Kazakhstan: Not Quite the Belt and Road
13 to 19 October 2017
Strategically positioned between China, Russia and the Middle East in Central Asia and located on the New Silk Road (新絲綢之路) today, Kazakhstan has always been linked with the stories of other countries, no matter the Soviet era or China’s recent development strategy of Belt and Road. But it certainly deserves a closer look. Being the 9th largest country in the world by territory, it covers an area larger than the size all of Western Europe and consists of most of the landscapes you can find in the world. It meets the Caspian Sea (裏海) at the west. Altai Mountains (阿爾泰山脈) rise in its East. The Siberian Plains (西伯利亞平原) extend from Russia in the North and the Central Asia desert lies in its south. The abundance and beauty of the nature of Kazakhstan can never disappoint you.
The architectures in the recently built showcase Capital of Astana are equally shocking. The Skyline of Astana is now punctuated by gleaming skyscrapers and western-style shopping malls, contributing to double-digit economic growth in the new millennium and demonstrating a completely different prosperous side from the nature. Its history with the Soviet Union, diverse religions, and the President who never steps down all add more stories and cultures that beg you to understand.
Kazakhstan : Not Quite Belt and Road (哈薩克斯坦：不帶不路) is tailored with different themes every day to enable participants to understand and study Kazakhstan in multi-perspectives including politics, cultures, history, arts and the unparalleled natural landscapes. We will bring you to see why the country is more than the hot keyword Belt and Road.
Day 1: 13 October 2017 (Friday)
First Glimpse of Kazakhstan 首探哈城
- Arrival at Sky Hostel at Almaty, Kazakhstan (阿拉木圖) within the day
- Welcome Dinner in local Kazakh restaurant
- Kok Tobe – enjoy the gorgeous panoramic night view of Almaty City
- Cable car ride from the top of the mountain back to city centre
- Overnight at Sky Hostel in Almaty
Day 2: 14 October 2017 (Saturday)
The Kazakhstan’s Grand Canyon 哈薩克大峽谷
- Charyn Canyon – Nicknamed as Kazakhstan’s Grand Canyon, Charyn Canyon is a spellbinding wonder aged 30 million years and made up of pink and orange-hued rocky formation located on the Chinese border
- Picnic lunch in the mountains with Kazakh style cuisine
- Valley of Castles – Walk at the bottom part of the canyon which the maximum depth of the canyon is 300m. Enjoy the views of sedimentary red walls with natural sculptures and witness the mesmerising natural resources available in the country
- Overnight at Sky Hostel in Almaty
Day 3: 15 October 2017 (Sunday)
Meet with Young Pioneers
- KIMEP University Visit (與當地大學生交流) – One of the fast-emerging and leading educational institutions in the region. We will meet with students from Institute of Asian Studies to discuss the trending opportunities and challenges of local university students.
- Cultural Sharing – Enjoy the music and dance performance by students and share the difference between the culture of Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.
- Lunch with students in school to try to be a local student for 1 day
- School Tour – Tour around the campus to study about the education system in Kazakhstan and discuss about how it boosts the country to be the first in Central Asia.
- Overnight train from Almaty to Astana
Day 4: 16 October 2017 (Monday)
Hotbed for Architectural Experimentation 未來科技之城
- Architecture Guided Tour (建築導賞團)– We will walk you through the master plan of the city: giant tent-shaped shopping centre, the twin gold beer cans, the lollipop, Astana-version White house and more. As the new capital since 1997, the city of Astana has been received by many as a revolution in social architecture and “one of the weirdest capital cities on earth”. It keeps some of the most radical, revolutionary design the world has ever seen.
- Palace of Peace and Reconciliation (玻璃金字塔) – An iconic pyramid constructed by famous British architect Norman Foster to host the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Remarkably, the entire process from briefing to opening was completed in just 21-months.
- Astana Opera House (阿斯塔納歌劇院) – A world-class opera house recalling the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. It is a sketch by President Nazarbayev, providing regular classical operas, ballet masterpieces, chamber music concerts and orchestral performances by world-class artists to the public at an affordable price.
- Overnight at hotel in Astana
Day 5: 17 October 2017 (Tuesday)
The Iron Fist of Kazakhstan: President Nazarbayev 鐵腕政權的統治
- Museum of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – The Museum sets a task to preserve unique memorial materials and to promote multiple initiatives of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s president in the past 25 years since independence in 1991
- National Museum (國家博物館)– Composed of a concise and detailed introduction of the economic, cultural and modern arts development of Kazakhstan, witnessing the progress made over the past quarter century
- Nazarbayev Centre – All-in-one intellectual research centre for the public, initiative proposed by the president
- Akorda Presidential Palace – Official residence and workplace of the President of Kazakhstan
- Overnight train from Astana to Almaty
Day 6: 18 October 2017 (Wednesday)
Soviet Legacy in Town 前蘇聯遺產
- Central Museum of Kazakhstan – Narrating the stories from nomadic period to the 20th century, on topics including traditional Kazakh culture, Soviet era, Road to Independence and Modern Day Kazakhstan.
- Panfilov Park – One of Almaty’s few surviving tsarist-era buildings. Designed by AP Zenkov in 1904, the cathedral is built entirely of wood (including the nails), in memory of the Panfilov Heroes, 28 soldiers of an Almaty infantry unit who died fighting off Nazi tanks in a village outside Moscow in 1941. Learn about the historical and cultural significance of Panfilov Park in Kazakhstan society.
- Zenkov Cathedral, Wooden Church (東正教主教座堂) – Second tallest wooden building in the world, also the only cathedral still standing after the 1911 earthquake. It did not escape the fate of many other cathedrals in the Soviet times: services were terminated in 1927.
- Central Mosque (中央清真寺) – The biggest mosque in Kazakhstan, and the symbol of Muslim majority in the country. We will look into the cultural significance and the development of Kazakhstan’s religion history, particularly a comparison between Muslim of the Central Mosque and Christianity of the Zenkov Cathedral.
- Overnight at Sky Hostel in Almaty
Day 7: 19 October 2017 (Thursday)
Grow within, Go beyond: The Future of Kazakhstan 未來的「光明大道」
- Green Bazaar (當地市集) – Traditional market in Almaty. The Bazaar is central to the everyday life of local people. You can unexpectedly find a lot of Korean food and street snacks sold in the Bazaar, depicting a lesser-known story of ethnic Koreans in Kazakhstan
- First President’s Park – Opened in 2011 and named after Nazarbayev. A famous spot for local families to enjoy their leisure time. There are also many couples shooting pre-wedding photos.
- Mega Mall – A shopping mall with top brands from all around the world. Comparing to the local bazaar, it demonstrates the wealth gap and diverse living style of different social class in Kazakhstan.
- Farewell Dinner
End of Programme
*The above itinerary is for reference only and is subject to change. Registrants will receive a full itinerary with programme details via email.
*Note: Walk In Hong Kong (License No.: 353919) is the responsible tour operator of this programme.
HKD 8,600 (USD 1,110)
Our Tour Fee includes
- Transportation in Kazakhstan
- Hostel accommodation in Kazakhstan (4 nights)
- Overnight trains for 2 nights between Almaty and Astana
- Meals in Kazakhstan as indicated on the Briefing Note (you will receive this after registration)
- Local tour guides and one driver per group
- One Eastern Vision tour mentor per group
- All entry fees to museums
- Academic materials
- Extra meals, activities or souvenirs in Kazakhstan
- Tips to local tour guide and driver
- Visa Application Fee*
- Transportation from Hong Kong (or your place of origin) to Almaty, Kazakhstan***
*HKSAR passport holders enjoy a 14 days visa-free access to Kazakhstan. For other passport holders who are required to apply for a visa to Kazakhstan, an letter of invitation is needed for application which will be issued by local agency with an additional charge on top of the visa application fee.
**An appropriate and adequate travel insurance is a condition of traveling to Kazakhstan.
***Our programme starts and ends at Almaty. You are free to arrange your own flights to Almaty. However, we also facilitate a separate, non-bundled Flight Option if you depart from Hong Kong:
Outbound (Hong Kong – Almaty): 13 October 2017 (Friday)
Inbound (Almaty – Hong Kong): 20 October 2017 (Friday)
Both flights are operated by Air Astana. Connecting bus service between Almaty International Airport and Sky Hostel will NOT be included.
Further details will be provided in the Briefing Note (you will receive this after registration).