Our story

Kalpak Travel

Kalpak Travel Your Swiss Specialist for Central Asia

 

Have you thought about living life like the nomads of Kyrgyzstan or discovering the enchanting beauty of the cities dotting the Ancient Silk Road in Central Asia? Would you like to absorb a riot of color while celebrating Persian New Year in Tajikistan? Drive along the ‘Roof of the World’ on the Pamir Highway or trek along the rugged Fann Mountain Ranges to explore traditional villages, turquoise lakes and much more?

As travel specialists on Central Asia, delivering such once-in-a-lifetime experiences to our valued guests from around the world forms our core business. We know Central Asia inside out and maintain meaningful partnerships with the best local tour operators, guides and service providers the region has to offer. This enables us to offer you authentic and interesting tour packages, ensuring your safety at all times whilst enabling local communities to benefit from tourism in a sustainable way.

Feel free to contact us with any questions by Live Chat, email, phone, Skype, What’s App or through our social media channels. We’d be happy to hear from you.

 

Our team

Luca Lässer


My first experience in Central Asia was in 2010, where I completed an exchange semester within the International Affairs Department at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I immediately fell in love with the mountains, hospitable culture, abandoned soviet factories, Shashlyks (meat sticks), and the traditional Kyrgyz’s Kalpaks (Central Asian hats).
In 2012 I returned to Central Asia to improve my Russian and to complete an internship at the Swiss Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan. This was the first time I organized a tour in Central Asia for my friends and family who came to my wedding and fell in love with the country just as I did.

My favorite tour in Central Asia is trekking in the Fann Mountain Range. It’s physically demanding with little to no comforts, but it’s worth seeing the beautiful mountain lakes, breathtaking views, authentic Tajik villages, and welcoming locals all along the way.

Aijan Lässer


I grew up in Soviet industrial town of Balykchy, located at the beginning of the picturesque Issyk-Kul lake which is surrounded by the Tian Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan. I studied International Politics at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. My passion is explaining and welcoming guests from abroad to understand the customs and traditions in Central Asia.

In Switzerland, I have worked for a year and a half at one of the biggest outbound Swiss Travel Agencies sending clients to Central Asia. Tourism in Central Asia is a great way for me to connect to my roots and reach my dreams to start my own travel company. At Kalpak Travel my dream came true because I’m able to make a living by selling amazing experiences for my clients in Central Asia. Most importantly I’m able to support the local communities in Central Asia, which I still feel very closely connected to.

My favorite tour packages are the cultural tours through Uzbekistan; the gem of the ancient Silk Road.

FAQs

We are THE experts for traveling in the Central Asian region and we can offer you a truly unique and culturally immersive experience. All offered tours have been pre-tested by us and are led by the best local guides we could find in Central Asia. We are a small company and passionate to offer the best experience for you. You can read more about the advantages of traveling with us here. Some testimonials of our clients you can find on our Facebook page or on Tripadvisor.

Our fixed date tours are offered for small groups of up to 12 travelers. You can meet like-minded travelers from around the world and gain unique local insights through our amazing local guides who open doors for you. Some of the activities and cultural program we offer on our group tours would be impractical to offer for just one or two persons. Moreover, several of our group fixed date tours are timed so you can visit a local festival. On average our group tours cost around 150 USD per person and day – a private tour for just one or two persons with same level of service would be considerably more expensive.

Definitely. As travel experts for Central Asia it is our passion to design custom tours tailored to your specific needs and wishes. Central Asia is a great destination for a family adventure or for a getaway from stressful city life. We have had all kinds of requests from different people and for different occasions and we are eager to learn more about you to offer you the best experience. Just chat with us, call us or send us an email to info@kalpak-travel.com and we will get back to you within 24 hours maximum.

Unless otherwise stated, we take care of all your on-the-ground travel arrangements. Transport, accommodation, activities, guide, meals (breakfasts, lunches, dinners), rent of equipment, etc. everything is included. Not included are the flights from home to the starting destination and back home, your travel insurance, alcoholic drinks, tips (never compulsory but always welcome) and personal expenses for example – souvenirs.

Flights within Central Asia and part of the tour program are included in the price. The flights from your home to the starting destination and back home are not included. Each traveler is responsible for taking care of their own international travel arrangements. We can recommend using Skyscanner to find the best flight deals, but please get in touch with us if you have any questions. We can certainly help you to find the best flight connection.

Luckily, travelers from many Western countries do no longer need a tourist visa to visit Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. For Tajikistan you just need an electronic visa, which you can order easily yourself online (https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html), pay 50$ online via credit card and within two working days, you will receive the visa by email. If you intend to visit Pamir region of Tajikistan make sure to also purchase the GBAO permit for 20$ online together with the visa. For Uzbekistan, you do need a visa, and we will be happy to provide assistance and Invitation Letter free of charge if you need it. For Turkmenistan, you do need a real visa and we will provide a letter of invitation free of charge. Please note, Turkmen authorities from time to time refuse to approve the letter of invitation without providing any reason for doing so. If you need a Turkmen visa, please make sure not to book any non-refundable travel arrangements like flights, before your letter of invitation is approved. Do not worry, for any tours that include Turkmenistan, we will contact you and guide you through the visa process.

You can check the destination pages on this website for more info about entry requirements for each of the Central Asian countries.

Yes, travel insurance is compulsory for all our travelers. You may choose an insurance provider of your choice, but make sure it includes cover against personal accidents, medical expenses, death, and emergency repatriation. We recommend a minimum coverage of $100,000 for each category. We strongly advise you that it covers also cancellation, personal liability, curtailment, loss of luggage and personal effects. Upon arrival, please provide your insurance details to the tour guide. If you do not know which insurance to take, we recommend this one: www.worldnomads.com

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Central Asia are basic at best.

Overall Central Asia can be regarded as a safe destination for travelers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and take only official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Central Asian partners and we closely monitor political events.

Central Asian economies are largely cash based. Except for some western shops and high-end restaurants and hotels it is almost impossible to pay by credit card. Even withdrawing money at an ATM is difficult outside of the biggest cities. Since our tour price includes all major costs you likely do not need to spend much money during your trip. We recommend bringing with you all money that you expect to use in new USD or EUR bank notes with different denominations – wrinkled and small notes are harder to exchange, but small notes can be used sometimes to pay for souvenirs. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia. For more info on money and costs visit the destination pages for the different countries on our website.

As soon as we receive your booking enquiry we will send you an invoice for a non-refundable deposit payment of 500 EUR/ USD/ CHF/ GBP per person. With your deposit payment your booking is confirmed and your seat on the tour reserved. The remaining amount will be due no later than 30 days before the start of the tour.

If you cancel some or all portions of your booking, cancellation fees will apply. A cancelation will only be effective when we receive written confirmation of the cancellation. We strongly advise you to include cancellation coverage in your travel insurance. If you cancel a trip:

  1. Deposit of 500 EUR/USD/CHF/GPD etc is non-refundable. 30 days or more prior to departure, we will retain only the deposit.
  2. Between 20 and 30 days prior to departure, we will retain 50% of the total booking value.
  3. Less than 20 days prior to departure, we will retain 100% of the total booking value.

Please read carefully our General Terms and Conditions before booking the tour: https://kalpak-travel.com/terms-and-conditions/

Many people throughout Central Asia speak Russian, especially in large cities in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The local languages, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Uzbek and Turkmen, are similar to Turkish, whereas Tajik language is a Persian language, similar to the language spoken in Iran and Afghanistan. For more information visit our destination pages.

Why Kalpak Travel?

Swiss Quality
Central Asia Experts
Tested Tours
Best Local Partners
Responsible Tourism
  • Maximises economic benefits for local populations and communities
  • Provides enjoyable and meaningful connections between local hosts and guests from abroad
  • Draws attention to environmental, social and economic issues and contributes to their solution

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Testimonials