Kazakhstan travel guide

Kazakhstan Tourism | Kazakhstan Guide

You're Going to Love Kazakhstan

A country consisting of a combination of mountainous scenery and plains that contrast with modern cities, such as Almaty and Astana (renamed as Nursultan in March 2019), Kazakhstan is just waiting to be discovered.

What to do in Kazakhstan

1. Visit Almaty

The city offers modern shopping centers, buzzing night life and wide, tree-covered avenues. These are in contrast to the surrounding Trans-Ili Alatau mountains providing a backdrop to the city.

2. Take a Hike

There are endless opportunities for trekking or hiking in the mountain ranges of Kazakhstan, such as the Tian Shan mountain range in the south or the Altay Mountains in the east of the country.

3. Explore the Nature Reserves

The Kurgaldjino nature reserve is home to a flock of pink flamingos while the Aksu-Zhabagly state natural reserve in the south is renowned for being home to a forest that has not been cut for over 70 years.

4. Tour the Yasaui Mausoleum

This tiled mausoleum, with its ornate dome, houses the tomb of Kozha Akhmed Yasaui, a poet and mystic who died in 1166.

5. Hit the Ski Slopes

Visit Chimbulak in winter and take to the slopes. You can ski on 8 different pistes around the 99 acres of the resort.

1. Visit Almaty

The city offers modern shopping centers, buzzing night life and wide, tree-covered avenues. These are in contrast to the surrounding Trans-Ili Alatau mountains providing a backdrop to the city.

2. Take a Hike

There are endless opportunities for trekking or hiking in the mountain ranges of Kazakhstan, such as the Tian Shan mountain range in the south or the Altay Mountains in the east of the country.

3. Explore the Nature Reserves

The Kurgaldjino nature reserve is home to a flock of pink flamingos while the Aksu-Zhabagly state natural reserve in the south is renowned for being home to a forest that has not been cut for over 70 years.

4. Tour the Yasaui Mausoleum

This tiled mausoleum, with its ornate dome, houses the tomb of Kozha Akhmed Yasaui, a poet and mystic who died in 1166.

5. Hit the Ski Slopes

Visit Chimbulak in winter and take to the slopes. You can ski on 8 different pistes around the 99 acres of the resort.

When to visit Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan in March
Estimated hotel price
£21
1 night at 3-star hotel
Kazakhstan in March
Estimated hotel price
£21
1 night at 3-star hotel

Kazakhstan can be visited at any time of year – November to April is ski season, while between April and June the steppes start to come alive after the winter. Visit between May and September for temperatures of around 86°F.

How to Get to Kazakhstan

Entry requirements

Travelers from the US and EU visiting Kazakhstan will need a passport that is valid for at least six months after date of departure from the country but will not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days.

Plane

Almaty International Airport is the country's busiest airport operating flights by Air Astana, KLM, Lufthansa, Hong Kong Airlines and budget airline flydubai. Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport in Nursultan also receives international flights from Asia and Europe.

Train

There is a train service that runs between Moscow or Novosibirsk, in Russia, and Nursultan and Almaty in Kazakhstan. There is also a service between Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Almaty and another between Ürümqi in China and Almaty.

Bus

There are a number of inexpensive bus connections between Kazakhstan China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. However, these journeys may involve lengthy waiting periods at the border stops.

Entry requirements

Travelers from the US and EU visiting Kazakhstan will need a passport that is valid for at least six months after date of departure from the country but will not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days.

Plane

Almaty International Airport is the country's busiest airport operating flights by Air Astana, KLM, Lufthansa, Hong Kong Airlines and budget airline flydubai. Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport in Nursultan also receives international flights from Asia and Europe.

Train

There is a train service that runs between Moscow or Novosibirsk, in Russia, and Nursultan and Almaty in Kazakhstan. There is also a service between Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Almaty and another between Ürümqi in China and Almaty.

Bus

There are a number of inexpensive bus connections between Kazakhstan China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. However, these journeys may involve lengthy waiting periods at the border stops.

Popular airlines serving Kazakhstan

Lufthansa
Good (4,666 reviews)
KLM
Good (849 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (2,307 reviews)
Iberia
Good (1,584 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (4,962 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (2,120 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (2,467 reviews)
Finnair
Good (871 reviews)
LOT
Good (685 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (502 reviews)
Egypt Air
Good (197 reviews)
China Southern
Excellent (32 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (987 reviews)
Pegasus Airlines
Good (397 reviews)
Air China
Good (31 reviews)
Air Serbia
Good (137 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (264 reviews)
flydubai
Good (69 reviews)
Air Arabia
Excellent (32 reviews)
Uzbekistan Airways
Good (15 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Kazakhstan

There is a range of accommodation in Kazakhstan, from budget hotels to more modern and comfortable hotels like Hilton, Holiday Inn and ibis, which are in the bigger cities, such as Almaty and Nursultan. Backpacker hostels also exist in these cities.

Where to stay in popular areas of Kazakhstan

Most booked hotels in Kazakhstan

Samal Resort & Spa
4 stars
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
£98+
Rixos President Astana
5 stars
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
£153+
Royal Tulip Almaty
5 stars
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
£165+
Grand Tien Shan Hotel
4 stars
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
£63+
Hotel Kazakhstan
4 stars
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
£58+
Rahat Palace Hotel
5 stars
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
£99+

How to Get Around Kazakhstan

Public Transportation

The cities of Kazakhstan have a good network of public transportation with links between the metro, trolleybuses and regular buses with bus fares costing around 90 KZT (0.20 USD). Taxis are reasonably priced within towns and are easy to flag down.

Trains

Trains are an easy way to cover the long distances around Kazakhstan. The main stations exist in Nursultan, Karaganda and Almaty, with smaller stations in regional cities. It is advisable to buy the tickets in advance.

Bus

Bus trips can be an option for journeys of less than 6h as they tend to be faster than trains. The buses are not as comfortable for longer trips, although fares are lower than train tickets with a journey of around 14h costing in the region of 2,500 KZT (6.40 USD).

Car

Car rental companies, such as Avis and Thrifty, exist in Almaty. You can rent a car from as little as around 21,700 KZT (55 USD) per day.

Plane

Domestic flights are operated by Air Astana between Nursultan and other major towns, such as Almaty, Aktau and Kyzyl-Orda. Other domestic airlines include SCAT Airlines and Bek Air, which operate out of Oral Ak Ahol Airport.

Public Transportation

The cities of Kazakhstan have a good network of public transportation with links between the metro, trolleybuses and regular buses with bus fares costing around 90 KZT (0.20 USD). Taxis are reasonably priced within towns and are easy to flag down.

Trains

Trains are an easy way to cover the long distances around Kazakhstan. The main stations exist in Nursultan, Karaganda and Almaty, with smaller stations in regional cities. It is advisable to buy the tickets in advance.

Bus

Bus trips can be an option for journeys of less than 6h as they tend to be faster than trains. The buses are not as comfortable for longer trips, although fares are lower than train tickets with a journey of around 14h costing in the region of 2,500 KZT (6.40 USD).

Car

Car rental companies, such as Avis and Thrifty, exist in Almaty. You can rent a car from as little as around 21,700 KZT (55 USD) per day.

Plane

Domestic flights are operated by Air Astana between Nursultan and other major towns, such as Almaty, Aktau and Kyzyl-Orda. Other domestic airlines include SCAT Airlines and Bek Air, which operate out of Oral Ak Ahol Airport.

The Cost of Living in Kazakhstan

Credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in hotels, restaurants and stores and ATMs can be found in banks, hotels and shopping centers. A gallon of milk and a dozen eggs in a grocery store will cost around 1,433 KZT (3.70 USD). Eating out is also reasonably priced and will cost around 2,000 KZT (5.10 USD) per person in an inexpensive restaurant.

Popular cities in Kazakhstan