Located in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is a developing economic powerhouse, rich in oil and gas. Tourism has been increasing in recent times as the former Soviet countries open up. Kazakhstan has a beautifully varied landscape ranging from sweeping mountain ranges to beautiful lakes and rivers and of course the Caspian Sea to the west.
Kazakhstan’s former capital Almaty seems strangely out of place, full of upmarket restaurants, nightclubs and chic apartment buildings.It’s a bustling and vibrant city and with the snow-capped Zailiysky Alatau mountain range as a back drop it is a truly stunning place to visit.The current capital Astana is quickly developing into a 21st century city with a curious mix of Western, Soviet, Islamic and some slightly bizarre architecture.
Outside of Almaty there is plenty to see for the adventurous traveller. The Kazakh steppe occupies one third of the country, and all around this area a whole host of adventures can be had. The steppe lakes are home to an abundance of wildlife, whilst you can trek either by foot or on horseback up the mountains flanking the steppe, where you can camp with the locals.
To the west of the country you can visit the Caspian Sea; however, the part bordering Kazakhstan has dried up in recent years and is now a graveyard for boats, which itself is still quite a sight.
Hotels in Kazakhstan
As with most Central Asian countries, if you are going to Kazakhstan for a trekking trip then accommodation will be modest to say the least, and bring warm clothes for night time. Almaty and Astana have some high-end hotels to rival any in the world but they are costly, whereas mid-range hotels represent good value for money.
Almaty and Astana each have international airports, with Almaty being the larger of the two. Both airports serve a number of international destinations, although mostly in Europe and Asia. All of Kazakhstan’s neighbouring countries are accessible via rail networks, and rail service also covers a large amount of the country.