Location: Kislovodsk, Stavropol Krai, RussiaKislovodsk is a Spa-town located in North Caucasus region, between the Black and Caspian Seas. Continuing the journey from Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk is just a 40-45 minutes taxi ride away. Taxi fare: 800 Rubles.
Read more: 1 day in Pyatigorsk
Disclaimer:Actually, there is a combined tour (Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk) offered by various local travel agencies. I asked for the cost, it's 9,000 Rubles ($160/ RM710) for a "4 days 3-night tour". I went back home that night and calculated the budget if we were to carry out the trip independently. Turn out, it'll cost 5261 Rubles, which is about 2 times cheaper. Hence, this independent trip was decided.
5251 Rubles ($93/ RM414) including:
Transport to Pyatigorsk from Dombay 750r
Pyatigorsk spending 1064r
Taxi from Pyatigorsk to Kislavodsk 200r
Kislavodsk spending without the souvenirs 1490r
Train back to Volgograd 1747r
HostelWe stayed at Outdoor Hostel (Click to view on Booking.com) and I would definitely recommend it. The hostel itself is huge but due to low season, 4 of us were the only guests of the property, so basically, we had the whole place to our own.
1. It's one of the cheapest in town. We paid only 350 Rubles per person per night for a dorm bed.
2. Friendly ownersThe owner of this hostel is a man of few words, but he is very friendly. Although the he collaborates with tour organizers, he wasn't pushy and gave us some unbiased opinion and tips instead.
3. Strategic locationThe hostel is located right in the center of the city, RIGHTTTT in the centre.
4. A decent kitchenAlthough I couldn't say it is fully equipped (no stove), there were at least microwave and a multi cooker, so you can still cook up a decent meal. Also, a free flow of coffee and tea was provided.
5. The atmosphere I guess this hostel is very popular among youngsters. There are a lot of good books stacked against the wall and all rooms have their own theme: cycling/ rock-climbing, scuba diving etc. One of my friends found a Russian book that she loves here in the hostel, and the owner was generous enough to let her bring it home as a gift!
DAY 1Upon careful considerations, we decided to hire a taxi from "Logan" for half a day.
Why Logan? You might ask.
There are several taxi companies in the city but after a quick research online, we figured that Logan had the best offers. Cheap, that is only one thing. The main factor is, that we had good experiences using Logan taxi in Pyatigorsk, so we had high expectation towards Logan Kislovodsk. Communication with Logan's receptionist on the phone was pretty easy. Our taxi arrived in no time.
We visited...1. The Ring Mountain/ Gora kaltso
Our driver asked us how much time do we need at Gora Kaltso. "40 minutes including hiking time?" He laughed and said he bet we wouldn't even stay more than 10 minutes, this place is small, it doesn't really require hiking.
True enough, after 4 minutes of walking (uphill), we reached our destination. Although smaller than I expected, the rock formation is still marvelous. If you are feeling energetic, you can even climb to the ring and you’ll definitely be rewarded with a better view. However, the hill was blanketed with snow, causing the steep way up to be too slippery. We stayed on the safe side and spent our previous time snapping away.
On the way up/down, there will be souvenir stalls along the steps. Do check them out if you are interested. We ended up spending 20 minutes here.
2. Castle Intrigue and Love/ Замок Коварства И Любви, Кисловодск
This is a hotel, but according to the taxi driver, the castle was said to be the setting of (or built in honor to) a French romantic novel "Intrigue and Love".
3. Honey Waterfalls/ Medovie vodopadi
We paid 60 Rubles at the entrance. There are altogether 5 waterfalls in the park, however, some are hidden, you'll need to climb some stairs to get to them. Gloves are important here because you need to hold on to the iron railings during some of the hikes.
We were lucky the waterfalls had an enormous amount of water before they got frozen... or else, it may not be as spectacular! I suggest visitors to stay at least a good 40 minutes here. Just take a minute and appreciate the grandeur of mother nature!
Before descending down the stairs to the waterfall path, there were a few food stalls selling honey, cheese, chak-chak (a type of sweet) and Piroshki (Russian traditional pies).
We were told that there is a must-visit Chainik Dom (tea house) here but unfortunately we couldn't find it. Instead, we found a stable full of animals like goats, black sheep, rabbits, and chicken!
4. Snow dune
This vast land covered with thick snow appeared out of nowhere and our eyes immediately brightened up! Our driver noticed our excitement, thus pulled over to let us have a quick photo session. I've been to a sand dune, but never had I seen a snow dune! What an eye opening experience!
The tour ended on a light note (a funny conversation about circus animals with the driver). The whole journey (including waiting time) cost only 1460 Rubles... which is later decided among the 4 of us.
To our surprise, we managed to reach back in town at midday. And so we decided to do some cooking. We went Grocery shopping at a nearby Magnit (my favorite chain), bought some really basic ingredients: chicken, spices, onion, "Bamboo" chili sauce and spaghetti, along with a loaf of bread for breakfast. Main chef Reza miraculously turned them into homesick-inducing Malaysian style Mee Goring.
To satisfy our late night craving, we snuck out of the hostel (not that it's illegal, just that I felt guilty for indulging in sweets after 9 pm!) and found a cute tiny cafe.
What I ordered: Bird's Milk Cake (65 Rubles)
What others recommended: Apple tart and 3- chocolate cake.
DAY 21. Narzan Gallery/ Нарзанная Галлерея
This is a Gallery which allows you to try various kinds of mineral water, for example, mineral water containing ferum(iron) that taste like blood or mineral water containing sulfur that taste like liquid-fart. It's definitely a fun thing to do, going from station to station, looking at each other's expressions while taking a sip.
To take part in the tasting, you would have to buy a plastic cup from the counter. It only cost 2 Rubles, no other containers allowed.
2. Kurotni Park/ Курортный парк
Walk around and enjoy people-watching! or, you can take the Канатная дорога (cable car) up to the hill top. The price is 400rub (2 ways).
Fun thing to do: Try to release a "Demon" from its tomb, using your own house key. You might be "surprised".
3. Kislovodsk Museum of Local History "Fortress"/ Кисловодский историко-краеведческий музей "Крепость"
Get to know Kislovodsk and its significance in Russian history. If you are interested in world history and the everyday life during the Soviet Union Era, this place is for you.
4. Colonnade/ Колоннада
You'll see Russians with gigantic eagles on their shoulder walking around, asking if anyone would like a photo. A photo with the eagle cost 200-300 Rubles.
5. Other interesting points to check out: open market, closed market
We saw some pretty interested sweets that looked exactly like sausages, they are called "Churchkhela". Besides that, there were a lot of traditional sweets available in the market. I personally recommend trying out Pristilla, Caucasus Sweet blocks, Marmalade, and Chak-chak.
These #weird looking things are called #Churchkhela, a type of #traditional Georgian/Russian #sweets. They are almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts and sometimes raisins threaded onto a string, dipped in fruit caramel and dried in the shape of a sausage. Hence, for the past 5 years, I thought they were #sausages.... #picoftheday #georgia #russia #caucasusmountains #confectionery #grapes #nuts
Make it a point to check out a Чайный Домик (Teahouse) when you are in Kislovodsk. They have countless types on Honey here: herb-infused, fruit-infused, honey of a certain flower species, honey of Summer flowers, honey of May flowers, Buckwheat honey (wth is that?!), white honey, black honey, golden honey.... You name it, they'll have it.
Best thing is, you can try as many flavors as you can for free before deciding on which honey to bring home!
In a nutshell:Hostel 700 r
Honey waterfalls entrance 60r.
Groceries (shared) 113r
Groceries (individual) 12r
Dessert at night 65 r
Narzan Gallery Plastic cup 2r
Total: 2015 Rubles ($35/ RM158)
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Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!