Kazakhstan might seem like an obscure destination to add to your bucket list. But that also means that there are no huge tourist crowds, and you can have a travel experience that is uniquely yours. Kazakhstan is also home to a unique culture and many natural wonders. If you are an adventurer at heart, there are many unspoiled nature to explore, underground mausoleums to visit, and nomads that you can live with in a yurt. Need more reasons to convince you why you should visit Kazakhstan? Read on and find out more!
1. It is untouched by modern life
Don’t get me wrong, Kazakhstan has its own major commercial and cultural hub in Almaty. Even though there are very few Kazakhs living in yurts these days, the nomadic culture still lives on. Many people choose to move into the mountains for summer, and you can also sense a certain refusal to get swept up into the materialistic tendencies of modern life. This is most apparent when you travel away from the main cities and out into the smaller towns and villages. Even cars are a rare sight deep in the country, and camels and donkeys are the main mode of transport for rural inhabitants.
2. It offers an escape away from tourist crowds
The great thing about it being an underrated destination means that you’ll be hard pressed to find large groups of tourists in Kazakhstan. On average, about three million tourists visit Kazakhstan every year. In comparison, a small city like Singapore sees 15 million! Kazakhstan is also the ninth largest country in the world. Which means there is space, and lots of it. Chances are, you’ll get to many attractions all to yourself, without any pushy touts and loud tourists.
3. It offers top notch skiing opportunities
Love winter sports? Then you should visit Kazakhstan for its great skiing and snowboarding opportunities.The best (and most popular) spot in Kazakhstan is in Shymbulak in Almaty. It is the largest and most modern ski resort in Central Asia! The diverse set of slopes means that skiers and snowboarders of any level can get in on the fun. Also, without big crowds it means that you’ll barely need to queue for a lift.
4. It has breathtaking nature
Perhaps the best reason to visit Kazakhstan is that it is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor exploration. It is one of the remaining places in the world with a landscape mostly untouched by human hands. And with one of the lowest population density in the world, there are more animals here than people. In short, Kazakhstan is a haven for those looking for natural landscapes and rare wildlife. And with no one to bother you, you can spend as long as you want here, within a landscape that hasn’t changed in a million years.
5. It is affordable, even for budget travellers
Not only is Kazakhstan perfect for adventurers, it is also perfect for budget travellers! Even though it is a big country, it’s surprisingly affordable to travel from one destination to another. There are also plenty of accommodation options such as hostels in the main cities. You can easily get a dorm bed for about S$9, or S$18 for a double room. Eating out is also really affordable. Especially if you go local, you can easily feed yourself with just S$10 a day.
6. Its people are warm and welcoming
Local Kazakh people might not smile a lot, but don’t let their stony demeanor fool you. On the contrary, they’re actually very warm and welcoming. The country prides itself on its multi-ethnic and cultural harmony, and this is perhaps the reason why the people are so accepting of others. Don’t take it to heart if your smile is met with a cold face. And don’t be too surprised afterwards if the scowling grandma on the train suddenly offers some food to you! If you are lost and need directions, the locals will definitely be more than happy to help.
7. Its local fare is hearty and fascinating
Vegans and vegetarians might have a hard time here, but if you love meat, then you’ll love Kazakh cuisine. Endless skewers of grilled meat, more bread than you could eat, platters of rice and so much more. One thing is for sure, you won’t go hungry when you visit Kazakhstan. And if you’re feeling adventurous, make sure to try their national drink – fermented horse milk!