Chapter 10. Prices in Altai


Prices for goods in Altai. As usual, something is cheap, something is expensive. In this chapter I'll give you some principles of cost forming with examples.


In Altai cash is in priority

Increasing of prices

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Petrol prices in Kosh-Agach, June, 2018

Prices are on the rise, as generally in Russia. It is expensive to live in Mountain Altai because of its remoteness, low population, weak infrastructure and high tariffs. Take some yogurt to a village with 200 people population? Possible, but don't be surprised seeing the price.)

Prices rise even quicker for touristic and seasonal products. So calculating the cost of a tour is becoming a kind of hard. If we made some calculations in early autumn for the next year the prices might rise for 2 to 4 times in the next summer.

Market method

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On-wheel trading in Kosh-Agach

Often there are no price-lists at the markets. Price-forming depends on how a tourist might look: for not a local driving 'Lexus' it is 1000 RUB, for a local driving UAZ it is 200 RUB. Attitude also differs. Some experience: my license plate tells that I'm not a 'local', so I'm not treated as a local.

So is it expensive in Altai?

There's no exact answer. As everywhere: something is cheap, something is expensive. Some price is adequate, some is not quite. Let's see some examples.



Lunch in a roadside cafe

A good lunch in a cafe may cost you 200-500 RUB. That will be a full set: some meat, some soup and some salad. A simple breakfast will cost twice cheaper. It is fair for more or less 'crowded' lower Altai - there is a kind of competition. The further to the mountains, the higher the prices, the lower the quality. For example, at the foot of Belukha a simple flapjack may cost 100 RUB: issues of transportation and lack of competition.

Prices of the national cuisine are higher: from 1000 RUB per person for a supper. You should make an order in advance.

If you rent a flat or a room with a kitchen in a hotel, you can buy some products from a supermarkets and that makes your meals cheaper. 

Touristic areas are traditionally more expensive including the costs of food: 'Biryuzovaya Katun', Chemal and its surroundings, the Teletskoye Lake. And the quality doesn't match the price. 



"Goat's path" in Chemal

Excursions to the sightseeings are more expensive. The services of a good guide will cost you 3000 to 5000 RUB per a day. Is it possible to get along without a guide? 
Yes. But your travel experience will be incomplete: the guide might tell you about the amazing facts and features of the places which you won't be able to find in some travel book. 

Another item of expenditure is transport.
A lion's share of sightseeings is located far from Gorno-Altaysk, villages, bases and other usual places to stay. Mountain Altai is bigger than many countries of Europe. So the transfer burns quite a meaningful sum of money. Ticket for a bus costs 200 to 2000 RUB for one ride. Taxi costs 15-20 RUB for 1 km (it is counted there and back).



'Manor house' in Chemal

We have a complete separate chapter, we are not going to repeat ourselves.


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When it is 'a horse day' in the tour

What should we say about the tours? They are different - so, how to pick a suitable one we will tell you in the next chapter.

In a shell: hikes with tents are the cheapest - from 20000 RUB, or even cheaper, but with the minimal equipment. Then the price rises: tours with special equipment and narrow profiled guide - horse tours or rafting from 23000 to 25000 RUB.
If a tour presupposes staying at any type of house (not in a tent) it may cost from 33000 RUB.
These are the cheapest and the simplest tours, on condition that a group will count at least 6 members. If less, the price rises (sharply). But if the group doesn't get a target number, tour operator more often cancels the tour. Some operators make detailed price-list. As in the table below:
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The scale of prices: example from the website of a tour operator

More expensive tours differ in content: better hotels, better meals, more complete programs and guarantees. Prices may vary a lot.
For example, the price of an 'ordinary' tour from Equesto was 49000 RUB, but #Avanturo may cost 200000 RUB (difference in duration is one day).

Another separate line is a VIP-tour: approaches to price-forming differ from each other a lot (from 'just much more expensive' to sophisticated exclusive programs). Helicopter tours may cost millions of rubles (about 1000 RUB for a minute).


People coming to Altai get surprised not by the prices themselves, but by the 'cost/quality' balance. In both directions, still. Is it that much - 1000 RUB for a lunch? No - in a restaurant. Yes - in a cafe with plastic chairs, one-off tableware and WC outside. At the same time, if we speak about a cafe at the foot of Belukha, no, 1000 RUB is not so expensive. Such skewness is a usual thing in Altai.

There is a lack of competitive environment, which might work well for the improvement. For example, if there is only one cafe for 100 km, you might hear 'don't like anything? go away'.

Sometimes it is expensive and awful, but more often it's the other way round - cheap and cool (they usually set the price simply and accidentally - just to cover their expenses and get a little above). So for the same money you can get really contrasting things.

Alexey Kiryanov,
Equesto CEO (FB)


Chapter 1. Why Altai and what's its zest?

Chapter 2. Best time of the year to go to Altai

Chapter 3. Best solutions how to get to Altai

Chapter 4. Taking off our rose-colored glasses: antidote against 'all-is-good' ads

Chapter 5. Activity in Altai

Chapter 6. Touristic bases, hotels and campsites of Altai

Chapter 7. Hikes with tents

Chapter 8. The ancient Altai and history

Chapter 9. Important questions got answered

Chapter 10. Prices in Altai

Chapter 11. Altaian tour selection guide

Chapter 12. Goods of Altai

Chapter 13. What do people say after visiting Altai?

Chapter 14. The examples of independent travels in Altai

Chapter 15. Organizing a tour

Chapter 16. Bike tours in Altai

Mailing for the first time comers to Altai

9 - Edited (2).pngIf you are going to visit Altai, you probably started with searching for the information in the internet: how, what, where, how much, what are the routes, reservation, sightseeings and tours. That's a huge work and it is time consuming.

Our mailing is a set of several letters full of concentrated and structured information, links to well-tried sights and sources and answers to questions.