The Republic of Kazakhstan amazes the traveler with the grandeur of the endless steppes and the golden domes of mosques, the blue expanses of Lake Balkhash and the modern buildings of Astana. Cities of the Great Silk Road and the Baikonur Cosmodrome – all about Kazakhstan: news, maps, prices and tours.
As a country beginning with K according to Countryaah, Kazakhstan is located in the very center of Eurasia, south of the Ural Mountains. Antiquity and modernity, oriental traditions and western modernity intertwined in an unusual way here. Endless southern steppes, mountains and lakes, the Great Silk Road and the Baikonur Cosmodrome – all this is Kazakhstan. Today, the country offers tourists several travel options at once: educational excursion routes around the country, ethnic and ecotours, as well as treatment, hunting, fishing and mountaineering.
The largest of the former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan is also the ninth largest country in the world and is very rich in natural resources. Since independence, the development of the country has been progressing by leaps and bounds. It is enough to look at modern Astana to be convinced of this. At the same time, in remote regions, travelers can discover the untouched nature of Kazakhstan: deserts, ancient cities, beautiful, almost alpine landscapes.
Cities and regions
The capital is Astana (since March 2019, the capital has been renamed Nur-Sultan). A popular ski resort is Chimbulak.
A complete list of cities in the country is on the page cities and resorts of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is located in two time zones with standard time UTC + 5 (for example, Aktau and Uralsk) and UTC + 6 (Alma-Ata, Astana, Pavlodar). There is no transition to daylight saving time.
How to get to Kazakhstan
Daily regular flights Moscow- Astana and Moscow- Alma-Ata are operated by Air Astana. The duration of the flight to Astana is 3.5 hours, to Alma-Ata – 4.5 hours. In addition, several times a week there are flights from Moscow and other Russian cities to Chimkent, Karaganda, Atyrau, Kustanai and Aktau. You can read more about airports in Kazakhstan on our page.
Railway communication connects Kazakhstan with many regions of Russia. The road from Moscow to Astana takes 56-60 hours (trains run daily), to Alma-Ata – 78 hours (trains run every other day). There are also trains and trailers to Karaganda, Pavlodar and other cities.
Details on how to get to the popular region of Kazakhstan – Aktau.
Kazakhstan phone numbers
Embassy of Kazakhstan in Moscow: Chistoprudny Boulevard, 3a; Tel.: +7 (495) 627-18-12, 627-17-16, 627-18-16; website
Embassy of Russia in Astana: st. Baraeva, 4; tel.: (7172) 222-483, 222-696, 221-592; consular department phone: (7172) 221-618, fax: 326-521; Web site
Consulate General in Alma-Ata: st. Dzhandosova, 4; tel.: (7272) 746-122; Web site
Russian Consulate General in Uralsk: st. Ocean, 78; Tel.: (7112) 511-626; website
Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Ust-Kamenogorsk: st. Ordzhonikidze, 2; tel.: (7232) 262-959
City transport is mainly represented by buses and minibuses, in Almaty trams are also added to them. The fare in minibuses is not much higher than in ordinary city buses, but they run more often and until late. Fares are usually posted on the windshield, side window or in the cabin – just like ours.
Taxis are available in all major cities. In most “motors” meters are an unnecessary excess: they are either absent altogether or not turned on by the driver – so the price must be negotiated in advance. Taxis can be ordered by phone, via the Internet or simply caught on the street. In addition to official taxis, you can use the services of a private driver: it is cheaper, but such a trip is at your own peril and risk.
Climate of Kazakhstan
The climate is sharply continental, dry. Its peculiarity is a large difference between winter and summer temperatures, dry air, low rainfall over most of the territory, long severe winters and short summers in the north, short winters and hot summers in the south. The average temperature in July is +19 °C in the north and +30 °C in the south of the country, while in January it is from -18 °C to -3 °C in the north and south, respectively.
The Kazakh word “airport” literally translates as “air house”, and is pronounced something like “e-e-e-ezhzhay”.
The best time to visit the country is spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November), summer can be too hot. Weather forecast for the cities of Kazakhstan.
The hotel base of the country is no different from the Russian one. Every year more and more high-level hotels with high-profile network prefixes appear in large cities, for example, Rixos or Radisson, and there are still unreconstructed hotels of the Soviet period. In smaller towns, there is no such choice.
Banks and exchange offices in Kazakhstan
The monetary unit of the country is Tenge (KZT), in 1 tenge 100 tiyn. Current exchange rate: 1 KZT = 0.13 RUB (1 USD = 439.38 KZT, 1 EUR = 462.23 KZT).
Banks are open from 9:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday. The lunch break is usually from 13:00 to 14:00, however, many banks work without breaks. Saturday and Sunday are days off. You can exchange money at any bank or official exchange office. Receipts are best kept before leaving the country.
We accept major European and international credit cards. They are easily accepted in large hotels, shops and restaurants in big cities. Traveler’s checks are recommended to be taken in US dollars to avoid additional exchange transactions. ATMs can be found in banks, hotels and shopping malls.
Cuisine and restaurants
In Kazakhstan, it is customary to eat with taste and slowly. The traditional Kazakh meal begins with milk drinks: guests are offered koumiss (mare’s milk), shubat (camel’s milk) or ayran (sour cow’s milk), which not only quench their thirst, but also strengthen the immune system.
Modern national cuisine includes not only native Kazakh dishes, but also many dishes of other peoples living in South Kazakhstan. Some dishes are cooked only in a tandoor – a special clay oven. It is believed that real samsa comes out only in the tandoor, and traditional cakes are also baked in it.
Entertainment and attractions in Kazakhstan
Medeo and Chimbulak are resort areas known for their unique combination of mild climate, majestic mountains and modern sports facilities, located in the foothills of the Zailiysky Alatau, 15 km from Alma-Ata. The world-famous alpine skating rink built in 1972 was opened in Medeo.
Zailiyskoe Alatau and Kengey-Alatau are majestic mountain peaks stretching in two ridges from east to west between Alma-Ata and Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. They are ideal for lovers of extreme sports: this is an area of mountain glaciers, wild rivers and valleys, among which there are many mountain trails for trekking of various lengths and steepness. Some of them approach Lake Issyk-Kul. The season here runs from June to September.
Shymkent and Taraz were once the largest cities of the Middle Ages, located on the Great Silk Road. As a rule, excursions in Shymkent include a visit to the “Holy Place” in the Sairam region and “Arystanbaba” – a place of worship for the saints. And in Taraz you can visit the Museum of History, the Mausoleum of Aisha-Bibi – a place of pilgrimage for Muslims, and the Mausoleum of Sypatai-Batyr.
The Medeo complex is the highest mountain complex in the world for winter sports with the largest area of the ice field.
The main attraction of Turkestan is the Mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yasawi (12th century). In addition, there you can visit the Turkestan fair and the famous Turkestan mosque.
Lake Balkhash, located in the east of Kazakhstan, is a unique natural formation. It is very large in area, but at the same time very small. An amazing feature of the lake: the water in its eastern half is salty, and in the western half it is quite fresh, so even the fish species that live in different parts of the lake are different.
All the details about the sights of Kazakhstan – on the page “Subtleties of tourism”.
Events in Kazakhstan
The spring festival Navruz (“New Day”) is the country’s biggest holiday. This holiday of the spring equinox and the rebirth of nature includes the traditional folk sports games “alaman-baiga” (horse racing), “kuz-kuu” (chasing a girl – don’t be scared, no one will get hurt), “kazaksha-kurez” (national wrestling), “kokpar” (fight for a goat on horseback – also without victims), as well as musical performances, a drama festival, street artists’ expositions and colorful fairs.
In August, Medeo hosts the Voices of Asia festival, in which orchestras from almost all CIS countries and Asia take part.