Thanks to natural resources (and sheer size) Kazakhstan is probably the best developed of the –stans. You’re more likely to get a good coffee on the leafy avenues of Almaty than anywhere else on the Asian steppe, and the country’s capital, Asatana, is a 21st-century showcase of modern architecture and futuristic design. Not what you’d expect from a country where the horse and cart is still a pretty big deal. Whatever your expectations are, leave them in the arrivals lounge. Kazakhstan defies them all.
Our Kazakhstan trips score an average of 4.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.
This was a great trip, with an interesting mix of ancient history, twentieth century history, and, well, a frakkin' space launch! We had two great guides, whose different styles balanced each other out. Nazira has an incredibly deep knowledge of the region, and infectious sense of awe and enthusiasm. Sergei’s logistical skills ensured we saw the launch despite a number of date changes. And his sense of humour, and super-chilled demeanour, made sure things never got too serious. And speaking of chilled, yes it was cold. But if you want to see the Kazakh steppe at it’s terrifying, inhospitable best, 20 below zero is the only way! Anyone into “ruin porn” will find Baikonur city pretty interesting. It reminded me maybe of Vogelsang in Germany, only still inhabited. Almost like a Soviet theme park. Almaty is also very interesting. Lots of gnarly Soviet architecture, broad streets, and snow. All in all, we had a blast. Pun intended.
Review submitted 09 Jan 2017
Kazakhstan in November is cold. At 2 in the morning waiting for a Soyuz launch it is bitterly cold. You aren't moving, and you are trying to maintain your place in a crowd. It can be stressful. Forget the pictures. Watch the launch.
Review submitted 15 Dec 2016
Sample Kazakh cuisine on a local homestay in Aralsk
Visit the haunting ‘ship cemetery’ of the much-depleted Aral Sea
Many nationalities, including Australia, Germany, USA and United Kingdom do not require a visa for stays of up to 15 days. Please check with your local consulate for the most up to date requirements. New Zealand passengers do require a visa to travel to Kazakhstan. New Zealand passengers will need to send their application and passport to Sydney or Singapore, so it is important that this is done well in advance of the travel date. Please see here for the documents New Zealand passengers require before submitting their application:
A service charge of 10% is included at most restaurants so tipping isn’t necessary.
There are internet cafes available in the main towns and in libraries and universities.
Reception is good in the main towns but sketchy elsewhere. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone.
Toilet facilities may be very basic. Expect drop toilets outside of hotels and bring your own toilet paper as there may not be any.
Bottle of soft drink = 120 KZT
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 400 KZT
Simple lunch = 800 KZT
Three-course meal = 3500 KZT
Short taxi ride = 500 KZT
Drinking tap water in Kazakhstan isn’t recommended. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Credit cards are accepted in major shops and hotels in Almaty.
There’s some access to ATMs in major towns and cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Kazakhstan go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/kazakhstan/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.