For other places with the same name, see Altai (disambiguation).
Very little is known about the region. The people are mainly ethnic Altai's, a Turkic related ethnicity, following a wide diversification of religions such as Russian Orthodoxy, Shamanism, Buddhism, thus having the honour of being Russia's most religiously diversified regions.
The modern Altai economy is based largely upon agriculture, but nowadays the tourism industry has underwent an exponential growth. The Altai Mountains are the highest in Siberia. The route goes through the spots of Roerichs expeditions, through southern Altai. The Altai Republic and nearby Altai Krai were very popular hunting, fishing and adventure tourist sites during Soviet times. The region is popular for rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, horse riding, fishing and hunting.
Despite the rapid growth of tourism, the region is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped places of Russia. However, if HDI is taken into account (0.748), it remains as one of the richest places of Asia.
Altai Republic has no more cities; the major towns are as follows:
So far there are three big congregations of private campsites, rest bases and guesthouses, majority of them in the north, where the climate is warmer:
To get there tourists buy tours in big cities or call to the owners beforehand and then arrive. One can try their luck and certainly will find a stay on the spot.
The Altai are a Turkic ethnic group closely related to Kazakhs and speak their own language of Altai. However, Russian is spoken nearly universally.
Marshrutka is the most common way of public travel there. It is some kind of bigger taxi, which goes once it gets full. Hitchiking is quite common too. Sometimes you can stop even a child on a horse.
Eat at kafes, it is cheap and quite good. Kafe is common all around Russia and can be seen even in small villages.
Tap water is considered unsafe for drinking, and should be avoided. Since being one of Russia's poorest regions, only 60% of the population have access to safe drinking water. Sanitize all water, and drink only water that is bottled.
Hospitals are well equipped and the staff are well trained, but quality health care in Altai is virtually non-existent here. Most of the hospitals are equipped with neglected technology, and serious operations are seemingly impossible to do here.