Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, equal in area to the entirety of Western Europe. Situated at the centre of the Eurasian landmass, it has an extreme continental climate and natural landscapes varying from vast, flat steppe to the peaks of the Altai Mountains. Depending on the time of year, you can hike and mountain bike, horse ride, and even ski. Kazakhstan boasts some truly dramatic landscapes, not least Charyn Canyon (which featured in Ewan MacGregor’s The Long Way Round) and the curious singing sand dunes of Altyn Emel.
The majority of visitors to Kazakhstan come on a stop over, or tag a few days of sightseeing onto a business trip in Astana, Almaty, or the oil rich towns around the Caspian Sea. There’s plenty to keep you occupied for a longer trip, however, and at many of the key sites you will be the only tourist.
For Paramount Journey, one of Kazakhstan’s great highlights is the Mausoleum if Khodja Ahmed Yassaui in Turkestan. This medieval complex has the tiled turquoise dome that is so evocative of the Silk Road, and it remains an important place of pilgrimage for Sufi Muslims. Those with an interest in Silk Road history should also visit the ancient petroglyphs at Tamgaly (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The USSR left a stronger mark on Kazakhstan than any of the other ‘Stans, and these sites add another dimension to your tour. Consider visiting the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where space launches still take place, and also the ghost town of Aralsk, once an important port town on the Aral Sea. The sea is now shrunken, and skeleton ships lie on the sand. ...
Air Astana ( Kazakhstan’s national airline) has a good network of flight connections to Europe and beyond. It can therefore be very convenient to fly via Almaty or Astana and spend a few days exploring Kazakhstan before joining a Paramount Journey tour in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan.
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Things to know
Kazakhstan offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly choices to upscale hotels. Dining is affordable, with a variety of culinary experiences to explore. Transportation within the country is cost-effective, with public options and taxis readily available. When it comes to tours and activities, there’s a range of options to suit your interests. Some attractions may have entrance fees, and visa requirements vary by nationality. While costs may vary, Kazakhstan provides choices for all budgets, ensuring your adventure is memorable and well-planned.
Kazakhstan is renowned for its safety. Violent incidents involving tourists are exceedingly rare. Nevertheless, we recommend standard precautions such as safeguarding your belongings, staying cautious in dimly lit areas at night, and respecting local customs. For outdoor enthusiasts, proper preparation is crucial when exploring the diverse landscapes. Our team at Paramount Journey is dedicated to ensuring your safety, and we’re here to address any concerns. Explore Kazakhstan with confidence, knowing that your well-being is our priority.
- Kazakhstan is generally a safe and healthy destination for travelers. However, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene practices, stay hydrated, and be cautious about food and water. Modern medical facilities are available in major cities, and carrying a basic first-aid kit is advisable for remote areas. If you plan to visit high-altitude regions, be aware of altitude sickness and acclimatize gradually. Ensure you have an adequate supply of prescription medications and carry important emergency contact numbers. We’re here to assist you in having a safe and healthy journey in Kazakhstan.
Traveling to Kazakhstan is simple with the option of eVisas for eligible nationalities. Ensure your passport is valid for six months beyond your departure date, apply for an eVisa if eligible, and follow standard customs and immigration procedures. Departure checks are straightforward too.
Exploring Kazakhstan means embarking on a delightful culinary journey. Kazakh cuisine is a rich blend of flavors influenced by Central Asian and Eurasian traditions. Here’s what you can expect:
Traditional Dishes: Try Kazakh classics like “Beshbarmak” (a hearty meat and pasta dish), “Plov” (pilaf with rice and meat), and “Manty” (steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables).
Street Food: Don’t miss the vibrant street food scene. Sample “Samsa” (baked pastry with meat), “Shashlik” (grilled skewers), and various “Lagman” dishes (noodle-based creations).
Beverages: Enjoy traditional drinks like “Kumis” (fermented mare’s milk), “Shubat” (fermented camel’s milk), and a variety of teas. Non-alcoholic beverages are prevalent, but alcohol is also available in restaurants and bars.
Food Safety: Generally, food safety standards are upheld in restaurants. However, when eating from street vendors, look for busy stalls with high turnover to ensure freshness.
Dietary Preferences: Vegetarian options are available but may be limited in some regions. If you have specific dietary requirements, communicate them clearly when ordering.
At Paramount Journey, we encourage you to savor the diverse flavors of Kazakhstan. It’s a culinary adventure waiting to be explored, and we’re here to help you discover the best food and drink experiences during your journey.
Kazakhstan’s diverse landscapes offer something special year-round.
Spring and Summer:
- Ideal for outdoor activities like trekking and hiking.
- Pleasant weather, wildflower blooms, and lush greenery.
- Perfect for exploring cities and cultural attractions.
- Mild temperatures and beautiful fall foliage.
- Great for cultural experiences and outdoor adventures.
- Ideal for winter sports enthusiasts, with skiing and ice skating opportunities.
- Enjoy winter festivals and unique cultural experiences.
Select your preferred season based on your interests, and we’ll help you plan your unforgettable journey to Kazakhstan at Paramount Journey.
In Kazakhstan, embracing cultural norms and social etiquette is essential for a respectful and enriching experience. Show warmth and gratitude for the locals’ renowned hospitality by accepting offered food and drinks. Use titles and surnames with courtesy, dress modestly, and consider bringing small gifts when visiting homes. Learning a few basic Kazakh phrases and adhering to table manners, such as waiting for the host to start meals, demonstrates respect. Always ask for permission before taking photos, particularly of people, and when visiting religious sites, dress modestly and adhere to specific rules.
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Paramount Journeys has learned from leading international companies how to create and run extraordinary adventures reaching out into incredible locations that would otherwise be inaccessible and unexplored. If your aim is to get beyond the standard Tajikistan tourist trail and to discover for yourself the most remarkable aspects of our high-altude heaven, let Paramount Journey guide you on your way. We not only exhibit the pristine nature of Tajikistan in its numerous unique environments, but also introduce you to the culture and ways of life of the extraordinary and hospitable communities who have battled against, yet also worked in harmony with, that same nature to survive and thrive in Tajikistan for millennia. Every adventure we plan is pioneering and bold, accessible to those with determination and a passion for discovery.
I visited the Fann Mountains with Paramount Journey in early October for a four-day trek (starting and finishing in Dushanbe). It was my first visit to Tajikistan. Paramount Journey were... read more
Iskanderkul Weekend - My wife and I and two friends of ours enjoyed an excellent autumn weekend Iskanderkul, one of the top tourist spots in Tajikistan. It was a very smooth and... read more
Travel to Tajikistan - We took a 7 day tour to Tajikistan taking in Dushanbe and trekking in the Fann Mountains. The mountain scenery was breathtaking and the tour was very professionally arranged.... read more