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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Explore the vast reaches of Kazakhstan from Astana to Almaty. See the contrast of the futuristic and the ancient as they come together in this unique country. Visit the Silk Road ruins of Otrar, stand in awe of the grand Yasaui Mausoleum, explore the culturally rich Almaty, and hike the incredible Kolsai Lakes region. Explore underwater forests, majestic canyons, mountainous alpine regions and wide expanses of the Kazakh steppe.

Countries Visited

Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan

Cities Visited

Almaty , Astana , Baikonur , Bishkek , Karakol , Turkistan

  1. Day 1
    Astana
    Salemetsiz be! Welcome to Astana, Kazakhstan. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. Astana was purpose-built to become the capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997 and is home to meticulously planned city streets and architecture. The modern metropolis was designed by leading Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, who won first prize in a competition against other world-renowned architects. Now, it is one of the youngest cities in Central Asia. If you arrive early, take the time to explore – take a stroll along the Astana waterfront, or go shopping in the world’s largest tent at the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre. Tonight, join your leader and group for an included welcome dinner in town for your first authentic Kazakh food experience.
    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Astana
    This morning, join your leader for a city tour and see some of the most impressive designs of this ambitious new city. First up is Bayterek tower and then take a stroll down Nur Boulevard that stretches from Ak Orda - president’s office down to Khan Shatyr, another city landmark in the shape of a giant transparent tent. Visit Nur-Astana Mosque – with its capacity of 5000 worshippers inside and an additional 2000 outside, it’s one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. Then, you'll stop at the Palace of Peace & Reconciliation – a pyramid-shaped conference hall considered to be Astana's symbolic centre. , then why not find some tandyr nan (a type of Central Asian bread, often decorated) or plov (a popular rice dish with chunks of lamb, onions and carrots) for lunch? The afternoon and evening are yours to explore the city.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Turkistan
    Enjoy a free morning in Astana and then in the afternoon, take a flight to historic centre of Kazakhstan, Turkistan. It is home to more relics and cultural sites than any other place in the country. With a late afternoon arrival, make sure you see the Yasawi Mausoleum illuminated in the night to catch its vividly coloured and patterned exterior in a different shade. You’ll also visit the new Caravan Serai – a complex recently built to model ancient Silk Road trade centres, giving visitors a taste of what life was once like here.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Turkistan/ Overnight Train
    Head out on a city tour this morning, returning for a daytime visit to Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum, Kazakhstan’s most iconic building. The blue and white-tiled mausoleum is the final resting place of a great Turkic holy man and Sufi. Built by Tamerlane, it is said that three visits here are equal to one visit to Mecca. As it is a religious site, it’s recommended that women wear a headscarf when entering. On the grounds, you'll find a rose garden, monuments, an archaeological museum and a mosque, which are all included in the entry ticket. Leaving the mausoleum, jump in your private transport and continue the journey to Shymkent, stopping at the ancient settlement of Otrar on the way. First excavated in 1969, it has a history dating back to the first century AD, with remnants of palaces, mosques and bathhouses that can still be seen today. It is also where Genghis Khan's army is said to have fought when the Mongols first invaded Central Asia. There'll be some time to spend exploring Shymkent before boarding the overnight train to Almaty.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Almaty
    Pulling into Alamaty this morning, hop off the train and head out to find some breakfast. Today, you’ll be going on a day trip to Lake Issyk and Turgen Gorge. Stop at the Issyk Museum – a museum and archaeological reserve dedicated to Kazakh history and Scythian culture (an ancient nomadic people who were particularly skilled in horseback warfare). Continue to Ile-Alatau National Park, where peaceful Lake Issyk is nestled in the foothills of the surrounding mountains. Relax and refresh on the lakeshore of this stunning spot before carrying on to Turgen Gorge, where a short hike will bring you to a 20m waterfall. On the way back to Almaty stop by a local winery – a local craft winemaker where you can sample some raw wine and craft cheese and enjoy a hearty lunch.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Almaty
    Today you’ll embark on a full day guided city tour of Almaty. This former capital of Kazakhstan and the most populus city, Almaty now has a complete different vibrancy to Astana with its wide tree-lined streets, numerous parks and the view of the snow-capped mountains. Visit Central Square and the colourful Zenkoff Cathedral (also the 2nd tallest wooden building in the world) in historic Panfilov Park, dedicated to the 28 guardsmen who died defending Moscow against German tanks in WWII. Check out the fascinating Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments, which features a great collection of ancient relics. Finally, summit Kok Tobe Hill for great views over the city before returning to the hotel for some much-deserved rest and relaxation.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  7. Day 7
    Kolsay Lakes National Park
    This morning, drive to Saty Village with a stop along the way at the spectacular Charyn Canyon. The richly coloured canyon carves a stunning path through the surrounding landscape, with vivid tones of oranges and browns shifting and changing as the sun travels across the sky. Enjoy some time here to marvel at this natural wonder and grab some photos before continuing to Saty Village, where you’ll check into your homestay and experience a taste of local life in the Tien Shan Mountain Range.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Kolsay Lakes National Park
    Explore the surrounding area of Saty Village today with a hike to Kolsai Lakes – also known as ‘the blue necklace’ for the clear blue waters framed by lush, green mountains. If there’s time, visit the lesser-known Kaindy Lake – a stunning turquoise lake with a striking ‘submerged forest’ protruding from the water. Amazingly, the lake was created by an earthquake in 1911 which caused a limestone landslide, creating a natural dam in the forest. As time went on, the dam filled with water and the trees were covered, leaving just their trunks standing dramatically in the centre. Enjoy a picnic lunch during your hike and then return to your homestay for a hearty meal after a big day on your feet. After dinner, the evening is all yours to rest, relax or explore as you wish.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Almaty
    After breakfast, return to Almaty. Why not visit Medeu after lunch – the highest altitude ice skating rink in the world and a popular weekend destination for many locals. Then you can take the cable road to Shymbulak – a local ski resort, where you can take in the immense mountain scenery. Or you can use your free time to explore the many museums in the area or ask your leader for the best spots to share a beer or two and round out your last day by grabbing dinner with your travel mates and toasting to celebrate your journey through Kazakhstan.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    Almaty
    Your adventure ends after breakfast today and you can depart at any time. Bid farewell to your new travel buddies or continue your own travels through Central Asia. If you need to organise additional accommodation, just speak to your booking agent.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Astana - City tour
  • Turkistan – Caravan Serai complex
  • Otrar - Ancient settlement
  • Turkistan - Yasui Mausoleum
  • Almaty – Winery visit and wine tasting
  • Almaty – Turgen Gorge
  • Almaty – Lake Issyk
  • Almaty - Zenkov Cathedral
  • Almaty - Panfilov Park
  • Almaty - Kok Tobe Hill
  • Almaty - Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments
  • Charyn Canyon - National Park
  • Kolsay Lakes National Park - Hiking
  • Almaty - Medeu

Meals
9 Breakfast(s) Included
2 Lunch(es) Included
3 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Accommodations

Hotel (6 nights), Overnight Train (1 night), Guesthouse/Homestay (2 nights)

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 206 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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