Kazakhstan Tour: From North to South, Astana-Almaty, 8 Days
Kazakhstan is the one of the largest and economically developed country in Central Asia. National traditions and culture of the Kazaks can be attributed to the nomadic past of their ancestors, who were roaming by tribes from one place to another in bounds of Kazak steppes. Modern Kazakhstan attracts by visiting of wide range of interesting places like: famous high-mountain resort Medeo, majestic Charyn canyon, “Singing Dunes”, i.e. the state landscape monument, Big Almaty Lake located on altitude 2511m a.s.l. Felt yurts, healing kumys, endless steppes and modern cities with sky-scrapers – all these are Kazakhstan. Magnificent image of modern Kazakhstan is the result of interaction of Russian and Islamic influence, oriental mentality and modern trends of globalization. You’ll remember this land with its bright and unique nomadic culture.
Tour duration: 8 days
Best time to travel: April - September
Route of the program: Astana – Almaty – Medeo – Big Almaty Lake – Basshi – Charyn – Charyn National Park –Tamgaly Tas - Almaty
Day 1: Astana
Arrive to Astana by LO 196 at 8:40. Pick up and transfer to the city center. Walk in the local park, drink coffee and continue trip to Alzhir. Alzhir was the biggest concentration camp in USSR for country traitors’ wives and their children. Visiting this place, you will learn how people lived, worked and survived in soviet concentration camps. Camp located 40 km away from the Astana. Concentration camp was built in the middle of vast Kazakh steppe in 1938 and stopped functioning in 1953, the year Stalin died. For 15 years, just as much as 20,000 women were brought to the camp from different regions of USSR. Excursion. Drive back to Astana. Dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Astana
After breakfast start the second day with a walk in Akbulak district. Visit the Historical Museum, then Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, the Aquarium of the Entertainment Centre "Duman" - the first and the only in the CIS and Ethno-memorial complex "Atameken". Visit “Old centre” – Akmolinsk town of merchants. In the afternoon visit Millennium Axis line named by KishoKurokawa, chief architect and creator of Astana general layout. Visit Astana Opera building, numerous fountains on the Round Square. Continue to Nurzhol and Green Water boulevards with skyscrapers of exceptional architectural forms. At the top of Astana - Bayterek monument, enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view over the city. At the end of the tour, stroll in the shopping and entertainment center Khan-Shatyr. Dinner at the local restaurant. Transfer back to the hotel for overnight.
Day 3: Almaty
After breakfast drive to airport to catch morning domestic flight to Almaty. Arrival to Almaty meeting with the guide and transfer to city for starting a city tour. Visit to Republic Square and Monument of Independence. Also we will visit the Museum of Musical Instruments, Abai Theater. Do walk via old city center (today: Square Astana) to the 28 Panfilovtsev Park, along the Avenue of memory obelisks with names of 28 fighters of the 1075th regiment of the 316th shooting division, accepted unequal battle with German tanks in the winter of 1941 are established during fight for Moscow) and finish in Zenkov Cathedral (monument of cult architecture of Christians in Kazakhstan). Later visit of Sport Complex Medeo. Besides beautiful nature there are some other attractions to see, one of which is the world's largest speed skating rink known as Medeo. Continue drive to Shymbulak ski resort. Walk there. Back to Almaty dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Almaty – Big Almaty Lake - Almaty (30 km 1-1,5 hours of driving in one side)
After breakfast. Tranfer to Green bazaar, where you can take a look of local life style of Kazakh people. Visit Park of the first Kazakhstan president that was founded in 2001 and situated in a very picturesque location, where a unique nature of Almaty is well-represented. Their total areas is 73 hectares and there more than 10000 trees of various species are planted. In the afternoon transfer to Big Almaty Lake. Big Almaty Lake is set high up in a gorge of the Bolshaya Almatinka River, 2,511m above sea level and 28.5km south of Almaty. It lies in a hollow like a gleaming mirror, surrounded on all sides by majestic peaks. Fed by glacial water, the lake is 1.6 km long, almost a kilometer wide and 40 m deep. Hike there. On the way back to Almaty visit eagle farm in order to see the performance. This farm is the house for different types of birds of prey. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Almaty – Basshi (220 km; 4-5 hours of driving)
Breakfast in the hotel. Leave Almaty and drive towards Basshi village in Altyn-Emel National Park. On the way we will drive by Kapchigay. Cross the dam over Ili River and drive around mountains of Altyn-Emel National Park. The name of the park stands for Golden Saddle in Kazakh language. According to the legend, when Genghis Khan was passing by this beautiful land at sunset, the mountains reminded him of a golden saddle. Upon arrival to the entrance of Altyn Emil Park continue drive to “Singing Dunes”. 150 meters high sand dune situated in between two rocky mountain ranges is a truly spectacular. There are only few of these lonely standing sand dunes in the world. People say when the air is dry enough; wind going through the sand grains emits a noise that resembles organ music. There is a superstition; a dream of the person, who succeeds to climb the top of the dune, will come true; but if the traveler loses his way, he is a greater sinner. After exploring the spot transfer to Aktau Chalk Mountains. The nature has created here the most beautiful gorges from many-colored layers of rocks. The traces of extinct subtropical plants and petrified bones of ancient animals were found here in the clefts. Walk around. Drive back to Basshi village. Dinner and overnight stay in the family-run guesthouse.
Day 6: Basshi – Charyn Canyon - Almaty (230 km, 5 hours of driving)
Breakfast. Transfer to Almaty via Charyn Canyon. It is an amazing creation of nature that has existed for millions of years, picturesque and very diverse in geomorphologic aspects. The height of steep mountain sides reaches 150-300 meters. Numerous ravines and gullies make dense rambling net. Wind and water created stunning "Red Castles Valley". All along the valley you are surrounded by towers of fantastical forms, built of sedimentary. Throughout time nature has created these architectural wonders, without haste, it has built majestic castles. A walk there. Transfer back to Almaty. Dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7: Almaty – Tamgaly-Tas – Almaty (250 km 3-4 hours of driving)
Breakfast in the hotel. Leave Almaty and drive west to visit Tambaly – stone carving of Bronze Age, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. These picturesque rocks attract many tourists! It was place, where incredibly beautiful images of Buddha and Burhans (Bodhisattvas) were found.
"Paintings" done in the "animal" style of the Saaks are located separately from the ancient Petroglyphs. Excursion on the site. Drive back to Almaty. Folklore show. Dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to airport to have a flight back to home.
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.