Altai is a huge terrain just in the middle of Euroasian continent. Altai consists of 2 administrative units – Altai Republic (southern mountaineous part) with the mail city of Gorno-Altaisk and Altai Krai (northern lowland part) with the main city of Barnaul. Altai Republic offers much more dramatic views than Altai Krai, although the latter strives to attract tourists to its notable places. Here is a map of attractions (some): goo.gl/SuRof4
You should know that Altai territory has several zones access to which is limited, I’m speaking about state border zones and nature reserves. The rules you will find below.
Altai has lots of ticks, try to get vaccinated beforehand (2 months in advance). And, of course, there are bears in the mountains, if you meet a bear do not turn your back on him, do not walk or run away from him with your back turned to him, don’t look him in the eye and try to speak with him in a loud frim voice (do not yell or imitate roaring even while defending), do not touch bear cubs. The best way to avoid such an encounter to make noise while walking – speak loudly, sing or do something else which will make a bear aware of your presence, and don’t leave any food around you, it will attract bears, and don’t use bears’ roads in taiga, make your own. Bears can look aggressive, but in reality they can feel confused because they don’t know whether you are dangerous or not. So they can try to impress you with their height and power by standing on hind legs and roaring but it doesn’t mean they are going to eat you. And they are curious animals in general. If a bear started to move to you, do not make a step backwards. If a bear tries to defend his territory from you – play a dead man with your chest turned to the ground. If a bear is a man-eater – defend – show that you are dangerous, make loud noises, try to look more tall, lift rucksacks above your head. And God save you! Bears which you meet in winter are dangerous because all nice bears are sleeping in this time of the year.
Barnaul is a town with most beautiful girls J Here are enough nice places to eat but not a single decent museum. I can give you the info on one of them
Altay Museum of Local History (Алтайский краеведческий музей) Address: Polzunova Ul. 46. Opening hrs: W,F,Sat,S – 9.30-17.30, Thu – 11-19. Closed on Monday and Tuesday and on last Friday every month. Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org or +73852634758.
Anokhin National Museum (Национальный музей им. А. В. Анохина) Address: Choros-Gurkina Ul. 46. Opening hrs: Summer W,F,Sat – 11-19, Thu – 11-20, S -11-18, other seasons W,Thu,F,Sat – 10-18, S – 10-17. Closed on Monday and Tuesday. Ticket office closes 30 min before closing time. Contacts: email@example.com This museum is very cool, I recommend visiting it.
This is one of the most beautiful Russian valleys. The valley is set between 2 mountain ridges, Terektinsky and Katunsky, it is 35 km long and 10 km wide. From here travellers start their journey to Belukha mountain (4509 m), Multinsky Lakes, Kucherlinskoe Lake, the Red Mountain and so on. Several Altai peoples had inhabited the valley from the old days, but in the 17th century Russians who opposed patriarch’s Nikon and Alexey Mikhailovich’s changes of the Russian Orthodox Church fled from their atrocities and genocide to the contry’s remote places, including Altai and Uimon Valley. These people are known as Old-Believers. Not many of them inhabit the valley nowadays, but many are descendants of the people who came here in the XVII c., that is why communicating with them is a pleasure, they are very friendly, helpful and kind.
In Verkhny Uimon village you can visit 3 museums
Old-Believers Museum (Музей старообрядчества) Address: Naberezhnaya Ul. 14. Well, it is a typical Ruusian village house of the old days, what makes it the museum of the old faith is Raisa Pavlovna Kuchuganova who seems to know every single proverb and story of the local people. She wrote several interesting books. But she speaks Russian, so to understand her you should either learn Russian or bring your own interpreter. You can arrange a visit beforehand with her +79136960592.
Nikolay Roerich Museum (Музей Н.К. Рериха) Address: Naberezhnaya Ul. 20a. Working hrs: 9-19 daily. Nikolay Roerich, a person of multiple talents, was here with his family in 1926.
Museum-Shop of Semi-precious Stones (Музей «Самоцветы») Here you can watch and buy different products of local craftsmen, mostly made with stones.
WHERE TO STAY:
In Zamulta village – tourist base “Multinskie ozera”. You can book different types of rooms here, including those with WC and shower. They offer different hiking programmes and transport to Lower Multinskoe Lake, Ak-kem valley, Red Mountain and so on. They also have a base near Lower Multinskoe Lake, you can choose to stay there. The owner is a great person, Andrey by name. 50% of the cost should be prepaid in advance, no refunds if any changes. This can be done by invoice or by sending money to their bank card, I don’t think the second variant a safe one, but having seen the owner, I’m 100% sure he can be trusted. Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, +79833283177, +79095081077. Address: Zamulta, Novaya Ul. 4. Website: http://www.multozera.ru/
In Tyungur village – tourist base “Vysotnik”. They offer different rooms and this company also has a camping with kitchen 1,5 km from Ak-kem lake. It’s the best place to stay at if you are heading to Belukha. There you can hire a helicopter to their Ak-kem camping(20 July – 20 August), OW for 4 people 40,000 RUB, a 1hr excursion to Ak-kem lake and back 60,000 RUB (but you can spend only 10-15 min on the spot). If you are alone they will try to find people to join you to share the expenses. Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, +79812736444, +79816981906, +78123325267, +79817937444. Website: http://www.belukha.ru/
HOW TO GET THERE
Several airlines fly to Barnaul and only one to Gorno-ALtaysk, S7.
From Barnaul: there is a bus Barnaul – Multa, 14hrs journey… It starts at 7.15 from Barnaul Bus station (ploshchad Pobedy 12) in 2016. It has stops in Tyuguryuk, Ust-Koksa, Verkh-Uimon, Tikhonkaya, Multa. Website (in Russian) where you can buy tickets online https://www.takebus.ru/. Near Bus station you will find many taxis which will be ready to offer their services. But I advise arranging this beforehand. By the way, buses to Gorno-Altaysk depart every hour.
From Gorno-Altaysk: again, you can take a bus Barnaul-Multa which makes a stop in GA. Near bus station you will find a mini bus which departs in the morning and in the afternoon, exact time is unknown, depends on the number of people wishing to go to Ust-Koksa on this day. Of course you can also hire a taxi, it costs 7000 RUB in a Russian car, a car ride takes 7 hrs.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: It is a border region. 1. Russians should always have their passport on them (even in the mountains), but to enter a 5-km border territory they need a permit, which can be got via gosuslugi.ru (can take up to 30 days) or in Gorno-Altaisk (Kommunistichesky prospect 94, M-Thu 10-17, F 10-15.45). Be ready to enumerate all the places you want to visit, if later you will be noticed in some other place you will be fined. 2. Foreigners should obtain a special permit not less than 2 months before arrival.
5 km zone: Belukha (some ways to the top are in 100 m zone and Kazakhstan), Al-kem wall, Tomsk sites.
There is another obstacle – Nature Reserves. To be able to walk these territories you (Russians and foreigners) need to obtain a permit. There are 3 reserves in Altai Republic: Katun, Altai and Ukok Plateau. If you wish to visit Katun Nature Reserve (http://www.katunskiy.ru/en) you should get a permit in Ust-Koksa, Zapovednaya Ul. 1, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on working days. You should know that you can visit Verkhnee (Upper) Multinskoe and Poperechnoe lakes only as a group with the reserve’s representative. Groups are organized at the post near Srednee (Middle) Multinskoe Lake at 11 a.m. on T, Thu, Sat – to visit Verkhnee Multinskoe Lake, on M,W,F,S – to visit Poperechnoe Lake. Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teletskoe lake (Телецкое озеро) is only 2-3-hour-drive from Gorno-Altaisk. The closest settlements Artybash and Iogach. Teletskoe Lake is 80 km long, settled between hills and mountains. Most bank line is a part of Altai Nature Reserve.
to be continued 🙂