To the Aral Sea, a tough Journey

To the Aral Sea, a tough Journey

Endless steppe and different phenomena between Almaty and Aralsk

Fishermen on Northern Aral Sea

Fishermen in the Aral Sea

Highlights of this 10-day tour to the Aral Sea:
– travelling across vast Kazakhstan including train journeys, getting into touch with locals
– getting to know more about Aralsk and the disappearing Aral Sea
– the Aksu-Jabagly nature reserve and a lovely guesthouse in Jabagly
– the town of Turkestan and its impressive Mausoleum

Country & Program

You will visit the Aral Sea and its environment, and much more than that! Starting in Almaty you will first cath a flight to Kyzlorda (1,500 km) and continue by train (500 kms) to Aralsk. Returning from Aralsk three days later you will go all the way to Almaty by train with two main stops.

The first stop is in Turkestan, where the famous Mausoleum of Khodja Ahmed Yassawi is located, Kazakhstans most important monument.
The second stop is a completely different story, as you will be accommodated in the small village of Jabagly, located nearby Central Asia’s oldest nature reserve, the Aksu-Jabagly nature reserve. Here you will have two days of hiking (and/or horse-riding) in wonderful and remote nature.

Finally, both in the beginning and the end of the proposed tour you will have a day in the metropole Almaty, with its beautiful surroundings and open and friendly atmosphere.

A visa is not necessary for a visit of up to 30 days to Kazakhstan for most countries.

You can read more about highlights and practical advise on travelling in Kazakhstan here.

Horses on the Assy Plateau, Kazakhstan

En Route

Day 1

Flight to Almaty.

Day 2

Day travel distance: 60 kms
Arrival in Almaty in the early morning. Start of your tour to the Aral Sea!

Panfilov Cathedrale, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Panfilov Cathedrale in Central Almaty

You will be picked up by a driver and transfered to your hotel in Almaty.
After a breakfast and some rest – as you wish – you will be offered a city excursion visiting Panfilov Park with the Zenkov Cathedrale, Independence Square and drive up to the Medeo skating rink in the mountains (1700 m).

Day 3

Day travel distance: 1.500 kms
After breakfast you have leisure time until the end of the morning, when you have will be transfered to Almaty Airport to catch the flight to Kyzlorda at 14:45 (be aware that flight schedules may change).

After arrival in Kyzlorda (1,500 km) at 16:30 you will be guided to the railway station and have some time to catch the 21:03 train to Aralsk, where you’ll arrive the next morning and some 500 kms further at 04:00.
Panorama over Almaty, Kazakhstan

Day 4

Day travel distance: 150 kms
After arriving in Aralsk – previously an Aral Sea harbour – you will be guided to the guesthouse. After a breakfast and a short rest there follows an excursion by 4WD to the Zhalanash ship graveyard at 75 km across the now dried-up sea bed. There’s also a small museum on the local history.

Please note that by the end of 2019 local people have all but taken care of the last remaining shipwrecks and therefore you may be offered an alternative excursion.

At the end of the day you return to the guesthouse in Aralsk, which is actually a homestay, for dinner and an overnight.
Shipwrecks on the beds of the former Aral Sea, Kazakhstan

Day 5

Day travel distance: 800 kms
Today you have chance to take some well-deserved rest during a long traintrip across the steppe, all the way to Turkestan (approx. 800 km). You leave Aralsk in the early morning and arrive in the evening in historical Turkestan. Upon arrival you will be guided to your hotel.
Kazakh train station

Day 6

Day travel distance: 250 kms
After breakfast en English speaking guide will show you the famous Mausoleum of Khodja Ahmed Yassawi, the most important monument of Kazakhstan. Afterwards you will have time explore the town by yourself.

In the early evening you catch the train from Turkstan to Tulkubas at some 250 kms, where you’ll arrive later that evening. A driver will pick you up and transfer you to the nearby village of Jabagly (20 kms) where you will be accommodated in a gueshouse with good facilities.
Mausoleum of Babadzha Hatun in Taraz, Kazakhstan

Day 7

Day travel distance: 20 kms
Today, nature. You will have the chance to hike, or a ride a horse (optional, cost of renting a horse is not included), all day in wonderful the Aksu-Jabagly nature reserve, with guidance.

You’ll take your lunch with you, and dinner back in the guesthouse in included.
The reserve is well-known for its rich flora (a.o. wild tulips) and fauna (brown bears, eagles, even snow leopards!).
Aksu canyon

Day 8

Day travel distance: 20 kms
Another day in the splendid reserve to hike or ride a horse and enjoy nature. Highlight has to be a visit to the spectacular Aksu Canyon.

After returning to the guesthouse and dinner you will be transfered to the Tulkubas train station (20 kms) to board the evening train to Almaty.
Assy Plateau, Kazakhstan

Day 9

Day travel distance: 700 kms
You will arrive in Almaty in the early morning after having spend a night in the train.
A driver will pick you up and escort you to your hotel. Today, the last day of the tour, you will have leisure time.
Ski Lift at Chymbulaq resort, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Day 10

Day travel distance: 20 kms
In the early morning or night – depening on your departure time – you will be transfered to Almaty Airport to catch the flight back home.

The cost of this tour to the Aral Sea at four persons is by indication €900 per person and at two persons €1,150 p.p. For other group sizes please write us for an offer.

Included in the offer are:
– two nights of accommodation in 4* hotel Kazzhol in Almaty, one night in a homestay in Aralsk, one night in hotel Edem in Turkestan, two nights in a guesthouse in Jabagly on the basis of bed & breakfast and double rooms
– all transfers in by car/minibus and train
– services of English speaking guides during all excursions
– entrance tickets for all nature parks, museums and sites according to the program
– two lunches and two dinners
– transfers airport-hotel-airport at the start and finish of the program
– mineral water during the transfers

Not included in the offer are the international flight tickets, the remaining lunches and dinners, the domestic flight Almaty-Kyzlorda (cost between €75-140 indication) and all not mentioned services.
Finally we withhold €15 per booking for the Dutch GGTO Travel Guarantee Fund.



    Almaty, Aralsk, the South


    season April-October


    indication €900-€1,150 p.p. at four resp. two persons


    10 days

    Tour Route in Kazakhstan