/Central Asia tour agent/operator based in the Netherlands
(and also known as "Kazachstan Reizen" in Dutch), but also dealing with an international clientele, in English and German. Unlike most tour offers for that vast country, "Kazakhstan Tours
" has some offers in their portfolio that squarely fall within the realm of dark tourism. In fact, a large number of the places covered in the chapters of this website also feature in the packages offered by Kazakhstan Tours.
For instance, they have a tour to the Aral Sea
(aptly given the additional title "A tough journey"), programmes at Baikonur
, including some involving rocket launches, and, most importantly from our perspective, a tour called "Nightmares from the USSR
". The latter is basically identical to the "Back to the USSR" tour I did with the Karaganda
-based operator Nomadic Travel when I went to Kazakhstan
in the summer of 2011, except that I had the tour tailored to my wishes and extended by a few days to take in extra sites such as Ekibastuz
. But such extensions could also be negotiated through Kazakhstan Tours, I'm sure.
Going through an agent in Central/Western Europe such as Kazakhstan Tours
rather than dealing with the on-the-ground operators in Kazakhstan themselves, offers considerable added value, even if it costs a little more that way. As I described in my account of my own independent travel planning efforts with regard to Kazakhstan
, it can be immensely complicated and time-consuming to try and sort everything out yourself. It is possible, but it begs the question whether it is worth all the nerves it costs in the process. I'd say there's hardly anywhere else in this world where having the comfort and ease of putting all that organizational effort into another pair of hands so pays off. Trust me, you'd regret it if you tried to save on that little extra cost for such invaluable service!
is run by Ardjan Langedijk, who is a specialist in this part of the world, so you'd be in good hands, also when it comes to combinations with other things you could do in this vast country. He lived in Almaty
for a number of years and has built up excellent contacts with the tourism network in Kazakhstan. He had already been organizing tours on a private basis before he officially founded his company Kazakhstan Tours in 2006. Use it! You won't find anything better than this in a hurry!
Had I known about Kazakhstan Tours
I would probably have used them for the organization of my entire trip in 2011. As it turned out, I was already more than halfway through my planning, and after long-drawn-out negotiations my itinerary in central and eastern Kazakhstan was already more or less in place when during my research for the Aral Sea
options I finally hit upon Kazakhstan Tours. I then used them to put such a tour together (with some special tailoring of the regular tour programmes, such as a stopover in Kyzylorda). Working with Ardjan was such a relief compared to the nightmarishly unreliable correspondence I'd had with a number of other operators/agents up to that point. Now it all went smoothly and Ardjan was very responsive all the time. Perfect. And after part of the programme had had to be altered/cut short (because my Baikonur Tour was cancelled at short notice – see more details here
), Ardjan helped in getting a decent part of my money reimbursed by his Kazakh partners. Without his support it could have been tricky to achieve this.
Check out Kazakhstan Tours
' own website
(external link) for regular tour packages and combination options. Or contact Ardjan directly at
if you do book a tour with Kazakhstan Tours
don't forget to mention that you found them through dark-tourism.com. Not only would it support this website, you may also benefit directly yourself (here's why