ASTANA – Health and wellness resorts are an excellent getaway from a dusty, noisy and stress-driven urban life. Many residents living in the capital and other big cities pack their backs to enjoy the stunning nature of Borovoye, mineral water of Saryagash and the all-therapeutic treatments offered by the resorts. The escapes have become a tradition in many families, especially during the summer season.
The large flow of cars driving from the capital to Borovoye indicates just how popular this destination is during the warmer months.
“It is better to visit Borovoye resorts in the spring, when bourgeons start blossoming on pine trees and a very pleasant and healthy air is coming from them. You can sunbathe, swim and ride boats in summer, while in winter you can go skiing and in autumn pick berries and mushrooms, climb the mountains and look down at Borovoye from a bird’s-eye view,” Gulnara Ashirbayeva, a vacationer who has been to the region’s Ok Zhetpes and Zhumbaktas resorts several times, told The Astana Times.
The area is known to have more than 80 different lakes located among the mountains – enormous natural repositories of freshwater that create distinctive climate conditions.
Fresh, ecologically-clean and fragrant air coming from the pine forests start filling one’s lungs as the person enters the Shchuchinsk territory.
Essential oils from pine needles are effective in healing pulmonary and other diseases, notes the Silktour travel agency website. Therapeutic mud, mineral water and kumis (fermented mare’s milk) are other powerful curative factors of the region.
“It was nice to vacation in this sanatorium, because therapy and rest in such an ecologically-clean region where even the air helps the overall treatment only benefits you. I like that Ok Zhetpes is located in the most pine forest array. The sensation in the forest is hard to express and it is good to be in solitude with nature sometimes,” said the vacationer.
Complemented by a modern medical-diagnostic base of health and wellness resorts, the area works to heal and rehabilitate a wide range of diseases including cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, digestive, circulatory, endocrine, nervous system, urological and gynecological, according to the Kazakh President’s Administrative Department Medical Centre website.
Ok Zhetpes is an award-winning system certified by German TUV and is state licensed to render 17 types of medical services. It is believed to be one of the best in the Borovoye resort area and the entire nation.
The resort is a year-round therapeutic and wellness complex where the use of mineral waters and mud are the main type of treatment. Therapeutic mud heated in special thermal units, hydro tubs, underwater massage, power and circular showers and automatic intestinal cleaning are efficiently used within the medical base of the complex, according to the website.
The sanatorium has a four-a-day meal regimen plus kumis. Based on medical reasons, additional meals established by doctor’s prescription or an individual special regimen is appointed for specific groups of patients needing more frequent meals.
Prices for Ok Zhetpes tours this year range between 35,000-103,000 tenge (US$93-273) depending on the type of accommodation and the time of year. The rates are higher (42,000-112,700 tenge [US$111-299]) during the summer season (June, July and August.)
The resort is 250 kilometres from Astana and 70 kilometres from the regional centre of Kokshetau city in Shchuschinsk Borovoye resort area in the Borovoye tract, Central Kazakhstan. Visitors can travel to the complex in three-four hours by bus or train or two-two and a-half hours by car.
The resort can be conveniently reached from Astana, thanks to the spacious and direct Astana Shuschinsk highway. One will never have problems no matter how many other cars share the road.
The complex is surrounded by the Kokshetau foothills and the west shore of Borovoye Lake. The Okzhetpes and Zhumbaktas rocks are a few metres away.
The unique properties of Saryagash reservoir’s mineral waters are well known and comprise the main therapeutic feature of its health and rehabilitation centre.
The mineral water relieves stomach, intestine and gallbladder inflammation, favourably affects the function of the nervous system and endocrine glands, helps restore the immunity system and improve metabolism, decreases the total level of cholesterol in the blood, helps normalise liver function and regulates sugar levels in the blood. Standard procedures such as hydro, physio therapy, lab tests and doctor consults are also available.
Prices at Saryagash are lower compared to Ok Zhetpes, ranging from 7,500 to 12,000 tenge (US$20-32) per day and 75,000 to 120,000 tenge (US$199-318) for 10 days.
Saryagash sanatorium is 130 kilometres to the south of Shymkent’s regional centre and 18 kilometres from Tashkent city, Uzbekistan. The centre is situated in a garden park area of the Kokterek settlement, near the Keles River in South Kazakhstan’s Saryagash district. About 16,000-20,000 people visit the sanatorium each year, according to its website sariagash.kz.
The Koktem sanatorium, in the foothills of Zailiyskiy Alatau gorge in Almaty, also has its own mineral water reservoir. Its therapeutic procedures include mineral, whirlpool and four-chamber baths, underwater shower massage and mineral water swimming pools. The course of treatment lasts 10, 14 or 20 days.
Three to five meals are offered per day from the menu and buffet-style salads are also available.
Depending on the type of accommodation and time of year, prices range from 8,200 tenge (US$21) to 26,000 tenge (US$69).