City of Astana
See the captivating architecture of Nur-Saltan (Astana)
Ancient rock carvings
Explore the petroglyphs (rock carvings) of Kazakhstan
Explore a part of the world that is opening up to tourism
The ninth-largest country in the world, Kazakhstan, has truly diverse landscapes, a gripping history and a culture rich enough to rival any destination worldwide. Our 12-day adventure not only grants you a unique authentic experience, you’ll also be awe-struck by a bewitching landscape, vibrant culture and epic historical legacy barely known to the rest of the world.
After arriving at Almaty Airport, we will transfer to our hotel in Almaty for an early check in, breakfast and a welcome drink. After a short rest and lunch, we will begin our sightseeing tour of the largest city in Kazakhstan, Almaty.
Our first stop is the Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen. It is dedicated to and named after the Panfilov heroes which were the 28 soldiers of an Almaty infantry unit who died while fighting against Germans outside of Moscow during the Great Patriotic War.
After breakfast at the hotel we will transfer to Nomad Ethnic Centre where we have a glimpse into centuries-old traditions and culture of the Great Steppe’s nomadic tribes following by traditional Kazakh lunch in a yurt!
Our next stop is Shymbulak (also known as Chimbulak) ski resort, located in the picturesque gorge of the Zailiysky Alatau at an altitude of 2260 meters above sea level.
After breakfast we will transfer to Charyn National Park which stretches along the Charyn River and includes Charyn Canyon, which is around 80km long and, in places up to 300 meters. It is Kazakhstan’s answer to America’s Grand Canyon, with some truly spectacular and varied landscapes but on a smaller scale. We will explore Moon Canyon, located at the bottom of Charyn Canyon that is made up of a yellow clay and is incredibly like the surface of the moon. We will have a lunch before returning to Almaty.
After breakfast we will transfer to Tamgaly – a UNESCO protected heritage site and a must for archaeology lovers. Set around the Tamgaly Gorge, amidst the vast, arid Chu-Ili mountains, is a remarkable concentration of some 5,000 petroglyphs (rock carvings) dating from the second half of the second millennium BC to the beginning of the 20th century. Distributed among 48 complexes with associated settlements and burial grounds, they are testimonies to the husbandry, social organization and rituals of pastoral peoples.
After breakfast we will transfer to Akyrtas – a UNESCO protected heritage site. According to archaeologists, Akyrtas was a caravan resting station on the Northern Silk Road for hundreds of years and the first researchers assumed that it was a Buddhist temple or Nestorian church but then, nobody really knows what it is. It may have been a caravanserai in the first place, or a castle, or a representative palace for one of the Arab rulers who died before he could move his court here.
After breakfast we will transfer to Shymkent on the way stopping at Aisha-Bibi Mausoleum – a UNESCO protected heritage site and one of the most beautiful monuments in Kazakhstan. The name of Aisha-Bibi is linked to a beautiful legend about love. There are nearly 30 versions of this unusual love story and according to one of them, Aisha-Bibi was just an hour away from meeting her lover. She was in love with the Emir of Taraz and wanted to marry him, against the wishes of her father, so, she left her home Otrar with her servant. Towards the end of their journey, the two women stopped at the shore of the Assa River to bathe. When Aisha-Bibi was emerging from the river, she reached for her clothes and was bitten by a snake that had slithered into her clothes, while she was in the water. The bite was fatal, and she died soon after.
After breakfast we will transfer to Central Asian ghost town of Otrar (also called Farab) that was a city located along the Silk Road in Kazakhstan and an important town in the history of Central Asia, situated on the borders of settled and agricultural civilizations.
Our next stop is Arystan Bab Mausoleum which dates from the 14th century and is constructed over Arystan Baba’s 12th-century grave but was reconstructed several times up to the 18th century. According to a legend Arystan Bab lived 400 years.
After breakfast we will transfer to the ancient city of Sauran – the best preserved and most atmospheric ruins of all the many ruined Silk Road cities in the Syr-Darya valley. Its circuit of baked-earth walls, plus remains of some bastions, residential buildings and gates, still stand despite conquerors and the elements.
We will drive back to Turkistan to have a lunch with local Kazakh family as well as learn about the local traditions and Kazakh baursak (fried dough) cooking.
After breakfast at the hotel we will begin our full day sightseeing tour of Nur-Sultan (Astana).
The country’s new capital has risen fast from the northern steppe and is already a showpiece for 21st-century Kazakhstan. Nur-Sultan was Astana until 2019, when it was renamed after the former president. Its landmark buildings, which many of them designed by leading international architects, sprout along the wide boulevards in a variety of Asian, Western, Soviet and wacky futuristic styles.
Today we will visit the house & museum of traditional Kazakh jeweller called zerger. Here we will learn about the traditional Kazakh jewellery (possible to purchase) and have a traditional Kazakh lunch.
Afternoon is then free to spend however you wish.
In the evening we will gather for our farewell dinner.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to Nur-Sultan (Astana) Airport for our flight home.
You can travel to Kazakhstan without a visa, provided your stay does not exceed 30 days.
If you are not holding British passport your specific passport and visa requirements, and other immigration requirements are your sole responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant embassies and/or consulates of the countries in which you are planning to travel.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Kazakhstan.
Dual nationality isn’t recognised in Kazakhstan. If you enter Kazakhstan on a Kazakh passport and also hold British nationality the British Embassy can only provide very limited consular assistance. In cases of arrest or detention, consular access is unlikely to be granted.
The government of Kazakhstan imposes limits on how much foreign currency can be imported or exported, and certain goods are subject to custom regulations. For further information please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The transfer time from Almaty Airport to the hotel in Almaty is approximately 45 minutes, depending on weather and traffic. Transfer from the hotel in Nur-Sultan (Astana) to Nur-Sultan (Astana) Airport is approximately 40 minutes, depending on weather and traffic.
There is a significant number of steps and walking on sightseeing so we would not recommend this holiday for people with walking difficulties.
A sightseeing programme is included in your tour package.
We suggest a Group Collection to cover guides, transfer drivers, and hotel staff of $50.00 (approx. 18,826.65 Kazakhstani tenge) per person. Your Tour Leader will collect this on your behalf and distribute it, accordingly, thus relieving you of the burden of who, when and how much to tip. The tipping of housekeeping will be left to your individual discretion (a small amount left in your room on departure should cover this and would be much appreciated). As is customary, ‘the hat’ will be passed around for the driver and guide on all optional excursions. For any meals that are not included in your itinerary, or taxi fares, your Tour Leader can advise of an appropriate % to add on.
Kazakh tenge can only be obtained within Kazakhstan, and it can be difficult to convert it back.
The best thing to do is to bring enough money in US dollars to last the duration of your trip and convert them as necessary.
ATMs are available and credit cards are accepted at many shops, restaurants and hotels in Almaty and Nur-Sultan (Astana). Please note that it’s better to use cash in more rural areas.
During the day when sightseeing, we recommend casual, lightweight cotton clothing that covers the shoulders and knees (both men and women). You will find that smart casual wear is acceptable, even in the best hotels during the evening but do not wear shorts at the restaurants. Comfortable shoes are a “must” for sightseeing. From time to time, your guide will advise you about observing local customs. On certain occasions it will be necessary to remove your shoes to enter religious sites or historical landmarks so easily removable footwear is recommended. Women should also cover their head and shoulders when entering a mosque and men should wear long trousers.
|Month(s)||Highest temperature||Lowest temperature|
|September||26 °C||18 °C|
I was so nervous about embarking on my first Solos Holiday, but I shouldn’t have been – it was the best thing I have ever done!
Wow! Got to see the famous shipwreck beach in Zakynthos with Solos. Can’t wait to discover more of their destinations!
Our tour leader Monica was exceptional! Had such a good time and will be rebooking with Solos. Thanks for a great holiday!
Had the best time with Solos! Discovered beautiful destinations and met some lifelong friends.