Major Tourist Attractions: Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Medeo, Almaty Zoo, Nur-Astana Mosque, Xuelian Feng
Unexplored by many, Kazakhstan is a vast country full of open plains that stretch as far as the eyes can see, mountainous regions that form part of the Himalayas, and a beautiful culture that mixes several influences from Russia, Central Asia, and its ancient past.
Kazakhstan might seem like it is a vast dry desert, but behind all that sand and dry vegetation hides a vast number of unique historical sights, snow-capped peaks, beautiful golden plains, lakes, and even glaciers.
Being such an enormous country, the best way to appreciate Kazakhstan’s uniqueness is by actually driving along its desert, stopping at small villages along the way, camping in the desert, and most of all, enjoying the emptiness and the luxury of being surrounded just by nature for hundreds of kilometers each way.
But, don’t think Kazakhstan is just about nature. Almaty, its former capital, is a city strategically located between the mountains and plains and is full of modern and soviet architecture that will spark your imagination to relive its Soviet days. It also counts with charming parks, refreshing fountains, and the incredible view of the city from the mountains. Kazakhstan’s culinary approach is a representation of the country's unique ethnic and religious traditions; including, naturally, Vodka!
Among the things you shouldn’t miss while traveling Kazakhstan are:
- Panfilov Park in Almaty, which is dominated by one of the world's tallest wooden buildings, built at the turn of the 20th century without using a single nail; and the Zenkov Cathedral.
- Camp in the middle of the desert and gaze at the stars with absolutely no luminic pollution.
- Visit the Bronze Age and New Stone Age archaeological sites in Karkarala Oasis.
- Visit the half saline and half fresh water Lake Balkhash – one of the biggest lakes in the world.
- Drive or hike along the Tien Shan Mountains and see the beautiful Inylchek Glacier.
- See the most northerly settlement of pink flamingos in the world at the Kurgaldjino Nature Reserve.
- Eat Kazi and Chuzhuk, which are horsemeat sausages.
- Visit the Semipalatinsk Test Site 150km from Semey. The first and primary nuclear testing site of the Soviet Union.
- Marvel at the ghost ships stranded in the middle of the desert in what was the Aral Sea.
- Try the Kazakh tea known as Chai-Khana.
Address: U.S. Embassy Astana
Rakhymzhan Koshkarbayev Avenue, No. 3.
Astana, Kazakhstan, 010010
Phone: 7 (7172) 70-21-00