Kazakhstan Vacations, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences
Kazakhstan Tours and Vacations
Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia, in addition to being the world’s largest landlocked country. It borders Russia,China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and lies on the coast of the Caspian Sea. The 9th largest country in the world, it is as big in total area as Western Europe. Originally part of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared independence in 1991. It is the richest country in Central Asia due to its large oil and natural gas reserves. Anyone embarking on Kazakhstan travel should keep in mind the country's somewhat extreme climate, with warm summers and very cold winters. Astana, the capital, is the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia (don’t worry Ottawa, you’re still in the top 5). The culture is an interesting mix of Russian and Western influences.
Kazakhstan Travel Highlights
Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty, is somewhat reminiscent of a European city with its leafy avenues, chic cafes, glossy shopping centres and abundant nightlife. It has a beautiful backdrop of rugged, snow-capped mountains right on the city's doorstep. It is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the commercial and cultural heart of the country, with plenty to see and do. Highlights here include the Presidential Palace, the National Museum with its exhibits from prehistoric times to the present, the 28 Panfilov Heroes Memorial Park dedicated to the fallen during World War ll, the photogenic Zenkov Cathedral, the Kok Tobe cable car, and Almaty Opera House. Keep your eyes open for the statue of The Beatles, erected by a Kazakh fan, and also Mad Murphy’s Irish Pub.
The Singing Dunes
The Singing Dunes is a mountain of sand in the Altyn Emel National Park, itself a stretch of desert and canyons across a wide area. These naturally occurring dunes are an impressive 150 metres/490 feet high and 1.5 kilometres/1 mile long but what makes them remarkable is that they sing out a whistling sound when the wind skims across the sands. Beware that the sound can be as much as 105 decibels loud.
Charyn Canyon is within the Charyn River valley close to the Chinese border. It might not be as deep as the Grand Canyon, but its steep sides and colour gradations make it equally impressive. The canyon is 150 metres/490 feet to 300 metres/ 980-feet deep. Time has weathered the canyon into some strange and colourful rock formations including the most popular section, the Valley of Castles.
The Aral Sea
The shrinking of the Aral Sea is one of the greatest environmental disasters of the 20th century. In the 1960s, it was one of the four largest lakes in the world, but today it is only a fraction of its original size. It is an important place to visit, however, to see first-hand the potential impact of human intervention in nature. Near its northern shore rise the sculpted rock formations of a magnificent canyon in shades of ochre and yellow reminiscent of Utah or Arizona. Four Soviet shipwrecks still lie on the seashore and the medicinal hot spring attracts visitors.
In the Tien Shan Mountains, Lake Kaindy is a relative newcomer to the landscape created by a landslide in 1911. With water that shifts from turquoise to emerald green depending on the light, it is very scenic to walk here, either on a day trip from Almaty or on a longer trek. There is a large amount of birdlife and the lake is also good for trout fishing. There is a nice beach for bathing and a short trail through spruce forest to the end of the lake.
The best Kazakhstan tours showcase the country’s cuisine, which tends to centre on livestock meat cooked in a variety of different ways usually served with a wide assortment of traditional bread products. A traditional Kazakh dinner involves lots of appetizers followed by a soup and one or two main courses such as pilaf and beshbarmak (meat mixed with noodles and spices).
2 Trips Available
- 9 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 3,343
- Trip Type:
- Active & Adventurous, Private Experiences
- 14 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 5,048
- Trip Type:
- Rail Travel Ideas