Plan a Perfect Day Trip to Turkestan in 2024 With These Insider Facts

Have you ever been to any Silk Road destination previously? How many of you have seen double-humped camel? Have you ever seen any monument that has been beautifully constructed on one side and left unfinished on the other side? I hope your curiosity has been increased with these questions. Don’t worry, we will take you all on an enthralling day trip to Turkestan with a few local attractions of Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

In case you don’t know who we are……

We call ourselves Travel Freaks……

For a brief recap of our journey, we reached Shymkent the previous night after crossing the land border. The previous day was a quite tiring day for all of us. We had a day trip in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Do read our previous blogs that will help you plan your itinerary. Of course, we are just a click away.

We were way too excited for our trip to Turkestan. We were supposed to depart by 8 AM. Our guide Mr. Islam arrived at our hotel well within the designated time. He loves to elaborate on the history behind any monument or incident related to Central Asia. You can of course reach out to him for any guided tour in the Central Asian region. We had a great time with him during the day.

Now that we were ready for our trip to Turkestan, you might be wondering……..

1. How to reach Turkestan from Shymkent?

There are two ways to reach Turkestan:

I. The first and easiest way is to rent a vehicle and a guide to reach Turkestan. We did the same thing. We found a great deal here from where we booked this. Additionally, we also included a few tourist attractions within Shymkent City along with the day trip.

II. Another possibility is through public transport. You need to reach the Bekzhan bus station (please translate it into Kazakh or Russian, or else it will be challenging for you to reach). The bus fare from your hotel to the bus station would be a maximum of 100 tenge. The best part of the bus station is its location. It is just close to a big white mosque.

At the bus terminal, you would notice many marshrutky going towards Turkestan. The cost per person is around 600 or 800 tenge depending on whether the ride is an AC or non-AC one. The marshrutky generally leaves once it is full. Another thing you need to note is that you might have to take a vehicle where the marshrutky drops you off. The final ride to reach the mausoleum complex can cost you around 400-500 tenge. But be informed that the marshrutky to Shymkent from Turkestan is available till 7 PM.

Hope you got an idea of how to reach Turkestan from Shymkent. Now, coming to our story, we departed sharp at 8 o’clock from our Shymkent hotel. The next obvious question comes……

2. How was the journey from Shymkent to Turkestan?

The journey started on a positive note. We did observe the morning vibes of the Shymkent city to be charming. Most of the residents were too busy to reach their workplaces. Just as we were in the city centre, we found a cosy cafe that was located close to a bank to have our breakfast as well as exchange US Dollars for Kazakhstani Tenge.

Quicky, we entered the cafe and ordered an English breakfast with a hot coffee. As the staff took time to prepare the breakfast, we hurried towards the bank for currency exchange. Thankfully, the bank was open by 9 o’clock. Soon we returned and had a delicious breakfast before continuing our exciting journey for the day.

Within half an hour, we left behind the Shymkent city and were on the Silk Road. It was mesmerising to view the surrounding countryside view with the typical Central Asian Landscape that was spread to the horizon. We even observed cows and horses grazing on the farmland. Our guide even informed us that the road that we were travelling would lead us to Europe. It has been used for ages as a means for traders connecting Europe with Asia.

On the way towards Turkestan, our guide stopped at a place for refuelling and to get some snacks. We continued our journey. It took us around 3 hours to reach Turkestan. As we were entering the city of Turkestan, we got a glimpse of the city’s architecture which reflects the style of Persian, Timurid, and Central Asian styles.

It was around 11 o’clock when we got out of our vehicle. Let’s share what we saw next……

3. Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum

This is the most important and the only major attraction in the Turkestan Region. This historical and architectural masterpiece is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monument is dedicated to the Sufi poet Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, and its artistic design and architecture reflect both Persian and Central Asian architectural styles.

There was an entrance fee of 500 tenge per person. It is always better to have a guide to get a deeper understanding about the history of the place. There was a well-maintained garden leading to the mausoleum complex.

On the way to the mausoleum, there was a monument where the Islamic Saints used to relax and bathe. On the outside, there was a souvenir shop. There was another monument that had a mosque within.

At a proximity to the main mausoleum complex, there were a few double-humped camels. You can also take a ride if you wish.

As far as the main mausoleum complex was concerned, the construction of the mausoleum began in 1389 during the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and was supposed to be one of the largest mosques in the Islamic world. However, due to the untimely death of Timur in 1405, the construction was never completed as per the original plan.

We loved the central dome of the mausoleum, it was blue-coloured. The entrance was designed with a blue-coloured floral tile work. The centre of the mausoleum had a prayer hall in the direction of Mecca. We loved the decoration of the wall within the complex.

We had a great time at the complex. It was so beautiful especially when the sun’s rays fell on the entire architecture that it is really difficult to describe in words.

As we stepped out of the mausoleum complex, we noticed a university that was dedicated to International Tourism and Hospitality. Apart from the main mausoleum complex, the area was quite well-planned and well-organised. If you wish, you can also opt for a night stay at Turkestan. For us, we had to catch a train at night after getting a glimpse of Shymkent City.

Now, returning to our story, we stopped for lunch at a traditional Kazakhstan Restaurant where we ordered the famous vegetarian Plov with tea. Soon after a heavy meal, we started our return journey to Shymkent City at 2 o’clock. On our return trip to Shymkent, we loved the view of the setting sun in the countryside. At the same time, the mercury started dipping.

By 5 o’clock, we were there in the Shymkent City and stopped at……

4. Shymkent Bazaar

The area was quite congested when we got out of our vehicle. As we started exploring the bazaar, we found some interesting Traditional Kazakh Products such as kurt, meat, bread and some handmade goods. The area was bustling with local people.

Most importantly, we felt as if the area was not only a market but also a cultural experience. One thing that caught our attention was the aroma of the spices being sold in the market. It was an amazing experience for us. We found almost everything that you could wish for, starting from textile goods to medicines to dry fruits, you will get everything once you reach this place.

The next on our list was the…….

5. Ken Baba Park

It was around 20 minutes from the Shymkent Bazaar. It is an amusement park that has some old trees and some cafes within the park. You can stroll around and relax a bit. We enjoyed looking at the Soviet-era buildings around the park.

Unfortunately, when we were there, the rides were closed. Yeah, we could explore the area within the park that teleported us back to the Soviet Union Era. Soon, after exploring the place, we entered a cafe to warm us up for further exploration.

We ordered a hot latte with caramel croissant. After a short break of half an hour, we continued with our exploration of the Shymkent City. It was getting darker though.

The next on our list was…

6. Koshkar Ata River

We stopped at a parking close to Independence Park. It was already 6 o’clock. We walked for around 300 meters to a small bridge above the Koshkar Ata River. It was way too dark by then. Our guide informed us that the river was a landmark of Shymkent and its cleanest source of water. However, the river has become unclean in recent times.

The final destination for the day was……

7. War Memorial

It took us another 10 minutes to reach the War Memorial Complex. The whole complex was dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the Second World War.

We took a few snaps and as it was close to 7 o’clock, we decided to reach our hotel for dinner and then leave for Shymkent Railway Station. We reached our hotel by 7:30 PM. We picked up our luggage and left for the Shymkent Railway Station. This time we had an overnight train journey to Almaty, our last and final destination in Kazakhstan.

Are you curious to know more about the train journey?? You need to follow us for the next part of the Kazakhstan blog series. We will share everything about our experience of the train journey and our trip to Almaty. Till then do follow us. In case of any help, we are just a click away.

We are not going anywhere without this last question……

7. What kind of help are we going to provide?

Let us inform you that we prepare itineraries not only for anywhere in India but also for Asia. We have been travelling since we were toddlers. So here in our blogs and stories, we will give you a glimpse of our journey and help you plan your trip.

Read about our Uzbekistan blogs.

Read about our Kazakhstan blogs.

Read about our Singapore blogs.

Read about our Vietnam blogs.

Read about our Cambodia blogs.

Read about our Bali blogs.

Read about our Kuala Lumpur blog series.

Read about our Sri Lanka blogs.

Read about our Nepal blogs.

Read about our Char Dham blogs.

Read about our Ladakh blogs.

Read about our day trip to Hyderabad.

Read about our Madhya Pradesh blogs.

Do follow our Instagram handle @mindfulllofvacations and watch for the next destination story of a new place. For any query related to any trip, drop a mail at

by mitkau

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