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Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan Highlights

For a short but sweet introduction to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, this nine-day itinerary highlights the best that these countries have to offer, from the Charyn Canyon to the Petroglyphs of Tamgaly in Kazakhstan to the glamour of Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Starting and ending in two major cities, this trip is an excellent overview of Central Asia on its own, or a perfect addition to a larger trip. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • Trek along the 50 mile-long Charyn Canyon outside of Almaty  
  • Visit the Petroglyphs of Tamgaly, a world heritage site featuring over 5,000 ancient images
  • Tour the ancient settlement of Otrar and the Hodja Ahmed Yassavi mausoleum in Turkestan  
  • Enjoy a visit to Gur-Emir, the mausoleum of Asian conqueror Tamerlane, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
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Day by Day Itinerary

View Tashkent � departure in a larger map
Day 1

Welcome to Kazakhstan! On your first day, arrive in Almaty – the country’s largest city – first thing in the morning. After being picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel, settle in and then enjoy a tour of the city, including the State Historical Museum. Enjoy lunch at a traditional restaurant, and more exploring followed by dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 2
Almaty and Charyn Canyon

Today, you will take a day trip to Charyn Canyon (around 4 hours), one of the most spectacular sites in the area. Enjoy lunch en-route and views of the 50 mile-long canyon – located along the Charyn River – before returning to Almaty for dinner and the night.

Day 3
Petroglyphs of Tamgaly

Your third day includes a daylong excursion to the Petroglyphs of Tamgaly (around 2.5 hours), a world heritage site featuring 5,000 petroglyphs from the Bronze, Iron and Medieval ages. Enjoy dinner at your hotel back in Almaty before boarding an evening train to Taraz.

Day 4

Enjoy a full day in Taraz, a large city in the southern Jambyl Province of Kazakhstan. Take a city tour, which includes a visit to the Historical Museum, visit local shops and restaurants, and enjoy an overnight stay at your hotel.

Day 5

After breakfast, you will be transferred by road to Shymkent (around 3 hours), one of the largest cities in the country and the capital city of the South Kazakhstan Province. On the way, visit the Aisha-Bibi and Babadji-Khatun mausoleums, and once in town, enjoy lunch, a city tour, dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 6

This morning, you will depart from Shymkent. Your first stop is the town of Turkestan, some 3 hours away, where you can visit the ancient settlement of Otrar and the Hodja Ahmed Yassavi mausoleum. After lunch at a traditional restaurant, you will cross the border into Uzbekistan, where you will stay overnight in the capital city of Tashkent - a 4-hour drive.

Day 7

Today, you will head into Samarkand, the second-largest city in Uzbekistan (around 4.5 hours' drive), where you will visit the Registan and enjoy several local sites and restaurants before enjoying an overnight stay.

Day 8

Spend the day taking in the sites of Samarkand: visit Gur-Emir, the mausoleum of Asian conqueror Tamerlane, enjoy a trip to the Ulugbek observatory and explore the city before once again staying overnight.

Day 9
Tashkent- departure

On your final day, you will return to Tashkent and take a tour of the large, modern city before checking out of your hotel and departing from the city airport in the evening. Enjoy a safe journey home or to your next exciting destination!


Suggested Accommodations

Ritz-Carlton Almaty, The InterContinental Almaty

Ritz-Carlton Almaty

Occupying the top ten floors of the Esentai Tower, the Ritz Carlton enjoys unrivalled views of Almaty and the sweeping, jagged, snow-peaked Ile-Alatau mountain range. Guests choosing to stay here have the best of both worlds with easy access to the city and all its famous historic sights as well as the ski slopes in the national park to the south. After a long day on the piste or exploring the city, guests can ascend the escalator into the luxurious surroundings and enjoy all that the hotel has to offer. With restaurants and bars decorated with the latest works from the hottest modern artists in the country, from cocktails with a view to sumptuous dishes prepared with expertise, dining and drinking at the Ritz Carlton is a feast for the senses. Rooms and suites boast stunning panoramas and are fitted with every modern convenience and comfort. Meanwhile, the acclaimed Six Senses Spa offers a retreat from the stresses of everyday life. 


The InterContinental Almaty

The InterContinental in Almaty is a luxury hotel sitting opposite the famous Presidential Palace in Republic Square. It’s the perfect location to see this popular attraction, as well as the city’s many others in this central area. The InterContinental’s rooms are big, bright and fresh with a whole list of facilities and services right on hand. The dining options are impressive too, with an excellent international breakfast buffet, Asian café, rooftop grill, Turkish restaurant and jazz bar. In the evening guests can enjoy relaxing in one of three bars, including a jazz bar and beer garden with light music and boardgames to wind down summer evenings. Elsewhere there is an indoor pool, children’s play area and tennis courts.

Alnur Hotel, Gazovik Hotel, Hotel Ark Ms

Alnur Hotel

The Alnur Hotel is a modern, European-style hotel in the heart of Taraz, Kazakhstan. The hotel features a range of different double and twin bedroom options, and all rooms available come with hot water, heating, private bathrooms and comfortable beds. Each room also comes with its own telephone, refrigerator, cable TV, shower and air-conditioner. The hotel is well-placed in the southern Kazakhstan city of Taraz, which is one of the oldest cities in the country and once played an important role in the ancient silk route that encompassed the region. Guests staying at this hotel can walk to nearby attractions and take advantage of local restaurants, cafes and bars that surround the area.


Gazovik Hotel

Welcome to Bishkek, the capital and largest city in Kazakhstan. Guests can enjoy a stay in the four-star Gazovik Hotel, conveniently located in the heart of the city with over 20 rooms and suites. The hotel provides amenities including 24-hour room service, a direct international dial phone, and laundry service, and features an on-site bar and restaurant.   


Hotel Ark Ms

This modern hotel in the south Kazakhstan city of Taraz offers 24  rooms catering to guests visiting from all over the world. Ark MS is a modern-built hotel located near the Astana district of Taraz, as well as the nearby Presidential Park. The range of different rooms are spacious and comfortable, each featuring amenities such as satellite TV, air-conditioning, a mini-bar and private bathrooms. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout for guests’ convenience. The hotel also boasts a downstairs restaurant that can sit up to 150 people, a large bar for 150 and a separate VIP section that can be rented out. For those not wanting to dine inside the hotel, there are a few fine restaurants and cafes in the nearby area that remain open late.

Orbita, Rixos


This boutique hotel in Shymkent, Kazakhstan is the perfect base from which to explore this vibrant city in the south of the country. With its world-class service and intricate design, Orbita Hotel is setting the standard for hotels in Shymkent. Located inside a historic two-storey house built by Japanese prisoners-of-war in the 1950s, the hotel combines Kazakhstan flair with traditional Japanese design, including the counter-clockwise numbering of the hotel’s seven rooms, each uniquely decorated. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar, the quiet location, just outside of the busting city, and most importantly, the top-quality service. 



For class, style, and a dash of opulence, the Rixos Khadisha Hotel is the perfect luxury-home-away-from-home in Shymkent. This world-class hotel, located in the business district of the city, features a grand staircase, a spacious entry, and a full-featured spa, including an indoor pool and fitness area, a sauna, and a Turkish hammam - the perfect way to relax after a busy day. Dining options abound: Kazakhasia restaurant, which serves a variety of Asian cuisine; Olivia restaurant, offering traditional Italian; a cocktail at one of the on-site bars; or room service delivered straight to the guest’s luxurious room or suite. At this hotel, guests should prepare to be treated like royalty. 

Hotel Edem, The Turkestan Hotel

Hotel Edem

Located near the center of Turkestan, Hotel Edem is one of the more well-known hotels in the whole region. That said, there is no too much in the way of competition, with few other quality places to stay for foreign visitors in the city. The hotel boasts a range of standard twin, double and deluxe rooms, and although this hotel may have seen better days, the rooms still deliver plenty of home comforts to make for a pleasant stay for a night or two. Amenities include air conditioning, heating controls, TV, telephone, mini-bar and private bathrooms. There is also an on-site restaurant at Hotel Edem which serves mainly local food and a few western dishes, as well as breakfast every morning.


The Turkestan Hotel

Hotel Turkestan, quite appropriately, lies at the heart of Turkestan city in South Kazakhstan. Guests have a choice of standard rooms (double or twin) or can upgrade to a deluxe. The no-frills rooms are basic and could do with a bit of an upgrade, although that's not to say they don't offer a comfortable stay for one or two nights. The grand lobby does its best to bump up the star-rating of the Turkestan, and there's also a bar and restaurant serving a buffet-style breakfast every morning. The real reason guests stop here is to explore the surrounding region, which boasts various attractions illustrating area's rich and long history. The city of Turkestan, about 200 miles northwest of the larger Taraz city, has played a significant role in shaping Kazakhstan into the country it is today, and this city is considered to be sacred for many Kazakhs.
Grand Samarkand Hotel, Samarkand Plaza

Grand Samarkand Hotel

This four-star hotel is located within a mile of the Old Town and Registan Square. It offers spacious, traditional-style rooms with free WiFi, TVs with international satellite channels, and ambient sitting area with open fireplace. The on-site restaurant offers local and international meals, with an emphasis on warm Uzbek hospitality and traditional breakfast served each morning. The streets surrounding the hotel also offer a range of restaurants for guests wanting to explore their surrounds. The centerpiece of the hotel is a picturesque garden courtyard with seating where travelers can enjoy breakfast or relax with a drink after a day of sightseeing. The Grand Samarkand Hotel is a favorite in the area for its quaintly decorated rooms and boutique feel. The architecture of the building and the detail in its stained glass and ironwork reflect the craftsmanship still evident in Samarkand’s old quarter. The hotel is located opposite its sister property - the Grand Samarkand Superior - which has a business center, fitness center and rooftop swimming pool.


Samarkand Plaza

Undoubtedly the best hotel in the city, the Plaza offers international standard service and convenience. Rooms from twins to suites are all comfortably appointed and come well equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, high-speed internet and well stocked mini-bar. Thanks to its location right in the heart of ancient Samarkand, it is the ideal base from which to explore the treasures of the city. After a long day of sightseeing, relax in one of two hotel restaurants for a range of Uzbek and international dishes, lounge with a drink in the bar or take advantage of the pool with its sauna and fitness facilities. 

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace

Perfectly located for business, vacation and travel, the Tashkent palace is situated in the center of the Uzbek capital, just a ten minute drive from the international airport and within easy strolling distance of the fountains of the city park, the international ceramics garden, Amir Temur Square and the Alisher Navoi Opera. Built in traditional Uzbek style, the hotel features all the modern conveniences required by international travelers. All 232 rooms feature en-suite bathrooms, satellite television, mini bar and air conditioning as well as views of beautiful Tashkent. After a hard day’s sightseeing, enjoy Uzbek and international cuisine in the hotel restaurants, one of which is open air and offers views of the city and a fountain show. The hotel also has spa and fitness amenities including an outdoor pool, a gym and sauna and massage facilities to ensure guests are fully relaxed during their stay.

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