Kazakhstan was full of surprises. From the people to the cuisine, technology and western influences, as we stepped off the plane and began to explore this Central Asian country, we realized our misconceptions were just that; information passed on from 30 years ago just as the USSR dissolved and many of the “Stans” came out of Russian occupation. 

Almaty Kazakhstan

Why you should go to Kazakhstan

But why should you plan a Kazakhstan trip? I mean, from Los Angeles it was about a 12 hour flight to Frankfurt and then another seven or so hours to Almaty, Kazakhstan.

On the way back, that flight from Almaty would be 10 hours as we had to stop in Astana, the capitol city, to pick up a few more passengers headed to Europe. 

I’m not going to lie– it’s a LONG trip. But once you are there, you’ve got a modern city, great coffee, western shopping (at slightly cheaper prices thanks to the exchange rate), and a massive country filled with mountains, lakes, deserts, some of the top skiing in Central Asia, sand dunes and ancient cities. 

Yes, you can get mountains and skiing in Canada, or sand dunes in Morocco or even Death Valley, but you won’t find the people, ancient culture, or experience a young nation still finding their identity as they move into the 21st Century and out of a communist regime. 

Now that I’ve convinced you to start planning your trip to Kazakhstan (and yes, we will get to that horse meat you keep hearing that the locals eat), let’s dive into the details of your trip. 

Almaty Kazakhstan

How to get to Kazakhstan

By Plane

Flights to Kazakhstan are accessible through Europe and Asia. If you live on the West Coast, you can fly through Seoul to get to Almaty, or fly through Frankfurt. Those living on the East Coast will want to fly through Frankfurt or Istanbul. 

There is good news on the horizon for East Coasters though, as Kazakhstan is in talks with the powers that be to get a flight from New York City to Almaty via Air Astana, the national airline, by 2025.

You will still have a long flight, but it will be a much more direct route than you have to take right now. 

Almaty Airport

Flight Times

As of summer 2023, the flights from Frankfurt to Kazakhstan have to go around the Ukraine and Russian airspace.

Normally, the flight is only four hours, an easy trip to take if you are already in Europe.

However, due to hostilities in the region (remember to check with your local embassy before traveling), you must take the long way around, which will take a minimum of seven hours. 

It’s not ideal, but hopefully peace will reign supreme once again, and shorter flights will be available soon. 

More ways to get to Kazakhstan

Yes, you can take a train and even drive to Kazakhstan, although you can not take a boat, but unless you are coming from a neighboring country, or already in Europe, you will most likely want to fly.

The country is BIG, so even after you take a train or drive, you still may have a lot more driving to do in order to get to the top attractions in Kazakhstan. 

Almaty Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Visa Requirements

Kazakhstan Visa for US Citizens

U.S. Citizens do NOT need a Visa. Customs agents may tell you that you do, but they are looking to pocket some cash. Say with confidence that with a U.S. passport the Kazakhstan government says you do not need a visa if your trip is less than 30 days.

If you check the US State Department site, you will notice that it was last updated BEFORE 2022. Things have changed. 

However, if you check the US Embassy in Kazakhstan website you will see more up to date information. “U.S. citizens can visit Kazakhstan without a visa for up to 30 days for all purposes of travel, with the exceptions of employment and missionary work.

Individuals traveling visa-free in Kazakhstan cannot stay for longer than 30 days at once, and not more than a cumulative 90 days within the last six-month period.”

More Kazakhstan visa free countries (updated 2023)

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan the following passports (excluding diplomatic and service/official passports- so basically just ordinary travelers) may visit Kazakhstan without a VISA for up to 30 days. 

  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Most of Europe
  • United States of America

Check the Foreign Affairs website for a full list of visa requirements by country if yours is not listed above. 

Always double check visa regulations, as government relations and visas are subject to change at any moment. The Kazakhstan government is hoping to add more countries to the visa-free travel list to help facilitate tourism over the next five years. 

Almaty Kazakhstan

What’s the Weather in Kazakhstan

The weather in Kazakhstan varies by the seasons, but don’t expect a long spring, summer or fall. Winters can last from October through the end of April, and bring temperatures as low as -58 F° (-50 С°) depending on where you travel to in the country. 

By June you will start to see 70°F (20°C), with summers getting into the 90s and 100s in Fahrenheit (35°C – 40°C). Again, this all depends on where you go in this massive country. The south will be hotter, the mountains will be cooler, etc. 

Almaty Kazakhstan Keryn Means

What to wear in Kazakhstan


Almaty is a very cosmopolitan city with many western influences. You will find shops like Zara, Mango, Oysha, and more stores you will find in Western Europe and even the United States. With these shops, you will see a wide range of styles, from fully covered muslim women to ladies in tank tops and skirts. 

Generally, the younger the person the more skin they are willing to show as they were not raised in a strictly conservative society, unless religion at home dictates it. 

Kazakhstan Keryn Means

I felt very comfortable in long flowy pants, tank tops, dresses and skirts. I did favor longer pants over shorts and tea length skirts over mini skirts. As progressive as the country is, if you don’t want to stand out too much or get looks, opt for longer rather than skimpy. 

Jeans are perfectly acceptable, and as with the rest of Europe, sneakers (trainers) were the norm even for the women. The super dressed up and four-inch heels of the soviet era are long gone. Professional, yet comfortable is what you will see in the cities. 

Obviously, keep an eye on the weather, as long and flowy is great in the summer, but you may want a few more layers in fall and spring. Winter is COLD, so pack extra layers and bundle up. 

Kazakhstan Keryn Means

When you will need to cover your head and shoulders

One thing to note is that if you plan to visit any churches or mosques, you must have a scarf to cover your head and shoulders.

Many churches provide them at the entrance if you forget. Wear longer pants if you know you will be going into a mosque, or you may be denied entrance, even as a tourist.

No matter your religious or personal views on the matter, it is just respectful to adhere to the customs of the places you would like to visit. You are entering THEIR world. Now is not the time to force your views onto them.

Kazakhstan Keryn Means


The mountains are generally colder by a good 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer days are pleasant and may only require a t-shirt, while nights get chilly. You will want a sweatshirt or light jacket even in the summer months. 

If you plan on hiking in the fall, spring or summer, check out our hiking packing list for women to make sure you have all of the essentials you will need. 

Winter brings the snow, as well as skiing, so pack what you would normally wear on the ski hill- ski jackets, snowboard pants or ski pants, boots, wool socks, etc. 

Almaty Kazakhstan Keryn Means


The villages are a bit more conservative than the city. I felt more comfortable in t-shirts and longer pants, partially because people dressed more simply, but also there are mosquitos and ticks in the woods and forested areas, as well as the sun can burn your skin fast if you don’t cover up or wear proper protection and sunscreen. 

Read our guide to preventing tick bites when you travel

Food in Kazakhstan

Kazakh Food

I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t a huge fan of Kazakh cuisine. To be fair, we didn’t eat anything in Almaty or the surrounding towns except traditional Kazakh food, despite there being many international restaurants serving South Korean food, sushi, Italian, and I’m pretty sure I even saw a British pub. 

Horse Meat Kazakhstan

Horse Meat

Yes, it is true– the Kazakh people eat horse meat. Is it weird? Yes, as an American, it is weird to hear that an entire country raises and then eats their horses. However, they aren’t the only country who eats horse. 

You can get horse steak in Iceland, along with Mongolia, Japan, China, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Indonesia and Poland.

You do not HAVE to eat horse meat if you don’t want to. Just order something else, or give it a try and decide for yourself if you like it.

Mare’s Milk and Camel Milk

Other Kazakh delicacies you may be offered are mare’s milk and camels milk. These have a more fermented, almost vinegar-like flavor, so beware if this isn’t your thing.

You are allowed to refuse it when offered in a restaurant.

Baursak Bread

Baursak Bread

There are a lot of different breads you can eat in Kazakhstan, but by far the most famous is Baursak. This fluffy, almost donut-like bread is airy and light, and perfection when it comes straight from the fire (just be careful not to burn your tongue on hot oil). 

Most are served plan, although sometimes a little side of butter or sugar may be offered. 

Just beware that if you have any growing boys or children who love carbs in your family, these little dough rolls will be gone in seconds. You might want to order a double serving. 

Fresh Fish in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is landlocked, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get fresh fish. One of the best meals we had was royal trout caught in the local lake and fried whole the next day.

It was probably the best fish I have ever eaten, and as a pescateran (for the most part), I have eaten a LOT of fish. 

Food in Kazakhstan

Can you survive as a vegetarian in Kazakhstan

The short answer is yes, you can still eat if you are a vegetarian and you won’t starve while in the country.

However, you may have to be a bit more flexible, as you won’t always know every ingredient in a dish (soup stock is particularly tricky), and your options may be very limited. 

Almost every meal had a salad of sorts. I ate a lot of cucumbers and tomatoes, plus beet salad. There may be boiled potatoes, or you can pick around the meat on the national dish– Beshbarmak– and just eat the handmade noodles.

There will still be a few flecks of meat on the noodles and definitely some flavor, but at least you won’t have to eat huge chunks of horse meat, lamb or beef. 

Kaindy Lake Kazakhstan

Can you drink the water in Kazakhstan?

No. The tap water in Kazakhstan is not drinkable. You will want to buy bottled water or pack a lifestraw bottle or GRAYL GeoPress that has a built-in water purifier, making any tap water (and even mountain stream water), safe to drink. 

Almaty Kazakhstan

How to Plan a Trip to Almaty Kazakhstan

NOTE: my trip to Kazakhstan was made possible through support provided by USAID’s Trade Central Asia activity and the SATW Digital Publishers Council. As always, my opinions are my own, and not that of the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

Best time to visit Almaty

Late spring and early fall are the best times to visit Almaty. The snow and cold weather has disappeared or not shown its face again yet, but the summer heat hasn’t taken over either. 

Flights to Kazakhstan

Looking for the best flights to Kazakhstan? We love to track flights via Expedia.com. Not only do we find great rates, but we earn points to use on future travel too.

You can also stalk GOING (formerly called Scott’s Cheap Flights) for deals that pop up every now and then to Kazakhstan. I am a Premiere member and have scored more than one cheap flight to Europe this way.

Hotels in Almaty

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links. If you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission, which does not add anything to the price for you. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Check out MORE Almaty Hotels that fit your budget.

Is breakfast included in an Almaty Hotel? 

It all depends on what hotel you book. Many will offer a continental breakfast with the price of your room, but some, especially the super fancy ones, may make you order a la carte. 

Monuments and Memorials in Almaty Kazakhstan
Monuments and Memorials in Almaty Kazakhstan

Things to do in Almaty

Monuments Tour

If you are into war memorials and political monuments, Almaty is the place for you to be. There are several monuments throughout the city that celebrate past military victories, independence from the USSR, the first president of Kazakhstan and other notable figures. 

Even if you don’t like memorials and monuments, you will see these massive structures and statues as you wander the city, so stop to check them out and learn a little more about this commercial capital of Kazakhstan (the actual government capital is in Astana).

Presidents Park Almaty Kazakhstan
Presidents Park Almaty Kazakhstan

President’s Park

Opened in 2010, President’s Park was named after the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This sprawling urban park is filled with paths to wander, statues celebrating Kazakh heroes and a fountain you will find kids swimming in on hot summer days. 

Feel free to escape the concrete of the city and cool off in the shade of the trees at this beautiful park whenever you visit. The people watching is pretty fun too. 

Panfilov Park Almaty Kazakhstan

Panfilov Park

Walk through Panfilov Park to Zenkov Cathedral, but don’t miss the war memorials, monuments and museums along the way. The park canals are worth following, as many will bring you to little gardens, especially around the church and museum. 

Panfilov Park Almaty Kazakhstan

The Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen

According to local history, the guardsmen were an Alma-Ata Infantry that defended Moscow against the German invading army during WWII. There is some debate over renaming this monument though as many believe the story of the guardsmen was greatly exaggerated. 

More Memorials in Panfilov Park
  • Memorial of Glory
  • Monument to Bauyrzhan Momyshuly
  • Monument to Ivan Panfilov
  • Monument to Tokash Bokin
  • Monument to Afghan warriors
  • Second World War Monument
Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments Almaty Kazakhstan

Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments

The Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments was built in 1908 in Panfilov Park at the same time as the Ascension Cathedral, which is located nearby in the park. It was originally the House of Officers, but in 1980 was repurposed as the musical instruments museum. 

There are several halls that celebrate musical instruments of Kazakhstan, the Turkic people, wind and percussion instruments, such as the dauylpaz, dudyga, shyn, asatayak and dabyl, and the many musicians and composers who have contributed to the musical history of the region. 

More museums in Almaty
  • Central State Museum of Kazakhstan
  • A. Kasteyev State Museum of Arts
  • Auezov Home Museum
  • Baitursynov Home Museum
  • Kasteev Home Museum
  • Kunaev Home Museum
  • Museum of Archaeology
  • Museum Complex of S. Mukanov and G. Musrepov
  • Nature Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Satbayev Memorial Museum
  • Tlendiyev Memorial Museum
Almaty Kazakhstan

Zenkov Cathedral: Temple of the Holy Ascension

The Zenkov Cathedral, located in Panfilov Park, was by far my favorite site in the city of Almaty. This wooden, Greek Orthodox church is one of the largest wooden churches in the world, and it uses no nails. 

The exterior is a bright and sunny yellow, while the interior is a bit more moody, and yet equally as elaborate with paintings throughout, ornate ceilings, tile work and a stunning alter. 

Zenkov Cathedral: Temple of the Holy Ascension Almaty Kazakhstan
Zenkov Cathedral: Temple of the Holy Ascension Almaty Kazakhstan

If you visit, ladies must remember to bring a scarf to cover their heads (a coat rack of scarves is available just inside the door if you forget, but who knows when they were last washed).

Even if you are not religious, please respect the customs of others and cover your head, shoulders and knees whenever possible in churches in Kazakhstan. If you would like to not respect these customs, please refrain from entering religious buildings.

Almaty Shopping Mall Kazakhstan

Shopping Malls in Almaty

Like much of Asia, and the rest of the world, Almaty is home to several very large, modern indoor shopping malls. Most feature western shops and brands, and although the exchange rate is great, you won’t find many discounts on luxury goods here.

Armani, Gucci and Versace are still expensive for us commoners no matter where they are sold in the world. 

These shopping malls are a great place to cool off though since they are air conditioned, and many have grocery stores inside if you are in need of snacks. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find all of the western brand toiletries I tend to travel with, plus loads of baby products parents stress about when they travel with a baby (there were plenty of Pampers diapers, organic wipes, Scent free/ sensitive skin laundry detergent, pacifiers, Gerber baby food, etc.). I was also able to find alternative milk options like nut milks, oat milk and coconut milk, as well as loads of snacks. 

TIP: always check out the chip (or crisps) aisle in a grocery store. The flavor of Pringles and potato chips is fascinating– prawn, lobster, ketchup, and more are ready for you to try. 

Green Bazaar Almaty  Kazakhstan
Green Bazaar Almaty  Kazakhstan

Green Bazaar

Personally, I can’t go to a country with a market and not go, even if it’s a simple farmer’s market. And Almaty boasts a very impressive one.

The Green Bazaar is MASSIVE.

You may think its just the spice and food market you see when you first walk in, but start going down a level (or two) and outside and you will find that this sprawling market is a maze of clothing, home goods, plants, prepared foods, produce, footwear, electronics and anything else you could possibly need to live in Almaty or visit for a few days. 

Almaty  Kazakhstan

Ayusai Visitor Center at Ile-Alatau National Park

Outdoor lovers will want to make sure they take the bus (or car) ride out to the Ayusai visitor center located in Ile-Alatau National Park, which is located within the Tian Shan Mountains. 

These mountains are home to the famous snow leopards, although your chances of seeing one are VERY slim. 

The visitor center features a cafe, a few camping/lodging options, and an artist area for gallery shows and workshops. 

Ayusai Visitor Center at Ile-Alatau National Park

Hiking trails around Ayusai Visitor Center

What draws most people to this part of the park is the hiking trails. Throw on your deet bug spray (we use this one) to combat the local ticks, put on your hiking boots and start walking. 

There are numerous paths to tackle, but ask the visitor center staff if you are looking for something in particular, like waterfalls, the best wildlife spotting areas, or rocks to climb. 

Falcon Show Kazakhstan
Falcon Show (Sunkar Show) at Sunkar Center

Falcon Show (Sunkar Show) at Sunkar Center

Falconry is a Kazakh tradition that goes back thousands of years. At the Sunkar Center you can get a taste of how the Kazakh people have used birds of prey to hunt using falcons, eagles, owls and other gorgeous birds for centuries.

A horse even shows up in the show as an example of how the Kazakh tribes hunted for their villages. 

Falcon Show (Sunkar Show) at Sunkar Center

The show is lively and entertaining, as well as interactive. The host brings the birds around to say hello and gives you the chance to feed a juvenile owl raw chicken feet (yes, it’s as gross to handle as it sounds, but still a fun experience). 

Shows are by ticket only and last less than an hour. Each bird is only taken out for a few minutes to cause as little stress as possible. 

Kok Tobe Almaty Kazakhstan

Skyhigh views of the city at Kok Tobe

Take the tram up to Kok Tobe for family fun and great views overlooking Almaty. Not only is there a nice breeze and gelato at the top of the gondola ride, but there are also amusement park rides and games. Those who are daring can even take the mountain coaster down the hill (I was not, but my kids would have been on it multiple times). 

Hun Village Kazakhstan Festivals and Events

Kazakhstan Festivals and Events

There are several festivals and events in Kazakhstan every year, but if you are only going to visit the country for one, head to the Almaty Apple Fest in September.

almaty kazakhstan apple festival

It’s delicious, beautiful and really shows off the city in all its “apple” glory. After all, Almaty means “apple city.” 

  • Constitution Day (late January)
  • Nauryz (March)
  • National Unity Day (May 1)
  • Kokmaisa Festival (early May)
  • Victory Day (May)
  • Day of the Capital City/ Astana Day (July)
  • Uba Chants Ethnic Folk Festival (Mid-July)
  • Burabike Fest (late August)
  • Okunkol Fishing Fest (early September)
  • Almaty Apple Festival (mid-September)
  • Nomad Games (September 2024)
  • Republic Day (late October)
  • Kansonar Fest: International Falconry Competition (mid-December)
  • Kurban Ait or Kurban Bayram: Date varies by year
  • Russian Orthodox Easter: Date varies by year
Oi-Qaragai Lesnaya Skazka Mountain Resort

Best Day Trips from Almaty

Oi-Qaragai Lesnaya Skazka Mountain Resort

If you are looking for a true getaway to the mountains, you will want to visit Oi-Qaragai. This ski resort is the perfect place to stay cool in the summer months, has a spa that is very affordable thanks to the exchange rate for American, Canadian and European travelers, and decent food onsite. 

Oi-Qaragai Lesnaya Skazka Mountain Resort

Even more fun are their accommodation options. You can stay in a villa with friends and family, or book a treehouse in the woods for just you and your best friend.

The tree houses (and yurts!) can also fit a family of four, as there are hanging bunks that connect onto the walls. It’s snug, but with the outdoor deck space you will have plenty of room. 

Even if you don’t stay the night, you can come out for the day to ride horses, go on the longest zip line in the country, play on the ropes course, or enjoy a number of other activities at the resort. 

Oi-Qaragai Lesnaya Skazka Mountain Resort
Here is me modeling what NOT to wear on a horse!

Oh, and parents, there is a kids club you can drop your kids at for hours on end (except you will need to grab them for meals– sorry). 

Keep in mind that there are ticks in this area, so if the kids want to roll down the ski hill in the summer months, wrap them up in a towel first (all of the local families do it!) and triple check for ticks every single morning and before you go to bed. 

Not sure what ticks look like? Check out our full guide to lyme disease

Charyn Canyon Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon National Park

Known as the Grand Canyon of Kazakhstan, Charyn Canyon National Park is much easier to hike than you would think. I opted to hike across the ridge for views of the canyon from above and to look down at the river below. I had friends walk the canyon floor to the lake for beautiful views of the river from the river banks, and they said it was just as lovely. 

Be forewarned that it can be very hot in this canyon, so bring plenty of water for your hike and a little cash to grab a nice cold, freshly-pressed juice at the cafe afterwards. 

Medeu-Shymbulak Kazakhstan
Medeu-Shymbulak Kazakhstan

Skiing and hiking in Medeu-Shymbulak

One of the largest ski resorts in Central Asia, Shymbulak is the perfect spot to ski while you are exploring Kazakhstan in winter. The ski resort is open year round, with a few of the chairlifts running so you can get higher up the mountain in the summer months, but other than that, it’s not as much fun as the winter months. 

There is a hotel with a pool and several restaurants and cafes to enjoy the views from the outdoor terraces, perfect for a little apres ski. 

Grab more ideas in our friend’s guide to the best DAY TRIPS FROM ALMATY Kazakhstan

Medeu-Shymbulak Kazakhstan

If you are in Kazakhstan in the winter, make sure you check out the highest skating rink in the world at Medeu. This rink is used to train speed skaters, but the public can access it during open hours as well.

The complex is HUGE, so definitely check it out if you are skiing anyway, but need a break from the mountain. 

kazakhstan travel guide

Best Overnight Trip from Almaty

Sometimes you just want to get out of the city and experience what Kazakhstan is really known for– their incredible lakes, mountains and outdoor experiences. Here is just a small taste of what you can see on an overnight trip from Almaty (a day trip might be a bit too much). 

Kolasi Lake Kazakhstan

Kolasi Lake

Head to this gorgeous lake to ride horses, paddle around the lake or do some hiking. You can not swim in this clear blue lake in the mountains, but you are welcome to enjoy all of the amenities, camp or even rent a cabin. 

The lake is very easy to access via footpaths and a stone road that horses and humans can walk down from the parking lot up above. You can rent rowboats and paddle boats from the local dock to explore even more of the lake if you like. 

Kaindy Lake Kazakhstan

Kaindy Lake

Possibly Kazakhstan’s most recognizable outdoor site, Kaindy Lake shows up on screensavers on our computers and Amazon Echo Show all of the time. But why? 

In 1911, an earthquake caused a landslide in this spruce forest, creating a crater in a portion of the forest. Rain filled in the crater to create a 1,300-foot lake. Today, this forest is in an almost suspended state of decay.

The trees are dead; the roots are drowned, but thanks to the frigid water temperatures (rarely does it get above 43 degrees F), the trees have endured.

The water is so clear that you can still see the tree roots floating down below from one of the observation areas. 

Kaindy Lake Kazakhstan

How to get to Kaindy Lake

Unlike Kolasi Lake, Kaindy Lake is a bit of a trek to get to and visit. You need to hire a local “taxi,” which is an old Soviet-era 4×4 truck, just outside of the park to get to the path that takes you to the lake.

From the taxi parking lot within the park, you can take a smaller Jeep up to the closer path to the lake, or you can walk or hire a horse to take you from that first parking lot to the lake. 

Kaindy Lake Kazakhstan

Be prepared for a STEEP hike down to the lake, and then an exhausting walk back up (if you aren’t in great shape). It’s safe, but you want to watch your footing and maybe have your hiking poles ready. 

The climb is worth it though, as well as the nominal expense to hire a truck and a taxi (the taxi was about US$1 to put prices into perspective for you. The truck might have been US$5). 

Black Canyon Kazakhstan

Black Canyon

The Black Canyon is easy to stop at for a few photos and a nice walk, before heading onto your next destination. You can definitely pop in for a peek on your way too or from Kaindy and Kolsky Lake and Almaty. 

Horses in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan FAQ

Where is Kazakhstan located?

Kazakhstan is a landlocked country located in Central Asia, bordered by Russia to the north and northwest, China to the east, Kyrgyzstan to the southeast, Uzbekistan to the south, Turkmenistan to the southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west.

What is the capital city of Kazakhstan?

The capital and largest city of Kazakhstan is Nur-Sultan, more commonly known as Astana. It became the capital in 1997, replacing Almaty.

What is the official language of Kazakhstan?

The official language of Kazakhstan is Kazakh, which is spoken by the majority of the population. Russian is also widely spoken and considered an official language of the country, but the Kazakh people would prefer you try to speak to them in Kazakh if you are going to try at all. .

Horses in Kazakhstan

What is the population of Kazakhstan?

As of 2023, the estimated population of Kazakhstan is around 19.6 million people.

What is the climate like in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan has a continental climate, meaning it has hot summers and cold winters. However, since the country is so large, the weather can be different from one end to the other. The northern regions will have colder temperatures, while the southern areas will be more moderate. Spring and autumn tend to be short seasons, so plan your trip according to what you would like to do (like skiing).

Mountains in Kazakhstan

What are some popular tourist destinations in Kazakhstan?

  • Almaty: The former capital city known for its beautiful mountain landscapes, cultural attractions, and vibrant nightlife. Also, apples, as the land used to be filled with apple orchards.
  • Astana/ Nur-Sultan: The capital of Kazakhstan is known for its impressive architecture, including the Bayterek Tower and the Astana Opera.
  • Charyn Canyon: this natural wonder is often compared to the Grand Canyon in the United States, although on a MUCH smaller scale
  • Baikonur Cosmodrome: The world’s first and largest operational space launch facility, where manned space missions are launched.
  • Lake Balkhash: One of the largest lakes in Asia, known for its geological features and wildlife.
Kazakhstan breads

What are the traditional dishes of Kazakhstan?

  • Beshbarmak: A dish made with boiled meat (typically lamb or beef) served on a bed of wide noodles, usually topped with white onion or green onion.
  • Kazy: A type of horse meat sausage, often served during special occasions and celebrations.
  • Manty: Steamed dumplings filled with meat and onions.
  • Plov: A rice dish cooked with meat, carrots, onions, and spices.
  • Shubat: A traditional fermented camel milk beverage.

While you should try foods that are offered to you to be polite and culturally sensitive, if you are unwilling to eat meat offered, kindly say you are a vegetarian… and then don’t eat meat again the rest of the trip. 

Is Kazakhstan a safe country to visit?

Kazakhstan is generally considered safe for travelers. Always check travel advisories for the latest safety information before your trip, and register with your local embassy (of your home country) so they know you will be there in case of emergency.

Kazakhstan mountains

What is the currency of Kazakhstan?

The currency of Kazakhstan is the Kazakhstani tenge (KZT). Always exchange currency at official exchange offices or banks, as unauthorized currency exchange can be risky.

The ATMs are a good spot to grab cash as well. Just make sure it is associated with a real bank. Most of the malls will have a wall of ATMs and even a bank branch inside.

Are there any visa requirements for visiting Kazakhstan?

Visa requirements for visiting Kazakhstan vary depending on your nationality. Some countries have visa-free agreements, while others require a visa.

It’s best to check with the Kazakhstani embassy website to determine the specific visa requirements for your country.

Kazakhstan fruit trees

What are some important cultural aspects of Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan is greatly influenced by its nomadic traditions and the fusion of a variety of ethnic groups. Here’s just a bit about what you can expect from the people of Kazakhstan.

  • Hospitality: Kazakh people are known for their warm hospitality and generosity towards guests.
  • Traditional arts: Music, dance, and handicrafts such as embroidery, weaving, and carpet-making, are all part of the Kazakhstan art scene.
  • Nomadic heritage: The nomadic lifestyle has played a significant role in shaping Kazakh culture and traditions, including horsemanship and falconry, as well as the mingling of people from across Europe and Asia.
  • National holidays: Kazakhstan celebrates various national holidays, including Nauryz Meyrami (the Persian New Year) and Independence Day on December 16th.

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Kazakhstan Guide: First Trip to Central Asia
Kazakhstan Guide: First Trip to Central Asia
Kazakhstan Guide: First Trip to Central Asia

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