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Kazakhstan: travel guide and tips

Flag of Kazakhstan

Area: The transcontinental state, with an area of ​​2,724,902 square kilometers, is larger than the 12 countries of the European Union. Deserts and semi-deserts occupy 54% of its entire territory, steppes 35%, and forests only 5.9%.

Population: 17 010 600

The state language: Kazakh. Due to the large percentage of the Russian population, Russian is the official one. It is also used for international communication.

Currency unit: Tenge. Its exchange unit is tiyn. There are exactly one hundred of them in one tenge.

Why is it worth coming to Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan is one of the largest and most influential countries in Central Asia. The progressive leap in the development of the state was largely due to the discovery of oil fields. However, the tourism sector is also actively developing in the country. Kazakhstan has something to impress even the most experienced tourists. So, here are some reasons that will motivate you to visit this amazing region with rich cultural traditions and amazing natural landscapes.

Almaty region is an impressive mountainous region in the southeast of the country. Here is the former capital of the state, the city of Almaty, which has many amusement parks, bazaars, shopping centers, and museums. In this city, you will not get bored and you can spend several eventful days full of exciting trips here. Outside Almaty, active travelers will find many locations for summer hikes or winter sports.

The current capital Nur-Sultan is also rich in impressions. Here you can visit the largest mosque in Central Asia – Khazret Sultan – a majestic structure with high minarets directed into the sky. Visit “Khan Shatyr” (literally translated from Kazakh – “Tsar-Tent”) – a shopping center built in the form of a giant tent, which is the largest tent in the world.

Before you set off to explore the reserves and national parks of Kazakhstan, in Nur-Sultan you can have a pleasant time on a boat trip along the Ishim River. Here you will also have an excellent opportunity to learn more about the traditional cuisine of Kazakhstan at interactive culinary masterclasses. Your entire trip will be accompanied by incredible views of the modern capital with its skyscrapers and shopping center buildings of unusual shape.

South Kazakhstan is an ideal location for exploring the history and ancient traditions of the Kazakh people. Go to the ancient city of Turkestan, founded in the 10th century, to see the amazing beauty of the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. Go see the excavations of the ancient city of Otrar, which was one of the largest cities in Central Asia before the Mongol invasion. In the city of Sairam, you can touch the history by visiting its many ancient mosques and mausoleums.

The national parks of Kazakhstan are preserved, clean nature in its original form, amazing places where you can merge with the surrounding space and enjoy magnificent views and landscapes, study the flora and fauna of the region. There are 13 national parks in Kazakhstan located in different parts of the country: in the east, southeast, central part, and north of the country. Therefore, in whatever city of Kazakhstan you find yourself in, you can always quickly get to stunning natural locations with mountains, lakes, forests, valleys, and rivers.

How many days to allocate for a trip to Kazakhstan?

Large cities such as Nur-Sultan and Almaty take over most of the tourist flow. They all offer a wide range of entertainment and leisure options in addition to historical and modern attractions. However, it’s a shame that most of the natural locations are so easily ignored by hurried tourists. If you want to plan a really fun trip to Kazakhstan, study our guide and create your detailed itinerary for your exciting country adventure.

Nur-Sultan

Is a trendy and modern city in Kazakhstan, famous for its windy weather and futuristic architecture.

How many days does it take? 1-2 days

The main attractions: the Baiterek Tower, the Khan-Shatyr shopping center, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation.

How to get off the beaten path: Take a day trip to Burabay National Park or Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve.

Almaty is the former capital and the largest city in the country. The architectural appearance of Almaty is an impressive combination of Soviet and modern styles.

How many days does it take? 1-2 days

Main attractions: Panfilov Park, Green Bazaar, Almaty cable car to Kok-Tyube

How to get off the beaten track: travel back in time to the ethnic village of the Huns, who lead their lives and households in the same way as their great-grandfathers centuries ago. Lovers of impressive views can go to the high-mountain sports complex “Medeu”, not far from Almaty, and observe the landscape overlooking the skating rink and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Almaty Region

high rise buildings beside green trees during daytime

There are tons of day trip locations near Almaty that deserve special attention.

How many days does it take? 2 days (camping on the road or day trips from Almaty)

Main attractions: Charyn canyon, Big Almaty lake, Turgen gorge, and waterfall

How to get off the beaten path: Admire the Tamgaly petroglyphs or camp at the Altyn-Emel Nature Reserve.

 

Shymkent

Is a large southern city where the Central Asian atmosphere has been perfectly preserved.

How many days does it take? 1-2 days

Main attractions: Ethnographic Museum Kyluet, Memory Alley in Abay Park, Arbat Street

How to get off the beaten path: Explore the mausoleums and food market in Sairam village, or go horseback riding in the Aksu-Zhabagly nature reserve.

 

Turkestan

The capital of South Kazakhstan, a small but ancient city and a holy place of pilgrimage.

How many days does it take? 1 day

Main attractions: Khoja Ahmed Yasawi complex with an underground mosque, museum, mausoleums, and city wall

How to get off the beaten path: Join religious pilgrims at the Arystan Bab Mausoleum, or wander the ruins of Otrar.

 

Aktau

This is a city in the far west, known for its oil, the extended coastline of the Caspian Sea, and its proximity to the Caucasus.

How many days does it take? 1 day

Main attractions: Republic Square, embankment and seaport of Aktau, a monument to Kashagan Kurzhimanuly

How to get off the beaten path: go down to the Karagiye lowland or admire Mount Sherkala on Mangyshlak.

 

Baikonur

Media watches Soyuz rocket launch

Is an inconspicuous city overshadowed by the nearby Baikonur cosmodrome, the site of the Soviet space program.

How many days does it take? 1-2 days

Main attractions: mock-up of the Soyuz rocket, the museum of the history of the cosmodrome, the monument to Yuri Gagarin

How to get off the beaten track: Spend the day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome (prior permission required) or take a weekend trip to the Kokaral Aral Sea Dam and Karateren Village.

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