3 weeks Phototour

3 Weeks Phototour


13 days/ 12 nights

May - October

During this tour you will discover unique Almaty region, it will be memorable and exciting journey, which will bring you unforgettable memories

Day 1

Meeting with guide in Almaty and transfer for city tour.

City tour starts from visit of Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen, named after the 28 Panfilov guards from Almaty, who died heroically defending Moscow against the Nazi invasion in 1941. The next stop is the world’s most elevated wooden church, Zenkov Cathedral, Green bazar and the Central mosque. Then we will pass through the modern highlights of the city: futuristic and busy Al-Farabi street, the Presidential palace, Monument of Independence.

Transfer to Medeo gorge, where you will have a brief stop on the huge Medeo dam, which protects the city from destructive mudflows formed on the tops of the western Tien Shan.

Getting to Shymbulak from Medeo by cable car.

The Ski Resort Chimbulak is located on a picturesque valley in the Zailiyskiy Alatau within the height 2260 m above sea level, 25 km from the center of Almaty.

Transfer to visit Kok-Tobe mountain (the highest point of the city, located at height of 1100 meters above sea level). From its top opens the surprising panorama on mountains and the city. The highest TV-tower is located here.

18.00 Transfer for dinner at local restaurant.

Back to hotel, overnight.

Meal: lunch, dinner

Any questions?

медео 1

Day 2


11.00 After breakfast depart to excursion at the Big Almaty Lake (about 30 km from Almaty)

Big Almaty Lake is located in gorge of river Big Almatinka, at height of 2511 m above sea level, in 28,5 km to the south from Almaty.

Lunch during excursion.

16.00 Transfer to Falconry farm “Sunkar”

Viewers will get a lot of information about the history of falconry, the biological features and the way of life of birds of prey.

Drive back to city, dinner at local restaurant.

Overnight at hotel.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3


Drive to Camel Farm (2 hours, about 200 km)

Tasting of the national drink, made from camel milk named “shubat’. Lunch during excursion at farm.

Drive to Tamgaly via Khanshengely about 70 km.

Excurison in Tamgaly - The biggest and known collection of petroglyphs of Kazakhstan, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the tract Tamgaly. It is the most famous center of the 50 centers of petroglyphs of Zhetysu, at the basin of Lake Balkhash.

Return back to Almaty

Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4


Transfer to Issyk lake – (65 km)–Many archaeological monuments, barrows, burial grounds Golden Man were found here. Visit Issyk museum.

Lunch in Issyk. After lunch departure to Turgen gorge (25 km)

Turgen Gorge in the Ili-Alatau National Park (90 km from Almaty) is an ideal place to enjoy the beauty of nature. The gorge has hot springs, a trout farm, waterfalls and thick forests. Dinner around campfire. Accommodation at guesthouse.

Optionally: horse riding and rafting

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5


Transfer to Assy plateau (near Turgen). The plateau is located at heights of 2800-3200 meters. Since ancient times, it is being used as pasture. Scientists have found remains of ancient humans, who lived here more than 5000 years ago. The well-known in Kazakhstan mountain observatory also located at Assy plateau. Along the river Assy, there are ancient burial mounds and rock carvings. Historians call them one of the most high-density petroglyphs in Kazakhstan. Lunch-box during excursion. Dinner around campfire. Accommodation at camping club.

Optionally: horse riding

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6

Breakfast. Transfer to Saty village at Kolsay Lakes National Park (about 250 km)

Arrival to the Kaiyndy Lake. It's a very young lake that appeared only in the beginning of the last century as a result of the 1911 earthquake. Lunch during excursion. Dinner and overnight in guesthouse.

Optionally: boat trip

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7


Transfer to the 1st Kolsay Lake. Trek to the 2nd Kolsay Lake (about 8 km). Here you can enjoy horse riding or get to the top by yourself. Such kind of beauty cannot be found anywhere.  Here you can enjoy unsurpassed forest. These lakes are situated in the eastern part of the picturesque Kungei Tau gorge, 300 km from Almaty. Lunch during excursion

Drive back to the guesthouse.

Dinner, overnight in guesthouse

Optionally: horse riding and boat trip

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8


Transfer to Charyn canyon (about 80 km from Kolsay lakes). The Canyon has been described as the Grand Canyon’s little brother.  The Canyon itself is approximately 150 km long, and, in places up to 300 meters deep. Lunch during excursion.

Afternoon transfer to Chundja hot springs. Time to relax. Accommodation at guesthouses.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9


On the way from Chundja to Altyn Emel nature reserve park (175 km), we will stop at Zharkent town to see one of the most unique constructions – Zharkent mosque in Chinese pagoda style (19th century) designed by Chinese architect Hsu Pika. It has been built for 7 years.

Altyn-Emel is a national natural park located in the Ili River Valley. The Park was founded on 10 April, 1996 to preserve a unique natural complex with archaeological, historical and cultural monuments, rare and endangered species of animals and plants. The Park has a total area of 520,000 ha

During sightseeing of Altyn Emel we will see a unique phenomenon of the nature – Signing Barchan Dune which is 1.5 km long and 120 m high. While the wind is blowing from the West dispersing the sands, one has a feeling that the pipe organ is playing in the heart of the desert

Lunch-box during excursion.

Dinner and overnight at guesthouse in Basshi village.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10


We will drive to see red and white colored mountains called Aktau-Katytau mountains. These mountains are famous for its unique appearance, which was probably created by small volcanoes, erupted and immediately cooled down several thousand years ago. Lunch-box during excursion.

From Aktau-Katytau, we will drive to to Kapchagay city. Accommodation and dinner at hotel.

Visit casino (if you want)

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11


Transfer to Ili river.

The Ili River is the largest river of Zhetysu, flowing from east to west. You are going to visit four attractions - the Genghis Khan crossing, the rock "Devil's finger", decorative fortress built for the filming of "Nomad" movie and finally the tract Tamgaly-Tas, where you can see traces of the Buddhists in the territory of Zhetysu - five rocks with Buddha image. Lunch-box during excursion.

18.00 departure to the city

20.00 Arrival to Almaty

20.00 Dinner at the city.

Accommodation at hotel. Rest. Overnight.

Optionally: rafting

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12

Breakfast. Departure to Gunny ethno center (40 km from Almaty)

Ethno center "Gunny" - is theatrical show of a way of life, traditions and customs of nomadic Kazakh people. We have tried to transfer the aura of the past, which is stored in the history of our present, and realized all this in the creation of the base. Lunch at the base.

After show at ethno center depart to Almaty.

18.00 farewell dinner at the city.

Transfer to hotel. Overnight.

Optionally: different types of master class on Kazakh traditional craft.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13

Breakfast. Transfer to Taraz city (500 km, 6 hours). Lunch on the way. Taraz has played an enormous role as a cultural and trade centre of Kazakh Khanates and the Great Silk Road.

After lunch, start Taraz city tour. It will include visiting of following sightseeing:

- Regional Museum with impressive collection of balbals (stone sculptures);

- Karakhan and Dautbek Mausoleum;

- medieval bath of Cali Yunus. Exhibits of the museum of the cities of Silk Road are located here.

- The structure Tekturmas which is located at the top of a hill, near Talas river.

After city tour transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14.


Transfer to Akyrtobe (65 km, 1 hour)
Akyrtobe (or Akyrtas) - ruins of ancient huge stone settlement. Probably, this place was really esteemed on ancient time as sacred. The archaeological complex "Akyrtas" is an open-air museum located at the foot of the Kyrgyz Alatau, 45 kilometers from the city of Taraz. Akyrtas is one of the most mysterious and interesting constructions of the ancient culture of nomads in the whole territory of Kazakhstan. It dates from the 8th-9th centuries.

Until now, it is unknown what was his purpose, and who and when built it. Akyrtas has always been a legend, and already in the Middle Ages people were lost in conjecture about these majestic ruins. A certain mystery was always inherent in this place. It remains a legend until now. The first researchers of Akyrtas came out with assumptions that it was a Buddhist temple or Nestorian church. Modern researchers consider that their predecessors were near from true.

13.00 Lunch

After tour, you will be transferred to Tyulkubas, village near Aksu Zhabagly Nature Reserve.

En route visiting of Aisha Bibi and Babadzhi Hatun Mausoleums.

The Aisha Bibi mausoleum is considered as a pearl of medieval architecture by historians, architects, archaeologists, as well as representatives of UNESCO, who made this mausoleum a list of particularly valuable historical and architectural monuments of mankind. This is the only architectural monument in all of Central Asia, lined with carved terracotta. The building of the mausoleum Aisha Bibi is distinguished by the grandeur of decoration with terracotta tiles of various shapes and unrepeatable ornament. Tiles were performed by skilled craftsmen and counted up to 99 patterned compositions. At the heart of the ornaments are used vegetative and geometric motifs, in which hidden the deep philosophy of the sad legend accompanying the history of the mausoleum's appearance, which the local caretakers like to tell to the visitors here.

Located near the mausoleum of Aisha Bibi, the mausoleum of Babadzhi Khatun is a unique architectural monument of the 11th-12th centuries. The mausoleum is famous for its original 16-ribbed umbrella dome of double curvature. The umbrella ribbed covering of the dome does not have, in fact, direct analogues in contemporary Central Asian architecture. The epigraphic frieze on the portal of the mausoleum brought to us the name of the woman buried under it. According to legend, she was Aisha's nanny and accompanied her on a tragic trip. After the death of Aisha Babadzhi Khatun supported the fire on the grave of her beloved pupil. Both mausoleums are not only architectural objects, but also places of pilgrimage, as they are considered holy places in the Muslim world.

20.00 arrival to Tulkubas. Accommodation in the guest house. Dinner, overnight.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15. Tulkubas – Aksu Zhabagly National Reserve

08.00 Breakfast.

09.00 Drive to Aksu Zhabagly Nature Reserve – 18 km (20-25 min). It is the oldest and most famous nature reserve in Central Asia. It is located on the ridges of the Talas Alatau and Ugam Maydantal, in the western part of the Tien Shan mountains. The name of the reserve is formed from the names of its two biggest rivers - Aksu and Zhabagly. Aksu-Zhabagly is included in the list of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.

Trekking (or this excursion can be on horse-back) in Kishi-Kaindy tract (picnic during the excursion). Kishy Kaindy tract is interesting and easy to reach. The length of the route is about 7 km. Excursion road goes on the slope along Zhabagly river and gives a look at the beautiful panorama of spacious river valley. Lunchbox during excursion.

Return to the guesthouse. Shower-bath. Dinner. Overnight in guest house.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 16. Aksu Zhabagly National Park

08.00 Breakfast.

09.00 Car-foot excursion to Aksu river canyon (picnic during the excursion). Canyon Aksu always leaves a vivid impression. It is the deepest canyon in Eurasia, its depth from 300 to 500 meters, the distance between the edges - about 1 km. Canyon is beautiful at any time of the year.

Packed lunch during excursion.

Return to the guest house. Shower-bath. Dinner in guest house and drive to Shymkent (90 km, 2 hours)

Accommodation in hotel. Overnight

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

 Day 17.  Shymkent - Turkestan - Shymkent

08.00 Breakfast

09.00 Drive to Turkestan (170 km, about 2 hours)

On the way visit Arystan Bab mausoleum, ruins of Otrar city.

According to legends Arystan Bab was a religious mystic, and the recipient of Mohammad's amanat beads or persimmon stone. Khodja Ahmed Yassaui was his pupil. Arystan Bab lived for over 400 years before his death

The ancient settlement at Otrar was first excavated in 1969. There were found brick structures, including a palace, mosques, a bath-house and ovens. First mention of Otrar or Farab (the latter name etymologically Arabic) occurs at the beginning of the ninth century. One of the residents of Otrar at that time was the philosopher Abu Nasr al Farabi. A man of encyclopaedic breadth of interest - he was a philosopher, poet, composer, linguist, mathematician, doctor, agronomist and botanist - he was referred by his students as ’the second teacher’ - meaning second only to Aristotle.  There is a story about the heroic but ultimately unsuccessful defence of Otrar against Genghis Khan’s forces. Before the attack on the town, a caravan sent there by Genghis Khan in 1218 to the court of the khorezm-shah Mohammed had been plundered and then annihilated on arrival, apparently because the governor, Kair Khan Yinalchuk, suspected that among the people travelling with the caravan were too many spies and not enough traders. This well-known incident has come to be known as the Otrar catastrophe; it was the pretext by which the Mongols began their conquest of Central Asia.

Arrive to Turkestan.

Trip to Sauran.

Sauran city was functioning in XIII – XVIII centuries, and it was one of the most powerful Turkestan castles. In the middle of XIII century the city was the capital of Ak Orda. It is located 40 km in the North –West of Turkestan.

Walk to the historical monuments of the old Sauran.

Drive back to Shymkent. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 18.


Transfer to Sayram-Ugam National park via ancient city Sayram (100km, 2 hours) – the part of a Great Silk Road – visit Mausoleums of parents of Hodzha Ahmet Jassaui - Ibragim аtа and Karashash ana.

Lunch at local café.

Arrival to canyon Aksu from other side, which depth reaches 500 m. Visiting of “the Valley of thousand eyes” - a huge stone wall with set of the caves reminding eyes. The ledge of other rock is similar to heart. Sometimes the watercourse takes out a tree trunk and then the stone reminds the heart punched by an arrow on a rock.

Despite huge depth of a canyon, there is a chance to step through it. It can be made in a surprising place under the name the Devil's bridge (the Shaitan коpir) where the distance between canyon edges is narrowed to half of meter. And a bit lower on a current the river Aksu and at all disappears underground. This place name the Black hole, and it is one of the most beautiful places of Sayram Ugam.

En route back to Shymkent visit the mausoleum of Hodja Ahmed Yassavi.

The Mausoleum of Hodja Ahmed Yassavi is an unfinished mausoleum in the city of Turkestan, in southern Kazakhstan. The structure was commissioned in 1389 by Timur, who ruled the area as part of the expansive Timurid Empire, to replace a smaller 12th-century mausoleum of the famous Turkic poet and Sufi mystic, Khoja Ahmed Yassavi (1093–1166). However, construction was halted with the death of Timur in 1405.

The religious structure continues to draw pilgrims from across Central Asia and has come to epitomize the Kazakh national identity. It has been protected as a national monument, while UNESCO recognized it as the country's first site of patrimony, declaring it a World Heritage Site in 2003.

Drive back to Shymkent.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 19.

Breakfast. Transfer to airport to catch early flight to Astana at 06:30.

08:10 Arrival to Astana.

City tour in Astana starts from the old part of the Astana on the right side of Ishim river where Constitution Square, Museum of the First President, Congress Hall, Russian merchant houses will be starting points of excursion. We will walk along the riverside of Ishim and see the city in dynamics. Then we will move to the left bank of Astana and continue tour with the most important architectural buildings and monuments of the modern capital. The modern part of Astana was designed in pursuant to the project of renowend Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.

During the city tour on the modern part of Astana we will visit:

Independence square – monument “Kazakh Eli”

Central Historical museum where all the main archeological excavations from all over Kazakhstan (Otrar, Taraz, Turkestan, Sairam, Sauran etc are gathered) are gathered

Visit Temple of Peace and Accord – a Giant Glass Pyramid designed by a prominent British architect, Norman Foster. In this temple tourists will ride on elevator that will take them to the top of Pyramid where opens a Great view on Astana city

Visit Hazret Sultan mosque, the largest mosque in Central Asia that can accommodate up to 10 thousand people. The mosque was built from a White marble in classical oriental style with Kazakh patterns and was a gift of Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan government

After lunch starts the second part of the city tour.

We will have a walking tour at Water-Green Boulevard also known as Millenium axis as it was named by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.

Nazarbayev Center” or as people also call it “Foster’s eye” (built in 2013)

Another Norman Foster’s project in Astana, a multifunctional scientific and educational public institute which looks like a giant round eye gazing into the sky.

The concert Hall designed by vanguard italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti in 2013, Khan-Shatyr complex, another project of Norman Foster, is the largest in the world transparent tent of 140 thousand sq.m made from the modern innovative materials. Underneath the tent is located shopping mall, entertainment venue and indoor beach resort;

From Baiterek Monument viewing platform we will be able to see Kazakhstan’s capital from a bird's eye view

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 20.


Departure to Burabay resort. (260 km, 3-3,5 hours).

Burabay – is a "Kazakhstan’s Switzerland". Burabay resort for its beauty, abundance of lakes, flora and fauna has been named as the "Pearl of Kazakhstan". Excellent mud baths, sanatoriums equipped according to the latest technologies- everything here is prepared to improve your health and mood.

Excursion to Zhumbaktas, Okzhetpes and Burabay lake.

Zhumbaktas legend. In the northern part of the lake Borovoe (Auliekol) between spurs and Kokshe Temirtau there is a bay. In the middle of the bay there are weathered granite formations. This rock is Zhumbaktas (Stone - riddle) reminiscent of a mysterious Sphinx with frozen impassive features, or pensive young man with a shock of hair growing in the wind. This rock has own legend, when you will visit it, guide will tell you a beautiful legend about it.

Okzhetpes is a mountain, which is translated as “it could not be reached by arrow”.

Drive back to Astana.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel. END of the tour.