Complete Travel Guide to Kazakhstan from India

Kazakhstan

Get ready for an exciting journey from the vibrant streets of India to the enchanting landscapes of Kazakhstan! This travel guide is your key to unlocking a unique adventure that seamlessly blends tradition, modernity, and natural beauty.

As the ninth-largest country globally, Kazakhstan beckons with diverse landscapes and a tapestry of vibrant cultures.

Whether you're a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a food lover, Kazakhstan has something special for every Indian traveler.

Wondering about visa requirements? Curious about local customs and etiquette? Are you eager to explore must-visit destinations and savor culinary delights? This guide has you covered!

Visa Requirements:

Visa Requirements

Exciting news awaits Indian travelers planning a visit to Kazakhstan! A groundbreaking development outlined in Decree 464 by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on July 7, 2022, introduces a visa-free entry regime for citizens of India.

This progressive initiative allows for a continuous visa-free stay in Kazakhstan for up to 14 days.

Moreover, the decree provides flexibility, permitting multiple entries with a cumulative visa-free stay of 42 days within any 180 days.

Also read: Iran is now a Visa free Destination for Indian Citizens

Getting There:

Kazakhstan, with its vast and varied landscapes, offers multiple ways to access its beauty. Whether you prefer the speed of the skies, the scenic routes of the roads, or the serenity of the waterways, getting to Kazakhstan from India is an adventure in itself.

By Air:

The most common and efficient way to reach Kazakhstan from India is by air. Major international airports in India, including those in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, offer regular flights to key Kazakhstani cities like Almaty and Nur-Sultan.

Airlines provide direct and connecting flights, ensuring a convenient and time-efficient journey.

As you soar above borders, you'll witness the changing landscapes beneath, offering a glimpse of the diverse terrain that awaits.

By Road:

For those seeking a more immersive experience, road travel provides a unique perspective on the journey.

While a direct road connection from India to Kazakhstan might be challenging due to the distance, road trips within Kazakhstan are an adventure in themselves.

The well-maintained road networks connect cities, and renting a car or hiring a local driver allows you to explore the country at your own pace.

Additionally, neighboring countries like Russia or China offer potential entry points for road trips into Kazakhstan.

Also read: Exploring Russia on a Budget: Essential Travel Tips for Affordable Trips

By Water:

While not the primary means of transportation, water travel is possible through Kazakhstan's extensive river networks and lakes.

The Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland body of water, borders Kazakhstan to the west. Aktau, a port city on the Caspian Sea, serves as a gateway to Kazakhstan.

Cruises and ferry services are available, providing a unique approach for those who appreciate the tranquility of water journeys.

Also read: 10 Spectacular International Cruising Destinations to Explore from India

Mosque near the mountains and beautiful cloudly sky, Kazakhstan

Getting Around:

Once you've landed in Kazakhstan, the journey truly begins as you explore the vast landscapes and cultural treasures. The country offers a diverse array of transportation options, ensuring you can seamlessly move from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

By Train:

Kazakhstan boasts an extensive and picturesque railway network, making train travel an enchanting way to explore the country.

The trains are well-maintained and comfortable and offer stunning views of the changing landscapes.

Popular routes include the journey between Almaty and Nur-Sultan, allowing travelers to witness the beauty of the steppe.

By Flight:

Domestic flights connect major cities, providing a quick and efficient means of transportation, especially for covering vast distances.

Air travel is ideal if you want to explore specific regions or if time is of the essence. Local airlines operate regular flights between cities, making it easy to hop from one cultural gem to another.

By Buses:

Public buses and private coaches are a common mode of transportation within cities and between regions.

While they might take a bit longer than flights, buses offer a chance to witness the local life and scenery up close.

Intercity buses are comfortable and connect major destinations, providing an affordable option for budget-conscious travelers.

Rental Cars:

For those who prefer the freedom to explore at their own pace, renting a car is an excellent option.

The road infrastructure in Kazakhstan is well-developed, and driving through the vast landscapes can be a rewarding experience.

Rental agencies are available in major cities, and you can choose from a variety of vehicles depending on your preferences and the terrain you plan to cover.

The best time to visit

Kazakhstan

The best time to visit Kazakhstan depends on your preferences and the specific activities you plan to engage in.

Kazakhstan experiences a diverse climate due to its vast size and varied landscapes, ranging from deserts to mountainous regions.

Here are considerations for different seasons:

1. Spring (April to June):

  • Weather: Spring is a pleasant time, with temperatures ranging from mild to warm. Nature starts to bloom, and landscapes become lush.

  • Activities: Ideal for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and exploring cities. It's also a good time for hiking in mountainous regions.

2. Summer (July to August):

  • Weather: Summer is warm to hot, especially in the southern and central regions. Northern areas and mountainous regions offer milder temperatures.

  • Activities: Great for exploring the diverse landscapes, enjoying festivals, and engaging in outdoor adventures. Summer is the prime season for trekking and exploring the countryside.

3. Autumn (September to October):

  • Weather: Autumn brings cooler temperatures, and landscapes showcase vibrant fall colors.

  • Activities: Suitable for sightseeing, cultural experiences, and outdoor activities. Autumn is a good time for photography, particularly in the mountainous areas.

4. Winter (November to March):

  • Weather: Winters can be cold, especially in northern and central regions, with snowfall. Southern areas may have milder winters.

  • Activities: Ideal for winter sports enthusiasts, with skiing and snowboarding opportunities in mountain resorts. Winter is also a unique time for cultural experiences in cities.

Local Travel Tips:

1. Language: English might not be widely spoken outside major cities, so having a basic knowledge of Russian or Kazakh phrases can be helpful.

2. Navigation Apps: Utilize navigation apps to ease your journey, especially if you're driving. Google Maps is widely used and effective in urban areas.

3. Currency: Ensure you have local currency (Tenge) for transactions in more remote areas, as card acceptance may be limited.

Accommodation:

Yurts in the mountains, Kazakhstan

High-End Accommodation:

1. Ritz-Carlton, Almaty:

  • Located in Almaty, this luxury hotel offers top-notch services with panoramic views of the city and mountains.

  • Price Range: ₹20,000 - ₹40,000 per night (approx.)

2. The St. Regis Astana:

  • Situated in Nur-Sultan, this upscale hotel provides a sophisticated and luxurious stay with modern amenities.

  • Price Range: ₹18,000 - ₹35,000 per night (approx.)

Mid-Range Accommodation:

1. Holiday Inn Almaty:

  • A well-known international brand, conveniently located in Almaty, offers comfort and quality services.

  • Price Range: ₹8,000 - ₹15,000 per night (approx.)

2. King Hotel Astana:

  • A mid-range hotel in Nur-Sultan, providing a balance between affordability and quality.

  • Price Range: ₹7,000–₹12,000 per night (approx.)

Budget-Friendly Accommodation:

1. Otrar Hotel, Almaty:

  • A budget-friendly option in Almaty, offering comfortable accommodation at an affordable price.

  • Price Range: ₹4,000 - ₹8,000 per night (approx.)

2. Sky Lux Hotel, Nur-Sultan:

  • A budget hotel in Nur-Sultan provides basic amenities for travelers on a budget.

  • Price Range: ₹3,500 - ₹7,000 per night (approx.)

Eco-Friendly Accommodation:

1. Everest Inn Almaty:

  • Committed to sustainability, this eco-friendly hotel in Almaty incorporates green practices into its operations.

  • Price Range: ₹6,000 - ₹12,000 per night (approx.)

2. Eco Hotel, Nur-Sultan:

  • A hotel in Nur-Sultan with a focus on eco-friendly initiatives and sustainable practices.

  • Price Range: ₹5,000 - ₹10,000 per night (approx.)

Must-Visit Destinations:

Almaty:

Almaty

Almaty, the cultural hub, offers a blend of tradition and modernity. Explore the Central State Museum and Zenkov Cathedral, and don't miss the cable car ride to Shymbulak Ski Resort for breathtaking views.

  • Things to do:

    • Explore the Central State Museum to delve into Kazakhstan's rich history and culture.

    • Visit the Zenkov Cathedral, an architectural gem and one of the world's tallest all-wooden buildings.

    • Take a cable car ride to Shymbulak Ski Resort for stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

  • Prices:

    • Museum Entry: ₹500 - ₹1,000 per person

    • Cable Car Ride: ₹1,500 - ₹2,500 per person

Nur-Sultan (Astana):

Nur-Sultan (Astana)

The futuristic capital, Nur-Sultan, dazzles with contemporary architecture. Visit the Bayterek Tower, Astana Opera, and enjoy leisurely strolls along Nurzhol Boulevard.

  • Things to do:

    • Marvel at the futuristic architecture of the Bayterek Tower, which offers breathtaking city views.

    • Attend a performance at the Astana Opera, showcasing the country's artistic prowess.

    • Enjoy leisurely strolls along Nurzhol Boulevard, lined with modern sculptures and green spaces.

  • Prices:

    • Bayterek Tower Observation Deck: ₹800–₹1,500 per person

    • Astana Opera Ticket: ₹1,000 - ₹2,500 per person

Charyn Canyon:

Charyn Canyon

Nature's masterpiece, Charyn Canyon, is a must-visit for its awe-inspiring landscapes. Hike through the Valley of Castles to witness unique rock formations and towering cliffs.

  • Things to do:

    • Hike through the Valley of Castles to witness unique rock formations and towering cliffs.

    • Capture stunning photographs of the breathtaking landscapes.

  • Prices:

    • National Park Entry: ₹500 - ₹1,000 per person (additional fees for guided tours)

Lake Balkhash:

Lake Balkhash

Experience tranquility at Lake Balkhash, one of the largest lakes globally. Engage in water activities and enjoy moments of relaxation along the shores.

  • Things to do:

    • Engage in water activities like boating, fishing, and swimming.

    • Enjoy moments of relaxation along the shores of one of the largest lakes globally.

  • Prices:

    • Boat Rental: ₹1,000 - ₹2,500 per hour

    • Fishing Permit: ₹500 - ₹1,000 per person

Turkestan:

The famous medieval mausoleum of Khoja Akhmet Yassawi in the Kazakh city of Turkestan

Immerse yourself in the historical charm of Turkestan. Visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi and explore ancient streets that tell the tales of the Silk Road.

  • Things to do:

    • Visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    • Explore ancient streets and markets that echo the tales of the Silk Road.

  • Prices:

    • Mausoleum Entry: ₹300 - ₹800 per person (additional fees for guided tours)

Cultural Etiquette in Kazakhstan with an Indian Touch:

Cultural Etiquette in Kazakhstan1. Greetings: Greet warmly with a handshake, adding a nod in traditional settings. Use familiar Indian greetings like "Namaste" or "Salaam."

2. Shoes in Homes: Respect cleanliness by removing shoes, aligning with common Indian practice.

3. Guest Etiquette: Express gratitude with a "thank you" or "Dhanyavaad" and graciously accept offered refreshments, mirroring Indian hospitality customs.

4. Respect for Elders: Use respectful titles like "Uncle" or "Aunty" for elders, and consider standing as a sign of respect, akin to Indian norms.

5. Communication Style: Employ politeness, using "please" and "thank you" generously. Embrace a softer, indirect communication style that resonates with both cultures.

6. Gift-Giving: Present gifts with both hands, open them privately, and express appreciation with phrases like "Bahut shukriya."

7. Dress Modestly: Choose modest clothing, covering shoulders and knees, especially in conservative areas or at religious sites, reflecting Indian modesty norms.

By incorporating these nuances, navigate Kazakhstan with a blend of familiarity from the rich traditions of both India and Kazakhstan.

Must-Try Local Food

Must-Try Local Food in Kazakhstan

Exploring local cuisine is an integral part of any travel experience. In Kazakhstan, you'll find a delightful mix of flavors influenced by Central Asian, Russian, and nomadic traditions. Here are some must-try local foods in Kazakhstan:

1. Beshbarmak:

BeshbarmakA traditional Kazakh dish, Beshbarmak, means "five fingers," as it is traditionally eaten with the hands. It consists of boiled meat (usually lamb or beef) served over pasta and accompanied by onions.

  • Where to Eat: Traditional Kazakh Restaurants

  • Price Range: ₹800 - ₹1,500 per serving

2. Plov:

PlovKnown as "pilaf" in many cultures, Kazakh plov typically includes rice, meat (often lamb or beef), carrots, and various spices. It's a hearty and flavorful dish.

  • Where to Eat: Local Eateries or Central Asian Restaurants

  • Price Range: ₹600 - ₹1,200 per serving

3. Manti:

Manti

These are steamed dumplings filled with minced meat (often lamb or beef) and sometimes flavored with onions and spices. Manti are typically served with a side of sour cream.

  • Where to Eat: Dumpling Shops or Traditional Kazakh Restaurants

  • Price Range: ₹500 - ₹1,000 per serving

4. Shashlik:

Shashlik

A popular Central Asian barbecue dish, shashlik, consists of skewered and grilled cubes of marinated meat, commonly lamb or beef. It's often served with flatbread and vegetables.

  • Where to Eat: Barbecue Stalls or Central Asian Grill Restaurants

  • Price Range: ₹400 - ₹800 per serving

5. Lagman:

Lagman

Lagman is a noodle soup with a savory broth, vegetables, and meat. The noodles are handmade and can vary in thickness. It's a comforting and filling dish.

  • Where to Eat: Noodle Houses or Central Asian Restaurants

  • Price Range: ₹600 - ₹1,200 per serving

6. Kumis:

Kumis

For a unique beverage experience, try kumis, a traditional fermented drink made from mare's milk. It has a slightly sour taste and is often consumed on special occasions.

  • Where to Try: Traditional Kazakh Yurts or Cultural Centers

  • Price Range: ₹300 - ₹600 per serving

7. Baursak:

Baursak

These are deep-fried dough balls, a popular snack or side dish. Baursak is often served at festive events and celebrations.

  • Where to Eat: Local Bakeries or Traditional Kazakh Cafés

  • Price Range: ₹200 - ₹400 per serving

8. Kazy and Karta:

Kazy and KartaThese are traditional horse meat sausages (kazy) and smoked horse meat (karta). While not everyone's cup of tea, trying these traditional nomadic foods can be a culturally enriching experience.

  • Where to Eat: Traditional Kazakh Butcher Shops or Specialty Markets

  • Price Range: ₹500 - ₹1,000 per serving

9. Samsa:

Samsa

Samsa is a type of pastry filled with minced meat, onions, and spices. It's baked to a golden brown and is a popular snack in Kazakhstan.

  • Where to Eat: Street Food Stalls or Local Bakeries

  • Price Range: ₹300 - ₹600 per serving

10. Kazakh Tea (Shai):

Kazakh Tea (Shai)End your meal with a cup of Kazakh tea, often served with sweets or dried fruits. Tea is an integral part of Kazakh hospitality.

  • Where to Enjoy: Local Tea Houses or Traditional Kazakh Cafés

  • Price Range: ₹100 - ₹300 per serving

Must-buy Souvenirs

When exploring Kazakhstan, consider bringing back unique and culturally significant souvenirs to cherish your travel memories. Here are some must-buy souvenirs from Kazakhstan:

1. Shapan:

ShapanThese are traditional Kazakh hats made of fur or felt. Shapans come in various styles and are often adorned with intricate embroidery. They are both functional and make for an authentic Kazakh souvenir.

  • Significance: Symbolizes the wearer's connection to Kazakh traditions.

  • Where to buy: traditional markets, local artisan shops, or cultural centers.

  • Price Range: ₹1,500 - ₹3,000 (approx.)

2. Kazakh Carpets (Shyrdak):

Kazakh Carpets

Handmade felt carpets with intricate patterns and vibrant colors are a symbol of Kazakh craftsmanship. Shyrdaks are not only visually appealing but also carry cultural significance.

  • significance: represents the nomadic lifestyle of the Kazakh people.

  • Where to buy: specialty carpet shops, local markets, or craft fairs.

  • Price Range: ₹4,000 - ₹8,000 (approx.)

3. Kazakh Jewelry:

Kazakh JewelryTraditional Kazakh jewelry often features intricate designs and is made from materials like silver, gold, and semi-precious stones. Look for items like necklaces, bracelets, and rings.

  • Significance: expresses cultural identity and may have symbolic meanings.

  • Where to buy: jewelry stores in major cities, traditional markets, or artisan workshops.

  • Price Range: ₹3,000 - ₹10,000 (approx.)

4. Kazakh Instruments:

Kazakh InstrumentsConsider purchasing a traditional Kazakh musical instrument, such as a dombra (a two-stringed instrument) or a kobyz (a horsehair fiddle). These instruments represent the rich musical heritage of Kazakhstan.

  • Significance: representative of Kazakh musical heritage.

  • Where to buy: music stores, cultural centers, or souvenir shops.

  • Price Range: ₹1,000 - ₹2,500 (approx.)

5. Kazakh Embroidery and Textiles:

Kazakh Embroidery and TextilesHandcrafted textiles, including embroidered fabrics and Suzani-style textiles, showcase the artistry of Kazakh needlework. These make for beautiful and culturally rich souvenirs.

  • Significance: Showcases Kazakh needlework and cultural motifs.

  • Where to buy: local markets, textile shops, or craft cooperatives.

  • Price Range: ₹500 - ₹2,000 (approx.)

Also read: Complete Travel Guide to Iran from India 2024

A journey from India to Kazakhstan unfolds as an odyssey through time and landscapes. From the modern allure of cities to the untouched beauty of canyons and lakes, Kazakhstan promises a sensory feast for the intrepid traveler.

Careful planning, cultural respect, and an adventurous spirit will transform this expedition into an unforgettable chapter in the travelogue of life.

Welcome to Kazakhstan, where the echoes of history harmonize with the rhythms of nature.

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