The largest country in Central Asia - and the ninth largest in the world - Kazakhstan features so many incredible landscapes and landmarks. This exciting 11-day itinerary includes the best that this country has to offer, from its historic metropolises to its sacred scenery. You will start the trip in Nur-Sultan, current capital of Kazakhstan, visit Kazygurt Holy Mount, explore the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve by horseback, and wind down in the largest city, Almaty, for several days of sightseeing. A whirlwind trip to remember, this Kazakhstan itinerary has it all.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
• Biblical Legacy: Kazygurt Holy Mount is the site where Noah’s ark is said to have come to rest.
• Modern History: Reflect on the dark side of history at Alzhir, a memorial to wives of Stalin regime prisoners, who were deemed "guilty by association" and forced into internment camps.
• Spirituality: A popular Muslim pilgrimage destination, the Mausoleum of Arystan-bab was built on the grave of a religious mystic and saint of Islam.
• Charyn Canyon: Explore the "Valley of Castles," known for its incredible landforms, similar in style to the Grand Canyon in the US.
Your exciting 11-day trip through Kazakhstan begins in Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana, the second-largest city and current capital of the country, located in the northern region. Your day begins with a transfer to your hotel, where you will meet your guide to take an exciting city tour, visiting sites including the Museum of the First President, the Astana-Baiterek monument, the Temple of Peace and Accord, and the city’s central mosque. Enjoy lunch and dinner in a local restaurant and an overnight at your four-star hotel.
On your second day, you will take a morning trip to Alzhir, which stands for “Akmolinskiy internment camp for the wives of the betrayers of the homeland” – a memorial to the wives of Stalin regime prisoners, who were deemed “guilty by association.” After you return to Nur-Sultan in the afternoon, you will visit a local entertainment complex where you can explore an oceanarium and the Kupol common room, which features models of famous sites from around the world including the Great Wall of China and the Statue of Liberty. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before taking a quick flight to Shymkent, where you will stay overnight.
After an early breakfast in Shymkent, you will visit Kazygurt Holy Mount – located in the western ridge of the UNESCO-designated Tien Shan mountains and said to be the place where Noah’s ark came to rest. In the afternoon, you will head back to Shymkent and explore its underground mosque and local pottery workshop before exploring the Aksu canyon in the nearby Sairam Ugam National Park.
Today, you will transfer to the city of Turkestan (around 3 hours) – literally meaning “city of Turks.” Along the way, you will visit a museum in the village of Shaulder, explore the ruins of Otrar, and the mausoleum of Arystan-bab, a popular Muslim pilgrimage destination. After settling in at your hotel in Turkestan, you will spend the afternoon exploring the ancient city of Sauran, about 25 miles from Turkestan, where you will return for dinner and overnight.
Head out early this morning to transfer to the ancient site of Suzak, stopping along the way at several mausoleums. After enjoying lunch in Suzak, you will transfer to the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve, the oldest nature reserve in Central Asia, where you will stay overnight in a guesthouse. Total driving time today is around 4 hours.
Spend the day on horseback, exploring the beautiful mountain refuges, waterfalls and fields of the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve, located at the foothills of the Tien Shan mountains. Enjoy a picnic lunch and head back to your guesthouse for dinner and a sound night’s sleep.
Enjoy a second day in the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve, exploring the Taldubylak – Kazanchykyr Natural boundary, the shore of river Zhabagly, and the local Museum of Nature. After an early dinner, you will transfer to Tulkubas to catch an overnight train to Almaty.
Welcome to Almaty, former capital of Kazakhstan and the country’s largest city. After settling in at your hotel, you’ll meet with a guide for lunch and a city tour, visiting sites including the Central Square and Monument of Independence, the Central Historical Museum, the central mosque, and the Medeo skating rink, located at a high altitude with a stunning view of the surrounding city and mountains.
Today, you’ll visit some of the great sites surrounding Almaty, including the Charyn Canyon - the valley of Castles - and several small villages, where you’ll be able to experience local life and sport, including eagle hunting. In the evening, you will head back to Almaty for dinner and overnight in your hotel.
Today, you’ll head 17 miles south of Almaty to Big Almaty Lake, a stunning mountain lake located 8,238 feet above sea level, in the gorge of the Bolshaya Almatinka River. Enjoy a visit and lunch in the nearby observatory, before visiting a falcon farm for its “Golden Eagle show.” Finally, you’ll head back to Almaty for dinner, where you’ll spend your final night in Kazakhstan.
Today is the final day of your action-packed 11-day tour of Kazakhstan. You’ll be transferred to the airport, from where you may be heading home or onto your next exciting destination in Central Asia.
From the moment guests walk into the golden, adorned lobby of the Marriott Astana Hotel, they will be whisked away into a world of all things chic, sleek and sophisticated. Located just steps from the shops and restaurants of the new city center of Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, the Marriott offers guests the best location to take in the nearby city sights, such as the Bayterek monument and the city parks. With over 270 guestrooms and suites and an on-site health club and indoor pool, guests of the Marriott can relax after a busy day of sightseeing and shopping before enjoying a gourmet meal at Aroma Restaurant. To cap off the night, visitors can indulge in a cocktail and a view at Vista Sky Lounge, overlooking the capital city.
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.
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.
Throughout Kazakhstan’s remote corners, from the Aral Sea to Berikara Gorge, lies beauty and adventure, as well as a number of cozy guesthouses which happily host travelers. All rooms are compact, and simply and pleasantly furnished with comfortable beds, fresh linens. Although amenities and services are kept to a minimum, the guesthouse does provide hot water and homecooked meals, and some of the more modern rooms are fitted with TVs and other modern conveniences. Experience the warm hospitality of the locals and sample the tasty, home-cooked meals featuring local dishes.
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.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
Do as Kazakhstan’s nomadic people once did (and in many cases still do) and explore this breathtaking country by foot. Strap on your walking boots and join us on a whistlestop tour of some of the highlights of hiking in Kazakhstan.
It may seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but there’s plenty to like in this hidden Kazakhstan gem. In Burabay National Park, you can have a peaceful time or an intense time. It’s up to you.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.