Kazakhstan is famous for having the most eccentric geographies and unspoiled natural sites. The country is incredible to look at, yet mysteriously houses massive steppes and mountains! If you have Kazakhstan in your bucket list, here’s a guide for your next travel.
Featured Photo: Lake Kaindy | Photo by Kalpak Travel under creative commons
When is the best time to visit Kazakhstan?
The perfect time to visit Kazakhstan is during summertime, anytime from July to August when the weather is calm throughout the regions. This is also perfect for hikers to visit. You can also visit the country during springtime from April to June, or during fall time from September to October where the steppes and mountains are beautiful and blooming with flowers. If you want to go to Kazakhstan to ski, you can head to Chimbulak during winter time from November to March.
How to get to the city center from Astana Airport
There are two modes to get to the city center from Asta Airport: via taxi or bus. You can look for official taxis outside the airport with a fare ranging from 2500-3000 Tenge (6-8 USD).
There are also two bus-stops, lines 10 and 12, outside the airport, which can get you to the city proper. After getting out of the airport, go right for 150 meters until you see the next bus stop. Buses only operate from 6 AM to 11 PM with a fare of 60 Tenge (0.16 USD).
How to get around Kazakhstan?
You can travel around the city through taxis, minibuses, or marshrutkas. Taxis are generally faster and more convenient to spot than buses. It is also relatively cheaper since you can just rent the whole cab and share it with other passengers. Some taxis use meters, while some bargain their prices.
For short routes, you can also get around the city by travelling minibuses that are quite modern and comfortable. Another alternative is the marshrutka, a Russian-built combi-type vehicle, that is 50% more expensive than buses and quite less comfortable.
10 Top Tourist Attractions in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is definitely a place for adventurers! It has incredible natural beauty and well-preserved heritage that stands strong and beautiful for years. Here are the 10 top tourist attractions in Kazakhstan that you should check out yourself:
Big Almaty Lake
Big Almaty Lake is undoubtedly one of the most visited destinations in Kazakhstan. It is the primary source of drinking water in the region, so expect the water to be clear and amazingly turquoise. Swimming is also not allowed in the place, but having a few snapshots will help to keep memories of the place!
Ile-Alatau National Park
The Ile-Alatau National Park was established in 1996 situated between the west of Chemolgan River and east of Gorge Turgeon. During springtime, a hike in the park will let you witness colorful spring flowers and butterflies, chirping birds, mountain peaks with deep snow, and a view of giant marmot.
As one of the tourist attractions in Kazakhstan, the Lake Kaindy is identified as still geologically young. It was formed in 1911 after the earthquake followed an enormous landslide. Although it was formed out of tragedy, it is still beautifully crafted. You can also dive into the lake and see the underwater, but prepare your body for the cold!
When people mention Charyn Canyon, it usually means having the perfect sight of four breathtaking canyons. The famous one is the Valley of Castles, which reflects the sunlight during sunset and sunrise. The second one is the Temirlik Canyon, known as the reddest canyon, while the third one is the Uzunbulak Canyon or known as the Yellow canyon, the perfect picnic spot. The last one is the Bestamak Canyon that incredibly changes the rocks’ colors from pink to orange. A little hike in the Charyn Canyon will take you to all these majestic views!
Turgen Gorge is a haven for hikers and mountain bikers. It has half a dozen waterfalls that vary in beauty, height, and affordability. It also takes pride in its impressive meadows and pristine mountains that will give you the perfect view of the Kazakhstan scenery.
Altyn-Emel National Park
The Altyn-Emel National Park is a safari destination in Kazakhstan. It houses unique and otherworldly landscapes, rich flora and fauna, and high mountains. A lot of mammals also live here, so it’s possible to spot one on your visit. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Altyn-Emel National Park is a perfect place to discover Kazakhs wild.
One of the tourist attractions in Kazakhstan is Issy Lake. It is popular for hikers or those who simply want to spend a picnic with family and friends. Although it was destroyed by glacial mudflow in 1963, the lake immediately underwent restoration to reveal its full glory once again. Today, many plants, trees, and vast flower fields surround the lake, so expect your stay to be calm, yet majestic.
Situated in northern Tien Shan, the Kolsai Lakes is a system of three lakes namely Kaindy Lake, Kolsai 1, and Kolsai 2. The lakes are surrounded by pine trees which add up to its otherworldly beauty. The trails from one lake to another also provide you with blanketed wildflowers and berries that make your hike even better.
The sacred sanctuary of Tamgaly-Tas
One of the most mysterious attractions in Kazakhstan is the sacred sanctuary of Tamgaly-Tas. It houses several rock cravings and intrinsic paintings of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and other Tibetan scriptures. Although the existence of these carvings is still unknown today, some beliefs proved that said sanctuary is where ancient people recharge their energy and health.
Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve
“Magical” is the right word to describe the beauty of the oldest nature reserve in Central Asia, the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve. It encompasses a diverse environment of juniper forests, high-altitude mountains, and glorious glaciers. You also have a chance to encounter lynx, marmots, bears, and even wolves roaming around the area. No doubt the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve belonged to the top tourist attractions in Kazakhstan!