful Akkol and Karakul lakes in the valleys below. After sunrise, we’ll return to camp for some rest and filling breakfast. We’ll also visit a few spots known for their ancient rock petroglyphs dating back to the early bronze age. Other artefacts belonging to the ancient cultures of Altai can sometimes be discovered in this area.

In the afternoon, we head for the valley of the Kyzyl Chin River. Once you set eyes on the alien rock formations and unearthly bright orange, red and brown hues of the surrounding mountains, you’ll see why it’s been given the nickname Altai Mars. These ethereal landscapes will provide the perfect place for a location shoot until dark.

Day 4 The steppes of Kurai

Today we get up shortly before sunrise and head to the mountain viewpoint to take some early light shots at this photogenic time of the day. Next, we depart from the Chuya Steppe and on to our next destination - the steppes of Kurai. Although both considered steppe, you’ll instantly see how different these two locations are in appearance. Kurai Steppe is a vast, intermontane basin with vegetation almost identical to the Mongolian semi-desert steppe not far to the south. In good conditions, an impressive view rises up from the flat grassland to span the entire horizon. This is the mighty North Chuysky Range, with its eternal snow, glaciers and ripple-marked cliffs.

In the afternoon, we’ll arrive in the village of Kurai where we’ll check into our lodging. Once you’re settled, we invite you to attend a special workshop on mountain landscape photography. Closer to sunset, we’ll get to test our skills on a drive to our new shooting point - an extraordinary viewpoint of the Kurai Steppe, the Chuya River and the North Chuysky Range. Once the sun sets, it’s back to Kurai village to retire for the night.

Day 5 Home of the Glaciers

Rise and shine early today again as it’s your last chance to get those perfect snaps on the viewpoint overlooking the Kurai Steppe. At sunrise, the colours are thousands of shades different, yet equally spectacular.

To get to our next shooting location, we’ll need some heavy-duty transport. Climb aboard the all-terrain ZIL Russian truck, one of the few vehicles able to handle the rough road through the Kurai Steppe! We’re on the way to a little-known destination home to one of the biggest glaciers in Altai - Aktru. We’ll settle into a guesthouse for the night in a cosy alpine camping and cabin site.

Day 6 Aktru Glaciers and Ice Caves

Early in the morning, you’ll come face to face with the Aktru Glacier, coming in at an impressive 2,150m high. The Aktru Glacier is one of five located in the Aktru Canyon. Surrounding the canyon, the majestic mountain ranges remain dusted in snow, and the orange-hued trees of the alpine forest shine in the golden autumn light. We’ll set out on foot to photograph the glaciers Big Aktru and Small Aktru.

There are temporary ice caves form at the base of the glaciers, and we should be able to get inside a few for the rare opportunity to see the inside of a glacier. Inside the seemingly solid glacial ice are vaults of dazzling, translucent blue. Ice streams feeding run through the middle of the caves, creating streams that reflect glowing blue light across the walls of ice.

We’ll also photograph the radiant Waterfall Glacier and the prominent peak of Mount Karatash rising above the yellow larch forest.

Day 7 The Legendary Blue Lake

Take the opportunity for another sunrise shoot in the stunning Aktru Canyon. Later on, once bags are packed, we’ll make our journey back to the Kurai Steppe. On the way, we will stop at the mesmerising Jangyzkyol Lake (or Blue Lake), set against a backdrop of snow peaks belonging to the striking North Chuysky Range. We’ll hike the rugged, rocky terrain around the area looking for the best angles for photographing the lake and mountains at sunset.

Day 8 Sunrise at Blue Lake

Today we must rise before sunlight and journey through the night forest back to the Blue Lake for a sunrise photoshoot. When the sun begins to highlight the mountain peaks and reflect their silhouettes in the mirror-still surface of the lake, you’ll realise this view was well worth the early start!

Back at our lodge, we’ll have breakfast and take some well-earned rest. Before lunch, we’ll do a workshop on landscape photography post-processing. 

Day 9 Uzunkol and Kidelyu lakes

Today, we’ll depart well before dawn to shoot the magnificent Uzunkol Lake. This superb lake and the scattering of miniature lakes around it beautifully reflect the mountain ranges in the early light. After a picnic-style breakfast, we’ll continue our journey towards the valley of the Chulyshman River. It’s a bumpy, two-hour journey, but well worth it. The best time to shoot in the valley is in the middle of the day, when sunlight reaches the bottom of the gorge and sparkles off the river down below.

Afterwards, we’ll begin heading back to the lodge, stopping for some sunset shooting at Lake Kidelyu, one of the most famous landmarks in Altai.

Day 10 Snapshots on route to Askat

Enjoy a bit of a sleep-in today before we begin heading back towards civilization. We’ll make a couple of interesting stops along the way. First, the brilliant blue Geyser Lake. Staring into the piercing turquoise depths, you may notice the occasional bubbling “geyser”, spitting out bluish clay and sand and forming concentric circles at the bottom of the lake. We’ll again cross the immense Seminsky Pass (altitude 1,717m), where you can get a heart-stopping view down into the valley and the confluence of the Chui and Katun rivers.

By lunch, we should make it to our overnight stop in Askat, a picturesque village renowned for its master craftsmen. A third of Askat’s 120 residents are artists and painters. Admire their handicrafts and ethnic instruments and try soothing sound therapy using Tibetan style singing bowls.

Tonight, we’ll enjoy a rare performance of kaichi, a traditional style of throat singing the Altayans used to relate stories and heroic legends.

Day 11 Gorno-Altaysk goodby hugs

From Askat, it’s about an hour’s drive to Gorno-Altaysk, where we’ll say our goodbyes at the airport, our minds and our memory cards overflowing with unforgettable images.  

Ask a question

Have a question about this tour? Our experts will be happy to help

Inclusions

Group arrival and departure airport transfers from/to Gorno-Altaysk

Transportation on tour according to the itinerary (4WD cars, mini-bus, 6WD truck)

Accommodation  on tour (hotels, lodges, yurts)

All meals

Professional photographer guide and helper

Experienced drivers

All sights indicated in the itinerary, depending on the weather

Special permits

Russian visa support document

Exclusions

Flights

Travel insurance (mandatory)

Visa and visa fees.*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Optional excursions

Individual transfers

Alcohol

Dates & Prices

Dates Availability Price Single sup.  
18 Sep - 28 Sep, 2021
Private Tour
Available US $2,780 US $0 Reserve

Altai Photo Tour, Shimmers of Siberia’s Autumn

11 Days / 10 Nights

From
$2,780
USD
Make an enquiry
Click here to subscribe
Click here to subscribe

Altai Photo Tour, Shimmers of Siberia’s Autumn

11 Days / 10 Nights

From
$2,780
USD
Make an enquiry
Click here to subscribe
Click here to subscribe

Why travel to Russia with 56th Parallel?

Destination Specialists

Our team offers over 18 years of experience travelling and planning travel in Russia. Delivering outstanding travel experiences in Russia’s capitals and in some of the most stunning & remote locations takes experience, special access and the right connections. We make sure that all the fine details are handled perfectly so you can enjoy your Russia travel experience.

Group & Private Tours

The choice to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or chose to travel on your own dates with your own mates. Each destination we travel to in Russia offers an option between private tours and small group tours. Please note: on our adventure tours in remote destinations, we mostly run group tours to keep the cost down.

Bonded & Licensed

56th Parallel is a fully licensed, insured and accredited travel provider.

More benefits
+61 2 9388 9816[email protected]

Altai Photo Tour, Shimmers of Siberia’s Autumn

Days 11

From USD $2,780

Trip Style Landscapes Photography

Time of year

Day 1: Welcome to Altai

Arrive at the airport in Gorno-Altaysk, the capital of the Altai Republic.

From the airport, you’ll be transferred to the eco-hotel on the shores of the Katun River. About an hour’s drive south from Gorno-Altaysk, it’s a beautiful spot to relax after a long journey to reach the Altai Republic.

Day 2: Along the Chuysky Highway

In the morning, we make our way south along one the most spectacular mountain roads in Siberia, the legendary Chuysky Trakt or Chuya Highway. Around half of the day will be spent cruising along the majestic, desolate, sealed highway - undoubtedly one of the most beautiful roads in all of Russia. 

We’ll cross several incredible mountain passes along the Chuysky Trakt. Chike Taman Pass (1,295m) and the highest of all, Seminsky Pass (altitude 1,717m). By the end of the day, we should arrive at the yurt camp in the Chuya Steppe, a full-service tourist camp with spacious yurts built in traditional nomad style. With some luck, we’ll get in early enough for the 15-minute scramble up to the nearby viewpoint for a phenomenal sunset view over the pristine steppe and its rugged surrounds.

Day 3: Snapshots among giants

Today we hike out from camp early in the morning. Our goal is the dramatic massif of mountains hidden behind Chuya Steppes. We’ll shoot snow-covered mountains with a panoramic view that extends all the way to the beautiful Akkol and Karakul lakes in the valleys below. After sunrise, we’ll return to camp for some rest and filling breakfast. We’ll also visit a few spots known for their ancient rock petroglyphs dating back to the early bronze age. Other artefacts belonging to the ancient cultures of Altai can sometimes be discovered in this area.

In the afternoon, we head for the valley of the Kyzyl Chin River. Once you set eyes on the alien rock formations and unearthly bright orange, red and brown hues of the surrounding mountains, you’ll see why it’s been given the nickname Altai Mars. These ethereal landscapes will provide the perfect place for a location shoot until dark.

Day 4: The steppes of Kurai

Today we get up shortly before sunrise and head to the mountain viewpoint to take some early light shots at this photogenic time of the day. Next, we depart from the Chuya Steppe and on to our next destination - the steppes of Kurai. Although both considered steppe, you’ll instantly see how different these two locations are in appearance. Kurai Steppe is a vast, intermontane basin with vegetation almost identical to the Mongolian semi-desert steppe not far to the south. In good conditions, an impressive view rises up from the flat grassland to span the entire horizon. This is the mighty North Chuysky Range, with its eternal snow, glaciers and ripple-marked cliffs.

In the afternoon, we’ll arrive in the village of Kurai where we’ll check into our lodging. Once you’re settled, we invite you to attend a special workshop on mountain landscape photography. Closer to sunset, we’ll get to test our skills on a drive to our new shooting point - an extraordinary viewpoint of the Kurai Steppe, the Chuya River and the North Chuysky Range. Once the sun sets, it’s back to Kurai village to retire for the night.

Day 5 : Home of the Glaciers

Rise and shine early today again as it’s your last chance to get those perfect snaps on the viewpoint overlooking the Kurai Steppe. At sunrise, the colours are thousands of shades different, yet equally spectacular.

To get to our next shooting location, we’ll need some heavy-duty transport. Climb aboard the all-terrain ZIL Russian truck, one of the few vehicles able to handle the rough road through the Kurai Steppe! We’re on the way to a little-known destination home to one of the biggest glaciers in Altai - Aktru. We’ll settle into a guesthouse for the night in a cosy alpine camping and cabin site.

Day 6 : Aktru Glaciers and Ice Caves

Early in the morning, you’ll come face to face with the Aktru Glacier, coming in at an impressive 2,150m high. The Aktru Glacier is one of five located in the Aktru Canyon. Surrounding the canyon, the majestic mountain ranges remain dusted in snow, and the orange-hued trees of the alpine forest shine in the golden autumn light. We’ll set out on foot to photograph the glaciers Big Aktru and Small Aktru.

There are temporary ice caves form at the base of the glaciers, and we should be able to get inside a few for the rare opportunity to see the inside of a glacier. Inside the seemingly solid glacial ice are vaults of dazzling, translucent blue. Ice streams feeding run through the middle of the caves, creating streams that reflect glowing blue light across the walls of ice.

We’ll also photograph the radiant Waterfall Glacier and the prominent peak of Mount Karatash rising above the yellow larch forest.

Day 7: The Legendary Blue Lake

Take the opportunity for another sunrise shoot in the stunning Aktru Canyon. Later on, once bags are packed, we’ll make our journey back to the Kurai Steppe. On the way, we will stop at the mesmerising Jangyzkyol Lake (or Blue Lake), set against a backdrop of snow peaks belonging to the striking North Chuysky Range. We’ll hike the rugged, rocky terrain around the area looking for the best angles for photographing the lake and mountains at sunset.

Day 8: Sunrise at Blue Lake

Today we must rise before sunlight and journey through the night forest back to the Blue Lake for a sunrise photoshoot. When the sun begins to highlight the mountain peaks and reflect their silhouettes in the mirror-still surface of the lake, you’ll realise this view was well worth the early start!

Back at our lodge, we’ll have breakfast and take some well-earned rest. Before lunch, we’ll do a workshop on landscape photography post-processing. 

Day 9: Uzunkol and Kidelyu lakes

Today, we’ll depart well before dawn to shoot the magnificent Uzunkol Lake. This superb lake and the scattering of miniature lakes around it beautifully reflect the mountain ranges in the early light. After a picnic-style breakfast, we’ll continue our journey towards the valley of the Chulyshman River. It’s a bumpy, two-hour journey, but well worth it. The best time to shoot in the valley is in the middle of the day, when sunlight reaches the bottom of the gorge and sparkles off the river down below.

Afterwards, we’ll begin heading back to the lodge, stopping for some sunset shooting at Lake Kidelyu, one of the most famous landmarks in Altai.

Day 10: Snapshots on route to Askat

Enjoy a bit of a sleep-in today before we begin heading back towards civilization. We’ll make a couple of interesting stops along the way. First, the brilliant blue Geyser Lake. Staring into the piercing turquoise depths, you may notice the occasional bubbling “geyser”, spitting out bluish clay and sand and forming concentric circles at the bottom of the lake. We’ll again cross the immense Seminsky Pass (altitude 1,717m), where you can get a heart-stopping view down into the valley and the confluence of the Chui and Katun rivers.

By lunch, we should make it to our overnight stop in Askat, a picturesque village renowned for its master craftsmen. A third of Askat’s 120 residents are artists and painters. Admire their handicrafts and ethnic instruments and try soothing sound therapy using Tibetan style singing bowls.

Tonight, we’ll enjoy a rare performance of kaichi, a traditional style of throat singing the Altayans used to relate stories and heroic legends.

Day 11: Gorno-Altaysk goodby hugs

From Askat, it’s about an hour’s drive to Gorno-Altaysk, where we’ll say our goodbyes at the airport, our minds and our memory cards overflowing with unforgettable images.  

Included

Group arrival and departure airport transfers from/to Gorno-Altaysk

Transportation on tour according to the itinerary (4WD cars, mini-bus, 6WD truck)

Accommodation  on tour (hotels, lodges, yurts)

All meals

Professional photographer guide and helper

Experienced drivers

All sights indicated in the itinerary, depending on the weather

Special permits

Russian visa support document

Not included

Flights

Travel insurance (mandatory)

Visa and visa fees.*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Optional excursions

Individual transfers

Alcohol

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup.
18 Sep - 28 Sep, 2021
Private Tour
Available US $2,780 US $0

Start planning your tour

A destination specialist will follow up on you enquiry shortly.
Prefer to chat? Call us on +61 2 9388 9816 we will be delighted to be of service.

Altai Photo Tour, Shimmers of Siberia’s Autumn

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816

USD