Kazakhstan, the largest landlocked country in the world, offers a diverse range of attractions, from stunning natural landscapes to vibrant cities steeped in history. Here are some of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan, along with information on how to reach there and the best time to plan your trip.
Almaty: The former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, is a bustling city nestled in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains. Explore the Central State Museum, the Zenkov Cathedral, and the Kok-Tobe Hill for panoramic views of the city. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Medeu Ice Skating Rink and the scenic Big Almaty Lake.
Astana (Nur-Sultan): The current capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, is a modern city known for its futuristic architecture and grand buildings. Visit the Baiterek Tower, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, and the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center. Astana also hosts the EXPO exhibition, showcasing innovative technologies and ideas from around the world.
Charyn Canyon: Located in the eastern part of Kazakhstan, Charyn Canyon is a breathtaking natural wonder often compared to the Grand Canyon. Explore the dramatic rock formations, hike along the trails, and admire the vibrant colors of the canyon walls. The Valley of Castles is a particularly stunning section of the canyon.
Lake Kaindy: This stunning lake is famous for its submerged forest, with the tops of spruce trees still visible above the water. Located in the Tian Shan Mountains, Lake Kaindy offers a surreal and picturesque setting. Visitors can go hiking, fishing, or simply enjoy the serene beauty of the lake.
Baikonur Cosmodrome: For space enthusiasts, a visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome is a must. This is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility, where the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin took place. Take a guided tour to learn about space exploration and witness a rocket launch if available.
To reach Kazakhstan, most international travelers arrive at Nur-Sultan International Airport in Astana or Almaty International Airport in Almaty. These airports have connections to various major cities around the world. Kazakhstan is also accessible by land from neighboring countries, such as Russia, China, and Uzbekistan.
The best time to visit Kazakhstan depends on the region and the activities you plan to engage in. Generally, the summer months of June to August offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities and exploring the cities. However, the weather can be hot in the south and cold in the mountains, so it’s advisable to pack accordingly. Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) are also good times to visit, with milder temperatures and colorful landscapes. Winter can be extremely cold, particularly in the northern and mountainous regions, but it offers unique opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts.
It’s important to note that Kazakhstan is a vast country with varying climates and landscapes, so it’s advisable to research and plan your itinerary based on the specific regions you wish to explore. Respect local customs and traditions, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and be aware of cultural norms and etiquette.
Kazakhstan’s diverse attractions, from modern cities to stunning natural wonders, make it an intriguing destination for travelers. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant streets of Almaty, witnessing space history at Baikonur Cosmodrome, or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan offers a unique and unforgettable experience.