Three thousand years of history in front of the hearth

Where: Kazakhstan
Who: Community Based Tourism Guest Houses Kazakhstan Tourist Association

 2starsThere is always a woman in the most interesting projects in Community Tourism


In the boundless lands you may happen to sleep in a yurta tent or in a country cottage, always welcomed by knights, flocks, a pan on a fireplace and a smile: Kazakhstan is the latest discovery of curious travellers for all tastes, from the wonder of skiing in the Caucasus and Tien Shan mountains to the mythical Magystan desert in tents and on horseback, from the northern steppes to the cosmopolitan comforts of Almaty, to the futuristic capital Astana, the Dubai of the steppe.
In fact, Kazakhstan immediately amazes for the vastness of the spaces and for the warm welcome of a people that in three thousand years saw from Alexander the Great to the Turks Khans, from the Sufis to the Tsars to the Soviets to the new technology managers from all over the world.
Then we realize that it is the most cosmopolitan country in Central Asia, it is as big as half of Europe and inhabited only by 18 million people, that schooling and GDP have risen six times in twenty years, that nomads of Mongolian origin have stopped in the most modern cities to be merchants and businessmen (and businesswomen), but have not stopped the pride and traditions of the northern steppes, that 63% of women work and 27% are graduates, with six months of paid maternity and then three years with a guaranteed position. In all this, the government is facilitating relations with the rest of the world: the Latin alphabet is back, more flights are inaugurated, no more visas are needed. So knows Shaikenova Rashida Rashidovna, the director of the Kazakh tourism association KTA, is proud to announce a modernization of the tourism system, including the creation of 140 Family Guest Houses and training courses for women and families. It’s the latest innovation, launched by the European project of Community Based Tourism, to know the true life of the Kazakhs: dozens of rooms for rent in private homes, in remote and rural villages, are welcomed with a thousand attentions, Dinner with the best homemade dishes and you spend the days between horse riding, trekking, fishing, cooking classes. All writing or going directly to the Almaty Tourist Office, asking for contacts with the guides involved in community eco-tourism projects and at least a stay at the Family Guest House.

The journey to Kazakhstan almost always starts from Almaty, beautiful at the foot of the mountains, with its tree-lined avenues, museums in the few romantic residences in tsarist wood survived or in the severe late Soviet palaces, The crowd of all colours and styles that hurries through the traffic lights super technological thousand premises, the shows of the elegant theatre or shops. Do not miss the lively bazaar of Zelyoni in Zhibek Zholi, the Baths of Arasan, the best beers and aperitifs at Barmaglo (Valiskanov street 170), the local cuisine with views from the twelfth floor from The Monkey (Dostyk avenue 148). The delicate handicrafts of Aigul are bought in the tourist office, in Abay Ave 44, where you can also eat very well at Madeni. Everything to reach on foot from the elegant Hotel Dostyk in Kurmangary str. 36. ( )

From here you start looking for the villages where the community awaits you.
By train to the north, for example, you can arrive in the Katon Karagal National Park, where Zarina Mastikbayeva (tel. +77026067997) founded the guest house Altai Arai north of the city of Oskemev and organizes various activities (visit
Or, from Almaty on a 4x4, you can start directly with the highway that points to Novosibirsk, 2700 kilometres of "modern silk road", but the nice thing is to pass immediately on the tracks in the desert: the destinations are the Altai Mountains and the park of Altyn-Emel, cradle of civilization for 5000 years and UNESCO heritage, where we will meet canyons, colourful minerals, necropolis, rare deer onagra. Past the hot springs, the sand dunes and the park with the lakes, the base to visit the parks are the Guest Houses of the villages of Bashy and Sati. 

Here women and men managers of the Guest Houses receive a salary, are trained on hygiene, hospitality, menus and activities such as horse riding, trekking, fishing, cooking classes. 

In Bashy, Fang and her sister Tursun cooked bread pancakes, a very rich stew (Besh kamat), noodles with stew (lagman), Kazakh porridge called Cahsa, while in the nearby village of Karabulak Hilde makes carpets and has a pond with boats. In fact, during the winter I am respectively director of the museum, veterinary, baker, but with tourists earn more. 

More than 300 women are involved in Saty, and they are the most active everywhere. The house of Juldyz is cosy, has a large room, his children help to set the table, and the husband hurries to bring the sheep back to the sheepfold because his job is to light a huge wood boiler for the shower and the sauna (to pre-book, better phone +77718541674, because on search engines is complicated). Lyuba Omarova, the psychologist at school, has equipped a white house in the meadow where up to 16 guests are staying because she is interested in meeting different people, one day it costs 5000 tenghè (12 euros), her daughter helps her during the holidays, the son accompanies in horseback riding. Its elegant neighbour, heir of an important tribe, offers tea on mountains of carpets, with Lyuba milking the goats and together they make cheese, bread, jam berries, picnic with mules.
From Saty you can also go to the famous lakes Kolsay, to cross with snowshoes in winter and with trekking in summer up to 2000 meters. A tour of the lakes on horseback with the guide costs 10 euros. Night and breakfast in the Guesthouses cost about 12 euros (5000 Tenghe).
From Almaty to the village of Bashi, the parks, the dunes, the village of Sati, and back is a fantastic journey of almost 800 kilometres into nothingness (with the guides of Nomad Outfitters costs about 75 euros per day for 5 days )



Community-Based Tourism, especially when women become role models, is good for several reasons.
As explains Jeanette Scherpenzeel, Senior Programme Manager at the Centre for the Promotion of Imports of the Netherlands: << It leads to more significant social and cultural insights. It also helps local communities become aware of the commercial and intellectual opportunities their culture has to offer to visitors. For example, in post-conflict Myanmar, community-based tourism plays a vital role for stability in the region. It encourages contact between the tens of different local tribes and tourists. Most importantly, the profits benefit the entire community,>>.
Iaia Pedemonte premiered to visit the CBT projects of European Community and European Center for Eco Agro tourism ECEAT: "Strengthening rural and community tourism Business Intermediary Organizations for Inclusive Economic Development in Centra Asia", started in Kyrgyzstan in 2000 and expanded in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan until 2020



Almaty Tourism Office

Abay Ave 44

0077 727 393 5230

Info and Booking a Family Guest House:
Adress: 14, Shevchenko street, Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty, apt. 2,
Tel.: +7 727 293 84 23, + 7 727 2 93 83 80

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Tags: responsible tourism,, Communityased TOurism, Kazkhstan

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