What to do and see in Kazakhstan: The Best Places and Tips

November 8, 2017 Hector Krause

Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, translit. Qazaqstan, IPA: [qɑzɑqˈstɑn] ( listen); Russian: Казахстан, IPA: [kəzɐxˈstan]), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан Республикасы, translit. Qazaqstan Respýblıkasy; Russian: Республика Казахстан, tr. Respublika Kazakhstan), is the world's largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres (1,052,100 sq mi). Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region's GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources. Some argue that Kazakhstan may be considered a European country because Kazakhstan's Western region is on the European continent and meets the Council of Europe's criteria for European inclusion.

1. The State Theatre of Opera and Ballet Astana Opera

Dinmukhamed Qonayev St, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan +7 717 270 9594
Excellent
83%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 100 reviews

The State Theatre of Opera and Ballet Astana Opera

Reviewed By kiltmaker2 - Evanston, Illinois

Located on the west part of Astana city center. You could see this structure standing tall with its beautiful landscape in front of it. It close to Khan Shatyr and other attractions nearby.

2. Charyn Canyon

Charyn National Park | Charyn River, Kazakhstan +7 777 228 4799
Excellent
84%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 190 reviews

Charyn Canyon

Reviewed By areveurecat - Barcelona, Spain

Silent and impressive. There are two trails to walk, one along the upper side, a second through the canyon itself. Two different complementary perspectives. Don't miss the opportunity to sleep down by the river, either in a yurt, bungalow or in your own tent. The colors of the rocks in the evening are brilliant!

3. Kolsai Lakes

Almaty, Kazakhstan +7 727 235 8944
Excellent
85%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 176 reviews

Kolsai Lakes

Reviewed By globtravel2017 - Astana, Kazakhstan

Get ready for a heavenly experience away from the city and away from mobile range :) The terrain is mountain so be ready for long difficult walks. Get climbing shoes or ride horses.Six hours ride from Almaty.

4. Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima

Shahterov ave, 32, Karaganda 100026, Kazakhstan
Excellent
91%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 38 reviews

Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima

Reviewed By GLBonora - Ferrara, Italy

The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima erected in Karaganda and opened in september 2012, is the biggest Cathedral in Central Asia. Many countries helped build it and donations have been received not only from Kazakhstan but also from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, America and even South Africa. The Cathedral was initially meant to “become a memorial to victims of Karlag (Karaganda labor camp of Stalinist era), a place of prayer for the victims of the totalitarian regime.
Construction of the Cathedral in Karaganda started in 2003.

5. Museum of Baikonur Cosmodrome History

Pionerskaya St., 4 | Palace of Culture - 3rd Floor, Baikonur 468320, Kazakhstan +7 336 225-06-20
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 44 reviews

Museum of Baikonur Cosmodrome History

Reviewed By alfonso p - Ankara, Turkey

A comprehensive story of the space adventure. Documents and objects lead you from the victory after the carniage, in the II WW, to the astonishing surprise of the Sputnik's bip-bip and to the first man in the space. Of course it isn't worth the trip to this place that is lost in, and surrounded by hundreds of miles of desert, but if by chance you are here don't miss it.

6. The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

Turkestan, Kazakhstan +7 705 486 4415
Excellent
68%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 67 reviews

The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

Built in the 14th century by Tamerlane to commemorate the Sufi leader, the building is a national symbol.

Reviewed By Saskia S

We took a daytrip together from Shymkent with the hotel taxi driver and an English speaking guide, including lunch package, arranged by the hotel staff (about 175 euros). The highway to Turkistan is very quiet, the trip took about two hours.
Arraving at the mausoleum it took us a while before we realised it's not just a mosque but actually a Sultan's palace, with a build-in mosque and mausoleum. The building is very impresive, rising up in the flat land, the whole town of Turkistan consists of just a few other houses.
Once inside our guide explained that the building was reconstructed from the inside by the Kazakh government. Lots of details like all sealings were removed and the walls plastered again with new details by hired Turkish builders. This means that the official womens quarters in the top of the building were removed and looked like empty caves near the ceiling. Such a shame.
Also the place has got different rooms with Exhibitions of ancient coins and a writers room. Both have got nothing to do with the mausoleum, but are put there for tourist attraction only. Best ridiculous detail: there is a 'water-well' in one of the cells, made of stones that absolutely do not match the rest of the stones the mausoleum is made of, and looks very new. Geologists say there is no way the well was there, but the info on the display has got drawings to prove it. A very good take on rewriting history!
The building has tipped over a bit on the back, and the precautions they made for collapse are simple and ugly: they just build three modern stone pillars against the beautiful blue tiled walls..
It's an amazing place, an absolute must-see, but they really did a horrible job preserving it.
What the other reviewers have said below is absolutely true: I was stared at and noticed young visitors took pics of me (It's a Tourist!!) and there are a lot of Pelgrims, mostly Oezbek.
Without the explanations from our Kazakh guide Ruslan I would not have been able to comprehend the real story of the mausoleum, so I strongly advise to take a guide!

7. Big Almaty Lake

Ili-Alatau National Park, Almaty, Kazakhstan +7 727 333 5333
Excellent
72%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 497 reviews

Big Almaty Lake

Reviewed By johncY5607GX

I was in Almaty for a week on a holiday cum business visit.... one of the warmer days, I decided to go to Big Almaty Lake with a friend... I had seen some pics online before my visit and I was really looking forward to this visit...
I was staying in the city centre and took over an hour to reach the lake... drive through the city was ok with the usual hush hush around... after a long drive, there is a sudden calm and slight chill in the air... beautiful scenery around u... it’s a sign that u r not too far from the Big Almaty Lake...
Last 15 mins of the drive was amazing and u wish to get ur head outside the window like a puppy...
I visited this place on the morning of 3rd October... and it was really chilly at the lake although city temperature was about 10 degrees but it felt like 1 degree here... Make sure to carry warm clothes especially to cover ur head, feet and hands... Make sure to visit early morning before 12 as later it can get little crowded there... as there is a limited space to park..
On the day of my visit, we could go till the lake as there was no snow and had plenty of opportunity to click pictures... and trust me it’s a beautiful sight..
I had couple of friends visiting 3 days later and it had started to snow there and they could not step outside the parking area as it was pretty slippery and risky... although the sight was beautiful...
Surely recommend a visit here...

8. Hazret Sultan Mosque

Tauelsizdik Ave 48, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan +7 717 228 0018
Excellent
68%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 277 reviews

Hazret Sultan Mosque

Reviewed By Eyad A - Jeddah, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

A must visit of this Mosque to have a complete visit to Astana. A very well organized mosque, which I performed Friday prayer it. The provided facilities, outdoor piazza and ablution area are awesome. The Islamic art and calligraphies indoor are great too.

9. KarLag / Museum of Political Repression Victims’ Memory of the Dolinka Settlement

Shkolnaya St, 15 | Dolinka Village, Karaganda, Kazakhstan +7 721 565 8222
Excellent
76%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 54 reviews

KarLag / Museum of Political Repression Victims’ Memory of the Dolinka Settlement

Reviewed By Burdenkov - Minsk, Belarus

Such places should be promoted in a more active way so people remember the atrocities of the regime against its own people!

10. Medeu Skating Rink and Ski resort

Gornaya St., 465 | Medeu Valley, Almaty, Kazakhstan +7 727 386 9536
Excellent
70%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 627 reviews

Medeu Skating Rink and Ski resort

Medeu Alpine Sports Complex is located in picturesque canyon Ile Alatau on 1691 metres high above the sea level. The highest ice skating rink in the world. • Working schedule: whole year • Activities in winter: ice skating • Activities in summer: skating, bicycles, skateboarding, streetball and volleyball. • Ice field area: 10 500 sq.m • Average temperature: summer time +20 C, winter -10 C •

Reviewed By wvzjxq - SFO

The only bus that runs up here is Bus12 on Dostyk Ave. The air tram ride is another 22 minutes into the Mountains. Once you’re at the restaurant area, there are foot trails you can continue on deeper into the Mountains.

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