When most people think of Kazakhstan they probably picture Borat and big open spaces. It is true, it is full of wide open spaces. When traveling through the country you will see farmland for as far as the eye can see. You’ll see deserts and oil fields and a vast landscape with wide open skies. It’s beautiful, like a desert. You'll feel as if you are the only person in the world. While we camped our way through the country, we would sit alone at night in silence. Every so often a farmer or family would stop at our campsite to say hello or watch us work. They couldn't understand why we were sitting in the middle of a field. We loved the solitude of the countryside. This Kazakhstan travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Fast Facts about Kazakhstan Travel
- Russian power voltage is 220V 50Hz; Plug C & F
- The Kazakhstan currency is the Kazakhstani tenge is around 240 KZT to 1 USD
- Try Shubat or Kumiss. Camel milk or horse milk.
- Make sure to pack some extra wet wipes and stomach/diarrhea tablets!
- Upon arrival in Kazakhstan, citizens of foreign countries are required to obtain an immigration card that is date stamped. Hotel registration is also recorded on the card. Foreigners are given a grace period of 5 days to register, however there are specific cases for different countries so make sure to check out this information before you land in Kazakhstan.
- Travelers from specific countries are exempt from visas while others (like Canada, Belgium, Australia) must be obtain a visa in advance and not upon arrival. Check with the local Kazakhstan embassy for up to date information and requirements.
- Clothes are line-dried. Many areas of the country lack washing machines as well, so prepare for the possibility of hand washing!
- Some areas that are popular with travelers, including Big Almaty Lake, Kolsai lakes, Medeo, Charyn canyon, Alakol lake, Monakhov Gorge and other are now “closed” areas. Travelers need to obtain permissions to enter from the Immigration police Office in Almaty.
- Water is cities is chlorinated, so it is safe to drink but not recommended. Bottled water is also widely available.
Top Packing Tips
Kazakhstan has a continental climate, which means that it can have some extreme temperatures. In summer (June to August) it can climb above 36 degrees °C (96°F) and in winter (December to February) you can expect temperatures to be as low as -26 degrees °C (-10°F). Snow stays on the ground for almost half the year. The best time to travel is during spring (May to June) and autumn (September to November) when temperatures are mild. While it can rain at any time of year- the desert gets very little rainfall while in the mountains it is best not to leave home without your rain gear.
- Layers – You could possibly be sweating all afternoon and then be freezing by nightfall! Make sure to stock up on the layers. If you plan on heading to Kazakhstan during the winter make sure to pack the winter essentials: Warm, waterproof, fleece-lined boots big enough to wear with heavy wool socks, hat, waterproof gloves and thermal long underwear!
- Classic Basic items – You do not need to be a fashionista to blend in. The key is in embracing neutral toned items that can be mixed and matched easily. Avoid logos, baseball caps, shorts, hoodies, flip-flops and running shoes as these items scream tourist!
- Rain Essentials – the weather can be a little unpredictable so make sure to pack a lightweight easily compacted waterproof/windproof jacket and a pair of waterproof boots.
- Personal Safety products – Certain areas in Albay are known as pickpocket hotspots. Before leaving for your trip, make sure to pack some personal safety products, like money belts and locks, so that you can keep your valuables safe on your trip.
Top Things to Do in Kazakhstan
- Astana, Kazakhstan: The City at Night – Before going there, we had never heard of it’s capital city Astana, we didn’t know anything about architecture or its people and we didn’t really know what countries bordered it.
- Kazakhstan a Country of Contrasts – When most people think of Kazakhstan they probably picture Borat and big open spaces. It is true, it is full of wide open spaces.