Map of Kazakhstan Adventure including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Enjoy a unique exploration of Central Asia, across the vast nations of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Beginning in the futuristic cityscapes of Nur-Sultan (until recently, Astana), join us on this exploration from mighty Kazakhstan to mountainous Kyrgyzstan. From the otherworldly scenery of the Boszhira Valley to the ancient city of Turkistan, the Silk Road ruins of Otrar, and the culturally rich Almaty, the sights along the way are unlike anywhere else on earth. Continue your journey to the seldom visited Kyrgyzstan, skirt the vast waters of Issyk-Kul and end in the relaxed capital of Bishkek.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan
Finish
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Destinations
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Style
Original
Code
KFSK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 16
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are truly off the beaten track and sees few foreign travellers, especially outside Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Bishkek, and for much of this trip you will truly feel the remoteness of Central Asia.

  • Hop on a 4x4 off-road jeep safari into the back country of Mangystau in Kazakhstan and come close with its moonscape scenery at Boszhira valley

  • Discover the history and architecture of the Silk Road. Explore one of the most intriguing 10th century underground mosques at Shakpak-Ata, and uncover the charm of the legendary Turkistan.

  • Travel alongside locals and admire wild, sweeping vistas on epic train rides across the Kazakh steppe.

  • Drive along the northern shore of Issykul Lake, surrounded by snow capped mountains and hike the Jeti Orghuz Canyon for an amazing panorama view.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip takes you way off the tourist trail to explore just some of the vastness that is Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. If you want to be far, far away from everywhere – and from anything you've experienced before – this trip is for you.

  • Be prepared to experience the full legacy of the Soviet era – not just in the sights and history, but also in the standards of accommodation and service! In other words, while you’ll be comfortable, don’t expect luxury.

  • In true adventure style, the trip involves some long travel days by private vehicle and trains. While tiring, this is a great opportunity to sit back, unwind and let the sweeping views roll by.

  • We’ll experience varying temperatures in the desert and out on the steppe. The days can be very hot, while at night, the mercury plummets. Make sure you bring warm, comfortable layers, drink plenty of water and take care to protect yourself from the sun. For women, we recommend bringing a scarf to cover your head and shoulders while on visits to mosques and mausoleums.

Itinerary

Welcome to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. Recently renamed Nur-Sultan in honour of the long serving first president, the city was purpose built to become th capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997. Similar to Washington D.C. in the United States or Canberra in Australia, Nur-Sultan is a planned city with the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa as its master mind. Now, Nur-Sultan is one of the most vibrant cities in Central Asia. If you arrive early, take the time explore and admire the futuristic city skyline. Join your leader in the evening for an included local dinner tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, head off on a city tour with your leader and see some of the most impressive designs of this ambitious new city. Visit Nur-Astana Mosque, built in 2005 – with its capacity of 5000 worshippers inside and an additional 2000 outside it is one of the largest mosques in Central Asia. Then you'll stop at Palace of Peace & Reconciliation, a pyramid shaped conference hall that's considered to be Astana's symbolic center. You'll also visit the President's Culture Center which houses an array of exhibits that tell of the past, present and future of Kazakhstan, and of course, as its name suggests, the many achievements of it's President. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nur-Sultan - City tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get ready for an early morning for a flight to Ak Tau – a city on the Caspian shore. Arrive in the mid-morning and take the chance to get acquainted with the city and do some final shopping before venturing into the ‘outback’ of Kazakhstan. Continue the journey to Jana Ozen (approximately 2.5 hours), crossing Karagie, one of the world’s deepest depressions. Continue to a clifftop top that provides incredible views over the area. Arrive in Jana Ozon, the oil industry center of Kazakhstan, where you’ll be settled for tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ak Tau - city tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Gear up for a full day exploring the Boszhira Valley, a truly otherworldly landscape made up of moon-like terrain. Hop in your jeep and cross oil fields before reaching Kyzyl Suu mazar, a holy grave from the 19th century. Then, drive through waste salt lakes before climbing up the East Karatau range, from where you can see the Chalky Mountains of East Ak Tau far in the distance. You can also see Bakty mountain, as depicted on the 1000 KZT banknote. From here, approach the foothills and take a short hike, admiring panoramic views of the unique snow-white rocky outcrops that fall into the Caspi depression with a 15km long cliff. Enjoy a well-deserved picnic lunch on the bottom of the chalky canyon. Continue to the Ustyurt Plateau, a clay desert punctuated with salt marshes and limestone karsts. Finally, continue to your last stop of the day – Kogez Yurt camp.
Accommodation
  • Tourist Yurt Camp (Multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Boszhira Valley - Jeep safari
  • Boszhira Valley – Chalky canyon
  • Boszhira Valley – Ustyurt Plateau salty lake
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Get ready for two days of jeep safari in the backcountry of Kazakhstan. There will be early mornings and long drives, but the scenery and the experience are well worth it! You’ll stay in a tourist yurt camp for tonight. There will be at most 4 people sharing one yurt, occasionally mixed gender. The bathrooms facilities are shared and separate from the yurt. The conditions may be basic, but the experience will be unforgettable.
Start the day with a drive north to Airakty Shumanai Valley, known among locals as the valley of castles. From here, drive on to Mount Sherkala, famed for its fascinating dome shape. Torysh, the Valley of Balls, is your next stop – another natural miracle made up of spherical rock formations. Next up, head to Shakpak Ata, and underground mosque and necropolis from the 10th to the 13th century. Located at the cross-roads of the ancient Silk Road, this rock-hewn mosque is shaped like a cross and features prayer rooms, columns and ancient drawings. Settle into your hotel in Ak Tau in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ak Tau - Sherkala mountain
  • Ak Tau - Airakty Shumanai Valley
  • Ak Tau – Valley of Orbs
  • Ak Tau – Shakpak Ata
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning, board your flight to Shymkent and then continue to Turkistan. Grab some snacks, sit back and relax as the epic landscape rushes by. Located in southern Kazakhstan, the city of Turkistan contains more historical relics and cultural sites than any other place in the country. You will arrive in the late afternoon. You’ll visit the main attraction of the Yasaui Mausoleum tomorrow morning, but you'll have the option to see it illuminated at night today. Tonight, you’ll also visit the new Caravan Serai, a complex recently built to model ancient Silk Road trade centres, giving visitors a taste of what life here was once like.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Turkistan – Caravan Serai complex
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head out on a city tour this morning, the highlight of which is a visit to the Kozha Akhmed Yasaui Mausoleum, Kazakhstan’s most iconic building. The blue and while-tiled Mausoleum is the final resting place of a great Turkic holy man and Sufi. Built by Tamerlane, it is said that three visits here are equal to one visit to Mecca. As it is a religious site, we recommend that women wear a headscarf when entering. In the surrounds you'll find a rose garden, other monuments, an archeological museum and a mosque, which are all included in the entry ticket. Continue the journey to Shymkent (approximately 4 hours) by private vehicle, stopping at the ancient settlement of Otrar on the way. It was first excavated in 1969 and has a history dating back to the first century AD. Remnants of palaces, mosques and bathhouses can still be seen today. It is also where Genghis Khan's army is said to have fought heroically (though unsuccessfully) when the Mongols first invaded Central Asia. There'll be some time to spend in Shymkent before boarding the overnight train (approximately 11 hours) to Almaty.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Otrar - Ancient settlement
  • Turkistan - Yasui Mausoleum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
We travel in kupe class, which is 4 berths per compartment with a lockable door. There are toilets and hot water for drinks at the end of each carriage. While we aim to group our travellers together, please be aware that compartments are not segregated by gender and you may be sharing with other travellers.
Hop off the train early this morning and head straight to your hotel to drop off your luggage and make use of shared rooms to refresh – you’ll be able to check in later in the day. Then embark on a full-day guided city tour of Almaty. The development and wealth you’ll see on display as you walk the streets comes from the country's main export – oil. Kazakhstan is one of the world's top five oil-producing nations in the world. Visit Central Square and the colourful Zenkoff Cathedral in historic Panfilov Park, dedicated to the 28 guardsmen who died defending Moscow against German tanks in WWII. Check out the fascinating Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments and the State Historical Museum, which features a great collection of ancient relics. Finally, summit Kok Tobe Hill for great views over the city before returning to the hotel after a long but fulfilling day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Almaty - Panfilov Park
  • Almaty - Zenkov Cathedral
  • Almaty - Kok Tobe Hill
  • Almaty - Central State Museum
  • Almaty - Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, get out of Almaty and enjoy a day trip to Lake Issyk and Turgen Gorge. Stop at Issyk Museum, dedicated to Scythian culture. Continue to Ile-Alatau National Park, where the peaceful mountain-clad Lake Issyk is situated. After some time here, carry on to Turgen Gorge, where a short hike will bring you to a 20-metre waterfall. Don’t pass up on the chance of having lunch at a trout farm here. Return to Almaty in the afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Almaty – Lake Issyk
  • Almaty – Turgen Gorge
  • Almaty – Winery visit and wine tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today before saying goodbye to Kazakhstan, stop at spectacular Charyn Canyon (approximately 4 hours' drive). The colorful formations of different shapes and sizes are no less impressive than the Grand Canyon in the United States, (though it's much smaller!). Continue to the border and enter the mountainous nation of Kyrgyzstan. Tonight you'll stay in the peaceful town of Karakol.

Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Charyn Canyon - National Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This mainly Russian town was officially founded on 1st of July in 1869 by the military. At this time the town already had a large population of military officers, explorers from the Russian Geographical society, merchants and artisans. The town’s Soviet name was Przhevalsk after the Great Russian explorer of Central Asia and China, Nikolai Przhevalsky. His last expedition ended here and he is buried on the lakeshore near Karakol. Stroll along Karakol's streets spotting Russian-style 'gingerbread' houses. Visit the Dungan Mosque, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, a local market and the Przhevalsky Museum. After lunch, drive for about 1 hour for a hike (approx. 2 hours) in the picturesque Jety Oguz Valley, aka Seven Bull Valley. Your leader will guide you through the forest to a waterfall (with jaw-dropping panoramic views). Return to Karakol for the night.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Karakol - Dungan Mosque
  • Karakol - Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral
  • Karakol - Przhevalskiy Museum
  • Karakol - Jeti Orghuz Canyon Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a full day's drive to Bishkek along the northern shore of Issyk Kul – the second largest alpine lake in the world after lake Titicaca in South America. The views are lovely along the way, especially seeing Issyk Kul surrounded by snow capped mountains. On the way, you'll stop at Cholpan Ata, visit a petroglyph's site and take a short boar ride onto the lake to enjoy its sheer size and scale. Arrive in Bishkek in the late afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cholpan Ata - Petroglyphs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a trip down memory lane today with a city tour showcasing the country's fascinating history. The centre of the city is Ala-too Square, which was known as Lenin Square in Soviet times. Lenin used to stand in his concrete overcoat in the middle of this square, proudly gesturing towards the mountains. A great place  for a wander is Dubovy (Oak) Park, where you'll find a few open-air cafes. The century-old oaks here and all along Freedom Avenue make Bishkek one of the greenest cities in Central Asia. In the afternoon, you'll have some free time to further explore Bishkek. Quite the contrast to the relaxed quiet streets, square and parks in the city center, Osh Market is noisy, crowded, and a perfect peek into local life. You'll find all kinds of things on sale here from spices and fruits to clothes and carpets. Get together with your travel mates and enjoy an optional dinner together tonight to celebrate a great journey through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bishkek - City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Bishkek - Osh Market - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You adventure ends after breakfast today and you can depart at any time. Hotel checkout time is 12 noon.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Plane, Overnight sleeper train, 4x4 Jeep

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights), overnight train (1 night), Guesthouse (2 nights), Multi-share tourist yurt camp (1 night)

Included activities

  • Nur-Sultan - City tour
  • Ak Tau - city tour
  • Boszhira Valley - Jeep safari
  • Boszhira Valley – Chalky canyon
  • Boszhira Valley – Ustyurt Plateau salty lake
  • Ak Tau - Sherkala mountain
  • Ak Tau - Airakty Shumanai Valley
  • Ak Tau – Valley of Orbs
  • Ak Tau – Shakpak Ata
  • Turkistan – Caravan Serai complex
  • Otrar - Ancient settlement
  • Turkistan - Yasui Mausoleum
  • Almaty - Panfilov Park
  • Almaty - Zenkov Cathedral
  • Almaty - Kok Tobe Hill
  • Almaty - Central State Museum
  • Almaty - Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments
  • Almaty – Lake Issyk
  • Almaty – Turgen Gorge
  • Almaty – Winery visit and wine tasting
  • Charyn Canyon - National Park
  • Karakol - Dungan Mosque
  • Karakol - Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral
  • Karakol - Przhevalskiy Museum
  • Karakol - Jeti Orghuz Canyon Hike
  • Cholpan Ata - Petroglyphs
  • Bishkek - City Tour

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Kazakhstan Adventure trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 4, 7 & 11, where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for flight and train tickets booking no later than 45 days prior to departure. Fees may apply for amendments or failure to provide the required details within 45 days of departure.

Essential trip information

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