“Land of the Wanderers” ~Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan

Central Asia

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Central Asia: “Land of the Wanderers” ~Kazakhstan & Kyrgy...

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“Hi, I am MONICA. I've always marvelled at people who are able to pack their bags at a whim, get on a flight and travel! That was then, Now I'm aiming to do that at least 2 times a year ;)). ”

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Kazakhstan is the perfect destination for adventurers! Go on a road trip, traverse unspoiled landscapes, hike mountains, amble around flower-filled meadows. Explore underground mosques and awe- inspiring mausoleums. Learn about yurt-living nomads in the steppe and be one with nature. The scenery in Kazakhstan is literally to-die-for!

Highlights of Kazakhstan :

* the bitter-salty lake Tuzkol, with incredible healing waters
* enchanting villages : Zhinishke, Tauchik, Shetpe, Senek
* secrets, and mysteries of the Mangystau region
   - the legendary mountain Sherkala
   - Boszhira, unexplored region of Mangystau
   - Torysh, the valley of balls
   - historical and sacred places
   - Karagiye depression, the lowest point in Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the ancient Silk Road. It has thousands of high alpine lakes, a millennia-old culture, beautiful horse treks, and interesting traditions.

Highlights of Kyrgyzstan:

* Burana tower
* eagle hunting 
* Kochkor animal market
* Song Kul Lake, an alpine lake

Taban Karagay

Wild horses roam freely by Kazakhstan Travel licensed by BY CC 2.0

The landscapes of the Kazakh include steppe, shrublands, pinewoods, lakes, and wetlands. Kazakhstan’s steppe is the world’s largest dry steppe region as the vast belt of dry grassland running across the country. Kazakhstan is famous for its population of wild horses. Wild horses roam freely and travelers can find them everywhere once outside of the big cities.

Caspian Sea

Caspian sea by Aslanbayli licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world at 371,000 sq km and it borders Kazakhstan on the west. It is rich in sturgeon, a fish prized for its world’s famous caviar.

"The Valley of Balls", Torysh Valley, Kazakhstan

Valley of the balls by Alexandr Babkin licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

In the Mangystau region of southwestern Kazakhstan amongst mountains, valleys, deserts, and tundra is a valley called Torysh filled with strange round boulders that look like giant eggs or billiard balls. Each stone is unique and has its own special form, creating a grandiose landscape, giving a sea of emotions and vivid impressions of a natural wonder seen.

Night on Boszhira

This is an ideal location for audacious tourists to stay overnight in order to look at the majesty of the two fangs of Boszhira during the nighttime.

Ustyurt Plateau

Ustyurt plateau is almost the perfect desert plain located in western Kazakhstan between the Aral and Caspian Seas. The steep slopes, limiting the plateau - chinks - give the unique beauty to the landscape. Ustyurt plateau attracts the attention of many tourists and photographers who are engaged in the filming of landscapes.

Sherkala 'Lion Mountain'

Sherkala by Ashina licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

The mysterious mountain Sherkala, made up of clay, limestone, sandstone, chalky rocks is one of the main monuments of the region. There is a belief that a mountain can fulfill a desire if you go around it. The indescribable, unique energy of Lion Mountain creates wonders within the minds of every guest in her domain.

Burana Tower

Burana tower by Roman Hramovnick licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

The Burana Tower is a large minaret, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. Burana Tower stands tall, ancient and impressive, still surviving as one of Kyrgyzstan’s most outstanding historical sites.

Song Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

Wild horses in Song Kul by Ninara licensed by BY CC 2.0

The nomadic culture of Kyrgyzstan is written into the spectacular landscapes of Song Kul, an alpine lake shimmering in a 3000m high plateau of steppe grassland. Horses graze freely among yak and sheep all along the lakeshore. A trip to Song Kul will make you feel at one with nature no matter how many times you visit!

Bozzhira. Ustyurt Plateau. Mangystau region

Boszhira by Ashina licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

The Boszhira Mountains are often called "The Fangs of the Ustyurt Plateau". They are located in the western part of the Ustyurt Plateau on the Mangyshlak Peninsula. These two fangs are formed from limestone stretched more than 200 meters upwards of their base. At a distance of 300 km from the city of Aktau, in the middle of the snow-white terrain, you will feel like you are on another planet. There are no trees, lakes, or rivers in this area. There is just a peacefully silent valley, and in the middle of it, the remarkable two fangs, rising high above the Boszhira Valley.


Day 1 Almaty
16:55 Arrival at Almaty. Meet with the guide at the airport and transfer for dinner.
After dinner transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Meal: dinner

Day 2 Almaty – Tuzkol lake – Zhinishke village
06.30 Breakfast.
07.00 Departure for an excursion to the lake Tuzkol
12.00 Arrival at Tuzkol lake. Photo shoot.
13.00 Lunchboxes for lunch
14.00 Transfer to Zhinishke village
18.00 Arrival at Zhinishke. Accommodation at guesthouse.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3 Zhinishke village – Taban Karagay - Almaty
07.00 Breakfast
08.00 Horseback riding route to Taban Karagay – 3 hours each way/optional: Village cooking class
11.00 Arrival at Taban Karagay. Walkabout, Photoshoot.
12.00 Ride back to Zhinishke village.
15.00 Arrival at the village. Lunch at guesthouse.
16.00 Departure to Almaty
20.00 Arrival at Almaty. Accommodation at hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 Almaty- Korday – Bishkek – Burana Tower - Kochkor
07.00 Breakfast
08.00 Departure to Bishkek
12.00 Meet Guide at the border point Korday. Transfer to Bishkek. Lunch in restaurant.
13.30 Transfer to Burana tower
15.00 Arrival at Burana. Excursion.
16. 00 Transfer to Kochkor. Along the way-eagle hunting show (1h).
19.00 Arrival at Kochkor. Dinner at the guesthouse.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5. Kochkor – Song Kul - Bishkek
07.00 Breakfast at guesthouse.
08.00 Departure for Song Kul Lake.
11.00 Arrival at Song Kul. Sightseeing.
12.00 Lunch in yurt.
13.00 Transfer to Bishkek
19.00 Arrival at Bishkek. Dinner in restaurant. Overnight in hotel.

Day 6 Bishkek – Almaty - Aktau
07.00 Breakfast.
08.00 Short city tour around Bishkek.
12.00 Departure for Almaty. Lunch-boxes/local cafe for lunch.
17.00 Arrival at Almaty.
18.10 Flight to Aktau
20.20 Arrival at Aktau. Dinner and accommodation at hotel.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 Aktau – Toryish valley – Sherkala mountain
08.00 Breakfast
09.00 Meeting with guide-driver at the hotel
-transfer to Tauchik village - Toryish (stone balls valley)
-Sherkala (Lion's Castle).
Overnight in tent.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 Sherkala mount – Shetpe village – Tuzbair – Ustyurt plateau – Beket-ata underground mosque – Boszhira natural boundary.
-rocky cliffs of the Ustyurt plateau.
-Here is the kingdom of eagles, mountain argali and turtles.
Near the Tuzbair natural arch- lunch.
- Beket-ata underground mosque.
-Bozzhira natural boundary
Overnight at Beket-ata pilgrim house or at a tent in Boszhira.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 Boszhira natural boundary - Baysary Colonnade (cliff) – Bokty mount – Tuyesu sands – Senek village – Zhanaozen - Karagiye depression - Aktau
Drive from Oglandy to Shopan ata underground mosque - traditional place of pilgrims.
-the picturesque chalk cliffs of the North Aktau.
- Bokty, which is like a giant cupcake, built of chalk colored rocks: gray, pink, and white. The photo of this mountain is placed on a modern banknote of 1000 tenge.
-Keratau Ridge -you can gather agate and cornelian stones.
- Senek village.
- Kazakhstan Karagiye, its bottom lies at 132 meters below sea level. The Karagiye hollow is the fifth deepest in the world.
-Short tour to the Caspian Sea.
Transfer to hotel for dinner.
Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10. Aktau – Almaty
06.00 Transfer to airport for flight to Almaty.
07.20 Flight to Almaty.
11.20 Arrival at Almaty.
-City tour
19.00 Dinner
20.30 Transfer to airport for flight home
2330 Flight Almaty-Changi