ASTANA – Explore Kazakhstan, an Almaty-based tourism agency, offers fully organised tours of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan ranging from helicopter tours to nature trips with tents. Founder Chingiz Shulanbayev, who aspires to promote domestic tourism, spoke about the company and its current activities in an interview with The Astana Times.
“EXPO 2017 had a favourable effect on the amount of tourists coming to Kazakhstan from abroad. For instance, this year we welcomed tourists from Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and South Korea,” he said.
Explore Kazakhstan welcomes local tourists, but 90 percent of the company’s clients are non-natives.
“There are also local tourists who want to relax and enjoy nature in full; thus, they hire a guide and a driver to make their trip informative and organised,” he added.
The agency arranges excursions and tours aboard 4WD sport-utility vehicles and comfortable minibuses, with certified guides and all necessary camping equipment. Tourists can also choose accommodations in hotels, guest houses and yurts.
The company organises day-long excursions involving a trip around the city and its environs. For example, tourists can arrange jaunts around Almaty and nearby destinations such as Charyn Canyon, Big Almaty Lake, Medeu, Chimbulak, Kolsai Lake and Tamgaly open air museum.
Trips usually continue for six-ten days. The company offers turnkey tours to East Kazakhstan region and West Kazakhstan region, as well as Kyrgyzstan. East Kazakhstan offers spectacular sites such as Yazevoe Lake, Kok-Kol Lake, Belukha Mountain, Bukhtarma reservoir and Kara-Koba River. West Kazakhstan region has well-known destinations like the Caspian Sea, Shopan Ata and Beket Ata necropolises.
Shulanbayev recommends May, June, the second half of August and September as the best times to visit Kazakhstan. Spots are not overcrowded and the weather is pleasant in September, he noted.
Kazakhstan is considered an attractive place for active rest, trekking and hiking. Foreign tourists usually want to combine active leisure with a hot springs rest.
In addition, Explore Kazakhstan organises nature tours, offering a field kitchen, tents and cooks.
“We can also arrange a helicopter tour. Recently, we greeted guests from the U.K. and we flew over Charyn Canyon and Kolsai Lake in Almaty region,” he said.
The company’s goal is to successfully operate in the tourism industry.
“At the current stage, we are establishing cooperation with foreign partners,” he added.
In the future, it plans to create its own advertising department, which will lead to expanding its structure and attracting new staff for a team of approximately 50.
For more information, one can visit explorekazakhstan.net and @explore_kazakhstan27 on Instagram.