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4 ways to get to Shymbulak
If you come to Almaty, you should definitely visit the Shymbulak ski resort (it is known to many as Chimbulak). You don’t have to ski! You can and should walk on foot, especially in the warm seasons. You can get there by taxi, by cableway, by bicycle or on foot. This article details all of the above methods.
Location of Shymbulak
This resort is located near Almaty. It is located in the Zailiysky Alatau (mountain range) at an altitude of 2200-2800 meters. It is above the Medeo skating rink. The territory on which Shymbulak is located is considered part of Ile-Alatau National Park and is subject to its rules. To get there, you must first get to Medeo. This can be done along Dostyk Avenue, if you follow it towards the mountains. If you do not have a car, take the bus route number 12. It leaves from the bus stop opposite the Kazakhstan Hotel and drives straight to Medeo.
From Medeo to Shymbulak by cableway
The cable car to Shymbulak starts from Medeo. The station is located 500 meters down the road from the skating rink. It can be reached in two ways.
Method 1: Drive to the ice rink in your car. In this case, you need to leave the car in the parking lot near the station. You will have to pass the station and in about 300 meters make a u-turn to enter the parking lot. A GPS navigator will help you to not turn in the wrong place.
Method 2: Arrive by bus. The 12th bus route takes passengers directly to the cable car station. The stop is called the Gondola Road. This is the second-to-last stop.
At the station, you will need to purchase tickets for the cableway. It consists of three sections:
- “Medeo-Shymbulak” — a section of the route suitable for both skiers and hikers. (This route trip takes about 20 minutes.)
- “Combi 1” — intermediate section used by winter skiers and summer hikers. (If you want to use it, you need to transfer to cable road “Combi 1”.)
- “Combi 2” is the highest part of the route for experienced skiers and hikers travelling in summer.
You can purchase tickets for a trip by cableway beforehand on the official site of the cableway. If you preorder tickets, you get a small discount. Please, book a one-way ticket, if you want to go up in a booth and get back down on foot. You can admire the fine mountain landscape and take many pictures on the way.
Fares on the Shymbulak cableway:
* You can get discounts when buying online
** On weekdays there is a 100% discount (free of charge) for children under 5 years old and pensioners 65 years old and over.
|Type of fare||Adult fare||student fare available
for passengers younger than 23,
only on weekdays. Id required
|** PENSIONERS AND CHILDREN|
UNDER 10 YEARS OLD
available only on weekdays. Id required
|Return fare “Medeo-Shymbulak”||3500₸
“Medeo-Shymbulak” + “Combi 1” + “Combi 2”
“Combi 1” + “Combi 2”
(boothes with glass floor)
“Medeo-Shymbulak” + “Combi 1” + “Combi 2”
(3 days season ticket)
For thrill-seekers, cabins with a transparent floor are offered. They cost 50% over the normal fare.
Sections of the cable car allow tourists to ascend to different altitudes above sea level:
- “Medeo-Shymbulak” — 2260 meters
- “Combi 1” — 2840 meters
- “Combi 2” — 3180 meters (The Talgar Pass starts at the top of “Combi 2”.)
Cableway winter schedule
|Weekdays||Weekends and holidays|
10.00 am – 06.00 pm
|“Medeo”-“Shymbulak” cableway |
10.00 am – 08.00 pm
10.00 am – 05.00 pm
9.00 am – 05.00 pm
10.00 am – 04.30 pm
10.00 am – 05.30 pm
Parking near the cableway
Next to the cableway, there is a large outdoor parking lot. Also you can find a two level parking garage under the station building.
The price for a parking space is 500 KZT per day. The parking lot is available seven days a week. You need to pay for parking lot directly at the ticket window, where you buy tickets for the cableway.
Please, note the entrances and exits to the parking lot can be located in different places!
Step-by-step instructions on how to park and then leave the parking lot:
- Find parking entry
- Stop in front of the barrier and press the round button
- Take the parking ticket and put in your pocket or bag
- At the ticket office, while buying tickets for the cableway you can pay for parking (500 ₸ or 1,8 $) at the same time
- You will be given a ticket with a barcode (do not lose it!)
- Find the parking lot exit – it is usually to the right of the entrance
- Stop in front of the barrier
- Put the barcode under the scanner, with the barcode facing up. After the scan is successful the barrier will lift up so you can drive away.
Shymbulak by taxi
This ski resort used to be accessible by car, but now cars are not allowed there. This is due to the protection of the environment from pollution and the lack of parking. But not all tourists are ready to climb the mountains by cable car. Some people are scared of heights or find such a trip too costly for their budget.
For such travelers, special eco-buses and taxis are provided (not working on an internal combustion engine). They run between Medeo and Shymbulak. To use them, get off at the final stop of bus No. 12 or drive there by car. Then you can leave the car in the parking lot and transfer to an eco-car. All cars depart directly from the parking lot located at the entrance to the ice rink.
Two types of transport run between Shymbulak and the Medeo skating rink:
Type 1: ECO-BUS - Iveco minibus with 18 passenger seats. This shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes from 9:00 to 19:30. A trip on it is cheaper than a cable car. The cost is 500 KZT for 1 person one way.
Type 2: GreenRide - a comfortable crossover with 4 passenger seats. It runs the Medeo-Shymbulak route around the clock. A trip will cost 3000 KZT one way. But this is the price for the whole car, not for 1 person.
Whatever type of transport you choose, a trip on it will leave only positive impressions and won’t take more than 15 minutes. Leaving the eco-car, you will see private mansions, restaurants, a hotel, rentals for skiers, a snowboarding school and bathrooms, and a souvenir shop.
What to do
There are many cafes, attractions and activities to do at the Shymbulak ski resort. There is a rope park, horse riding, an inn. You can spend time there or ascend the second and third sections of the cableway to SNEG restaurant or “Bar 3200” at the very top of the Talgar pass.
Please consult your doctor before ascending to heights over 3000 meters, as it can be dangerous for some people. If you are not up for it, better to limit yourself to the first section of the cableway only.
How to bike to Shymbulak
You can reach the ski resort by bike using the same road eco taxis and buses take up the mountain gorge from Medeo. The road is well maintained, but has steep slopes only experienced bikers on a mountain bike can ascend. If you are sure of your capabilities and equipment, feel free to try.
There is no bicycle lane!
Hike to Shymbulak
Hikers usually come to Medeo by bus or car, and then go on foot to the ski resort. Despite a few steep hills, the walk is not particularly hard. The full route between Medeo and Shymbulak is only 7 km long. The road is paved, with a comfortable sidewalk and rest stops along the way, so you can relax, enjoy the view and take beautiful pictures.
You can shorten the route if you are ready to climb the steps of the dam and then follow the road from there. In this case, the total length of the road will be just 4 kilometers.
Mountain Hotels in Shymbylak - Useful links