Example Itinerary

The Ultimate Kazakhstan Adventure

Duration
18 days / 17 nights
Price Per Person
From $10,800
Interests
Architecture, Heritage
Destinations
Kazakhstan
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Explore all sides of Kazakhstan during the epic 18-day tour through the country's most iconic and fascinating sites. From the modern Medeo skating rink to the ancient city of Sauran, the majestic Charyn Canyon to a mausoleum and Muslim shrine, this itinerary brings you to all the hotspots of Kazakhstan, allowing you to spend time living in local guesthouses to soak up Kazakh culture while discovering the natural beauty around you.

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.

Highlights

• Kolsay Lakes National Park: Known as one of the "Pearls of Tien Shan" for its alpine beauty, you can enjoy hiking and horseback riding along the scenic trails here.

• Noah's Ark: Take a trip to Kazygurt Mount, the place where Noah's ark is said to have settled after the biblical flood.

• Aralsk: This former seaport is now home to a desolate, yet photogenic, ship graveyard due to the retreating waters of the Aral Sea.

Day-by-Day

Day 1 Almaty

Your adventure in Kazakhstan begins in Almaty, the capital city. After you settle in at your hotel, embark on a walking tour, checking out a commemorative park and the city's Central Mosque, before heading into the mountains to the famous Medeo skating rink. Enjoy lunch before returning to the city to visit the Central Historical Museum and a falcon show. Finally, head up Kok-Tobe mountain for dinner with a view of the city.

Day 2 Almaty

Head 105 miles (2.5 hours) out of the city to check out the ancient petroglyphs of Tamgaly Tas, a UNESCO world heritage site, where there are many symbols of Buddha. Enjoy lunch in Ili river, then head back to Almaty where you’ll have dinner in an Indian restaurant and an optional excursion to a nightclub.

Almaty

Day 3 Kolsay Lake

Today you’ll travel over 5 hours to Kolsay Lake, making a stop at Nura village to check out the sites and see falcons and special hunting dogs. After arriving at Kolsay, you’ll settle into your guesthouse before enjoying dinner.

Day 4 Kolsay Lake

Explore two of the spectacular Kolsay Lakes by trekking, walking the trails or even horseback riding. After a day outside, enjoy dinner and then an overnight stay in a local guesthouse..

Day 5 Charyn Canyon

Spend the morning exploring the nearby Kaindy Lake before driving to Charyn Canyon - considered the largest canyon in the world after the famous American Grand Canyon - about 125 miles away. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the canyon before dinner and an overnight stay in a guesthouse.

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Day 6 Charyn Canyon

Today, you'll head to the Altyn-Emel National Park, where you'll discover the deserted mountains of Katutau and the multi-coloured mountains of Aktau. After spending the day exploring these spectacular sites, you'll return to your guesthouse at Charyn Canyon for the night.

Day 7 Train

Head back to Altyn-Emel National Park for another adventure, this time checking out the “Singing Dunes.” In the afternoon, you’ll return to Almaty (around 3 hours) to catch an overnight train to Taraz, a city in the Jambyl Province.

Day 8 Berikara Gorge

You will arrive in Taraz very early in the morning and head straight to your hotel to rest. Later on, after breakfast, you will meet with a local archaeologist to begin your tour of Taraz City, from the Regional Museum to the mausoleums and the catacombs. After lunch, you’ll explore Akyrtobe – local ruins of ancient stone settlements – and then head 50 miles to the Berikara Gorge, located in the mountains, where you’ll enjoy dinner and an overnight stay in a guesthouse.

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Day 9 Shymkent

Spend the day exploring the Berikara Gorge, from its diverse flora and fauna to its hundreds of ancient mounds. Enjoy hiking, horse riding or fishing in the wildlife preserve before heading to Shymkent (around 2 hours away), where you will spend the night.

Day 10 Shymkent

From your base in Shymkent, the capital of the South Kazakhstan Province, head less than 25 miles to Kazygurt Mount, the place where - legend has it – Noah’s Ark was stopped and is still visible today. Enjoy a trek to the Zhylak ata waterfall before heading further out of town to observe shamans performing unique rituals. Return to Shymkent for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 11 Shymkent

Today, you’ll head to the Aksu Canyon, visiting Saira City – an old stop on the Great Silk Road – and several mausoleums along the way. At the canyon, discover the “Valley of a Thousand Eyes” – a wall stone with caves resembling eyes – as well as the Aksu river and the “Black Hole.” Enjoy lunch and dinner at the canyon before heading back to Shymkent for the night.

Shymkent

Day 12 Turkestan

On your way to Turkestan (around 3 hours), you’ll stop at a museum in Shaulder village, the ruins of Otrar and the Mausoleum of Arystan-bab, a major Muslim shrine in Central Asia. After arriving in Turkestan and settling in at your hotel, you’ll take an excursion of less than 25 miles to see the ancient city of Sauran before returning for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 13 Train

Explore an architectural complex in Turkestan, which includes an underground mosque, a bath and a history museum, before catching the overnight train to Aralsk.

Day 14 Aral Sea

Welcome to Aralsk, a former seaport. After arriving and settling into your guesthouse, you’ll discover the history of this unique city, from a tour of a ship graveyard to a salty desert where you may even be able to ride a camel. Take in a dombra show and swim in the Aral sea before returning to Aralsk for the night.

Aral Sea

Day 15 Aral Sea

Discover two World Bank project sites – the Kokaral dam and the Aklak spillway on the Syrdarya river – where you’ll learn about the projects and watch they are doing for the natural environment. Later, head back to Aralsk for dinner before a late-night transfer (around 5 hours) to Kzyl Orda.

Day 16 Nur-sultan (astana)

After arriving in Kzyl Orda, you’ll head to the airport for a flight to Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, the largest city in Kazakhstan, where you’ll enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 17 Nur-sultan (astana)

On the last full day of your tour, you’ll get to explore Nur-Sultan, the largest city in Kazakhstan. Starting with a city tour, you’ll see the Museum of the First President, a central mosque and synagogue and a large entertainment complex while also taking an excursion to a local outdoor museum, “Map of Kazakhstan-Atameken.” In the evening, enjoy dinner and a view from the rotating restaurant on the 23rd story of the Solaze hotel.

Nur-sultan (astana)

Day 18 Departure

Today you bid Kazakhstan adieu, as you check out of your hotel. You will be transferred to the Nur-Sultan airport to catch your flight home or the connection to your next exciting destination.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

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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