Discovery Kazakhstan tour /20 days/

Short description

Explore all sides of Kazakhstan during the epic 20 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.

Tour itinerary
Day 1
Almaty city

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 city, Tamgaly tas petroglyphs, Altyn Emel national park

Transfer to the Tamgaly-Tas located on the Ili River. Tamgaly Tas is a unique monument, where you will see rock-carved images of Buddha’s and writings in Tibetan, Kalmyk and other languages. Discover interesting facts and legends about Tamgaly-Tas and enjoy the beautiful views.
Continue to the village of Baschi. After lunch, excursion in Altyn-Emel National Park. Drive to the mountains of Aktau and Katutau.
Katutau Mountains (Harsh Mountains) are ancient ruined mountains with volcanic outputs. Water, time and wind carved intricate shapes in the rock. Sedimentary rock of the bottom of the ancient Tethys Ocean is preserved there. Aktau Mountains (White Mountains) are one of the largest paleontological fields in the world. The chalky hills consist of sandstone and red clay, layered with yellow and pink cornelian, jasper and white quartz.

Day 3
Altyn Emel National park

Breakfast at 07:00. Drive to Singing Dunes located in one of the corners of the Altyn-Emel National Park, a few kilometers from the Ili river, between the mountains of Big and Small Kalkan. This sandy hill has a height of 120 meters and a length of about 3 km. It consists of very fine pure sand, which starts to sing in windy weather and its sound reminds the organ music. Before a sandy storm the dune sounds like a drum. From the top of the Dune you can observe the grand panorama of the surroundings. In the south - thin strip of the Ili River is visible as well as purple mountains of Sogety and Boguty, looking out from the white peaks of the Ketmen ridge. On the west the horizon is obstructed by the steep slope of the Big Kalkan, and the Small Kalkan – from the east. In the north - violet-blue ridge of Djungarian Alatau mountains, Chulak mountain, Matai and Altyn-Emel are visible. If the weather is dry and windy, the sand-dune will "sing" you its song, which could be heard as far as several kilometers. Late in the afternoon return to the hotel.

Day 4
Charyn national park

After breakfast depart Altyn-Emel and drive to Charyn Canyon. En route stop to see the old ash-tree grove on the Temerlik River. After some time for picnic and rest continue drive to Charyn Canyon. Arrive in Canyon. Walk along Canyon and enjoy its beautiful views, one of which is the so-called “The Valley of Castles”. It is thought to be one of the sights of the Canyon – these rock deposits resembling a tower by its form seemed to be created by unknown giants.The Valley of Castles is over 2 km in length and its width reaches from 20 to 80 m at some places. 

Day 5
Charyn national park, Kolsay lakes

We'll have breakfast and pack up our camping stuff and go to the Kolsay Lakes parking area. Today we are going hiking 16 km from the first Kolsay lake to a second one. One-way walking trip will take around 4 hours (you may cover this distance riding a horse). We will have lunch from lunchboxes taken from the guest house, and a guide will make us some tea. We are coming back to the parking area after lunch and are going to Saty village, where a steam bath will be prepared for us. We will try Kumys (mare's milk beverage) today during a dinner.

Day 6
Kolsay lakes, Saty village, Khaindy lake, Almaty city

We are having breakfast in the guest house and are visiting Kaindy Lake, where we'll spend two hours and will visit three locations to get a better picture of the lake. We are having lunch in Saty village and are coming back to Almaty. On the way to Almaty we will get acquainted with the most popular Kazakhstani sight - the Valley of Castles canyon of Charyn National Park. After having dinner at a kebab restaurant, we will come back to the hotel in Almaty.

Day 7
Taraz city

Tday we will long drive to Taraz city. One of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan and in Transoxania, built and populated by the ancient Sogdians, Taraz celebrated its official 2,000th anniversary (recognized by UNESCO) in 2001, dating from a fortress built in the area by a Xiongnu Chanyu named Zhizhi, and was a site of the Battle of Zhizhi in 36 BCE. The city was first recorded under the name Talas in 568 CE by Menander Protector. The medieval city of Talas was a major trade centre along the Silk Road. Talas was later described by Buddhist monk and traveller Xuanzang, who passed Talas in 629 and later wrote: Traveling westward from the Thousand Springs 140 or 150 li, we come to the city of Daluosi. The city is 8 or 9 li in diameter; and was settled by Hu (foreign, non-Oriental) merchants from various nations. The products and the climate are about the same as Suyab.The Talas alphabet, a variant of the Turkic runiform Orkhon script, is named for the town. Overnight at hotel

Day 8
The Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve

The Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve is the oldest nature reserve in Central Asia. It is located in the southern province of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It covers the north-western mountain chains of the Tian Shan. Its name is derived from the biggest river in the area, the Aksu, and the mountain chain Zhabagly which is located in the northern part of the area. Overnight there

Day 9
Shymkent city

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 city

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
Turkistan city

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 12
Turkistan city

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

Day 13
Baikonur Cosmodrome

Arrival to Baikonur city. Accommodation in the hotel. City tour, including visiting of: Gagarin’s arbor, memorial of died spacemen, squares, monuments, museum of cosmodrome history. Dinner. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14
Aral Sea

Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to the main tourist root: “Ground №2”, museum of Baikonur; Memorial cottages there Gagarin and Korolev lived during training in Baikonur; Start complex; transfer to Ground № 254, trial complex, start complex-Buran. After lunch head to Aral Sea. 

Day 15
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.

Day 16
Kyzylorda city

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 17
Nur-Sultan city

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 transfer to your hotel. Rest and relax today. 

Day 18
ALZHIR memorial complex, Korgalzhyn national park

In the morning, leave Nur-Sultan and head southwest from Nur-Sultan to Korgalzhyn Natural Reserve. Established in 1968, National Park is included in UNESCO World Heritage list. Today, it is the largest national park of Kazakhstan with its territory exceeding half million hectares. Korgalzhyn is home to more than 300 species of wildlife including rare Siberian white crane, the Dalmatian pelican, and Pallas’s fish eagle. The park is a place of living of pink flamingo in Kazakhstan.

Start exploring the area visiting Birds Paradise centre with Steppe Hall, winter garden, and History and Ethnography Hall. You will also have a chance to watch a 20-minute movie Mystery of protected land. Continue to eco-routes in the park. On the way we will visit to ALZHIR memorial complex. 

Day 19
Burabay national park

In the morning, depart Korgalzhyn national park and drive to Burabay National Park, also known as Borovoe. On the way, your guide will tell you about nature sights of Borovoe, its history and legends. Arrival at the park area. With 14 big and number of small lakes Borovoe is one of the most picturesque mountain resorts in Central Asia. Have a walk along fir trees and enormous rocks of unusual forms, each having its own name. Lunch and free time. Take a hike to Bolektau Mountain, from where you can get the best views on National Park.

Day 20
Nursultan city

Morning drive back to Nur-Sultan city

Day 21
Home sweet Home

Free day and transfer to the Airport. Breakfast is included in the price.

Essentials
Tour route
Day 1
Almaty city

Distance: n/a, Time: n/a

Day 2
Almaty > Tamgaly Tas

Distance: 109km, Time: 2 hours

Day 2
Tamgaly Tas > Altyn Emel

Distance: 250km, Time: 3 hours

Day 3
Altyn Emel national park

Distance: n/a, Time: n/a

Day 4
Altyn Emel > Charyn

Distance: 230km, Time: 3 hours

Day 5
Charyn > Kolsay

Distance: 112km, Time: 2 hours

Day 6
Kolsay > Saty

Distance: 20km, Time: 1 hours

Day 6
Saty > Almaty

Distance: 300km, Time: 3 hours

Day 7
Almaty > Taraz

Distance: 500km, Time: 6 hours

Day 8
Taraz > Aksu-Zhabagaly

Distance: 150km, Time: 2 hours

Day 9
Aksu-Zhabagaly > Shymkent

Distance: 140km, Time: 2 hours

Day 10
Shymkent city

Distance: n/a, Time: n/a

Day 12
Shymkent > Turkistan

Distance: 170, Time: 3 hours

Day 13
Turkistan city

Distance: 170, Time: 3 hours

Day 13
Turkistan > Baikonur

Distance: 540, Time: 6 hours

Day 14
Baikonur > Aral village

Distance: 260, Time: 3 hours

Day 15
Aral Sea

Distance: n/a, Time: n/a

Day 16
Aral village > Kyzylorda

Distance: 460, Time: 5 hours

Day 17
Kyzylorda > Nur-Sultan

Distance: 835, Time: 2 hours

Day 18
Nur-Sultan > Alzhir

Distance: 40, Time: 1 hours

Day 18
Alzhir > Korgazhyn

Distance: 90, Time: 2 hours

Day 19
Korgalzhyn > Burabay

Distance: 350, Time: 3 hours

Day 20
Burabay > Nur-Sultan

Distance: 250, Time: 3 hours

Day 21
Home sweet Home

Distance: n/a, Time: n/a

Tour Package Price
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