Here’s a tour quite unlike any other we’ve offered. It combines an in-depth experience in Kazakhstan with a wonderful pre-tour option in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, and a post-tour extension on to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.
We’ve timed it for great weather – neither too hot nor too cold – and beating the summer crowds (such as they ever are in these places!). There is a great mix of varied experiences, and with local travel sometimes by coach, sometimes by train (including two overnight trains in private compartments) and an internal flight in Kazakhstan all included, too.
You’ll get to see one, two, possibly even three of the former Soviet Republics (and of course you could add more on your own before/after the main tour and optional extensions), and will appreciate and experience the very different cultures and countries they each are. Happily, none of the three countries we visit require visas for US citizens.
You’re probably thinking ‘Why would I want to go to Kazakhstan’? The answer to that question is long and full of great reasons, as you can see from the itinerary we’ve developed, and we should start by saying that the country is utterly not at all as depicted/parodied in the very funny Borat movie.
To summarize Kazakhstan – it is the ninth largest country in the world, but with a population of only 18 million people. Within its large area you will find an extraordinary and almost unknown country of contrasts and unique experiences.
Our tour will take you from decaying remnants of its Soviet Union past to the glittering futuristic new capital city of Astana. From former nuclear test sites (we’ll visit these, with protective anti-radiation gear included and all radiation levels are carefully monitored and safe) to experiencing the country’s vast plains (steppes) and unspoiled natural beauty.
You’ll get to travel widely through a country where the 70% Muslim population coexists peacefully with the 26% Christian population, where the 63% native Kazakhs live calmly alongside the 24% Russians (and the 13% of everyone else from everywhere else). You’ll enjoy a country with 99.8% literacy, where every man, woman, and child owns 1.4 cells phones, and a stable slowly growing economy based on agriculture, mining and energy.
Truly, totally unlike Borat!
The tour commences in Astana any time on Wednesday 23 May and ends in Almaty on the morning of Friday 1 June.
If you choose the pre-tour option in Kiev, this commences on Saturday 19 May (plus or minus a day or two).
If you choose the post-tour option, this adds one, two, or three extra nights, ending either on Saturday 2 June in Almaty, or Sunday/Monday 3/4 June in Bishkek.
Itinerary and Options
Itinerary details can be seen on these pages :
As always, we’ve designed this tour to include all the essentials and none of the things you don’t need, so as to keep the value high.
Of course you’ve got accommodation, breakfasts, and touring included. We add a selection of lunches and dinners to recognize places and activities where you’ll not have a lot of choices, while leaving others out for times when you can indeed go and pick and choose your own dining options, and while there’s a lot of touring included, you have some free time to see and do as you wish, too.
This ten day, nine night tour will be limited to a maximum of 25 people and includes :
- Share twin accommodation every night in reasonable hotels but definitely not five star
- Breakfasts every morning
- Eight lunches
- Four dinners
- Two overnight train rides in four berth private compartments – we keep two of the four berths empty for your greater convenience and privacy
- One daytime train ride
- Internal flight from Ust-Kamenogorsk to Karaganda
- Transfers upon arrival and for departure
- All touring and admissions as detailed in the itinerary
- Local guide/tour manager traveling with us all the way
How to Travel to/from Kazakhstan
There are few airlines and flights to and from Kazakhstan.
We suggest the easiest way to get to Astana for the start of the tour is to fly to Kiev, perhaps join in the pre-tour there for a day or more, then fly with us on the redeye Ukraine International Airlines flight from Kiev to Astana that leaves Kiev on the evening of 22 May and gets to Astana early in the morning of 23 May in time for the start of the main tour.
To return home again (or to fly on elsewhere) your strategy again should be to take any flight to a more major gateway city, and then to use your international to/from US ticket to get back home again.
Any travel agent can help you with this, and we’d be delighted to advise further on the specifics of your flight needs.
All of this is yours for $2895 per person, share twin, with a single supplement of $495. This assumes payment by cash/check, if you wish to pay by credit card, we ask you to accept the 3% processing fee imposed by the credit card companies.
A $750 non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your place on this tour (we need to immediately book/pay for plane and train tickets); the balance is due three months prior to departure, ie, by 23 February 2018.
If you’re traveling with a US, UK, Canadian, Australian, or NZ passport (and many others too) you don’t need a visa.
Our pre-tour option in Kiev can be for three, four or five days, and pricing will vary depending on the number of people joining us for this pre-tour. However, we generally expect pricing to be in the order of $200 per person per day for accommodation, breakfast, and touring, possibly a bit less.
Our post-tour option – an extra night in Almaty, then one or two nights in Bishkek, is probably also going to be around the same sort of price, depending on numbers of course.
As always, we urge you to consider travel insurance. We’ve never had anyone complain about not ‘getting value’ from a premium they paid and never had claims against, but we’re sure seen plenty of people boxed into nasty corners when they have problems and no travel insurance to help. Rather than attempt to sell you a policy ourselves that may or may not suit your needs, we recommend you go to this insurance shopping site, which offers comparisons between something like 100 different policies offered by 18 different insurers, giving you all the options you need.
Please visit our three-part series giving much more information about travel insurance than you probably ever thought you’d want to know, if you’d like to know more about travel insurance.
Note that most insurance policies require you to pay their premium within a week or two of making your tour deposit, if you want maximum coverage.
Need More Information?
If you’ve a question or need more clarification, go ahead and ask. That’s what we’re here for. Feel free to send us an email, or call us at (206)337-2317.
As soon as your application is accepted, you will be asked to send in your $750 deposit within seven days.
Tour Terms and Conditions
Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.
In addition, please note these extra terms :
1. Deposit is required within seven days of your participation being confirmed. Full payment is due on or before Friday 23 Feb, 2018.
2. US, Canadian, and many other citizens require a current passport that will not expire until after the date of their planned return in order to be admitted to Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, but do not require a visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to the UK to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply. Because you might be traveling through the EU, we suggest you ensure your passport won’t expire until at least three months after the planned end of your travels.
3. There’s plenty of room in the coach’s luggage bays for as much luggage as you choose to bring, but few hotels provide porterage. One piece of luggage is included on your domestic flight within Kazakhstan. Note that airlines charge for extra luggage and without porterage always available, we recommend you limit your luggage to one major suitcase and a carry on per person.
4. Tour price is reasonably stable but may change if unexpected major alterations in international exchange rates occur. If such an event happens, and prior to full payment having been received from you, we will adjust the price up or down to reflect the change in underlying tour costs. If the tour price increases by more than 10%, you may cancel without penalty and receive a full refund of your deposit. Tour price is locked in place once full payment has been received.
Please also visit our master tours listing page for a complete listing of all currently scheduled
Travel Insider Tour opportunities.