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Trekking through History in Kazakhstan

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.

FROM $11,600 PER PERSON
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DURATION

14 days | 13 nights

DESTINATIONS

Kazakhstan

INTERESTS

Trekking,
UNESCO

TYPE

Intrepid

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit a former “ALZHIR” correctional camp where female “traitors” were sent in the Stalin era Marvel at ancient petroglyphs at Zangyr-tas place
  • Explore monuments and an archaeological dig in the medieval settlement of Baskamyr
  • Enjoy an overnight stay in a Baitleu winter hut, experiencing local living

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Explore the natural beauty and the complex history of Kazakhstan with this diverse itinerary: bringing you from former labor camps and the Museum of Memory of Political Repression Victims in the Dolinka settlement to the nature trails of the Turgen Gorge and the majestic Tien Shan mountains, you will gain an understanding of Kazakhstan’s often dark history, its incredible natural beauty and its bright future.

DAY-TO-DAY

DAY 1: Astana

Welcome to Kazakhstan! After you arrive in Astana, you will be transferred to your hotel to rest before heading out in the town for an afternoon tour. Check out some of the city’s main sites – including its modern architecture – before enjoying dinner and an overnight stay in your hotel.

DAY 2: Karaganda

Today you’ll kick things into high gear, first by taking a day trip to the nearby Akmol village to visit a former “ALZHIR” correctional camp where female “traitors” were sent in the Stalin era, then by taking a mini-bus to Karaganda (around 4 hours from Astana), where you will tour former labor camps. You will stay overnight in Karaganda.

DAY 3: Train

Enjoy the morning touring the city center of Karaganda before heading 31 miles to the Dolinka settlement to visit the Museum of Memory of Political Repression Victims and the House of Officers, where local military men once lived. After heading back to Karaganda, board a night train to Zhezkazgan, 310 miles west.

DAY 4: Ulytau

Today, you will arrive in Zhezkazgan, a city located on the reservoir of the Kara-Kengir River. Spend the morning exploring the city’s historical and archaeological museum before journeying to the nearby Alasha-khan mausoleum and to Zangyr-tas place, where you can view ancient petroglyphs. From there, you will travel to Ulytau village for dinner and an overnight stay in a guesthouse.

DAY 5: Altynshoky

Get your day off to a good start with a trek to the bottom and then the top of Auliye (Ulytau) mountain, where you can visit ancient graves and explore a cave. After returning to Ulytau village, you will travel to nearby Altynshoky and then to a local winter hut, where you will stay overnight and experience local living.

DAY 6: Ulytau

Today you’ll check out the Bronze Age petroglyphs in the nearby Tamdy river valley before journeying back to Ulytau village for dinner and another overnight stay in your comfortable guesthouse.

DAY 7: Almaty

Leaving Ulytau, you will travel to the medieval settlement of Baskamyr, checking out monuments and a local archaeological dig. Afterward, continue on to Zhezdy village to visit a historical museum of mining and smelting before reaching Zhezkazgan, where you will enjoy lunch and then catch a flight to Almaty to stay overnight.

DAY 8: Almaty

Welcome to Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan. Spend the morning exploring the city before heading up to the famous Medeo ice skating rink, located nearly a mile in elevation. For an even better view and great hiking options, head up the lifts of the local ski resort to an elevation of nearly two miles. Spend the evening and night in the city, and rest up for your coming adventure.

DAY 9: Turgen Valley

Today, you will begin your four-day trek into the Tien Shan mountains in the southeast corner of Kazakhstan. On this first day, you will set up camp in the Turgen gorge, located 43 miles from Almaty, and have the chance to explore your spectacular surroundings. The diverse landscapes and a high degree of biodiversity has made this a designated UNESCO world heritage site.

DAY 10: Turgen Valley

From your basecamp in the Turgen Gorge, board a 4WD to explore the Assy Plateau – grassy highlands where nomads often set up camp in the summer months. In the evening, return to your camp for a second night.

DAY 11: Saty Village

This morning, you will leave the Turgen Gorge and head to the first Kolsai Lake, located at an elevation of 1.1 miles. Spend your day hiking or horseback riding around the lake, and enjoy an overnight stay in a guesthouse in the nearby village of Saty.

DAY 12: Almaty

On your way back to Almaty today, pass through the Charyn Canyon, a stunning 124-mile-long canyon in the Almaty Province. Afterward, visit a local museum on the Kazakh art of eagle hunting (called “Berkutchi”) before arriving back in the city (a 4-hour drive) and staying overnight in your hotel.

DAY 13: Almaty

Spend your final day in Kazakhstan exploring the rest of Almaty, checking out any local shops, restaurants and hiking trails that you may have missed during your previous days in the city. Rest up ahead of your departure on your final night in Kazakhstan tonight.

DAY 14: Departure

Say your goodbyes to Kazakhstan, as you check out of your hotel in Almaty and are transferred to the international airport to head home or onto your next destination.

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