Silk Road - Kazakhstan: Across The Kazakh Steppe

Silk Road - Kazakhstan: Across The Kazakh Steppe

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10 Days
From

$3369

$3276

Silk Road - Kazakhstan: Across The Kazakh Steppe

10 Days Starting and ending in ALMATY

Visiting: Almaty, Altyn-Emel National Park Almaty Office, Altyn Emel National Park, Altyn Emel St, Charyn Canyon National Park, Saty, Ozero Kaindy, Turkistan, Shymkent, Nur-Sultan

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Tour code:

KAZ

Recommended For:

Couples, Singles

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

Low, Low / Moderate

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Wild Frontiers with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Private Available:

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From:
$3369
$3276 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$93

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

The world’s largest landlocked country, Kazakhstan is undoubtedly the most economically advanced of the Central Asian ‘stans’. Rich in oil and minerals, the country has undergone a transformation in recent years that has seen it emerge from the windblown steppes of Asia to become the dominant presence in the region. Beyond its booming cities, though, lies a country still steeped in the traditions of its past. Here, amongst the high mountains, green valleys, vast steppe and desert, it is a land of stunning natural beauty. Home to a number of rare and endangered animals, its national parks hide a wealth of historical treasures and at the heart of its modern cities lie traditions and cultures that can be traced back to the ancient trading routes of the Silk Road. This incredible 10-day adventure takes in the staggeringly rich diversity of a land of quite unique and authentic charm.  

Highlights

  • Watch a traditional music performance and handicraft demonstration at Sofievka village

  • Tour the modern and historic highlights of Almaty and Nur-Sultan (Astana)

  • Enjoy stunning walks in Charyn Canyon and Altyn Emel National Park

  • See the stunning UNESCO Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan

  • Discover the submerged trees of Kaindy Lake, perhaps even by boat

  • Visit the burial mounds at Esyk, where the famed Golden Man (pictured) was unearthed

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Tour Starts In Almaty
Location: Almaty
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Kazakhstan or similar
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner,

The tour will officially start around lunchtime today in Almaty, giving those who have arrived on the overnight flight the chance to freshen up before taking an afternoon tour of the city. Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city and we’ll begin with a walking tour to visit Panfilov Park, before taking in the striking Zenkov Cathedral, which lays claim to being one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world. We’ll also visit the Central Museum and the Independence Monument before driving to Kok-Tobe Mountain, the highest point in the city, to enjoy some breath-taking panoramas of the city.

Day 2 : Almaty - Altyn Emel National Park
Location: Almaty, Altyn-Emel National Park Almaty Office
Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Departing the city after breakfast this morning, we’ll drive towards Altyn Emel National Park. We’ll first stop en route at the Ili River, famed for the Genghis Khan crossing. We also visit Tamgaly Tas to see traces of the Buddhist past – beautiful images of Buddha and Burhans (Bodhisattvas) painted on the canyon rocks. Continuing our journey to Altyn Emel, we’ll stop to climb the ‘singing sands’ of the Barchan Dunes before heading to a local guesthouse in the village of Basshi, which will be our base for the next two nights.

Day 3 : Altyn Emel National Park
Location: Altyn Emel National Park
Accommodation: Guesthouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Sandwiched between the Ili River and the Ak-Tau Mountains, the Altyn Emel National Park encompasses some 4,600 square kilometres of largely desert and rock. A uniquely sculpted landscape of ancient volcanoes, it is home to the colourful Katutau Mountains. It is also a haven for a range of wildlife, some of it very rare, including Central Asian gazelles and Turkmenian kulan (wild ass). Following breakfast we’ll set off to fully explore the Ak-Tau and Katutau coloured mountains. There’ll be opportunities for some easy but rewarding walks in the area and we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to our welcoming guesthouse.

Day 4 : Altyn Emel - Charyn Canyon - Saty
Location: Altyn Emel St, Charyn Canyon National Park, Saty
Accommodation: Homestay, Homestay/Guesthouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

This morning we leave Basshi and drive on towards the Charyn Canyon, located along the Charyn River and close to the Chinese border. Likened to the much larger Grand Canyon, Charyn drops down some 300 metres in parts and is filled with a spectacular collection of colourful formations, including the impressive Valley of Castles where we’ll enjoy a scenic walk. We’ll continue later to the village of Saty where we spend the night. This afternoon we’ll visit the beautiful Kolsai Lake and there’ll be an opportunity here to take a boat trip.

Day 5 : Kaindy Lake - Almaty - Turkestan
Location: Ozero Kaindy, Almaty, Turkistan
Accommodation: Overnight Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

We’ll begin the day with a visit to nearby Kaindy Lake. A relatively young natural feature, the lake appeared suddenly in 1911 after an earthquake caused a huge landslide. Improbably turquoise in colour, the lake is famous for its forest of submerged spruce trees which, bizarrely, still retain their foliage. The clear, cold waters make it easy to see the forest and it may be possible to take a boat trip out onto the lake here to see this at close hand. Later we will drive on to Esyk to visit the museum and burial mounds here, where the famous ‘Golden Man’ was discovered. The museum contains a replica and other exhibits of the Scythian period. We then drive back to Almaty, arriving in time to enjoy dinner before we catch the overnight train on to Turkestan.

Day 6 : In And Around Turkestan
Location: Turkistan
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Khanaka or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Arriving in Turkestan late this morning, we will have a short time to freshen up and have lunch before visiting the UNESCO site of the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. Commissioned by Timur in 1389, it was intended to replace an earlier 12th century mausoleum but remains unfinished. In spite of this, it still draws pilgrims from across Central Asia and is considered one of the best-preserved of all the Timurid constructions. Later this afternoon we drive to the ancient city of Sauran to explore its historical treasures. Returning to Turkestan for the evening, we have a chance to enjoy a traditional Kazakh dinner in the home of a local family.

Day 7 : Turkestan - Shymkent
Location: Turkistan, Shymkent
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Shymkent Grand or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

After breakfast today we’ll first drive to the ancient ruins of Otrar and also visit the Arystan Bab Mausoleum before continuing on to Shymkent. The third largest city in Kazakhstan in terms of inhabitant numbers, Shymkent is one of its most ancient cities; founded in the 12th century at the intersection of the trade routes to European Russia, Central Asia, West Siberia and China. This afternoon our sightseeing will begin with one of the best historical museums in Central Asia, which tells the ancient and cultural history of South Kazakhstan. We’ll also have time to visit the thriving market where you can find various local goods and feel the vibe of an Eastern bazaar.

Day 8 : Shymkent - Nur-Sultan (Astana)
Location: Shymkent, Nur-Sultan
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Kazzhol or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Transferring to the airport after breakfast this morning, we fly on to Nur-Sultan (Astana) next – the recently renamed Kazakh capital. Arriving around midday we’ll drive to a local restaurant for lunch, after which we’ll join our guide on a tour of the city. Beginning in the old part of the city, formerly Akmola, we’ll take a walk along the riverside to absorb the city’s astonishing skyline and view some of its most important architectural highlights. A visit to the National Museum then provides a chance to see the famous ‘Golden Man’, before finishing with the remarkable Temple of Peace and Accord and the Nur-Astana Mosque.

Day 9 : Nur-Sultan (Astana)
Location: Nur-Sultan
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Kazzhol or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Just a short drive out of the city lies the ALZHIR Memorial, a museum founded in 2007 and dedicated to the injustices and hardships faced by the wives of political prisoners during the Soviet era. One of the largest camps in the old Soviet Union, the Akmola Camp for Wives of Traitors of the Motherland was opened in 1938 and once housed more than 18,000 prisoners of 62 different nationalities. Following our visit we then head on to the village of Sofievka, whose residents retain many Kazakh traditions, including eagle hunting. We’ll enjoy a traditional Kazakh lunch, along with musical entertainment and handicraft demonstrations, before driving back to Nur-Sultan late this afternoon. This evening we will head out into the city for our final dinner in this fascinating and increasingly important country.

Day 10 : Tour Ends In Nur-Sultan (Astana)
Location: Nur-Sultan
Meals Included: Breakfast

The tour ends this morning after breakfast.

What's Included

  • MEALS

    9 x Breakfasts, 9 x Lunches, 9 x Dinners

  • GROUP SIZE

    Maximum: 12

  • TRANSPORT

    On this tour we will use a combination of minibuses, 4x4's, an overnight train and a domestic flight, as well as optional boat rides.

  • CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contributions to carbon offset & tree planting projects for all bookings

  • EXPERT TEAM

    The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

  • ACCOMMODATION

    All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

  • ENTRANCE FEES

    All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

  • FITNESS RATING

    Low / Moderate

What's Not Included

  • We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatoryTips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documentsInternational .Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK.Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com  For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Kazakhstan. Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Key Aspects to Consider

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour. It should be noted that the accommodation in Atlyn Emel and Saty is very welcoming but rather basic - please be sure that you’ve read the Accommodation section above for more details. There will be opportunities to undertake some easy walks in all the National Parks and although not obligatory, you should be prepared for such walks in order to maximise your enjoyment of the trip in its entirety.  

Check out our Q&As

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Kazakhstan. Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    12

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    We have a complete Covid-19 hub here: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/covid-hub

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 70% of passengers on our group tours are solo adventurers. Unlike many tour operators, we don’t believe in charging solo travellers a premium, so if you are happy to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same sex, you will pay exactly the same as a couple..Occasionally you may even end up with your own room. You can travel as a single traveller on any of our holidays, from our escorte

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2002

  • Do I need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with you?

    In most cases, yes. Not only are many destinations making double-vaccination a requirement of entry to the country and/or access to restaurants, museums etc., but additionally on all our group tours for the foreseeable future, for everyone’s peace of mind, we are asking that all clients be double vaccinated.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Catherine Wilkinson  

Catherine Wilkinson

My first Wild Frontiers trip blew my expectations away - I'm not sure I'll be able to cope travelling with other companies now!

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Dates & Availability

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Friday - Sunday

Jun 06, 2025 - Jun 15, 2025
$3369 $3276 (USD)

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Sep 26, 2025 - Oct 05, 2025
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  • Free Date Changes

    Wild Frontiers allows you to make 2 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 90 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Wild Frontiers requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of wild frontiers charges.

    Up to 71 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 51 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • Wild Frontiers' COVID Promise

    You will have the right to transfer without any transfer fee, from any of our trips at ANY time if your trip is not Covid Viable (see below).*
    We will not ask you to pay your final balance if your trip is not yet Covid Viable.
    If your trip is not Covid Viable, by 30 days prior to departure at the latest, we will cancel your holiday and you can either transfer your funds to another departure or have a refund.**


    We will only consider a trip Covid Viable*** if pre-departure it meets all of the following criteria:

    There is no national lockdown or ban on foreign travel for the period when your trip is due to depart.
    Destinations on the tour must not be on the UK’s Red List. ****
    No destinations visited on the tour have in place any significant COVID-19 restrictions for travellers.
    Tourist visas (if required) are available.
    There is reliable airline access to/from the start/end of the trip.
    Following an assessment by both Wild Frontiers and our local partners we are confident that your trip is able to run in both a safe and enjoyable manner.*****




    ** If you were originally booked to travel before 30 April 2020 and transferred to a later date, or if you have a tailor-made booking, there may be some irrecoverable costs which we cannot refund. Please speak to us and we will be able to advise you if this is the case for your booking.
    ***Since our HQ is in London, Covid Viable status for our Group Tours will be assessed on UK-based travellers. However we are fully aware that many of our clients live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. As such, when we deem a trip to now be Covid Viable, everyone booked will have a chance to review their own personal situation before deciding whether or not to remain booked on the trip. Anyone wishing to, will have the option to transfer without fees to another trip at this time. For tailor made bookings, we may also able to consider additional countries’ travel advice when deciding if a trip is Viable. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
    **** This relates to bookings from UK clients only. We may operate trips to destinations which the British FCDO advise against travel for Covid reasons. If this is the case, anyone wishing to will have the option to cancel with a refund or transfer to another trip. In some cases we may choose to offer a tour to a Red destination but these will be at both clients’ and Wild Frontiers’ discretion and will be subject to alternative conditions to be discussed on an ad hoc basis.
    *****If a destination, that we have deemed to be Covid Viable, subsequently fails any aspect of the criteria for two consecutive weeks, you will have the right under our Covid Promise to transfer without any fees.

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