Kazakhstan's natural beauty is stunning, and if you like outdoor activities and adventures you will definitely love this part of the planet! Kazakhstan has a varied landscape consisting of deep gorges and sparkling lakes surrounded by large mountains. Kazakhstan is especially suitable for the active backpacker seeking challenging adventure out of the ordinary! Staying with local Kazakhs will definitely surprise you, since this is a very hospitable people with an open attitude and fantastic riding skills. In some places one can still today find nomads who live by the old traditions.
Almaty in Kazakhstan
Almaty is the largest city, and probably also the most prosperous, even though Astana is the Capital. Almaty is beautifully situated between open fields and mighty mountain peaks and the city's atmosphere is influenced by Russia. Stroll around the streets, admire modern architecture, fountains and parks in natural surroundings. You will also find a good selection of shops, hotels, restaurants, cool cafes and theatres.
In Panfilov Park you can see the highest wooden building in the world. If you like saunas, you should pay a visit to Arasan Baths with Russian and Finnish saunas, also located in Panfilov Park. The Central State Museum, State Art Museum (with traditional Kazakh ornaments and clothes) and Museum of Kazakh National Instruments are also worth seeing.
Trekking, skiing and other fun outdoor activities in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is known for its rugged landscape and graceful mountain ranges, and you can see the world's two most northern mountain peaks, a large glacier and lovely views of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China. Spectacular!
Medeu and Chimbulak are perfect destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Medeu is a large ice skating rink, and Chimbulak is a renowned ski resort around half an hour from Almaty. You can also ski from both of these places, and we recommend a hike to the lake Issyk-w. Just note that there is a risk of avalanches all year round!
The mountain range Tian Shan with its majestic peaks, and the three bright blue lakes called Kolsai Lakes located in the mountain range Kungei Alatau is definitely worth a visit. Here you can go sailing, fishing, horseback riding and swimming as well as skiing and ice skating in winter. If water sports are more your thing, just head for the river 'Il River' nestled between Lake Qapshaghay and Lake Balhash, where there are lots of cool activities!
Nature reserves in Kazakhstan
The nature reserve 'Kurgaldjino' is located in northern Kazakhstan and includes the world's northernmost population of beautiful pink flamingos. The nature reserve 'Naurzum' has a wonderfully varied landscape of pine trees and sand dunes. Bird enthusiasts can watch swans and eagles here. In central Kazakhstan you'll find the large and unique lake 'Balkh', which consists of saltwater and freshwater - worth seeing, no doubt!
Culinary experiences in Kazakhstan
Taste the famous Kazakh chai tea that you can get at local cafes, called Chai-Khan - teashop. If you are planning to travel to more remote areas you may come across the opportunity to test the local beverage 'Shubat', or in other words - camel milk. You should also try 'Plov' - a delicious dish made of fried rice, carrots, meat and chunks of tomato or raisins.