Kazakhstan Tours & Vacations
Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Vacations
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The ninth largest country in the world (it is twice the size of other four former Soviet Central Asian republics put together), Kazakhstan lies at the heart of the Eurasian steppe, at the cross-roads of some of the world’s most ancient civilisations. To its south lie monuments that tell of its long history with the great trading routes of the Silk Road, whilst its northern landscapes offer up vast sweeping steppes that cover one-third of the entire country. One of its most striking natural ...
The ninth largest country in the world (it is twice the size of other four former Soviet Central Asian republics put together), Kazakhstan lies at the heart of the Eurasian steppe, at the cross-roads of some of the world’s most ancient civilisations. To its south lie monuments that tell of its long history with the great trading routes of the Silk Road, whilst its northern landscapes offer up vast sweeping steppes that cover one-third of the entire country. One of its most striking natural features, the mountains that run along its southern fringes, offer up a wealth of towering icy peaks, crystal lakes and dense, forested valleys.
A proud people, the Kazakhs can trace their ancestry back to the Mongolian hordes who ravaged Central Asia during the 12th century. Emerging as a distinct nationality in the 15th century, they remained largely nomadic until well into the 20th century, despite early colonisation by the tsars of neighbouring Russia.
Gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, today it sits on huge reserves of oil and mineral deposits, making it potentially one of the richest countries anywhere in Central Asia. It still retains much of its old frontier spirit though and its little visited landscapes provide the perfect setting for a truly intrepid adventure.
Start your journey
Travel to Kazakhstan with like-minded people on one of our small group tours (usually max size 12), featuring knowledgeable local guides and an expert tour leader.
Whether you want to travel on one of our award-winning itineraries or build your own journey from scratch, our expert consultants will help create the perfect tour for your tastes and budget. Below are a few suggestions of the kind of trips we can offer, all of which can be tailored to you.
HIGHLIGHTS OF KAZAKHSTAN
Explore the city of Almaty
Walk around the beautiful buildings and architecture of Almaty, the country’s largest city, whilst learning about its history including Soviet rule and Kazakhstan’s role in World War II. Most notable are Republic Square, Panfilov Park and Zenok Cathedral.
Take a daytrip to the Charyn Canyon
The impressive Charyn Canyon is located around three hours from Almaty and makes for a lovely daytrip from the city. Walk alongside the powerful Charyn River that cuts through fiery-coloured rock and admire the canyon’s wonderful rock formations and panoramas.
Hike around the Kolsai Lakes
Spend a day or two hiking between the unbelievably turquoise mountain lakes in the striking Kolsai Lakes region. There are lakes at varying altitudes that suit a range of hiking preferences; alternatively take a boat out onto the water or relax on the shore.
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY
WHEN TO GO
The weather conditions can be extremely varied. In the mountains you will often be travelling at heights in excess of 3000 metres, and even in the middle of summer it can turn bitter with snow falling; at the same time mercury in the thermometers of Almaty can be nudging 40 degrees. All in all, British summertime is considered the best time to visit in terms of favourable conditions.
Health and Vaccinations
There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Kazakhstan though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. We recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
In Kazakhstan, the official unit of currency is the Tenge.
To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com.
On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.
The first thing to say about travelling in Central Asia is that most areas, particularly the cities and towns, have a much more laid-back approach to Islam than their neighbours to the south in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, as a technically Muslim region a little bit of caution and modesty should be applied in certain places. When visiting active mosques, women should cover their shoulders and wear trousers or skirts that fall below the knee, and men should not wear shorts.
Language & Religion
The Kazakh language is the state language, although Russian is also widely spoken.
Kazakhstan practices freedom of religion and is around two thirds Islamic, with the bulk of the remainder being Christian Orthodox.
Uzbekistan is 5 hours ahead of GMT A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.
Food and drink
Kazakhstan’s staple food is lamb and rice. Shashlik (kebab) can be found everywhere, as can plov, a rice dish prepared with onion, carrots, and lamb. Many variations of plov exist, with sultanas, apricots, or pumpkin amongst others. Other popular dishes include laghman (noodles), manty (large meat ravioli) and samsa (a meat pastry similar to samosa). In Kazakhstan you will also come across kazy, a smoked horsemeat sausage, while the national dish is beshbarmak, boiled beef and mutton served on pasta squares. Much use is made of seasonal vegetables, fruit, and fresh herbs.
The national drink is fermented mares milk, kymys, but tea is the main drink, either green or black. Alcoholic drinks are widely available too and there is local beer as well as imported Russian beer (Baltika is quite popular with 16% alcohol). Vodka is usually drunk with meals in preference to wine.
Travelling Solo In Kazakhstan
All of our small group tours are designed to cater for solo travellers: the number of solo travellers will vary from tour to tour, but usually over half will be travelling alone. Get all of the excitement of discovering new places combined with the security of travelling with an organised group, with like minded people.