A trip to the top of Shymbulak in summer

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Among the many great attractions in Almaty, visiting Shymbulak ski resort (or sometimes spelt Chimbulak) is at the top of the list. 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 the summer is a wonderful experience.

Where is Shymbulak?

Shymbulak, 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?

Visiting Shymbulak in Summer is a great day trip from Almaty

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 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 loved about visiting Almaty, and we spent a lot of time just staring at the mountains when we visited Shymbulak in the summer.

The gondola cars take you straight to the top of the Shymbulak ski resort. On the way up the mountain, you pass over an amazing mountain stream, hiking tracks, and a dam. The clear water in the mountain stream rushes over rocks, lapping at the banks, past the famous ski rink as you head higher.

After 15 minutes of climbing through the valley with tree-covered mountains on either side, you arrive at the 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 the summer?

You will find horse riding, a rope park, trampolines, and a kids’ centre for families. For adults, bars and restaurants sell great food on Shymbulak’s premises. 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!

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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 found 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 where you can put your hands in and 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 climbed to the Talgar Pass, which is 3194 meters above sea level and the highest part of the Ski Resort. We disembarked at The Talgar Pass Station, 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 bought food and drinks with them and enjoyed picnics.

Coming back up a 100, a small steep hill at 3200 meters altitude, was quite challenging.

It certainly gets the heart pumping. Anywhere above 2500 metres, you should be aware of altitude sickness.

All along the mountain, you can see people hiking enjoying the fantastic 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 centre

Car: From the Al-Farabi district in Almaty along Dostyk Avenue, you will travel 13 km to the 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 the summer when you visit Almaty city.

For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Kazakhstan, visit our Kazakhstan Destination Guide page.

More travel inspiration for your trip to Kazakhstan

Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not discussing 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 to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

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Mark Wyld

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