Kazakhstan Short Tour

3
Days
Panfilov Park, Green Bazaar, Bayterek Tower, Khan-Shatyr etc.

Kazakhstan’s Tale of Two Cities presents a lurid glimpse into its colorful past and promising future: former capital city Almaty retains a comfortable post-Soviet, European vibe as the cultural and commercial hub of the country, while current capital Nur-Sultan (formerly called Astana), has been intentionally designed in an artsy, futuristic fashion that continues to attract young investors and curious travelers alike. Both cities contain must-see sights, from classic Bayterek Tower to the zippy new Almaty Metro, and are sure to expand your Central Asian experience.
The Kazakhstan Short Tour is a well-planned excursion to two of the country’s largest and most acclaimed destinations, Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Acquaint yourself with the key cultural, historical and religious landmarks in both cities, including Panfilov Park, Green Bazaar, Khan-Shatyr Shopping Center, Hazrat Sultan Mosque and more. Included in this tour is a flight from Almaty to Astana and private guides and drivers in both cities.

Arrive in Almaty and transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Your guide and driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to begin the Almaty city tour:
  • Walk the pleasant pathways of Panfilov Park, named after an esteemed general who perished while defending his homeland. Within the park is the corresponding World War II Memorial Complex, whose focal point is a gigantic monument of soldiers bravely in advance, with an eternal flame blazing nearby.
  • Visit Zenkov Cathedral (a.k.a Ascension Cathedral), also situated in Panfilov Park. Constructed entirely of wood without a single metal nail, this colorful five-domed wonder is one of the oldest buildings in Almaty, with an interior as culturally enlightening as its outer façade.
  • Plunge into the atmosphere of Green Bazaar, a lively eastern market whose festive colors, mouth-watering smells and lively crowds transform an ordinary shopping trip into an unforgettable cultural experience. It’s the perfect spot to purchase dried fruits and famous Kazakhstan chocolates…but don’t forget to bargain!
  • Admire the Almaty Central Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Central Asia that can accommodate thousands of attendees. Its gold domes and striking white marble exterior give this post-independence building a regal quality, while the interior impresses with artistic simplicity.
  • Stop by Republic Square, where the Mayor’s Office, Central State Museum and former Presidential Palace encircle the Monument of Independence, a towering statue of the Golden Man flanked by smaller symbolic sculptures and bronze bas-reliefs depicting the country’s history.
  • Tour the Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, containing nearly a quarter million permanent and temporary exhibits, including its most well-known display, a replica of the Golden Man. Exhibits are very informative, covering the full gamut of Kazakhstan ethnography and history from prehistoric times to the 21st century.
  • Ride the 21st-century Almaty Metro, whose tunnels give the impression that you’re in a palace instead of a public subway system. Each station has been beautifully designed to portray a specific theme, and you’ll stop at 2-3 stations to admire the colorful, intricate murals.
Drive back to the hotel. Overnight in Almaty.
Tour duration: 3-4 hours
Transfer to the local airport in the morning to catch a flight to Nur-Sultan (1200 km, 1hr, 45min). After landing in Nur-Sultan, a driver will take you to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby to begin the tour of Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana). The tour will include:
  • Independence Square, a marble plaza scattered with benches and symbolic sculptures whose crowning glory is the staggering 91-meter-high Kazakh Eli Monument.
  • Excursion to Hazrat Sultan Mosque, boasting of the largest dome in Kazakhstan (51x28m) plus four minarets 77 meters in height. The premises are adorned with fountains and flowers while the interior impresses with massive white pillars and intricate Kazakh ornamentation.
  • Continue to the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a huge symmetrical pyramid built by architect Norman Foster whose glass-and-granite symbol of unity holds conference halls, exhibition rooms and even an opera house.
  • Cross the Ishim River and continue sightseeing along Nurzhol Boulevard. This pedestrian walkway is lined with fountains and statues that reflect Kazakhstan’s heritage and culminates in Round Square, a busy center of shops, cafes and fountains.
  • Ride to the top of Bayterek Tower (a.k.a. the Tree of Life), the city’s most popular attraction which provides an amazing view of the city and the chance to place your palm in the famed golden imprint of President Nazarbayev’s hand.
  • Shop at Khan-Shatyr, a unique shopping mall and entertainment center housed in the largest tent in the world. It’s amazing eco structure maintains warm temps inside even during the city’s frigid winters.
Return to your hotel. Overnight in Nur-Sultan.
Tour duration: 4-5 hours
Free morning. Check out of the hotel by noon and transfer to Nur-Sultan International Airport. End of Kazakhstan Short Tour.

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