Mountain Bike Mayhem
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Almaty. KE Land Only package services begin with a single timed transfer from Almaty Airport to the group hotel. We will have a short sightseeing tour then have time to reassemble our bikes, before sitting down to dinner.
Day 2: Time for sightseeing in the morning, before loading the bikes onto the support vehicle and setting off on the drive to the Turgen River Gorge and our first camp of the trip at the village of Batan.
Day 3: We ride a rough jeep track to the end of the valley, then climb to a lunch stop at the Assy Pass (2650m). A riverside descent leads to a camping place beside the Assy River. Ride distance 42 km (26 miles) with 687 metres of ascent and 724 metres of descent.
Day 4: Today's long ride takes us up and over the Zhambas Pass (3150m) and across the Ashyk Dala Plateau to reach our camp beside the Sary Bulak River (1600m). Ride distance 52 km (33 miles) with 1853 metres of ascent and 2408 metres of descent.
Day 5: Today we make a bike traverse across the Kungey Alatau Mountains, followed by a wild downhill blast to our camp on the banks of the Chilik River. A great place to swim. Ride distance 27 km (17 miles) with 1408 metres of ascent and 491 metres of descent.
Day 6: We follow guiet country roads from Saty to Zhalanash, beyond which an undulating old road, with a fair bit of up and down, takes us to Zhaydak Bulak and our camp close to the Kegen River. Ride distance 73 km (46 miles) with 1439 metres of ascent and 2086 metres of descent.
Day 7: Biking across the rolling grassland known as 'steppe', we enter into Kirghizstan. Following what was once a part of the Silk Road we bike into the Karkara Valley and reach the fixed camp at the Karkara Mountain Base (2200m). Ride distance 75 km (47 miles) with 1057 metres of ascent and 573 metres of descent.
Day 8: This is the first of 2 wild days of heli-biking! We use a large cargo helicopter to take us up to 3500 metres and make a ballistic descent back to our base at Karkara. Ride distance 30 km (19 miles) with up to 1400 metres of descent.
Day 9: Another big grin day of heli-biking! We are dropped off on a high plateau, with views of the central Tien Shan peaks. On today's descent to Karkara, we may be able to meet nomadic herdsmen and take tea at their yurt camp. Ride distance 40 km (25 miles) with up to 1400 metres of descent.
Day 10: Leaving Karkara, we bike up into the wild and remote Kokzhar Valley. There are several river crossings to negotiate, en route to our highest camp of the holiday (2900m) virtually at the head of the valley. Ride distance 41 km (26 miles) with 947 metres of ascent and 326 metres of descent.
Day 11: An awesome day, as we bike to a hunting lodge at the head of the valley. Then, we turn north, on the edge of the Tian Shan, with views of snow-capped Khan Tengri. From 3500 metres, we enjoy a long downhill to our camp beside the Kokpak River. Ride distance 55 km (34 miles) with 956 metres of ascent and 1783 metres of descent.
Day 12: After a 200-metre climb, we have another long descent to the Tekes River at 1780 metres. Now crossing the dry steppe of Kazakhstan, dotted with small agricultural villages, it is like the land that time forgot. We gradually climbs to cross a ridge, before dropping down to our campsite beside Lake Tuzkol. Ride distance 52 kms (33 miles) with 691 metres of ascent and 733 metres of descent.
Day 13: After breakfast, we board the support vehicle and drive to the Charyn Canyon. Here, we can take a short walk or bike ride into this 'Valley of the Castles', before setting up our final camp of the trip. From this high ridge, there are great sunset views. Ride distance 20 kms (13 miles).
Day 14: Today, we make the transfer back to Almaty, which takes around 4 hours. After checking in at our hotel and packing our bikes, we enjoy a celebratory evening meal.
Day 15: KE Land Only package services end with an early morning group transfer to Almaty Airport.
This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.