Welcome to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is an unusual but worth-visiting destination in Central Asia. The word Kazakhstan translates to “the Land of the Wanderers”, so you can imagine how much there is to explore. Desert villages, snow-capped mountains, and modern cities: you have all that in a single country. This ultimate Kazakhstan travel guide will help you make the most of your Kazakhstan travel trips with practical and inspiring tips.
Document checklist for Kazakhstan
Valid passport (must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry and have two blank pages)
Sufficient funds to cover your trip
Return or onward ticket
Essential Kazakhstan travel information
Currency – The official currency is the Kazakh Tenge (₸). $1 is equivalent to approx. ₸ 458,47.
Daily budget for 1 person – Allow a daily budget of ₸7,986($17).
Languages – The official languages of Kazakhstan are Kazakh and Russian. In the big cities, you can find people who speak basic words in English, but it is rare in the countryside.
Socket type – Types C and F, 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Time zone – It’s a huge country, so it has two time zones: East Kazakhstan Time (GMT+6) and West Kazakhstan Time (GMT+5).
Top 3 cities to visit – Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and Aktau.
Top 3 landmarks/monuments – Big Almaty Lake, Altyn Emel National Park, and Charyn Canyon.
Visa information for Kazakhstan
Many travelers have a visa-free entry in the country, with a 90-day stay. Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Albania are some of the free-visa countries. Those needing a visa can visit an embassy or consulate nearby to apply for a paper visa. However, many nationals can skip the bureaucratic step and get a Kazakhstan Visa online in just a few clicks.
Typical costs and budget for Kazakhstan
Daily spending – Around ₸7,986 ($17) per person per day. This includes:
Meals – Expect to spend about ₸2,315 ($5.03) in total for three meals per day.
Transport – Depending on your travel plans and standard of travel, local transportation may cost up to ₸276 ($0.60) per day.
Hotel – The average hotel price in Kazakhstan for a couple is ₸5,686 ($12). On average, a trip to Kazakhstan for two people for one week will cost ₸111,806 ($243).
Transport and best ways to travel around Kazakhstan
The train is the best option to explore a country as extensive as Kazakhstan. There is a good railway system, and you find train tickets at affordable prices. It’s recommended to buy the ticket in advance since they can sell out in the high season.
Renting a car is an option if you have an international driving license and Kazakhstan travel insurance. It gives you the autonomy to explore the country at your own pace. Also, you can visit remote places that would be hard to reach with public transport. The main highways are in good condition. Otherwise, stay alert on the secondary roads, which may have dusty tracks and dangerous potholes.
There are a few options for boat travel. However, one of the ways to enter the county is by taking a ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (a port in West Kazakhstan) across the Caspian Sea.
Bus and train stations connect the major cities in the country. So, a bus trip is another affordable way to travel between cities, especially for short journeys. You can visit nearby places such as Almaty, Shymkent, and Nur Sultan comfortably and cheaply.
Safety in Kazakhstan
The Kazakh people are very welcoming; however, travelers must exercise a high degree of caution. Check out some pieces of advice:
Be cautious on the streets and crowded places. The country has high rates of crimes such as theft, pickpocketing, bag snatching, and assaults.
The risk of crime increases at night, so avoid walking on the streets after sunset, especially solo female travelers.
There is a risk of food and drink spiking. So, never leave your drinks or food unattended, especially in bars and nightclubs.
There have been tensions on the land border with the Kyrgyz Republic. Avoid travel near the area.
Monitor the media to stay up-to-date on new security or safety risks.
Weather in Kazakhstan
The country has a continental climate, offering cold winters (averages temperatures around -10°C/14°F) and hot summers (averages around 40°C/104°F). The best time to visit Kazakhstan is between spring and summer (March to September), the perfect weather for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking the steppe, and camping. Meanwhile, you should visit from November to February if you are a winter sports fan. You can enjoy snowboarding and ice skating in areas surrounding mountains.
Must do and see in Kazakhstan
Visit the Nur-Sultan, the capital city known before 2019 as Astana. You will observe Soviet, Kazakh, and Western influences in the streets, which mix historical sites and futurist architecture. The Khan Shatyr is a must-see.
Explore the Almaty region. There are many cities worth visiting, but Almaty is one of the main cities, the country’s cultural and commercial heart. Enjoy great museums, historic buildings, and trendy restaurants.
Enjoy a boat trip on Kolsai Lake. Forest-coated Tian Shan Mountains surround the paradisiac lake.
Visit the Karkaraly National Park. The vast park holds a diversity of flora and fauna, such as foxes, deer, and wolves.
Relax at Aktau Beach. The spot is a destination for more and more tourists each year, offering breathtaking views of the Caspian coast.
Typical Kazakh food to try
Zhaya – This national dish is a traditional appetizer with horse meat. The animal’s hip and hind legs are salted, dried, and smoked. Then, it is boiled for about two hours before serving.
Kurt – These are fermented balls of cheese. It consists of soured camel milk strained into soft curds and then shaped into small balls or disks before being left to harden in the sun.
Shelpek – This flatbread is made with a dough consisting of flour, milk, sour cream, butter, baking soda, sugar, and salt. The dough is formed into balls and rolled out into discs before being fried.
Baursak – These Kazakh donuts are made with flour, yeast, eggs, margarine, milk, water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil. They are shaped into triangles or spheres before being fried.
Vaccine information for Kazakhstan
If it is your first trip to the country, you should check what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are requested to enter Kazakhstan. We advise you to see the CDC website information about all vaccine requirements and medical guidance for this destination.
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It is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in the country.
Yes. Indian citizens who wish to travel to Kazakhstan are required to obtain a visa for travelling to Kazakhstan.
The Kazakhstan visa authorities may issue a Tourist, Business, Diplomatic, Official or several other types of Kazakhstan visas depending on your purpose of visit to Kazakhstan and your passport type.
Processing an application for a Kazakhstan visa normally takes up to 5 working days.
In most cases, a single entry is granted.