Among the many great attractions in Almaty to see right at the top of the list of things to do in Almaty is visit Shymbulak ski resort (or sometimes spelt Chimbulak) Shymbulak is the largest ski resort in Central Asia with powdered slopes and one of the top Almaty tourist attractions all year round. Visiting Shymbulak in summer is a wonderful experience.
Where is Shymbulak?
Shymbulak is the Zaiilsky Alatau mountain range is reached by accessing the Medeu cable car base 12 kilometres out of Almaty, and we can guarantee it is one epic ride to the very top. Medeu is also famous in its own right for having the highest elevated ice skating venue in the world at 1691 meters above sea level. Will this make it on your list of places to see in Almaty when you visit?
At the base station Medeu, you will find shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. The ticket price in the summer to the top of the mountain was 3500 tt for adults ( $£€ ) and 2500tt for kids (2021 prices)
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Shymbulak Ski Resort is a major Almaty attraction
The mountains around Almaty are jaw-dropping in their beauty. They rise up to over 4000 meters in places and are covered with snow all year round. It can be well over 30 degrees in Almaty, people in shorts and t-shirts, and the mountains close by are still covered in snow. For us, it was something we absolutely loved about visiting Almaty, and we spent a lot of time just staring at the mountains when we visited Shymbulak in summer.
The gondola cars take you straight to the top of the Shymbulak ski resort. You pass over an amazing mountain stream, hike tracks and a dam on the way up the mountain. The clear water in the mountain stream rushes over rocks, lapping at the banks, past the famous ski rink as you head ever higher.
After 15 minutes of climbing through the valley with tree-covered mountains on either side, you arrive at Shymbulak resort area, station one. Station one is where you find fresh mountain air, accommodation, restaurants, cafés and attractions.
How do you get to Shymbulak in summer?
You will find horse riding, a rope park, trampolines and a kids centre for families. For adults, there are bars and restaurants selling great food on the premises of Shymbulak. We had some great coffee, sandwiches, pastries and the best chicken noodle soup I have ever had at a place called Paul. You can’t miss it, when you get off the cable car it is directly right in a black building with Paul written all over it.
After a short break and without realising that there were even higher sections to visit, we hopped on the cable car again. Rising from 2200 to 2823 metres above sea level. The cable car ride is very deceiving!
At the second station was another restaurant. This restaurant had patches of snow on it. Yes, snow in the middle of summer! Just the day before it had been 30 degrees in Almaty, and today we find snow, so our girls thought this was just the absolute best and maybe even one of the strangest things too!
There is a freshwater trough that you can put your hands in and have a drink. This is a real test of one’s willingness to embrace the elements at this altitude. The water was crystal clear and freezing.
Back on the cable car again, we went climbing to the Talgar Pass at 3194 meters above sea level is the highest part of the Ski Resort. We disembarked at The Talgar Pass Station to be greeted by 6-degree temperatures and rocky escarpments covered in snow rising to the heavens.
The site was awe-inspiring. You can wander further up the hill for more views and down a small hill for views of the Shymbulak resort or Almaty. People had bought food and drinks with them and were enjoying picnics
Coming back up a 100 a small steep hill at 3200 meters altitude was quite the challenge.
It certainly gets the heart pumping. Anywhere above 2500 meters you should be aware of altitude sickness.
All along the mountain, you can see people hiking enjoying the amazing location and even thrill-seekers mountain biking Shymbulak. At one stage we received a light dusting of snow. We spent around 30 minutes at that top just soaking in the location, it is simply wow, wow and more wow.
Staying at Shymbulak Kazakhstan
You can stay on the mountain for the nights at Shymbulak Hotel Resort. The hotel features both private rooms with ensuites and 6 person dorm rooms for people looking for a cheaper rate. The resort features free Wi-Fi, a steam room, a sauna and an onsite restaurant. For more information and booking click here for Shymbulak Resort Hotel
How to get to Shymbulak Ski Resort from Almaty city center
Car: From Al-Farabi district in Almaty along Dostyk Avenue you will travel 13 km until you get to Medeu base station. There is car parking within 100 meters of the Medeu base station.
Bus: Bus №12 from the bus stops near the intersection of Dostyk district and Kurmangazy street every day from 7:00 to 20:00 (every 30 min) to Medeu base station.
We hope this post from us here at Wyld Family Travel has inspired you to make a day trip to Shymbulak in summer when you visit Almaty city.
For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Kazakhstan click through to our Kazakhstan Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.
More travel inspiration for your trip to Kazakhstan
Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not talking about travel or planning travel you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months old, through to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.