Kazakhstan is by far the largest of the Central Asian states within the proposed South-Central Asian Union.
It shares borders with Russia, China, and the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
Kazakhstan is the richest country in Central Asia, due to its large oil and natural gas reserves. The country is also the largest landlocked country.
Kazakhstan is a country where the population has a long history of balanced, harmonious, multi-ethnic social interaction, where both guests and locals are treated with respect during everyday life.
Visitors will experience hospitality and warmth in this lovely country.
In 1997, the national capital was changed from Almaty, the largest city, to Astana (officially, Nur-Sultan)
The country is home to four splendid UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
One can experience hiking in the valleys and mountains of Tian-Shan, explore the myriad wildlife, behold the amazing architecture, and walk on the beautiful savannas of Kazakhstan.
Travelling to Kazakhstan by Flight
Almaty International Airport is the country’s largest international airport, located at about 15 km from Almaty.
The most important carrier is Air Astana which flies into Almaty and Astana from AbuDhabi, Moscow, New Delhi, Beijing, Istanbul, Bangkok, Hannover, London, Amsterdam, Baku, Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt, and Seoul.
Flying to Kazakhstan is easy, with top domestic and international airlines such as Jet Airways, Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Air India, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways, etc.
Every week, numerous direct and connecting flights operate from India to Astana. Travel time is around 4hrs.
Getting around Kazakhstan
Lufthansa has daily flights to Almaty, from where you can go anywhere via local carrier SCAT, which flies to most cities in Kazakhstan.
You can travel within the country using taxis, buses, trains and planes; it depends on your budget and demands.
Renting a car is rather costly compared to other means of transport.
Public transportation in big cities is rather popular. You can use buses, trolleys, trams and minibuses.
Similar to regular buses another cheap way to get around is by taking a marshrutka.
Train is the most popular way of covering the huge distances between Kazakhstan’s main cities.
The main railway stations are in Astana, Karaganda and Almaty, but stations can be found in almost every big city.
Climate in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s climate is sharply continental and hot summers alternate with equally extreme winters, especially in the plains and valleys.
Temperatures fluctuate widely, with great variations between sub regions.
Average January temperatures in northern and central regions range from −2 to 3 °F (−19 to −16 °C)
In the south, temperatures are milder, ranging from 23 to 29 °F (−5 to −1.4 °C).
Average July temperatures in the north reach 68 °F (20 °C), but in the south they rise to 84 °F (29 °C).
Language in Kazakhstan
Kazakh and Russian are the official languages of Kazakhstan. Both languages are compulsory in all schools, and most people know both of them. Therefore, if you know either of them, you should be fine. Young people generally know some English as well as customs and airport officials.
Currency of Kazakhstan
The national currency is tenge, denoted by the symbol “₸” or “T”.
Kazakhstan is slightly more expensive than Uzbekistan, but still cheaper than Turkmenistan.
Food in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan has some excellent products available at little markets everywhere.
You will be amazed with the taste and availability of fresh organic veggies at low price.
Meat, potatoes, rice and pasta are available everywhere. Korean dishes, particularly salads, are very common.
Dishes that are made elsewhere with pork (such as dumplings or sausage) are made with beef or mutton here.
For a treat in Almaty, try Govinda’s, a delicious vegetarian Hare Krishna restaurant.
Malls have food courts with some vegetarian options too.
Even some small Kazakh eateries will prepare vegetarian meals for you if you make it very clear to them.
Staying in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan offers various lodging options like budget hotels, motels, resorts, villas, Bed and Breakfasts, guesthouses, hostels, campsites, couch-surfing, yurts, apartments, eco-lodges, etc.
Yesil District, Sembinova Street, Kunayev Street, Karasakal Erimbet Street, Satpayeva (Mirzoyana) Street, and Saryarka Street in Astana, as well as Valikhanov Street and Abay Avenue in Almaty offer excellent tourist accommodation.
Shopping in Kazakhstan
Shop for the unique Kazakh dream quilts, silk paintings, stacking dolls, shyrdak (felt carpets), knitted caps, wooden carvings, and Kazakhstan chocolates; souvenirs like paperweights, watches, and statuettes of leopards and soaring eagles.
Abilai Khan Street, Furmanov Street, Barakholka, and Zhybek-Zholy Street in Almaty are the best markets for shopping in Kazakhstan.
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