This 8-day journey through Kazakhstan tells a tale of two cities, Almaty and Astana (renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019). One was the capital during Soviet times, the other became the capital post-Independence. Almaty is a cosmopolitan city with wide tree-lined boulevards and towering mountain backdrop. Astana is a newly constructed glass and steel mass of futuristic structures arising from the empty flat steppes, a symbolic distancing from its Soviet past. Together these two cities showcase the history and culture of of the country. Combined with day-trips to some of the country’s most beautiful natural sights, private touring, and stays at luxurious hotels, this classic journey will leave you with lasting memories of Kazakstan.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.
Arrive in Almaty, Kazakhstan's main transport hub in the south. Almaty was formerly the capital when Kazakhstan was a part of the USSR up until independence in 1997. Today it is still the country's major commercial and cultural center, as well as its most populous and most cosmopolitan city. Over the next few days, Almaty will be your base as you explore the stunning surrounding countryside. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and privately transferred to your hotel. After freshening up, step out to get familiar with this historic city. The ancient settlement of Almaty was destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century and a modern city was raised in its place by the Russians in 1854. Learn the details about the country's beginnings leading up to its independence with visits to the Central Historical Museum, Republic Square, and Monument of Independence.
This morning, visit Big Almaty Lake, one of the country's most beautifully surreal sites. The lake is only an hour's drive outside of the city and is its main water source. Walk up to view points and admire the alpine scene of the lake's brilliant teal hue and surrounding forested, snow-capped mountains. Return to Almaty for lunch and more city touring. Its wide tree-lined streets are filled with green parks, museums, shops, markets, and Central Asia's best selection of restaurants and cafes. Stop by the popular Green Bazaar, Panfilovtzev, Zenkob Cathedral, and Central Mosque. Discover the local products at Green Bazaar which includes breads, cheese, and horse meat. Sample local favorites such as aromatic pilaf and kebabs. Head out to the towering mountainscape surrounding the city, home to the world's highest altitude ice rink. Boasting pure glacial water, mild valley climate and natural beauty, Medeo Ice Rink is popular amongst locals and international sportsmen who come to enjoy ice skating, ice hockey, and figure skating.
Rise early today for a long day out at Charyn Canyon, one of the country's crown-jewel natural attractions. Stretching 95-miles along the Charyn River, red sandstone was sculpted by wind, water, and sand to form Charyn Canyon. Hike along the various trails in and around the canyon and observe its fantastical shapes and varying in shades from deep orange to light brown. Return to your hotel in the evening.
Today's adventure takes you to Turgen Gorge, a densely forested alpine valley about 45 miles east of the city. The valley offers a variety of landscapes including alpine meadows, old-growth forest, glaciers, and high peaks - an outdoor enthusiast's wonderland. Mountain and forest trails of varying difficulty and terrain lend themselves to hiking, biking, and horse riding. Along the way, discover ancient drawings along Asy River and the many waterfalls throughout the park. White water rafting, skiing, and multi-day trekking is also available for the more adventurous. Also in the area is a trout farm, ostrich farm, and historical ande thnographic open-air museum.
Travel onward by flight to the capital, Astana, (renamed to Nur-Sultan in 2019). A gleaming city of metal and glass that rises up from the semi-arid Kazakh steppes, vast sums of the country's oil profits went into the drastic expansion and reconstruction of Astana after it was made the capital following the country's independence. This afternoon, discover some of the city's interesting architecture designed by top international architects. Begin at the National Museum of Kazakhstan, a blue glass and white marble behemoth that covers the country's history and culture from ancient to modern times, followed by the white marbled Hazrat Sultan Mosque. Finally gaze upon the Sir Norman Foster designed glass pyramid-shapped Palace of Peace and Reconciliation.
Take in more of Astana's remarkable furutistic architecture today. The Bayterek Tower stands prominently in the middle of the city, symbolizing the legend of a golden egg on top of a tree of life with artistic flourish. The unmissable huge transparent tent is Khan Shatyr, an entertainment complex and another work of Norman Foster's. The huge structure houses a park, a boating river, a minigolf course, shopping center, and an indoor beach resort, and uses sophisticated heating and cooling systems to shield against extreme temperatures. The Astana Opera house, made modest by comparison, is constructed of white marble with gold trimming and Corinthean pillars.
Spend today at Lake Borovoe and Burabay National Park, located north of Astana. Enjoy the endless pastoral views of the steppes and blue skies during the drive. Lake Borovoe is a large deep blue lake surrounded by thick pine forest. Take a walk or bike ride around the lake and explore the park. The lake has several small bays and a few easily scalable peaks which offer vantage points to view the lake and plains, a remarkable panorama of flat surface stretching in all directions.
Enjoy breakfast and spend the morning at leisure until your private transfer to the airport for your flight onward.
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 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.
Classic sophistication and elegant, modern flair unite in a five-star luxury setting at the St. Regis in Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana. Located in the heart of the city on the banks of the Ishim River in Astana Central Park, the St. Regis Astana carries on a longstanding tradition of excellence and luxury that began more than a century ago with the original St. Regis hotel in New York City. Guests who wish to explore the capital of Kazakhstan will find easy access to all of the best attractions the city has to offer. For those who would prefer to stay in and relax, the St. Regis Astana boasts a spa and athletic club, two restaurants, and a bar offering an exclusive selection of the world’s finest champagnes, rare vintage wines, and hand-crafted cocktails. Guests may also enjoy the unique 24-hour St. Regis Butler Service – a treasured hallmark of the St. Regis tradition. The hotel offers a range of room types, from the spacious, functional deluxe room to the opulent presidential suite.
A prominent work of contemporary architecture and a top-tier luxury hotel setting a new standard in chic, high-end living and hospitality, the Ritz-Carlton in Kazakhstan’s capital of Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, stands as an emblem of the city’s growing prominence and sophistication. Guests at the Ritz-Carlton Astana enjoy unparalleled service and hospitality in this five star hotel elevated above the glowing urban landscape and have an array of services and facilities at their disposal. Three unique restaurants beckon with everything from decadent protein entrées to fresh, organic produce, teas, and other lighter options. There is also a cutting-edge spa and fitness center that cater to activity- and wellness-seeking guests of all kinds. For families, the Ritz-Carlton Astana offers a variety of child-oriented activities such as storytelling, cooking classes, baby cribs, and more. An array of room and suite options are available for guests, as is the exclusive Club Level Experience, reserved for those seeking true excellence in their stay. With its panoramic views, artfully decorated accommodations, and industry-leading amenities and services, the Ritz-Carlton Astana is an elite-level hospitality experience.
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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.
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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.
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