Discover East Kazakhstan: Destination of Natural Wonders, Cultural Treasures and Adventure 

ASTANA – The East Kazakhstan Region is a hidden gem that offers breathtaking natural beauty, unique cultural experiences, and various activities for all. It has become a popular destination for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and cultural enthusiasts worldwide. It is a must-visit location for those looking to explore the beauty and diversity of Kazakhstan.

Kalbinsky Ridge. Photo credit: Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

The climate in the region is predominantly continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The best time to visit is from June to September when the weather is mild.

Kalbinsky Ridge

The 400-kilometers Kalbinsky Ridge is a low mountain system that is part of the Altai range beyond the Irtysh River. The lower part of the slopes features mountain-steppe landscapes, while the upper parts contain mountain forests, including sparse pine and pine-birch trees. At the peak you will find steppe subalpine meadows.

Sibinskie Lakes and Ak Baur

It takes two hours to reach Sibinskie Lakes from the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. Sibinskie Lakes is a system of five lakes with pure clear water, surrounded by the picturesque landscape of granite mountains. The total area of ​​the five lakes is 31 square kilometers.

Kalbinsky Ridge. Photo credit:

Not far from the western lake are the remains of the Ablaikit monastery temple, built in 1654 by Abylai Khan and destroyed during the battles with the Dzungars. Nevertheless, magnificent Tibetan manuscripts remain in the monastery.

Also located here is a natural and historical cave called Ak Baur. Historians and archaeologists continue to try to unravel its mysteries.

Ak Baur. Photo credit:

According to one version, the drawings in the cave are a starry sky. The complex has a platform with pinto markings of a sundial and an exact image of the Ursa Major constellation. 

According to scientists, ancient astrologers observed the sun and the moon from here. During excavations, a settlement from the Saka era of the early Iron Age and the Bronze Age was discovered here.

Kiin-Kerish Valley

Kiin-Kerish Valley, located in the Kurchum Region 315 kilometers from Ust-Kamenogorsk, is a deposit of variegated clays exposed by erosion. The City of Spirits is another name for this location with unearthly Martian landscapes. Clays eroded by water and wind form a very bright and bizarre landscape. It is a place of unimaginable beauty and originality with unique red, white and orange structures. From a distance, the red clay cliffs look like a flame bursting in the wind.

Kiin-Kerish Valley. Photo credit:

Lake Markakol

Lake Markakol is one of the most beautiful lakes in Kazakhstan. It is located at an altitude of 1,447 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by dense forests. Since the lake is in a mountainous area, its shores are partially cut off by steep slopes and covered with meadows in some places.

Lake Markakol. Photo credit:

The lake is unique in its transparency and playing colors – in bright sunlight, it acquires a bright blue color, while during rain or snowfall the lake becomes gray-black or silver. Guest houses offer comfortable accommodation that cost between 3,000 tenge ($6) and 80,000 tenge ($180) per night. 

Mount Muztau

Mount Muztau (Belukha) is the highest mountain in Siberia, 4,506 meters above sea level. It was included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list in 1998.

Muztau. Photo credit:

The mount is located at the junction of two continental plates and is equidistant from three oceans – the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian.

Some consider this location to be a place of power that can fill you with the energy of the cosmos.

There are a lot of legends about this place. According to some, the Shambhala, the mysterious country of the gods, is located here, while others believe that the great Gautama Buddha traveled to India straight from this mount.

Another legend says that Umai, the patroness of children and women in childbirth, lived on Mount Muztau.

The route to the foot of Muztau passes through the Katon-Karagai National Park full of wheat and sunflower fields, hay steppes, picturesque mountains, Lake Yazevoe and Kokkol waterfall.

For some, this route is a place of energy that allows you to clear your mind. For those not looking for spirituality, it is a viewpoint where you can enjoy the gorgeous view of Muztau.


The region has been promoting tourism and investing in infrastructure and facilities in recent years. Many tours are available around the area, including jeep tours, horseback riding, bike tours, water trips, kayaking, and gastro tours, where tourists can taste traditional Kazakh and Altai cuisine. 

The tour price depends on the route and can vary from 100,000 tenge ($225) to 900,000 tenge ($2,022) per person, according to one of the local tour companies.  

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