ABOUT Kazakhstan is a unique region in the world, because of its history, geographical position and size. Being the world’s 9th largest country and located in the centre of Eurasia, it is also the largest landlocked country in the world. These resulted in a specific climate and a peculiar natural system of the country, which seems to absorb the brightest examples of landscape of both continents. In addition, complicated history of Kazakh people and constant interaction of nomadic lifestyle with settled people in South Kazakhstani ancient cities, have lead to a unique and authentic culture of Kazakhstan. These peculiarities have created an opportunity to develop various and diverse offers in Kazakhstan travel and tourism industry, which include authentic cultural tourism, nature-based activities, including ecotourism, birdwatching, etc. in national parks and protected areas, skiing or trekking in mountains, water sports, sunbathing and swimming in lakes and rivers of Kazakhstan, and many others. If you are planning to travel to Kazakhstan, the most convenient way of travel is taking a flight. All major cities of Kazakhstan have airports; however international flights are conducted mainly in Astana and Almaty, and a few other cities such as Karaganda, Atyrau, Shymkent, etc. International flights are conducted by Air Astana and Scat airlines, as well as by 23 foreign airline companies. Interstate trains operate between neighbouring countries of Kazakhstan, such as Russian, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, etc. Train ticket prices might be cheaper than flight tickets; however, since the territory of Kazakhstan is vast, travel on trains might take too long, causing some inconveniences. Train schedules, routs and ticket prices can be found through links provided at the bottom of this webpage. Interstate buses also operate from some cities of neighbouring countries, including many Russian cities (Barnaul, Omsk, etc.), Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan.
CLIMATE Average temperature in the coldest month of winter January is -18,7° in the North and -1,5° in the South. Because of dry weather and bright sun, which is common in most parts of Kazakhstan, temperature of -15° might be felt like only -5° – 0° in wet weather. Snowy winters are ideal for winter sports activities, for example in ski resorts. However, additional care should be taken and appropriate preparations must be done by those, who are not used to cold weather. Average temperature of the hottest month in summer - July – is +18,8° in the North and +28,8° in the South. Beach holidays at seas and lakes of Kazakshtan and at holiday villages are popular among tourists during hot summers. August and September are perfect for trekking in the mountains of the East and South-East Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a sunny country, some regions enjoy the sun up to 330 days a year, and the sky here is almost always bright blue. Summers in Kazakhstan are hot and winters are cold. Since Kazakhstan has a vast territory, weather can vary substantially in different parts of the country. For example when sowing season begins in the South, the North might still be covered with thick snow.
BEWARE There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers. In addition, you should also be alert to any security-related announcements by the Kazakh authorities. Most visits are trouble-free. However, mugging, sometimes violent, and theft occur in both cities and rural areas and foreigners can be a particular target. Robberies have occurred on trains, so always lock railway compartments on overnight trains. Passenger lists on aircraft are not always kept confidential. There have been instances of people being met from an aircraft by someone using their name and subsequently being robbed especially travelling to provincial airports. Service stations and petrol/water access can be limited outside the main cities. Make sure you take all you need for your journey. You should ensure that your vehicle is properly maintained and in good condition for lengthy journeys across Kazakhstan. Many cars are not safely maintained and do not have rear seatbelts. In some remote parts of Kazakhstan animals are found regularly on the roads and can be especially difficult to see in the dark. You should not use local buses or mini-buses as maintenance of these vehicles is generally poor. Driving can be erratic and care should be taken crossing roads as pedestrian crossings are rarely respected. Many roads are poorly maintained and road works or damaged roads are often not clearly signposted and in winter, roads are often hazardous due to snow and ice. Local Traffic Police only have the right to stop vehicles if an offence has been committed, but you should obey any request from a policeman to stop. Travellers should note that a Traffic Police Official should start immediately to complete official papers relating to any alleged offence.