5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kazakhstan At Least Once In Your Lifetime

Last month, Kazakhstan extended its visa-free program to 12 more countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia—among others—in an effort to boost the nation’s tourism. 

Citizens of the countries granted visa-free entry can enjoy a stay of up to 30 days to explore the beauty of Kazakhstan. But for a destination that’s rather obscure for even the most seasoned travelers, what makes this Central Asian country worth your visit? Here are five reasons why Kazakhstan belongs on your travel list:



Natural Wonders 

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From canyons to snow-capped mountains to deserts, Kazakhstan boasts a plethora of natural wonders that will surely excite fans of the great outdoors. A definite mustn’t-miss is the great Charyn Canyon, which is possibly Kazakhstan’s answer to North America’s Grand Canyon. Here you will find geological formations that resemble chimneys, deep ridges, steep slopes, and, of course, breathtaking vistas.



Futuristic Architecture

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Take your time strolling around Nurzhol Boulevard, the national boulevard of Kazakhstan situated in the capital city Astana, and marvel at its wealth of futuristic architecture. Check out the presidential palace that is Ak Orda, then the magnificent Khan Shatyr, a translucent structure with a conical hat-shaped roof. Finally, admire the 97-meter tall Baiterek Tower, an imposing monument and observation tower with a golden orb sitting at the top that serves as the city’s most iconic landmark. 



Indoor Beaches and Ski Parks In The City

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Who said beaches are fun only under the sun? Kazakhstan will prove to you otherwise, as it’s one of the countries that boast an indoor beach. You’ll find this sandy paradise in the capital city, at the 150-meter high Khan Shatyr building. 


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Not too keen on hitting the beach? Maybe, you’d like to experience skiing in the city. If your travel dates fall between December and April, head on over to Shymbulak Ski Resort. Tagged as the most advanced ski resort in Central Asia, it is a ski lover’s paradise, about a 30-minute drive from Almaty’s city center.



Fascinating Local Fare

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If you’re a big meat-eater, you’ll love Kazakh cuisine. Much of their culinary traditions revolve around meat, especially horse meat and mutton. On your visit, give beshbarmak a try. Arguably the most popular Kazakh dish, it’s basically boiled horse or mutton meat served with a pasta sheet and broth called sorpa. Feeling a bit adventurous? Try their national drink—fermented horse milk. 



Lovely People

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Whether you’re well-traveled or not, you might be surprised by how warm and hospitable Kazakhs actually are. If you’re feeling a bit lost and need some help with directions, the locals will be more than happy to help. Shopkeepers, as well as restaurant and cafe staff, can be very welcoming and cheery, too, bringing just the right amount of positivity to your day. 


Does the thought of traveling to Kazakhstan excite you now? Where else would you want to travel visa-free?