Fast Facts

  • Location: 182 kilometers northeast of Almaty, southern Kazakhstan
  • How to Reach: If you have to get to Singing Dunes, you have to reach Almaty first. Numerous flights to Almaty most commonly transit through Istanbul (Turkey), Vienna (Austria), Frankfurt (Germany) and Moscow (Russia). Apart from air access, long-distance rail connections include a daily Moscow-Almaty service and another line to Almaty from China via Urumqi. In addition to them, there is also a once-weekly ferry from Baku to Aktau in Kazakhstan.
  • Nearest International Airport: Almaty International Airport
  • Nearest railway station: Almaty Train Station

Located 182 kilometers northeast of Almaty on the right bank of the Ili River, Singing Dunes, Kazakhstan is one of the matchless miracles of Nature. In the words of Marco Polo, it was aptly depicted as “at times fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms”.

Singing Dunes- a magical wonder
South Kazakhstan is a major portion of highlight of Central Asian history and Singing Dunes is a crowning jewel of it. The diverse desert is home to the Singing Barkhan — a sand dune covering an area of 3.2 kilometers and creating a strange singing sound.

The Singing Dunes are in the Altyn-Emel State National Park, the largest national park of the country. The crescent-shaped sand dune, emanating such a sound in dry weather as if an organ is being played, makes an extraordinary impact. The barely detectable movement of sand sliding down the slope is the cause of creating the humming and vibration. The sound accompanies an avalanching movement of the sand, usually elicited by wind passing over the dune. Several collisions between grains of sand send out surface elastic waves and that, in turn, produce the motions of the grains to become harmonized. The surface of the sand operates as a loudspeaker, conducting it through the air. The sound can is heard even from several kilometers away.

Things to do
While you are walking through the Singing Dunes, the sand out of your feet flow down the steep slope and a buzz, reminding the noise of a flying airplane, is heard. Sand hills have the height of more than 120 meters and expanded over 4 kilometers. No one knows how this mountain of sand, lying between the mountain-ridges of Ulken-Kalkan, appeared in the windy steppe. The exotic decline from the steep peaks attracts the ski-lovers.

Visit to Altyn-Emel State National Park
After completing your visit to Singing Dunes, you may also explore Altyn Emel National Park. Established in 1961, the reserve features 137 species of plants, 39 species of animals and 200 species of birds. Apart from the rare species such as red bear, snow leopard and Turkestan lynx, the reserve is also home to the endemic Turanga tree.

Related Links : To find out how the sand dunes can be made to sing, watch this video! This is actually taken on a sand dune in Morocco, but the effect in the Kazakhstan Singing Dunes is very much similar.

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