Beauties of Southern Kazakhstan


Almaty - Altyn Emel Park - Aktau - Charyn Canyon - Kol Sai lakes

Tour vibrant Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and cultural heart Take the gondola to the top of Shymbulak, Almaty’s extensive skiing area Experience the hustle and bustle of Green Bazaar, Almaty’s largest and liveliest market Watch Kazakh horse games and experience nomadic culture first-hand Be wowed by the scale of Charyn Canyon Explore Altyn Emel National Park with its impressive geological formations and the curious singing dune Visit the stunning Kolsay and Kaindy Lakes surrounded by mountains
  • Individual dates are also available. Contact the program manager.


SEASON ........................................................March-October
GROUP SIZE........................................max 8pax, min 2pax


990$ (≥ 8 people)
≥ 6 people in the group: 1220$ per person
≥ 4 people in the group: 1620$ per person
= 2 people in the group: 2120$ per person
The diversity of the Kazakhstan landscapes is made up of beautiful gorges, silvery lakes and endless steppes. Together we will be exploring the cultural sites of Almaty where you will find yourself in the incredible nature of Kazakhstan.

Program of the tour

Day 1: Arrival to Almaty and city tour

Welcome to Kazakhstan! Most of the flights arrive early in the morning. Transfer to the hotel for immediate check-in. Have a rest after the long flight and then breakfast.

Almaty was the Kazakh capital until 1997 and it is still the largest city in Kazakhstan. Its name translates as “the place of apples” as it is believed that this is the place where apples first grew. Almaty is a charming and green city, with wide, tree-lined roads.

First you will take a cable car to reach one of the main landmarks of Almaty, the Shymbulak ski resort, where you will enjoy wonderful views of the Ili Alatau Mountains. On the way to the ski resort you will pass the legendary Medeo skating rink. It is located in the picturesque Medeo Gorge at an altitude of 1,600 m and it is one of the largest and highest ice rinks in the world. Another cable car will bring you to the top of the ski resort (3,200 m). After enjoying the mountains views, you’ll drive back to the city for lunch and a short city tour.

Panfilov Park, an impressive monument has been erected in the center of the park in honor of Panfilov’s division. Almaty’s most famous sight, the wooden Zenkov Cathedral built in 1904, is situated in Panfilov Park as well.

At Green Bazaar, you will have the chance to experience local Kazakh culture as you shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. After the market, you will take the cable car to Kok Tobe, a hilltop overlooking the city which offers panoramic views.

Meals: BLD

Day 2: Ethno village and Issik lake

Today you will immerse yourself in Kazakh culture, learning about traditions and rituals in the Huns ethno-village, about one hour’s drive from Almaty.

At Huns you will learn how to bake puffy Kazakh bread, see the construction of a Kazakh yurt, and be a spectator at performance of national horse games. The games include Jigitovka (horseback riding with acrobatic elements), Atpen audaryspak (jostling and pushing a rival whilst on horseback) and Kyz kuu, where a boy chases a girl on horseback. If he catches her he will be rewarded with a kiss; but if he fails, she can lash him! After the show you will have a delicious lunch of national cuisine.

In the afternoon, you will drive a bit further to Issyk lake, altitude of 1,756 m above sea level, which is located within a gorge of the same name. Lying along the Kuldja tract, where hundreds of years ago merchants’ caravans passed through, the gorge is atmospheric and visually striking. You will then drive back to Almaty in time for dinner.

Meals: BLD

Day 3: Altyn Emel National park

This day you will drive to Altyn-Emel National Park. You will arrive in the park in time for lunch.
The first place to visit is so-called Singing Dune, it rises about 150 m and stretches for a distance of 2-3 km. If you have never climbed a dune before, now is your chance. Here you will have plenty of time for hiking, taking magnificent photos, and enjoying the amazing panoramic views.

In the evening you will drive to your hotel and have dinner.

Meals: BLD

Day 4: Altyn Emel National Park, Aktau and Katytau Mountains

It is time to depart for the Aktau Mountains, a natural museum of the Earth’s distant past. Fantastically-shaped natural sculptures rise from the bottom of an ancient sea in all the colors of the rainbow, from the pale blue of the lunar landscape to red mountains. These mountains are 30 km long, 1.5-2 km high, and 400 million years old. On arrival you will unpack a delicious picnic lunch and enjoy it on the side of the mountain.

The next place you will visit is the incredible Katutau Mountains, which were formed from lava and associated volcanic rocks. Time, water, and the sunlight have created intricately weathered rock formations here. Snap photos as your guide explains the origin of such a fanciful landscape and then drive back to your hotel.

Meals: BLD

Day 5: Charyn Kanyon, Kayindy Lakes

There is then a long and exciting day in front of you. After 2.5 hours of driving you will arrive at the Bestamak and Moon Canyon part of the Charyn Canyon. You’ll descend to see amazing stone architecture and have a picnic on the bank of the Charyn River.

After spending around three hours in the canyon you will leave and drive to Satty, which is the closest village to the lakes. The main attraction here is the unusual and mysterious Kaindy Lake (Birch Lake), which is located at an altitude of 2,000 m above sea level.

Kaindy Lake formed as the result of a huge landslide after a powerful earthquake in 1911. The landslide blocked the river and the water flooded the valley. That is which Tien Shan fir trees appear out in the middle of the lake. The water is very cold, so the needles of the flooded trees are well preserved and clearly visible beneath the transparent surface. The dry tree trunks stand like towers. It is impossible to describe in words mystical splendor of this lake – it is necessary to go there and see everything with your own eyes.

In the evening we will leave Kaindy lake and drive to Satty village, where a dinner will await you.

Meals: BLD

Day 6: Kol sai lakes, Almaty

Today you are able to choose from two options.

Active option: If you would like to challenge yourself with a mountain hike, get up early and you will drive to the first Kolsai Lake (15km, 30 min) and start hiking to the second lake. Hiking takes around three hours to get up and two hours to go down (16 km in total). You will start hiking at 7:00 am and will return to the starting point around 1:00 pm.

Comfortable option: After a leisurely breakfast, enjoy some free time in the village before driving to the first Kolsai Lake (15 km, 30 min). Here you will be able to admire the mountain scenery and take a boat ride. If you don’t mind the cold water you can also have a bracing swim!

Everybody will rendezvous for a picnic lunch at the first Kolsai Lake and we will then drive back to Almaty (c. 4 hours) in the afternoon. Here there will be a farewell dinner.

Meals: BLD

Day 7. Departure from Almaty

Individual transfers to the airport will be scheduled according to the departure time of your flight.

Meals: Breakfast
  • This tour can be in a group or you can also opt to book the whole itinerary as a private tour.
  • For tours we require all travelers on our group tours to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Travel insurance is required for this tour. You are free to choose any insurance company.
  • Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Kyrgyzstan, visit Visa Regulation for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
  • Read more about Kazakhstan Travel Information
  • Check out Terms & Conditions here
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