Why Kazakhstan is the BEST country you have ever visited?
10 REASONS TO VISIT
Planning a trip to Kazakhstan? Look no further than this comprehensive guide to the world’s ninth largest country.
From the ultra-modern capital Nur Sultan (formerely known as Astana), to alpine Almaty, desert Aral and the Caspian resort of Aktau, there is enough to keep avid adventurers occupied for some time.
As well as being a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, Kazakhstan offers plenty for those searching out more interesting destinations. The country is home to the Baikonour Cosmodrome where manned space missions start off, a former soviet nuclear testing site at Semipatalisnk, and the gulag complex at Karaganda.
Are you looking for an unforgettable adventure in the land of Great Steppe and nomads? You've probably read about this place in books or seen it in historical movies but never thought of visiting it.
Welcome to Kazakhstan - a land of picturesque landscapes, friendly people and delicious halal food! Not to mention that it's really budget-friendly too. There's just so much the world's largest landlocked country has got to offer. Ready to explore?
Why Kazakhstan is more Attractive than Any Other Country You’ve Ever Visited?
1. VIZA-FREE REGIME
You don’t want to lose your precious time collecting boring documents, right? So don’t! Since 2017 Kazakhstan introduced visa-free regime for 48 countries! US, UK, most of Europe, Japan, New Zealand – just to name few! Check your country status at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in your place.
2. PEACEFUL PEOPLE & SAFE COUNTRY FOR TRAVEL
Now has never been a better time to visit Kazakhstan. With Lonely Planet declaring Central Asia its top region for 2020, this can only be a positive endorsement of what a great time it is to discover this unique former soviet republic.
With the tackling of corruption, improved road and rail safety and a welcoming population keen to show off their beautiful country, now has never been a safer time to visit Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is safe even for solo travellers.
In general today Kazakhstan is quite safe country. Fortunately big wars and conflicts for last many years passed by this country. On other hand Kazakh people most of its history spent in endless wars and conflicts. People here know what is grief and trouble. Local people as any people of East are very patient; therefore they prefer to resolve disputes by peaceful means. Hard life in the steppe has taught our people to appreciate peace and quiet. Of course in modern times because of urbanization and globalization people are losing their roots and traditions. Everything becomes the same. National traits and characters which distinguish people are erased. Unfortunately life around the world becomes gray and monotonous. But here in this steppe life in this regard has not yet changed much. I think this is very good.
3. EASY TO FLY TO
Almaty and Nur Sultan International Airports is one of the largest in the country and almost all big air companies (such as Lufthansa, Air Astana, Turkish Airlines, Emirates and others) frequently do flights from Frankfurt, Istanbul, Dubai and other big cities. This makes Almaty perfect Silk Road gateway!
Are you suffering from jetlag? No surprise, long flights are draining the power and stealing first day of long awaited trip. Luckily you are in a right place! Why not to spend first day on a laziest mode possible strolling from one wonderful café to another even more wonderful one. Café culture in Almaty is all about enjoying life on the summer patios with leisurely talks over good tea/coffee or nice shisha. Or if you are hungry enough for more serious meals – welcome to the numerous restaurants with national cuisine! However ‘laid-back vibe’ is not only about food, right? How about some SPA-procedures? Try, for example, legendary Soviet sauna house Arasan or open-air resort located high in Tian-Shan mountains not far from Big Almaty Lake! All kinds of sauna, massages, peelings, nourishing masks – devote this day only for yourself!
4. KAZAKH HOSPITALITY
Probably it is a well known fact in the world that Kazakhs are very hospitable people. It is in their blood. This is their national tradition. Kazakhs say that every guest in the steppe is a guest of God. If you accept the guests badly it means you anger the Lord. Moreover Kazakhs believe in patron saint Kydyr (Hizr) Ata. If you meet him, you will have happiness for all your life. Kazakhs even believe that this saint came to you in a dream brings luck. But the saint comes in various images of a child, old person or beggar. Nobody knows when and in what image you will meet the saint. Therefore people welcome guests as if they accept very dear people, hoping that any meeting with the guests could bring a long-awaited happiness. Today also we respect the laws of hospitality.
So, when the guests are coming, especially from afar, people in Kazakhstan accept them very warmly. If you are invited do not refuse you can offend people. When Kazakhs wait the guests in their houses whole family is preparing. When they set the table, they put the most delicious food. They do not save money for food, it is moveton. People put on the most beautiful and expensive clothes to look nice. In old times, when Kazakhs lived in the steppe any traveler could stay in their house and ask for rest and bed. It was great sin to refuse. Any home owner accepted the guests with pleasure. First hospitable owner should without many words feed and water the guest to provide the necessary rest and only then could ask him who he was and where he kept his way. Only after these procedures the owner of the house could devote himself with all his heart to endless and delightful conversations and stories with traveler. Kazakhs have been always good storytellers and not bad listeners. Kazakh people have always had beautiful and fascinating tales. I think many folk tales appeared from such conversations and talks with the guests. Read Kazakh fairy tales and you will understand soul of Kazakh people.
5. HUGE COUNTRY
Our country is great in terms of areas and distances. It is in fact the 9th largest country in the world. We got a huge country from our ancestors. But the population in terms of quantity, it is fact of the history, is small relatively to the territory. Population of Kazakhstan according to official figures is only about 17 million. It's a small, if we compare this figure with the size of the country. Approximately half of population is living already in the cities. Still a lot of people live in rural areas or in small towns. Life here, for various reasons, is not so easy. Today life in the village and small provincial town is far from comfort and benefits of so-called civilization. In contrast to life in the big cities and major centers. Today, therefore, people welcome the guests in different ways. I think, people are more cordial, hospitable in the villages and small towns. Lifestyle here is not so crazy and fast as in the large cities. People here are still closer to mother Nature. So if you want to know real Kazakh hospitality you need to go to Kazakh hinterland. However in the big cities there are small islands where people are respecting the laws of hospitality.
6. KAZAKH CELEBRATIONS
A special theme is Kazakh celebrations. Kazakhs call it in Kazakh language "Toiy," i.e. banquet or wedding. The word is ancient and has also other meaning "to get enough”, “to eat a lot”, “to be filled.” For example, Kazakhs after good lunch are saying in Kazakh: “I am full”, i.e. "I am well fed." By the way English word "Toy" (plaything) has very similar sound and meaning as Kazakh word “Toiy” (wedding). Do you feel what connections are formed?
In old times the Toiys (festivals) in Kazakh steppe differed from today. Rich people organized big Toyis, which divided into two parts: festivities and merry-making themselves. Thousands of people were invited, the guests came from afar. Kazakh epic has even stable expression "thirty days to spend merrymaking, forty days to hold a feast". That old good times Kazakhs thirty days spent in games and entertainments including horse racing, archery, wrestling and other folk games. Any person, any common person could participate. The festivities themselves lasted forty days. Nowadays Kazakhs love holidays, love to celebrate any events. Sometimes tourists who come to our country think that people of this country only celebrate and spend the holidays.
7. MESMERIZING NATURE AND PICTURESQUE LANDSCAPES
Did you know that Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the world by land? It has everything you can ever imagine - surreal landscapes like vast steppes, breathtaking mountains, deserts, magnificent lakes, canyons and more. There are more than 100 protected nature sites in Kazakhstan. With some of the world's best-kept secrets, Kazakhstan is truly a nature lover's dream come true.
One of the best places to start your exploration of nature is the Ile-Alatau National Park made up of lakes, waterfalls and glaciers The Big Almaty Lake is one sight not to be missed here - it's known for its stunning blue-green waters. Lake Issyk and the Turgen Gorge are also breathtaking spots here!
Another great area to explore is the Kolsai Lakes and Lake Kaindy (FLOODED FOREST). Lake Kaindy is home to one of the world's few submerged forests. Seeing the trunks of the trees rise above the lake is a very surreal sight.
Canyons in Kazakhstan? Located around a 3h-drive from Kazakhstan's biggest city, Almaty, there are 5 different canyons here and you'll find sandstone in different shades of colours from deep orange to light brown. The Valley of the Castles is a great place to start if it's your first time here!
Great Plateau Ustyurt has long been attracting travelers from all over the world. It attracts awesome types that resemble moon landscapes. This unique beauty of the place will allow you to transfer if to another world. With a good imagination of man can imagine any picture. Traveling on the plateau, you can see a rare phenomenon, such as perfectly round stone balls, salt lake and other beauty. Visit once Ustyurt, forever will remain the memories of this wonderful trip.
8. MAGNIFICENT CITIES
Besides nature, Kazakhstan also boasts of impressive cities, both modern and ancient ones.
Almaty is the country's largest city and former capital. It's one of the financial and cultural centres of Central Asia. Almaty is surrounded by the great Tien Shan mountains, so the skyline is really marvellous. Being the biggest city, most travellers make Almaty their starting point.
Nur-Sultan (formerly known as Astana), only rose up after it became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997. It's a planned capital city, much like Canberra, Australia and Washington D.C. The city was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and there are many futuristic buildings. The Bayterek Tower is one of the icons of the city and a must-visit!
Kazakhstan is also home to the ancient city of Turkestan, an important commercial centre along the Silk Road. Most of Kazakhstan's history can be found in Turkestan as it was for many years, the seat of the Kazakh khanate. One of the places to visit here is the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, one of the highly respected Sufi masters. The Hilvet Semi-Underground Mosque is also an impressive sight. Turkestan and the nearby town of Taraz hold many important mausoleums and historical landmarks of ancient Kazakhstan.
9. NOMADIC LIFESTYLE
Kazakhstan is known for the nomadic lifestyle of its ancestors, and today you can still experience what it was like to live like the nomads!
The nomads live in a yurt (called kiyz in Kazakh or yurta in Russian) which is a movable (and collapsible) round tent comprised of a wooden frame covered over with skin or felt. It's amazing how it has been used for centuries by nomads but the design has remained largely unchanged throughout time!
There are some companies in the city that provide yurt tours so you can experience what it's like to live like a nomad. Do check here if you're interested.
10. TRADITIONAL CUISINE OF CENTRAL ASIA
Last but not least is Kazakh cuisine! Because of the cold winter season, vegetarianism is rarely practiced in our country so you'll most likely see a wide range of meat (mutton or horse) and dairy dishes. Most of Kazakh cuisine has unique flavours of Asian and European influences, and you’ll definitely be greeted with mouthwatering meals.
One of the must-try dishes is Beshbarmak, usually considered a main course. Beshbarmak means "five fingers" because the nomads traditionally eat it using their hands. Horse or lamb meat is boiled and then mixed with noodles and seasoned with herbs. Before savouring Beshbarmak, you'll be served the shorpo (mutton broth).
Other dishes that are popular are laghman (pulled noodles with beef and tomatoes in beef broth), manti (like dumplings, usually filled with lamb or beef in black pepper) and little munchies like baursak (fried dough, like donuts). The Kazakhs also have a culture of drinking tea and yogurt drinks together with our meals.
Now that I've introduced to you all the wonders of my beautiful country Kazakhstan, what next? Time to mark a date in your calendar and book your flight!
10 REASONS Why should to visit Almaty City in Kazakhstan
ALMATY is a perfect destination for adventurers! Go on a road trip, explore the unspoiled nature, climb mountains and swim in lakes. Explore underground mosques and incredible mausoleums.