Medeu (Medeo), Almaty, Kazakhstan
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 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
Medue is the starting point for several scenic hiking trails into the mountains.
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.
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
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.