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Medeu (Medeo), Almaty, Kazakhstan

Medeu is located 15km south of Almaty in the Zailiysky Alatau Mountains of Kazakhstan (part of the wider Tian Shan range that stretches across China and Central Asia).

The small settlement sits at a height of almost 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) and is the starting point for cable cars to the nearby ski resort at Shymbulak (Chimbulak).

Medeu Ice Rink

Medeu Ice Rink

Medeu is famous for its ice skating rink, which is the highest in the world at 1,691 metres (5,548 feet). In summer the rink is transformed into a track for go carting and other activities and it is open to the public all year round.

Construction of the rink was completed in 1951 and it was renovated in 2011 for the Asian Winter Games. Many world records have been broken at the rink and the ice (which is now made artificially) was said to help with speed and glide.

Entrance to Medeu Ice Rink

Adult: 1,400 Tenge Student: 800 Tenge Child: 400 Tenge

Bus 12 from Dostyk Avenue terminates at the ice rink.

For more information see the official Medeu website.

Hiking Trails at Medeu

Almaty Mountains

Medue is the starting point for several scenic hiking trails into the mountains.

Kimassar Trail

This 14km trail will take you to the top of Furmanov Peak (3,029metres) and will take around 7 hours to complete.

Kok Zhailyau Trail

Kok Zhailyau means “green meadow” in Kazakh and this trek takes you through some beautiful alpine pastures. It’s a relatively easy hike and takes around 4 hours round trip from Medeu.

Shymbulak Trail

If you don’t fancy taking the cable car, you can walk to Shymbulak in around 2 hours.

The best time for hiking is May to October but be aware that conditions can change rapidly even in the height of summer, so ensure you are well prepared and have adequate supplies and warm/waterproof clothing. Check forecasts before heading out into the mountains. Check out my guide to safety in Kazakhstan for more info.

For detailed information on each hike check out Caravanistan’s guide to hiking in Almaty.

Cable Car to Shymbulak

Medeu Cable Car, Almaty Travel Guide

The cable car is located at the penultimate stop of bus number 12 one kilometre before the ice rink. A round trip ticket costs 2,500 Tenge. See my guide to the mountain resort at Shymbulak for more information.

How to get to Medeu

Take bus number 12 from the stop across from Hotel Kazakhstan on Dostyk Avenue. The nearest metro station is Abay approximately 500m away.

The fare is 80 Tenge and the journey time is 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic.

How to Get to Almaty

Almaty is easily reachable from the rest of Kazakhstan by rail and bus. You can read about how to travel between Almaty and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Tashkent (Uzbekistan) or Urumqi (China).

Steve Rohan

About the Author

Steve Rohan, originally from England, has lived in China for over six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, the ancient capital of Luoyang and now resides in the tropical paradise of Sanya on Hainan Island.

He has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, mostly by train, and has written about his travels for this blog as well as self-publishing his first book, Siberian Odyssey.


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