As I already said, the infrastructure of ‘comfort’ tourism is concentrated in Chemal and along the shores of the nearest reaches of the Katun River. The best hotels in Altai with large bathrooms, saunas, and swimming pools are located here. Except for the large hotel complexes, everything looks very chaotic and, unfortunately, in extremely bad taste, and most of all, does not resemble that Altai that I know and love! Everywhere you look there are advertisements for rafting along the Katun River and medicinal antler baths.
In my opinion, Chemal, despite being mentioned so often in guidebooks, is the most uninteresting part of the Altai Republic. Altai is interesting first and foremost for the way of life of its indigenous people and the breathtaking diversity of its landscapes—from taiga to tundra, from steppes to flowering orchards near Lake Teletskoye. As the locals say, the real Altai begins beyond the Seminsky Pass. This is 150 kilometers away from the city along the Chuya Highway. As for Gorno-Altaysk, it is certainly of interest with its excellent National Museum of the Altai Republic. Chemalsky District itself is suitable for one stop in a comfortable hotel on the Katun River before starting your journey around the Altai Ring or at the very end of your trip before you fly back to Moscow.