- Learn about the diverse cultures of Central Asia.
- Soak in the breathtaking mountain scenery.
- Connect with the locals during the trip.
- Wander the Soviet streets of Bishkek.
Ways to Travel: English speaking Guided Group
Destinations: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan
Price in USD
Welcome to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Arrival to Nur-Sultan. Transfer to the hotel. Rest. Later on meet with the guide star sightseeing in Astana. Recently renamed Nur-Sultan in honor of the long serving first president, the city was purpose built to become the capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997. Similar to Washington D.C. in the United States or Canberra in Australia, Nur-Sultan is a planned city with the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa as its master mind. Now, Nur-Sultan is one of the most vibrant cities in Central Asia. If you arrive early, take the time explore and admire the futuristic city skyline. Dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
This morning, head off on a city tour with your leader and see some of the most impressive designs of this ambitious new city. Visit Nur-Astana Mosque, built in 2005 – with its capacity of 5000 worshippers inside and an additional 2000 outside it is one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. Then you’ll stop at Palace of Peace & Reconciliation, a pyramid shaped conference hall that’s considered to be Astana’s symbolic center. You’ll also visit the President’s Culture Center which houses an array of exhibits that tell of the past, present and future of Kazakhstan, and of course, as its name suggests, the many achievements of it’s President. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.
Take a morning flight to Shymkent. Ariival to Shymkent meet with the driver. Start sightseeing. Today is reserved for Shymkent’s surroundings exploring. Excursion to Sayram village: “Ibragim-Ata” mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi’s father; “Kharashash-Ana” mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi’s mother, middle age minarets. After lunch continue to Kemekalgan village – so called “forgiving sins “Adam&Eve” cliffs”, stone made statues of animals, water from healing strings there are 3 spring with different taste, you will be able to taste the water. Overnight at hotel.
Head out on a city tour this morning, the highlight of which is a visit to the Kozha Akhmed Yasaui Mausoleum, Kazakhstan’s most iconic building. The blue and while-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, we recommend that women wear a headscarf when entering. In the surrounds you’ll find a rose garden, other monuments, an archeological museum and a mosque, which are all included in the entry ticket. Continue the journey to Shymkent (approximately 4 hours) by private vehicle, stopping at the ancient settlement of Otrar on the way. It was first excavated in 1969 and has a history dating back to the first century AD. Remnants of palaces, mosques and bathhouses can still be seen today. It is also where Genghis Khan’s army is said to have fought heroically (though unsuccessfully) when the Mongols first invaded Central Asia. There’ll be some time to spend in Shymkent before boarding the overnight train (approximately 11 hours) to Almaty.
Today embark on a full-day guided city tour of Almaty. The development and wealth you’ll see on display as you walk the streets comes from the country’s main export – oil. Kazakhstan is one of the world’s top five oil-producing nations in the world. Visit Central Square and the colourful Zenkoff Cathedral 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 and the State Historical Museum, which features a great collection of ancient relics. Finally, summit Kok Tobe Hill for great views over the city before returning to the hotel after a long but fulfilling day.
After breakfast and drive the 240 km (approximately 3.5 hours) out of town to the spectacular Altyn-Emel National Park, where you will explore the Singing Barkhan – a sand dune extending 3km and up to 120m high. It gets its name from the way the fine sand hums in windy weather and the view from the top gives a great panorama of the surrounding Djungarian Alatau, Sogety, Boguty and other mountains. In dry, windy weather, the sand dune’s song can be heard up to a few kilometres away. These mountains have revealed preserved remains of prehistoric animals including giant rhinos, crocodiles and turtles, and many compare the huge, conical mountains to the man-made Egyptian pyramids.
Breakfast in the guesthouse. Transfer to Charyn Canyon. It is an amazing creation of nature that has existed for millions of years, picturesque and very diverse in geomorphologic aspects. The height of steep mountainsides reaches 150-300 meters. Numerous ravines and gullies make dense rambling net. Wind and water created stunning “Red Castles Valley”. All along the valley you are surrounded by towers of fantastical forms, built of sedimentary. Throughout time nature has created these architectural wonders, without haste, it has built majestic castles. A walk there. Later on drive to Saty village. Dinner and overnight in Saty village.
After breakfast drive to Kyrgyzstan Karakol city via Karkara valley. In the morning visit Kolsay Lake. Kolsay Lake is a name for a cascade of three lakes in Kungey Alatau ridge. The lakes are dark blue in color and filled with pure glacial water. Continue drive to Kazakh-Kyrgyz border. Border formalities. Upon arrival to Karakol check in to the Hotel. Dinner in the local Yuigur family.
This mainly Russian town was officially founded on 1st of July in 1869 by the military. At this time the town already had a lage population of military officers, explorers from the Russian Geographical society, merchants and artisans. The town’s Soviet name was Przhevalsk after the Great Russian explorer of Central Asia and China, Nikolai Przhevalsky. His last expedition ended here and he is buried on the lakeshore near Karakol. Stroll along Karakol’s streets spotting Russian-style ‘gingerbread’ houses. Visit the Dungan Mosque, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, a local market and the Przhevalsky Museum. After lunch, drive for about 1 hour for a hike (approx. 2 hours) in the picturesque Jety Oguz Valley, aka Seven Bull Valley. Your leader will guide you through the forest to a waterfall (with jaw dropping panaromic views). Return to Karakol for the night.
Today is a full day’s drive to Bishkek along the northern shore of Issyk Kul – the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America. The views are lovely along the way, especially seeing Issyk Kul surrounded by snowcapped mountains. On the way, you’ll stop at Cholpan Ata, visit a petroglyph’s site and take a short boar ride onto the lake to enjoy its sheer size and scale. Arrive in Bishkek in the late afternoon.
Take a trip down memory lane today with a city tour showcasing the country’s fascinating history. The center of the city is Ala-too Square, which was known as Lenin Square in Soviet times. Lenin used to stand in his concrete overcoat in the middle of this square, proudly gesturing towards the mountains. A great place for a wander is Dubovy (Oak) Park, where you’ll find a few open-air cafes. The century-old oaks here and all along Freedom Avenue make Bishkek one of the greenest cities in Central Asia. In the afternoon, you’ll have some free time to further explore Bishkek. Quite the contrast to the relaxed quiet streets, square and parks in the city center, Osh Market is noisy, crowded, and a perfect peek into local life. You’ll find all kinds of things on sale here from spices and fruits to clothes and carpets. Get together with your travel mates and enjoy an optional dinner together tonight to celebrate a great journey through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
You adventure ends after breakfast today and you can depart at any time. Hotel check out time is 12 noon.
- All transfers;
- Train ticket Shymkent – Almaty
- Half board (breakfast and dinners);
- Accommodation based on double/twin room in hotels and guesthouses, breakfasts included;
- English speaking tour leader;
- Sightseeing tour program in each city;
- Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary;
- Single room accommodation
- Visa costs
- Alcohol and soft drinks
- Porter service at airport and hotels
- International and domestic flight tickets
- Domestic flight tickets Astana – Shymkent
Supplement for fly ticket from Astana to Shymkent is 150 USD per person.
Supplment for fullboard ( lunch) is 180 USD per person
The price of the tour does not include the cost of international and domestic flight tickets. But if you want, we can organize international flight tickets with TURKISH AIRLINES via Istanbul, AIR ASTANA via Nur-Sultan or AEROFLOT via Moscow.
Flight tickets with TURKISH AIRLINES via Istanbul: is 650-900 EURO per person
Flight tickets with AIR ASTANA VIA NUR-SULTAN: is 650-900 EURO per person
Flight tickets with AEROFLOT via Moscow: is 650-900 EURO per person
Nursultan – KazZhol Hotel or similar
Shymkent – Aidana Plaza Hotel or similar
Almaty – Kazzhol Hotel or similar
Altyn Emil – Guesthouse
Saty – Guesthouse
Karakol – Karagat Hotel or similar
Bishkek – Plaza Hotel or similar