Kazakhstan Tours & Travel

Kazakhstan

Welcome to Kazakhstan

KazaKhstan Tours & Travel

Kazakhstan is double the size of the other four Central Asian “stans” combined and the distance from the West of the country to the East is as far as London to Istanbul. Its multi-ethnic population of only 18 million people enjoys the highest standard of living in Central Asia thanks to abundant oil, gas and mineral reserves. Just like its brother nation Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan was originally inhabited by nomadic tribes that were forced to settle under Soviet rule. Today’s culture is an interesting mix of Russian and Western influence coupled with a revival of nomadic hospitability, traditions, and customs. Travelers from most western countries enjoy a visa-free regime for stays of up to 30 consecutive days in Kazakhstan. In this short introductory page, we answer your frequently asked questions, suggest our favorite tours and the best time to travel Kazakhstan.

Top Places to see In Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s travel highlights are its vast steppes with its unique fauna and flora, trekking in the Tien Shan (“celestial mountains”) near Almaty, admiring modern architecture in the capital Astana, and strolling through Kazakhstan’s biggest city and former capital, Almaty. Visitors also get a sense of Central Asian Sufism at the ancient and beautiful Yasaui Mausoleum in Turkestan and can visit places that offer a reminder of the tragedies of the Soviet Union, such as the Stalinist labor camps (“Gulags”) memorial Alzhir nearby Astana. You can read more about our pick of top 5 places to see in Kazakhstan.

 

At a glance

  • Population:
  • 17,693,500
  • Area:
  • 2,724,900km²
  • Languages:
  • Kazakh, Russian
  • Time zones:
  • West - UTC+5
    East - UTC +6
  • Currency:
  • Tenge (KZT)
  • Climate:
  • Continental
  • Geography:
  • Steppes and mountains
    Highest point: Khan Tengri 6,995m
  • Dialing code:
  • +7
  • Electricity:
  • 220V, 50Hz, European plug

Kazakhstan in photos

Kazakhstan in videos

Welcome to Kazakhstan - heart of Eurasia

Welcome to Kazakhstan - heart of Eurasia

Kazakhstan - Our Time Is Now

Amazing Flight Over Kazakhstan

Astana - the capital of Kazakhstan

Top tours in Kazakhstan

Book your favorite small-group tour today; discover the grandeurs of Central Asia while making friends on your way! Happy Holidaying with Kalpak Travel!

Travel information

MONEY & COSTS:

The Kazakh currency is called the Tenge (KZT). The banking system in Kazakhstan is the most developed in Central Asia and in big cities there are many places to exchange money and to withdraw cash from ATMs using a variety of cards. We recommend bringing some cash in new USD bank notes of denominations of at least 20 USD. Small and old-looking bank notes are harder to exchange. Paying directly with a credit card is still not possible at most places, except for high-end restaurants, hotels and international stores like Zara, Mango, McDonalds or Starbucks. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during guided trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic country with a long history of tolerance. Guests and locals are treated with respect and the whole country can be regarded as a very safe destination for travelers. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, avoid dark streets at night and take only official taxis. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Kazakh partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of most Western countries do not need a visa for a stay of up to 15 days in Kazakhstan. To be sure whether you need visa or not you can check on the website of The Visa Machine. Any permits you might need for access to places that will be visited during your tour, we will provide for you free of charge.
As soon as we receive the deposit payment for your tour, we will confirm your booking and send you an email with important pre-departure information. Please read it carefully as it contains important information on customs regulations for Kazakhstan.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Kazakhstan is continental and dry in the majority of the country, including the largest cities. Summers are very hot with day temperatures between 30° and 40° Celsius and winters extremely cold with strong winds. In the mountains, however, weather is quite changeable. If you are planning to visit the mountains the best season is summer. Be aware, however, at high altitudes of 3000 metres or more it may even snow overnight during the summer. For cultural sightseeing tours spring and autumn are the best seasons. Autumn is also the time when the country goes to harvest, meaning markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables. In 2017 the world exposition takes place in the Kazakh capital of Astana from June 10 to September 10. If you are planning to visit Astana we recommend that you go during that time.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use tap water for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveller’s diarrhoea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for Kazakhstan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Kazakhstan are basic at best.

FAQs on Kazakhstan

WIFI
Most of the hotels and hostels in cities provide free Wi-Fi access. In rural areas, homestays and yurt stays generally have no internet access.

Local Sim card

You can buy a local sim card and use it on your phone if it is unlocked. Upon request, our guide may assist you in buying a sim card.

Emergency

In the case of emergency your friends/family can call us and we will pass their message to you. Please take note of the 24/7 emergency number indicated in your travel documents.

Kazakh and Russian are the official languages of Kazakhstan and Russian is spoken widely everywhere. Both are using Cyrillic alphabet, Kazakh in a slightly adapted version. Kazakh language is very similar to Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen and part of the Turkic family of languages. All our guides speak English, but overall in Kazakhstan not many people understand or speak English.

Local population is friendly and hospitable, but not very sociable. Your guide and driver will be knowledgeable locals who can answer all the questions and tell about everyday life in Kazakhstan. If you are interested in getting in touch with locals we recommend you to familiarize yourself with social dos and do nots as explained in our blog article.

Kazakhstan is a secular state and population is predominantly Muslim. Religion is not widely practiced and people are very moderate. The ethnic Russians living in Kazakhstan are orthodox Christians.

In Kazakhstan, you will see mostly European style clothing.  Feel free to wear same clothes that you would wear back home.  Only exception to this rule concerns visits of religious buildings like Mosques or Churches. When visiting these places, you will need to wear long pants and women need to cover their shoulders and head with a veil.

No, it is not and we recommend you to drink bottled water, use filter or boil it. Moreover, please do not use tap water for brushing teeth and order your drinks without ice.

Astana and Almaty are very western oriented cities, you will find McDonalds, KFC and many other western chains. There are variety of Italian, Chinese and European style restaurants so it will be easy to find something that can suit your taste and needs. Outside big cities, generally Central Asia is not an ideal place for vegetarians, however you can order side dish such as plain rice, mashed potatoes and in some places, even grilled vegetables. Most of the national dishes in cafes are made with meat, predominantly mutton. In some cases, you can also alter some meals with quick noodles that can be bought in stores.

Yes, Kazakhstan is the only Central Asian country that has real Starbucks in big cities. Outside these places the best coffee you can get is an instant coffee, if you are coffee-lover we recommend taking little Italian coffee machine with you.

In cafes, service of 10-15% is usually included on the bill, however this does not go directly to the waiter, he gets only salary. Usually the amount is rounded up and If you are very content with the service you can leave some tip. Guides do not expect tips from you, if you are happy with their services, they will certainly appreciate a little tip.

Most of the hotels are clean and have western standard toilets with shower.

The most expensive services for laundry are in hotels, since they charge 1-3$ per laundry item. Another option would be to wash couple of things by hand in hotel sink.

Your safety is the first priority for Kalpak Travel, in organizing our trips we discuss every detail to make sure that your tour runs smoothly and you will have a wonderful experience with us. Our guides are well trained to deal with emergency situations and we will get you help as quickly as possible. In case of serious illness, we will help you to get proper medical assistance, do everything possible to get you to your homeland and inform your family. To join our tours, you are required to have travel insurance. Please make sure it fully covers medical emergencies including repatriation costs.

Main intercity roads have been recently repaired, newly paved and are well maintained. Roads to Kolsai lakes, Altyn Emel and in steppes are not paved and shaky roads. Kalpak Travel has experienced and professional drivers who will drive you safely in Kazakhstan. All our vehicles are well maintained and checked before each departure.

Travellers' Impressions of Kazakhstan