About 200km from Almaty is an amazing natural wonder called Charyn Canyon.
Here's how it's described by the Kazakhs:
It's spectacular and well worth the visit. So many people seem to just drive there from Almaty, look over the side for an hour and then head back. They are making a great mistake. The canyon has loads of great viewpoints at the top and it is possible to scramble around exploring for hours. We eventually found the dirt road down into the canyon and were rewarded with spectacular views as we cycled down through the side canyon called the 'Valley of the Castles'. The initial descent into the canyon was very steep but when we finally reached the river we had the whole place to ourselves. Why there aren't more people there is hard to understand, this was definitely the highlight of our time in Kazakhstan. For Frank – our cycling companion - it was heaven because he could finally get warm. Guide books say that it is too hot here in summer but with all the glacial melt water flowing down from the mountains, this is hard to imagine. We would have liked to have spent a day exploring but we needed to push on to China to cross the high mountains before winter sets in. We left Frank basking in the sun.
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