Almaty Region, Kazakhstan

15 reasons why you should travel to Kazakhstan right now

Polina Katorzhina Polina Katorzhina 15 January 2021
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What are the sights of Kazakhstan? Where to travel in Kazakhstan? Where to take photos? Is it worth it to get a Kazakhstan visa and travel to Kazakhstan, Asia? Ask these questions and doubt about the choice of place? Kazakhstan has much more to offer than people realize. Before I visited this country, I didn't even know what to expect from this trip. Most of my friends were surprised to choose a country to travel to because they didn't know anything. I didn't know anything either, but now I have something to tell you and how to convince you to travel around Kazakhstan. You have no idea how hospitable they are, this is a country with many different religions and ethnic groups living together in harmony. Below I will tell you about 15 reasons to travel to Kazakhstan.

1. Visa-free regime

visa

Are you tired of wasting precious time collecting boring documents? Now there is no need to worry! Since 2017 Kazakhstan has introduced a visa-free regime for 48 countries! USA, UK, most of Europe, Japan, New Zealand - and this is only a small part! Many nationalities can get a Kazakhstan e-visa. Just in case, specify the status of your country in the embassy of Kazakhstan

2. Hospitable people and a safe country for travel

kazakh man

Are you wondering is it safe to travel to Kazakhstan? Cities of Kazakhstan are open not only for groups of tourists but also for single travellers. Now there is no doubt that this is a very peaceful country, massive wars and conflicts in recent years have bypassed this country. Thanks to the fight against corruption, improved security of roads and railways, hospitable Kazakhstan people strive to show the wonders of their nature, now is the safest time to visit this stunning country.

On the other hand, this nation has spent much of Kazakhstan history in endless wars and conflicts. People here know what grief and misfortune are. Locals, like any other people in the East, are very patient and indulgent, which is why they prefer to settle disputes by peaceful means. Massive steppe life has taught them to appreciate peace. Of course, at such a time, due to urbanization and globalization, people lose their roots and traditions, forget who their ancestors are, erase national traits and characters that distinguish people. But when you come here, in the steppe, having swallowed clean air and plunged into the atmosphere of the hospitality of the population of Kazakhstan, you will start to feel quite differently.

3. Easy flights

flights

The capital of Kazakhstan - Nur Sultan, has an excellent international airport, which is one of the largest in the country, and almost all major airlines are continually making flights from Frankfurt, Istanbul, Dubai and other major cities. 

Do you suffer from time zone changes after landing? do you get lost in time and days? No wonder that long flights exhaust your strength and take away the first day of the long-awaited journey. Luckily, you have got to the right place! Why not spend the first day in the laziest mode, strolling from one excellent cafe to another and trying all kinds of national dishes.

The zest of restaurants in the most beautiful city of Kazakhstan Almaty is the pleasure of life on the summer terraces, for a leisurely conversation with good tea, coffee or tasty hookah. And if you are incredibly hungry - welcome to numerous restaurants of national cuisine! However, the "casual atmosphere" is not just food. How about SPA procedures? Try, for example, the legendary Soviet sauna Arasan or summer resort, located high in the Tien Shan mountains near the Great Almaty Lake; all kinds of saunas, massages, peelings, nourishing masks - devote this day only to yourself!

4. Kazakh hospitality

kazakh children

It is already well known that Kazakhstan people are very hospitable. It is in their blood, I would say more - it is their national tradition. In Kazakhstan, they say that every guest in the steppe is God. If you don't receive guests well, it means you are angry with God. Kazakhs believe in many legends, legends and deities, and they say that you can never know in what image a saint will come to you. That is why people accept any visitor as if they have known you all your life, hoping that any meeting with the guests will bring long-awaited happiness. 

So, tourists, especially those who travelled far away, are very warmly received by the population of Kazakhstan. If you were invited, do not refuse; you can hurt people. When Kazakhs are waiting for guests in their homes, the whole family is preparing. (they set the table, but delicious food, people put on the most beautiful and expensive clothes). In the old days, when Kazakhs lived in the steppe, any traveller could stay in their house and ask for rest and bed. To refuse was a great sin. Any owner of the house was happy to receive guests. First, he had to feed and drink the guest without any extra words to provide the necessary rest, and only then he could ask him who he was and where he was going. Only after that, the owner of the house could devote himself with all his soul to endless and fascinating conversations and stories with the traveller. Kazakhs have always had beautiful and fascinating fairy tales. I think many folk tales were born from such discussions and conversations with guests. Read the stories of these people, and you will understand their souls.

5. Huge country

house

It is the 9th largest country in the world, but the number of inhabitants is small about the territory. The population of Kazakhstan, according to official data, is only about 17 million people. This is a small number if we compare it with the size of the country. Approximately half of the inhabitants already live in big cities, but still many people live in rural areas.
Life here, for various reasons, is not so easy. Today, life in a village and a small provincial town is far from the comfort and benefits of the so-called civilization. In contrast to living in large cities and large centres. That is why people today receive guests in different ways. I think that in villages and small townspeople are more hearty and hospitable. The lifestyle here is not as crazy and fast as in big Kazakh cities. People here are even closer to Mother Nature. So, if you want to know the real Kazakh hospitality, you need to go to the Kazakh hinterland.

6. One of the most expensive and successful countries in the region

nature of kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is the most economically developed country among the five states of Central Asia. It has moved from lower-middle to upper-middle-income in just two decades. This is mainly due to the oil produced in the country. Mostly in Kazakhstan cities, you will be surprised to see how developed and modern everything is.

Of course, this is not necessarily an occasion to visit Kazakhstan, but with the development comes a little comfort. Also, it has something to tell about its success and what to show to the most desperate travellers.  

7. Multinationality amazes

building art

Kazakhstan is a very multinational country, where people from all over the world live. It is one of the most multicultural places I have ever been to because 126 ethnic groups live on this piece of land. The two largest groups are Kazakhs and Russians because of Kazakhstan's rather sad history. From 1936 to 1991, Kazakhstan was the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, one of the transcontinental republics of the Soviet Union. In the 1930s, up to 40% of Kazakhs died of hunger or fled the country. Eventually, Kazakhstan was home to almost all the ethnic groups that had ever fallen under Russian control.

The Kazakhstan people accept absolutely everyone, and this country is a country of diverse religious and ethnic diversity, with tolerance as a cultural value. In fact, under the influence of Kazakh culture, all peoples adopt this trait (Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Germans, Tatars, Koreans and many others).

8. Kazakh holidays

kazakh traditional clothes

Unique theme - holidays. The Kazakhs call it "Toy" in their language, i.e. a banquet or a wedding. This ancient word also has another meaning: "to be sated", "to eat a lot", "to eat". For example, after a good meal, Kazakhs speak Kazakh: 'Toi', i.e. 'I am fed'. 

In ancient times, the holidays in the Kazakh steppe were different from today. Rich people arranged big Toi, which were divided into two parts: time for festivities and time for fun. Thousands of people were invited; guests came from far away. In Kazakh epos, there is even a stable expression "thirty days have fun, and forty days have a feast". In those good old days, Kazakhs spent a month in games and entertainment, including horse racing, archery, wrestling and other folk entertainments. Any person could participate. Today Kazakhs also like holidays very much, sometimes tourists who come to our country, think that the residents of this country all year round only celebrate some holidays.

9. Unique nature and the image of landscapes

kazakhstan landscape

Did you know that Kazakhstan ranks ninth in the world by land? It has everything you can imagine - surreal landscapes such as vast steppes, breathtaking mountains, deserts, gorgeous lakes, canyons and much more. There are over 100 protected natural areas. Kazakhstan is truly the embodiment of the dream of the nature lover and all living things.

One of the best places to start acquaintance with nature is Ile-Alatau National Park, which consists of lakes, waterfalls and glaciers. My next recommendation will be Big Almaty Lake. It is a landmark that can not be missed; it is known for its stunning emerald waters. Lake Issyk-Kul and the Turgen gorge are also breathtaking!

Other Kazakhstan tourist attractions are the Kolsai Lakes and Lake Kaindy. On this lake, one of the few flooded forests in the world is located. You probably only in the movies could see how the trunks of trees rise above the lake, a very surreal spectacle.

Canyons in Kazakhstan? Of course! They are located about 3 hours drive from the largest city of Kazakhstan - Almaty. There are five different canyons, ranging from sandstones of different shades (from dark orange to light brown) to the Valley of Castles.

The large plateau of Ustyurt has long attracted travellers from all over the world. It attracts travellers with its lunar landscapes. The unique beauty of this place will allow you to move to other galaxies, forgetting in your dreams. Travelling through the plateau, you can see such a rare phenomenon as perfectly round stone balls, salt lake and other beauties.

Once you visit Ustyurt, you will always have memories of this beautiful journey.

10. Great cities

city of kazakhstan

Besides nature, the cities of Kazakhstan boast impressive buildings, both modern and ancient.

Almaty is the largest city in the country and the former capital of Kazakhstan. It is one of the financial and cultural centres of Central Asia. Majestic Tien Shan mountains surround Almaty, so the panorama of the city is magnificent. For many tourists, the starting point of their journey is Almaty. 

The capital of Kazakhstan - Nur-Sultan (formerly known as Astana) appeared in 1997. Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa designed the city, and there are many futuristic buildings, they seem to be from the future. Baiterek Tower is one of the icons of the city, which must be visited!

11. Turkestan

turkestan

Turkestan is a relatively well-preserved city with a 1600-year history, where you will find ancient mausoleums, archaeological sites and other unique human creations. If you want to learn more about the historical heritage of this magnificent country, why not go here?

For me, the highlight of my travel to Kazakhstan was a visit to the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan. This is the most significant architectural monument of Kazakhstan and the leading pilgrimage site. The mausoleum is dedicated to the first great Turkic Muslim saint - Kozha Akhmed Yasawi, and was built in the late 14th century. Even though this building is unfinished because the architect died before it was completed, it is still one of the most beautiful mosaic works you have ever seen. 

12. For the thrifty travellers

traveler

Kazakhstan is ideal not only for adventurers but also for travellers with a limited budget! Although it is such a big country, travelling from one place to another is easy. 

Most cities in Kazakhstan also have many opportunities for accommodation, such as hostels. You can get a bed in a hostel for a few dollars a night and a double room for 10-12 dollars. In smaller cities, there are fewer options, but most places near Kazakhstan tourist attractions have Guesthouses for about $6-7 per night.

13. Very easy moving within the country

railway in kazakhstan

It is effortless to move around the cities of Kazakhstan, especially between major cities. I advise you to move between cities by car or train, and it is economical and swift. The railway in Kazakhstan is excellent, and all-important centres are very well connected.

If you choose to travel by car and are going to go to some natural places, nature reserves, etc., you will need an all-terrain vehicle or something else with big wheels and not afraid of dirt and sand, as the roads are different everywhere. I would recommend that you hire a driver who knows the area. 

14. Nomadic lifestyle

yurt

Kazakhstan is known for the nomadic lifestyle of its ancestors, and today you can still experience what it was like to live like a nomad!

Nomads live in a yurt (in Kazakh kyz or Russian yurt), which is a mobile (and folding) round tent consisting of a wooden frame covered with leather or felt. It is incredible how it has been used by nomads for centuries, but the design has remained almost unchanged, even after so much time! 

There are several companies in the city that conduct yurt tours so that you can feel like a nomad. Believe me, and you will not remain indifferent to this kind of entertainment!  

15. Traditional Central Asian cuisine

cuisine

Probably the most crucial attraction of Kazakhstan, among others - Kazakh cuisine! Because of the cold winter season, vegetarianism and veganism are rarely practised in this country, so you are likely to see a wide range of meat (lamb or horse) and milk dishes. Nevertheless, the capital of Kazakhstan may surprise you with an abundance of diverse cuisine. Most of the plates of this country have unique flavours of spices mixed with Asian and European notes. 

One of the mandatory dishes is beshbarmak, which is usually considered the main dish. Beshbarmak, in translation, means "five fingers" because nomads traditionally eat it with their hands. Horse or lamb meat is boiled, then mixed with noodles and seasoned with herbs. Before you start with this dish, you will be served shoppe (mutton broth) and then Beshbarmak.

Other popular dishes are Lagman (stewed noodles with beef and tomatoes in beef broth), a manta (for example, dumplings, usually stuffed with lamb or beef with black pepper), and small snacks such as raw (fried dough, for instance, donuts). Kazakhs also have a culture of drinking tea and yoghurt drinks along with food.

Now that I have devoted you to all the places, wonders, peculiarities and Kazakhstan tourist attractions, I hope you have already planned the date of your future trip!

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Polina Katorzhina

Polina was born in a small provincial town of Orsk, Russia. She loves water elements, and for 4 years she professionally engaged in swimming and has achievements in this field. By 2020 she has visited five countries and made sure that knowledge of foreign languages is the most necessary skill, that's why she has been studying English for 2 years. However, this is all a hobby for her. Her biggest dream is to become a cardiac surgeon. That's why she moved to Moscow a year ago. Having passed a considerable number of exams, she entered the best Medical University in the country - Moscow State Medical University named after Sechenov. Now she studies and dreams of saving lives.

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