Almaty’s thermal springs season is heating up

ASTANA – Although the Shonzhy village in the Almaty region’s Uyghur district is located far from the Almaty city, the village is a popular tourism destination. The village has thermal springs, the season for which begins with autumn frosts.

Thermal springs. Photo credit: eltourism.kz.

The distance between Almaty and Shonzhy is 243 kilometres. The journey from Almaty to the thermal springs on average takes four to five hours. On the way, tourists can see the landscapes and significant places of the area, such as the relict ash tree grove and the Charyn River, which are surrounded by the Ile Alatau ridges.

The road to the springs can be divided into four sections. The first section from Almaty to Qulzha village passes through settlements, where the speed limit is 60 kilometres per hour. The second section is from Qulzha to Shelek village. There are large gaps between the settlements. The third section is from the Shelek to Shonzhy village. There are no settlements on the road and speed limit is up to 110 kilometres per hour. The last section is from Shonzhy to the thermal springs with a 50 kilometres distance.

The weather in Shonzhy is usually stable. It is warm in the summer, cold and snowy in winter.

Magmatic intrusions in areas of active volcanism warm up water that feeds all hot springs in Shonzhy. Its thermal mineral springs or hot springs are divided to warm (20-37 degrees Celsius), hot (37-50 degrees Celsius) and very hot (50-100 degrees Celsius).

Thermal springs are believed to be good for relaxation and health purposes. Shonzhy thermal springs’ chemical composition is similar to many of the famous mineral springs across the Commonwealth of Independent States countries.

Chemical elements found in the water are believed to help treat many diseases, contribute to the normalisation of the body processes and stimulate the immune system. Many also believe springs have a physiotherapeutic effect on joints and muscles.

There are more than 10 recreation areas in Shonzhy that have open and closed pools, children’s pools and wells with cold water. The costs on average are approximately 4,000 (US$10.78) – 6,000 tenge (US$16.17) per person per day.

Travel agencies offer taxis and buses to reach Shonzhy. The average fare per person is 4,000 – 5,000 tenge (US$10.78-$13.47).