Nauryz – a feast of spring renewal. In Kazakhstan spring arrives fully on 21 March – on the special day when Nauryz is celebrated, signifying not only the spring equinox but also renewal of nature. Nauryz in Kazakhstan symbolizes fertility, friendship and love. On this special day people dress up, visit close people and keep wishing well. For eastern nations, Nauryz is the same as New Year, as both holidays are messengers of a new life. Even the name of the holiday “Nauryz” is translated from Farsi as a “new day”.
On Nauryz it is a must to have a traditional festive dish nauryz-koje on the table. Kazakhs believe that one should eat much of this dish on Nauryz, then your year will be in prosperity. Nauryz-koje is a nutritional rich soup that is cooked from 7 ingredients: meat, water, flour, butter, millet (could be replaced with rice or corn), salt and milk. Each component of the dish symbolizes one of the life beginnings: growth, luck, happiness, wealth, health, wisdom and sky auspices. Nauryz is full of symbols. So, the number 7 has its special meaning in celebrating Nauryz – ingredients in nauryz-koje, that is afterward poured into bowls and is laid in front of wise old men-aksakals. Each person should invite guests and should visit the other houses.
On Nauryz they drink kumys – dairy product made of horse milk. Traditionally on this day they congratulate by saying “Koktem tudi!” Also there are many contests of wit-poets held on this holiday, that are called “akins” in Kazakhstan; the feast cannot be without national contests among which is national wrestling “kazaksha-gures”, logic game called “toguz kumalak” and of course horse games “kyz-kuu” and “bayga”. Theatrical staged performances are played in the streets. Another old Nauryz tradition is “altybakan”, where girls and boys gather together to socialize and ride on the swings.
1 Day / Food tasting Experience in Esentai and Big Almaty Lake
We will arrive in Almaty in the late morning and after pick up you at the airport we will drive until the wonderful Almaty Lake 30 Km out from the city. The Big Almaty Lake is at an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level, before you arrive there, you can admire the natural beauty of the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains. From the main road all start to change compared with the city, the road climbs higher and higher, the landscape is changing, more and more huge mossy stones appear on the slopes. According to scientists, more than 2,000 years ago there was a strong earthquake in these places, literally moving mountains. After the lake, we will drive back to the city to the Esentai Mall. Not a single holiday is complete without an entertainment program from Esentai Mall, and Nauryz is no exception. From March 21 to March 25, on the Esentai Square alley, you will enjoy skiing on the Altybakan national swing, the opportunity to feel the spirit of ancestors in a traditional Kazakh yurt, and everyone can take part in folk games for adults and children. March 22, there will be a culinary battle. Part of the proceeds from the sale of snacks will be allocated for charitable purposes to the "Together Against Cancer" Public Fund, with which Esentai Mall is working not for the first time. During the festive week, the Nauryz Esentai Fair will be held at Esentai Square, where they will be treating guests with aromatic pilaf and drinks.
2-3 Days / Kolsai, Kaindy Lake and Charyn Canyon
The magnificent cascade of Kolsai lakes are located 290 kilometers south-east of Almaty. That area is surrounded by three amazing alpine lakes, which are called Kolsai-1, Kolsai-2 and Kolsai-3, located respectively at an altitude of 1700, 2252 and 2650 meters above sea level. A lot of people consider them the pearl of the Northern Tien Shan mountains. Kaindy lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Kazakhstan, and still not really touristic place. The lake is located at an altitude of 2000m, 26 kilometers far from the Kaindy river with the same name, near the Kolsai lake. Translated from the Kazakh “Kaindy” means “abundant in birch”, the meaning of the name is because is full of large birch groves, located near the area and inside the lake in a spectacular way. The first day we will hike around Kolsai lake and we can arrive to the second lake ( is possible do the road by horses also ) and the second day we will go to the second lake and to the Charyn Canyon.
4 Day / Taste nomadic culture, Eagle show in Yurt
Today we will move to another place when we will see a hunting show and in the afternoon we can ride a horse and enjoy the landscape near us. Today we will stay in nature and we will relax in the countryside. We will go back to Almaty in the late afternoon before lunch, drop off to the hotel.
5 Day / Taste Kazakh traditional games and hospitality
Today we will drive 1.5 - 2 hours outside Almaty and we will arrive in the first place, here we will stay in the yurt and we will try some traditional food and our guide will also explain and show the difference between a normal Yurt and the Kazakh Yurt, we will see one inside and we will have some snacks. Here the detailed program: 11.00 – 11.10 – We will meet in the Ger camp with two warriors in the Saks period with armor and on horses and we will attend the ceremony calling “Shashu” and you will have the opportunity to try baursaks. 11.10 – 12.20 – We will discover a Kazakh yurt, the Kazakh national customs and traditions. During the program they will be explaining each part of the yurt; the philosophy and sacred meaning of the yurt to Kazakh people. Guests also get used to know about previous centuries’ life of Kazakh people (cleaning and whipping wool, making yarn with a spindle, receiving flour and talcan in a derma, ritual laying a child in “Besik”, ritual “Tusau kesu” and “Atka otyrgyzu”). 12.20 – 12.30 – Levada playground exhibition 12.30 – 13.10 – Performance of the “Sarbaz” group ( various programs, theatrical legend performance and national horse games). 13.10 – 14.00 – Lunch (pilaf, salad, baursaks, tea). 14.00 – 15.00 – Master-classes in your choice depends on interests: I. cooking national treat “ Zhent”; II. making “Belbau” on a loom; III. making cup holder by the method of work “Syrmak”; IV. archery; V. dzhigitovka (from the word “dzhigit” – horse rider) master-class. 15.00 – 16.00 – Free time (walk in the ethno-aul, riding on a swing "Altybakan")
Tour Price per person with an English speaking guide:
1 person:2100 dollar
2 people: 1.300 dollar
3 people: 900 dollar
4-15 people: 820 dollar
*Guide in Italian, French, Spanish, German availability and price on request with at least one month’s notice.
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.