Nomadic Horsemen, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is a mineral-rich country with a tiny population in relation to its size, and yet it has built itself a new capital, Nur Sultan (formerly Astana).

Kazakhstan offers the visitor remarkable sand dunes, ancient burial grounds and fortresses, incredible scenery and a profusion of wildlife.

Due to the vast spaces and limited intrusion from people, the varied fauna and flora exist unaffected by the usual pressures of human expansion.

Spires of Zenkov Cathedral, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Spires of Zenkov Cathedral in Almaty

Highlights of a holiday to Kazakhstan

The old capital of Almaty, meaning valley of apples, sits nestled under the snowy peaks of the mighty Tien Shan (Celestial) Mountains. The markets are a delight and there is a fine museum of musical instruments as well as the splendid Zenkov Cathedral, made entirely of wood, interlocked with such skill that no nails have been used in the construction.

The cosmodrome at Baikonur, whose location was once the most highly classified secret, is now open to visitors so you can explore the world’s largest operational space launch facility, from where the first manned spaceflight was launched.

Balkhash Lake, which stretches from the Kazakh Hills in the northeast to desert steppes in the southwest, is half fresh water and half saline and home to many species of birds, including flamingos.

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Inner courtyard of the Kalyan Mosque, part of the Po-i-Kalyan Complex in Bukhara
Kalyan Mosque, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

A Multi Country Adventure

Most visitors combine a holiday to Kazakhstan with one of its neighbouring stans. With various access points, the mountains, lakes and nomadic families of Kyrgyzstan is the most obvious choice. Alternatively couple with the stunning Islamic architecture of Uzbekistan or cross the whole of Central Asia taking the five stans.

Explore Kazakhstan

  • Nur Sultan
  • Almaty
  • Charyn Canyon
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Uzbekistan

Experiences

A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Kazakhstan and beyond.

Traditional yurt on open steppes with snow capped mountains in the background.

Altai Mountains Adventure

Spend a few nights surrounded by the beauty of the Altai Mountains, camping in a traditional yurt for a taste of the traditional way of life.

Voznesensky Cathedral, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Explore Almaty

Visit the countries old capital Almaty including the beautiful Zenkov Cathedral, made entirely of wood, vibrant local markets and the Museum of Musical Instruments.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Charyn Gorge, Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon

Visit the magnificent Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan’s own Grand Canyon. Access by 4WD or on foot and keep an eye out for mountain goats.

Rusting stranded ship in a desert landscape where the aral sea once was

Aral Sea

See the stranded ships dating from the Soviet occupation, left in the desert landscape where the Aral Sea once was.

Kazakh Man with Eagle, Mongolia

Kazakh Eagle Hunters

Join the famed Kazakh Eagle Hunters in all their finery for a hunting expedition – meet their families and their birds, and learn about the skills involved in the capture, training and use of eagles as hunters.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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