Tour agencies opening time in Almaty

All about Kazakhstan. Experts: Julia, walkingalmaty
Ragiostan
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:31 pm

Tour agencies opening time in Almaty

Postby Ragiostan » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:43 pm

Hello,

next August, I'm supposed to arrive in Almaty on a Saturday afternoon.
I want to arrange a couple of day tours around Almaty (shared with other tourists, not private tours) for the following two days.
Are tour agencies open on Saturday afternoon?
I can't wait till Monday to meet an agency because Tuesday will be my last available day in Kazakhstan.
I already checked the internet to make booking in advance but I could only find upmarket agencies offering very expensive tours, I want to look in town if there are some small indipendent agent or guide/driver.
Thank you.
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Julia
Kazakhstan expert
Kazakhstan expert
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:36 pm
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Re: Tour agencies opening time in Almaty

Postby Julia » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:48 pm

Hi.
Different tour companies work different hours.
For instance, I know one local tour company that works on Saturday till 5 pm. Another company is day-off on Saturday.
But I'm afraid they won't help you. As local tour companies organize tours on weekends only (Saturday - Sunday).
You need arrive before Saturday.
And they usually visit only one spot at a trip. For instance, one day go to Charyn and back to Almaty. Next day go to the Singing dune and back to Almaty.
Next weekend they go to Kolsay, etc.

This weekend type of tours is the cheapest but not suitable for foreign tourists who limited with time.
I guess you want to visit a few spots withing one long trip without coming back to Almaty each time?
If you need tailored trip than need to arrange a guide in advance before arriving.
There is no place in town where guides wait for clients. So will be hard to find something quickly on arrival.

Plus, many guides don't even have offices. People advertise on the Internet, use e-mails and phones to arrange tours.

Did you check the guides offered on Caravanistan?
There is a page with tours and guides on this website.

https://caravanistan.com/custom-tours/
https://caravanistan.com/tours/
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Ragiostan
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:31 pm

Re: Tour agencies opening time in Almaty

Postby Ragiostan » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:14 pm

Hello Julia,

thank you for your answer.
You're wrong: I'm looking for day trips, coming back to Almaty each time.
I'm quite surprised there's no such tours during the week.
Do all the tourist travel on private arrangements?
I checked the pages you suggested but the prices are beyond my budget.
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Julia
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Kazakhstan expert
Posts: 136
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:36 pm
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Re: Tour agencies opening time in Almaty

Postby Julia » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:51 pm

Hi.

The reason why they have tours on weekends is that 90% of the clients are local. And locals work during the week, so can go on weekends only.

Kazakhstan is generally not a very touristic country.
And few travellers come to the region.
So there is just no demand for the group tours during the week. I mean not enough demand to make it cost cheaper.

I'd say visiting natural attractions in Kazakhstan is hard for a solo traveller with limited budget.

Some travellers use private tours, yes. They find other travellers to split the cost.
Actually, private tours to Charyn, Big Almaty lake, Issyk lake, Turgen gorge can be almost the same price (slightly more expensive) as weekend group tours if you find other people to share the cost.
Destinations like Altyn Emel national park and Kolsay lakes park are more expensive than the same weekend tours. But they take 2-3 days.

Other type of travellers use hitchhiking and local taxis where it's possible.
For instance, you can find taxi drivers to Big Almaty lake, Charyn canyon. But remember that taxi drivers don't speak English and when they see foreigners they ask expensive prices.
You need to negotiate a price in Russian or Kazakh. Plus, they just drivers (not guides). They're not interested in entertaining tourists, they just deliver to the point.

If it's possible you'd better arrive before Saturday. Thus you can visit some places on weekends with local group tour.
Btw, usually it's a big bus for 40 people.
And for other days during the week try to find other travellers to share a driver.
Or maybe you'll find an individual guide who will have a group of tourists and you can join.

Also maybe contact hostels. Sometimes they organize tours for their guests. And anyone can join.

Hopefully, I gave you some ideas for your trip))
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