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Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city and cultural heart. This charming green city is a perfect gateway in Kazakhstan. However, the highlight of this trip is not so much the city itself, but rather the natural wonders which surround it. Almaty Region is the most popular travel destination in Kazakhstan, and for good reason.

The mighty landscapes will capture your imagination. From vividly painted canyons to alpine lakes and juniper forests on mountain slopes, the diverse countryside offers some amazingly varied scenery. On this one-week tour you will be awed by the scale and magnificence of Kazakhstan’s natural environments.

Book With Confidence

We fully appreciate that we all need to be flexible in the world of travel right now. You can book with us with complete confidence that you have the flexibility to change your plans if needed.

All bookings made this year can be changed or postponed free of charge. If you cancel your trip up to 16 days before the departure, we will hold your deposit as a credit towards an alternative trip in the future with Kalpak Travel.

Good to know

  • Explore vibrant Almaty & surrounding countryside
  • Fully escorted multi-lingual guide
  • Small groups (max 12)
  • Flexible rebookings: change dates at no cost

What's included

  • Included Accommodation
  • Included Guided excursions
  • Included Ground transfers
  • Included All meals
Days

7

Starting from

€1,580 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Speak to Luca for expert travel advice
Talk to us
Destinations
Kazakhstan
Activity
Adventure, Hiking & Trekking, Active, Nature & Wildlife, Culture, Cities, Solo Travel
Tour Type
Small group tour, Private guided tour

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

Almaty Arrival and City Tour

Welcome to Kazakhstan! Most of the flights arrive early in the morning. Transfer to the hotel for immediate check-in. Have a rest after the long flight and then breakfast. Meet your fellow travelers and your guide in the late morning.

Welcome to Kazakhstan! Most flights arrive early in the morning. You will transfer to the hotel for immediate check-in. Have a rest after your long flight and then enjoy breakfast. You’ll meet your fellow travelers and your guide in the hotel lobby at noon to go for lunch, followed by a relaxed half-day city tour of Almaty.

Almaty was the Kazakh capital until 1997 and it is still the largest city in Kazakhstan. Its name translates as “the place of apples” as it is believed that this is the place where apples first grew. Almaty is a charming and green city, with wide, tree-lined roads. The Zailisky Ala-Too Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the city.

First you will take a cable car to reach one of the main landmarks of Almaty, the Shymbulak ski resort, where you will enjoy wonderful views of the Ili Alatau Mountains. On the way to the ski resort you will pass the legendary Medeo skating rink. It is located in the picturesque Medeo Gorge at an altitude of 1,600 m and it is one of the largest and highest ice rinks in the world. Another cable car will bring you to the top of the ski resort (3,200 m). It will be a bit cold and windy, so make sure you bring a warm jacket. After enjoying the mountains views, you’ll drive back to the city for lunch and a short city tour.

Panfilov Park, which is named after World War II General Panfilov. An impressive monument has been erected in the center of the park in honor of Panfilov’s division. Almaty’s most famous sight, the wooden Zenkov Cathedral built in 1904, is situated in Panfilov Park as well.

At Green Bazaar, you will have the chance to experience local Kazakh culture as you shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. After the market, you will take the cable car to Kok Tobe, a hilltop overlooking the city which offers panoramic views.

Overnight in the Novotel (4*) or similar

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hunns Village and Issyk Lake

Breakfast will be at the hotel. Today you will immerse yourself in Kazakh culture, learning about traditions and rituals in the Huns ethno-village, about one hour’s drive from Almaty.

On arrival you’ll be welcomed by hostesses greeting you with a national ritual called Shashu. It involves showering guests with sweets, as Kazakhs do during wedding ceremonies. The sweets must be picked up and kept, as Kazakhs believe they will bring good luck in the future.

At Huns you will learn how to bake puffy Kazakh bread, see the construction of a Kazakh yurt, and be a spectator at performance of national horse games. The games include Jigitovka (horseback riding with acrobatic elements), Atpen audaryspak (jostling and pushing a rival whilst on horseback) and Kyz kuu, where a boy chases a girl on horseback. If he catches her he will be rewarded with a kiss; but if he fails, she can lash him! After the show you will have a delicious lunch of national cuisine.

In the afternoon, you will drive a bit further to Issyk, a postcard-perfect mountain lake at an altitude of 1,756 m above sea level, which is located within a gorge of the same name. Lying along the Kuldja tract, where hundreds of years ago merchants’ caravans passed through, the gorge is atmospheric and visually striking. You will then drive back to Almaty in time for dinner.

Overnight in the Novotel (4*) or similar

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Altyn Emel National Park

Your guide and driver will meet you in the hotel lobby at 9 am to drive to Altyn-Emel National Park. You will arrive in the park in time for lunch.

The first place to visit is so-called Singing Dune, tuned up in the middle of the steppe. It rises about 150 m and stretches for a distance of 2-3 km. How did sand dunes appear in the vast steppe? How does this dune make its organ-like song? Your guide will explain all! If you have never climbed a dune before, now is your chance. Here you will have plenty of time for hiking, taking magnificent photos, and enjoying the amazing panoramic views.

In the evening you will drive to your hotel in the village of Basshi and have dinner.

Overnight in the simple Altyn Emel Hotel

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Altyn Emel National Park, Aktau and Kattytau Mountains

In the early morning you will have breakfast at the hotel. It is then time to depart for the Aktau Mountains, a natural museum of the Earth’s distant past. Fantastically-shaped natural sculptures rise from the bottom of an ancient sea in all the colors of the rainbow, from the pale blue of the lunar landscape to red mountains. These mountains are 30 km long, 1.5-2 km high, and 400 million years old. The drive from the hotel to the mountains will take around 1.5 hours. On arrival you will unpack a delicious picnic lunch and enjoy it on the side of the mountain.

The next place you will visit is the incredible Katutau Mountains, which were formed from lava and associated volcanic rocks. Time, water, and the sunlight have created intricately weathered rock formations here. Snap photos as your guide explains the origin of such a fanciful landscape and then drive back to your hotel.

Overnight in the simple Altyn Emel Hotel

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Charyn Canyon and Kaindy Lake

Early breakfast will be served in Basshi. There is then a long and exciting day in front of you. After 2.5 hours of driving you will arrive at the Bestamak and Moon Canyon part of the Charyn Canyon. You’ll descend to see amazing stone architecture and have a picnic on the bank of the Charyn River.

After spending around three hours in the canyon you will leave and drive to Satty, which is the closest village to the lakes. The main attraction here is the unusual and mysterious Kaindy Lake (Birch Lake), which is located at an altitude of 2,000 m above sea level.

Kaindy Lake formed as the result of a huge landslide after a powerful earthquake in 1911. The landslide blocked the river and the water flooded the valley. That is which Tien Shan fir trees appear out in the middle of the lake. The water is very cold, so the needles of the flooded trees are well preserved and clearly visible beneath the transparent surface. The dry tree trunks stand like towers. It is impossible to describe in words mystical splendor of this lake – it is necessary to go there and see everything with your own eyes.

In the evening you will leave Kaindy lLke and drive to Satty, where a hearty dinner will await you at the hotel.

Overnight in a simple hotel near Saty

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kolsay Lakes – Almaty

Today you are able to choose from two options.

Active option: If you would like to challenge yourself with a mountain hike, get up early and you will drive to the first Kolsai Lake (15km, 30 min) and start hiking to the second lake. Hiking takes around three hours to get up and two hours to go down (16 km in total). You will start hiking at 7:00 am and will return to the starting point around 1:00 pm.

Comfortable option: After a leisurely breakfast, enjoy some free time in the village before driving to the first Kolsai Lake (15 km, 30 min). Here you will be able to admire the mountain scenery and take a boat ride. If you don’t mind the cold water you can also have a bracing swim!

Everybody will rendezvous for a picnic lunch at the first Kolsai Lake and we will then drive back to Almaty (c. 4 hours) in the afternoon. Here there will be a farewell dinner.

Overnight in the Novotel (4*) or similar

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Departure from Almaty

Today it is time to say a fond farewell to Almaty. Early in the morning you will transfer to the airport. We sincerely hope you will have enjoyed your trip and will return soon to explore more of Central Asia.

Included meals: Breakfast

  • Almaty

    Almaty

    The most populated city in Kazakhstan and former capital, Almaty is surrounded by mountains, with streets lined by trees and parks scattered across the city...
  • Huns Village

    Huns Village

    ...
  • Altyn Emel National Park

    ...
  • Altyn Emel National Park

    ...
  • Charyn Canyon

    Charyn Canyon

    ...
  • Almaty

    Almaty

    The most populated city in Kazakhstan and former capital, Almaty is surrounded by mountains, with streets lined by trees and parks scattered across the city...
  • Almaty

    Almaty

    The most populated city in Kazakhstan and former capital, Almaty is surrounded by mountains, with streets lined by trees and parks scattered across the city...

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning      
27 May 2023 2 Jun 2023 €1,580 Enquire
22 Jul 2023 28 Jul 2023 €1,580 Enquire
26 Aug 2023 1 Sep 2023 €1,580 Enquire
More dates available     Enquire

Looking for a different date?

Not sure when you're travelling yet? Looking for a different date? Contact Kalpak Travel for more information.

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Good to know

Speak to a Kazakhstan specialist about this trip

Kalpak Travel

Call one of our travel experts for ideas and trip planning advice.

Talk to us

Reviews

What people are saying about Kalpak Travel

S
Sten-Enok, Norway
01/11/2018

I got a tip to visit the webpage for Kalpak and have not regretted since. They arrange trips to Central Asia and do it really well. They are professional, respond to inquiries instantly, are very flexible and know the region well. I was in contact with Luca for a combination of mountain biking and trekking in the Fann mountains in Tajikistan. My experience is solely positive; truly professional and passionate about the region.

Mind you, Kalpak uses local resources and is responsible tourism. I really recommend Kalpak Travel! They make astonishing trips to Central Asia and are professional, serious and responsible.

S
Spencer, Australia
01/07/2018

We had a fabulous 13-day tour of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - in May/June. Luca, the owner of Kalpak Travel, has been very reliable and committed to giving excellent service. He was constantly keeping in touch during our trip to ensure that everything was running smoothly.

The guides in each city spoke excellent English and were extremely informative on all aspects of Central Asia. In Almaty, we were invited to have dinner at our tour guide's home. The food was fabulous and we had a wonderful evening….

We were very lucky to have Kalpak Travel as our tour company which exceeded our expectations with flying colours. We highly recommend Kalpak Travel if you are planning a hassle-free tour of Central Asia.

R
Rebecca, USA
01/07/2018

We had a wonderful 3.5 week trip through the 5 Stans. I feel like I've seen the highlights in case I don't get the opportunity to return, but I most certainly DO want to return and see more. These are the warmest and most welcoming people I have every encountered.

My regret is that Kalpak does not arrange trips for other parts of the world, as I truly enjoyed every minute of working with them, and would love to do so again. SUPERLATIVE service.

How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from €1,580 pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

What's included

Included Accommodation

Seven nights in our carefully chosen hotels, includes early check-in on Day 1.

Included Guided excursions

Expertly-guided tours and excursions in each location, accompanied by some of the best tour guides in Central Asia.

Included Ground transfers

All ground connections and transfers.

Included All meals

7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners.

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