In this travel guide, we will mention the 20 best places to visit in Kazakhstan that every tourist traveling in Kazakhstan should definitely explore.
Kazakhstan is a country that is located in Central Asia and comes on the list of the top 10 largest countries in the world. This country is in discussion among good countries for its natural and human heritage reserves. Whether it is trade or tourism, the history of this country has always been commendable. The mention of this country is also found in ancient times when there were civilizations.
Today, where tourism is growing very fast in the countries of Central Asia, Kazakhstan is also paying a lot of attention to its tourism. Not only this, Kazakhstan is spending crores on tourism every year to promote tourism in its country. Therefore, anyone who is a travel lover must visit there once and explore the natural and human heritage of Kazakhstan.
We have assumed that you have decided to go to Kazakhstan, now it comes to which places in Kazakhstan you should visit. This can be a big challenge in front of you which has the potential to cancel your travel plan. If you are curious to know about those places, you should stay connected with us as we are going to discuss the 20 best places to visit in Kazakhstan in this article.
Best Places to visit in Kazakhstan
Whenever anyone talks about the ancient places in Kazakhstan, they definitely include Almaty in their list (most probably at the first position). Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan from 1929 to 1997. The city is located in the mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan near the border with Kyrgyzstan in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau at an elevation of 700–900 m (2,300–3,000 feet), where the Large and Small Almatinka rivers run into the plain. Geographically wealthy place, and it is one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan.
The natural heritage of Almaty is the main tourist attraction. The city continues to flaunt its vibrant charm and attract a zillion tourists even today. Apart from natural heritage, human heritage also attracts people across the globe to explore. There are a lot of beautiful places in Almaty that any tourist should visit. Some places try to showcase the culture of the regional people, some try to show the ancient history and some try to give the best adventure experience. Let’s have a look at some most amazing places and things that you can do in Almaty.
Best Tourists Places in Almaty
- Kazakhstan Museum of Arts
- Climb Kok-Tobe Hill
- First President’s Park
- Central Mosque
- Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments
- Shymbulak Ski Resort
How to travel to Almaty?
After arriving at Almaty International Airport, you can rent a taxi and explore the different places in Almaty.
2. Astana (Nur-Sultan)
Astana is the next place of interest in Kazakhstan. It has been renamed to Nur-Sultan on March 23, 2019, is the capital of Kazakhstan. The word Astana means “capital city” in Kazakh. The city lies on the banks of the Ishim River in the north-central part of Kazakhstan, within the Akmola Region, though administered as a city with special status separately from the rest of the region.
After the government’s announcement that Astana is now the capital of Kazakhstan, it has constantly grown and developed economically into one of the most modern cities in Central Asia. Astana has beautiful as well as futuristic buildings, and monuments, including many skyscrapers. The ingenious architectural projects which use advanced technologies and design, super modern hotels, business centers, and multi-story new buildings reflect the city’s bold ambitions and gushing energy.
Best Tourists Places in Astana (Nur-Sultan)
Though there are a lot of places in Astana that everyone should visit, the most amazing and adventurous places are –
- The Baiterek Tower
- Hazret Sultan Mosque
- Park of Lovers
- Nurzhol Boulevard
- Palace of Peace and Reconciliation
- Ak-Orda (presidential residency)
How tourists can travel to Astana?
After arriving at Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, you can visit Astana by taxi.
Have you ever been to a place where there are no streets, no roads, or no districts that have names? If you didn’t, get ready to visit Aktau, one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan. The address of this place generally consisted of three numerical digits in which the first number represents the district number, the second and third represent the building number, and the apartment number respectively. The reason behind it is that it was originally planned as a camp for the workers of the oil industry.
If we talk about Aktau from the tourism perspective, there are many things that attract people across the world. Whether the long sidewalks and beaches of the Caspian Sea or the historical Museums, everything makes Aktau a tourism-rich place. Aktau has both rocky hills and sandy beaches along the seashore. There are also several modern resorts on the coast to the south of the city as well as it has a variety of local hotels and western chains of Renaissance and Holiday Inn.
Best Tourists Places in Aktau
- Aktau Beach
- Bayterek Cinema
- Tetysblu Theme Park
- MiG Monument at the Victory Mall
- Regional Studies and History Museum
- Yntymak Square
How tourists can travel to Aktau?
Aktau also has an international airport as well as a seaport. After arriving here, you can rent a taxi and visit Aktau.
If you love history and like to explore historical and mysterious places and ancient sites you should mark Taraz as your next travel destination. Taraz is located on the Talas (Taraz) River in the south of the country near the border with Kyrgyzstan. It is one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan and only the oldest city in southern Kazakhstan. It has celebrated its official 2,000th anniversary in 2001.
The monuments, ruins, and mysterious and adventurous places of Taraz reflect the city’s heritage. In the field of sports, Taraz is very active today. Even it hosts the football team FC Taraz which plays in the Kazakhstan Premier League. So, you can also enjoy sports activities in Taraz. Apart from it, you can taste the most popular dishes of Kazakhstan in the restaurants. In a nutshell, Taraz is one of the tourist attractions in Kazakhstan.
Best Tourists Places in Taraz
Although there are many places you can explore in Taraz, there are some places that you must visit.
- Zhengis Park
- The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
- Aisha Bibi Mausoleum
- Karahan Mausoleum
- Khram Pokrova Bozhiei Materi
- Ancient Taraz Archaeological Park and Museum
- Alley Of Love
How tourists can travel to Taraz?
The closest airport to Taraz is Taraz Airport. It is located at a distance of 7.3 KM from the main Taraz city.
5. Lake Balkhash
If you like to enjoy water activities like rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, etc, you should definitely visit Lake Balkhash. The remarkable thing about this lake is that it is one of the largest lakes in Asia and the 15th largest in the world it is located in the east of Central Asia in south-eastern Kazakhstan and sits in an endorheic basin. The other interesting thing is that the lake’s western part is fresh water while the lake’s eastern part is saline.
The nature and wildlife of the lake attract not only domestic tourists but also international tourists. There are many resorts and sports hubs on the lake which makes the lake more beautiful. Many tourists visit the lake in summer to enjoy refreshing dips in the lake’s blue waters. In 2021, Lake Balkhash was selected as one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the country of Kazakhstan. If you want to explore the lakes, make sure to go through the most beautiful lakes in Kazakhstan.
Best Tourists Places near Lake Balkhash
- Space Station Orbita
- Locomotive № 48-80
- Agashayak Settlement
- Monument to Agybai Batyr
- 28 Kordon Balkhash Reserve
- Monument to 50 Years of Trust Foundation Pribalkhashstroy
How to visit Lake Balkhash?
There are various ways to reach Lake Balkhash. The most suitable way is by public transport. You can reach there by train. There are a lot of daily trains that stopover midway between Almaty and Nur-Sultan.
Does science excite you? Did you take more interest in science during your studies? If you did, this travel destination is waiting for you. Baikonur is a city that has been witness to lots of space science experiments over the years. The interesting thing about it is that it is a very crucial part of Kazakhstan but is technically rented and administered by the Russian Federation as an enclave.
Since it is administered by the Russian Federation, visiting here is a little bit intricate in comparison to other places in Kazakhstan. Foreign visitors need pre-approval from the Russian authorities to visit the town of Baikonur, as well as they need to obtain written approval which is completely separate from having a regular Russian Visa. The place is very adventurous and interesting. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan.
Best Tourists Places in Baikonur
- Museum of Baikonur Cosmodrome History
- Baikonur rocket launch tour
- Saint George The Victorious Orthodox Church
- Monument of all the models of the rocket Soyuz
How to visit Baikonur?
The nearest train station Turetam is located only 2km away from Baikonur. You can reach there by the night train from Almaty to Shymkent. These trains stop at this station.
Like the above tourist attractions, Semey is also a travel-worthy place in Kazakhstan. It is located in eastern Kazakstan along the Irtysh River and near the border with Russia. Semey has also witnessed scientific tests like nuclear tests, space programs, etc during World Wars. Today, Semey reflects its history through ruins, monuments, and museums.
One of the remarkable things about Semey is that it is widely famous for its intellectual medical community with leading Semey State Medical University. You can visit there and have the experience of a world-famous medical university. The Semey Bridge has also been a center of tourist attraction that spontaneously attracts people across the world.
Best Tourists Places in Semey
- Museum F.M. Dostoyevskogo
- The Monument to Kabanbai Batyr
- Anatomical Museum
- Art Museum Nevzorovyh
- National Museum of Abai Semey
- Voskresenskiy Cathedral
- Victory Park
How to visit Semey?
Semey is situated at the Turkestan–Siberia Railway that connects central Asia with Siberia. You can reach there by train from Almaty.
8. Turgen Gorge
It is not possible to forget Turgen Gorge when it comes to the best tourist attractions in Kazakhstan. This travel destination not only gives people an opportunity to connect with nature but also explore themselves. The wonderful hills, beautiful valleys and waterfalls, alpine meadows, green forests, and glistening glaciers have the potential to mesmerize anyone.
There are many sports activities you can explore in Turgen Gorge. Hiking and mountaineering are the most popular activities in that region. You can also enjoy rafting, mountain biking, horse riding, and ski touring. People not only from Kazakhstan but also from abroad come here and enjoy themselves with their loved ones.
Best Tourists Places in Turgen Gorge
- Turgen Waterfalls
- Turgenskoye Gorge
- Kairakskiy Waterfall
- Church of Archangel Mikhail
How to visit Turgen Gorge?
Turgen Gorge has located 90 km from Almaty. You can rent a taxi to get there. Apart from this, you can also go there by public transport.
9. Lake Kaindy
Lake Kaindy is another beautiful creation of Nature in Kazakhstan. It is located 129 kilometers east-southeast of the city of Almaty. So, reaching there is not as complicated as some other tourist attractions in Kazakhstan. This lake is 400-meter-long and reaches depths of nearly 30 meters in the middle of the lake. If we talk about its altitude, it is approximately 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) above sea level.
The bluish-green color of the water makes the entire lake so pleasing that anyone falls in love with its beauty. The greenery surrounding the lake is also mesmerizing. Tall trees, small plants, wildlife, and finally all the beauty of nature will not only fascinate you but will also give you an atmosphere of peace.
Best Tourists Places near Lake Kaindy
- Kolsay Lakes National Park
- Sary-Bulak pass
How to visit Lake Kaindy?
You can reach there by public transport. Taxis are the best and cheapest mode of transport to reach there.
You must have read in your school classes that in ancient times people used to write scripts and inscribe beautiful images on rocks. If it used to surprise you at that time and wanted to visit those places, there is good news for you. You may have an experience of one of those places by visiting Tamgaly-Tas. It is 120 km North of Almaty (Kapchagai district), on the Right Bank of the Ili river.
There are lots of rock paintings of Tibetan iconography and inscriptions are available there dated to the second half of the 17th century. Many mantras, pictures, and poems have been engraved on the rocks. If you are a history buff, you must include this tourist place in your Kazakhstan trip. Tamgaly-Tas in Kazakhstan remains an outstanding monument of art, history, and culture all rolled into one.
Best Tourists Places near Tamgaly-Tas
- Nomad Fortress
How to visit Lake Tamgaly-Tas?
You can reach there by public transportation from Almaty.
11. Nomad’s Land
Are you a movie lover? If you are, you should definitely visit Nomad’s Land. It is sometimes referred to as a city of Nomads. Nomad’s Land is nothing but an abandoned movie set that has turned into a tourist destination on the edge of the Ili River in the Tamgaly Gorge. The set was built in 2005 for a film named “Nomad: The Warrior”. After that, it has also been used for several movies.
Like other travel destinations, it is not a historically or naturally rich place. It is only for those who love cinema. There is an Ili River beside it, so if you want something adventurous on your trip, you can do many activities there. There is also an excellent photography spot where you can click the beautiful photos.
Best Tourists Places near Nomad’s Land
- Tamgaly Gorge
- Tamgaly Tas
- Ili River
How to visit Nomad’s Land?
You can visit Nomad’s land with a local tour company or by public transport like taxi or car.
Aktobe is also one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan which is located in the western part of Kazakhstan. Its hydrography, climate, vegetation, and demography are all complete in themselves. Aktobe has preserved the history of world wars and civil wars in itself. You can explore many historical ruins, places, and monuments there which are reminders of the terrible times of history.
Apart from historical places, you can find many amusement parks with various attractions. There is a very grand Planetarium in Aktobe named Aktobe planetarium which is the first planetarium in Kazakhstan. It allows visitors to demonstrate various astronomical phenomena like solar and lunar eclipses, etc. Last but not the least, it is a paradise for every photographer.
Best Tourists Places in Aktobe
- Aktobe Central Stadium
- Aktobe Regional Museum
- Ilek Hotel
- Aktobe Airport
- Nurgasyr Regional Central Mosque
- Forx Club Aktobe
How to visit Aktobe?
There is an airport present in Aktobe. It offers flights to Almaty. Moreover, you can also visit there by train or by taxi.
Pavlodar is the next tourist attraction that you should include in your travel list of Kazakhstan. It is located in the northeastern part of Kazakhstan at a distance of 450 km from Nur-Sultan. The interesting thing about this part is that you will have experience of different cultures, customs, and traditions in one place. The reason behind this is that Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, and Tatars live here.
The modern resorts, malls, and even the overall infrastructure of Pavlodar are designed to keep tourism in mind. So, you will have a lot of things to explore there. You may have the experience of sports activities in Pavlodar as it is very active in sports.
Best Tourists Places in Pavlodar
- Embankment of the Irtysh
- Regional History Museum
- Zelenaya Roshha
- Ice Arena
- Pavlodar Regional Art Museum
- Cathedral of the Annunciation
- Chekhov Regional Drama Theatre
How to visit Pavlodar?
The airport facility is available at Pavlodar. You can get there by flight from Almaty or Nur-Sultan. You can also go there by train. There is a night train that runs from Nur-Sultan to Pavlodar. The last and cheapest way to get there is by public transport such as taxi, bus or car.
Karagandy is also a worth visiting place in Kazakhstan which is located in the northwest region of the country. It is the capital of the Karaganda Region and also the fourth most populous city in Kazakhstan. There are lots of things like amusement parks, theatres, a zoo, shopping malls, etc. that you can enjoy in Karagandy. The culture and traditions are unique in themselves.
The skyscrapers, modern malls, resorts, universities, and local markets are the places that attract tourists the most. There are some museums present in Karaganda in which many historical things are preserved. You should definitely capture these moments on your camera when you are on a Kazakhstan trip.
Best Tourists Places in Karagandy
- Vvedenskiy Cathedral
- Karaganda State University
- Holy Cross Church
- Karagandy Zoo
- Karaganda Regional Museum of the Fine Arts
How to visit Karagandy?
You can visit there by the local tour company or by public transport.
Shymkent is also one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan which is situated near the border with Uzbekistan. It is situated 690 kilometers west of Almaty and 1,483 kilometers south of Nur-Sultan. The greenery of this place is worth looking at. The tall trees and horticultural crops are one of the main tourist attractions in Shymkent. Many herbal plants can also be seen in this area.
Apart from the greenery, there are some such landmarks that will captivate your mind. There are many parks you will see in this region in which some famous parks are Ken Baba Park, Central Park, Dendropark, Abay Park, and Independence Park. If you visit there in the winter season, you can also enjoy snowfall which is very common.
Best Tourists Places in Shymkent
- Russian Drama Theater
- Palace of Metallurgists
- Train station forecourt
- Monument of Baidibek Bi
- Arch at Independence Park
- Mega Planet Shopping mall
- Aksu Canyon on the outskirts of Shymkent
How to visit Shymkent?
Shymkent is connected with major cities of the country by road and railway network. An airport named “Shymkent International Airport” is also operated in Shymkent. So, you can reach there by public transport as well as by flight.
The next tourist destination on our list of “best places to visit in Kazakhstan” is Kokshetau. It is another modern city in this country located in the northern part of it. Kokshetau is situated at a distance of 300 km northwest of the national capital Nur-Sultan. It is an important economic, educational, and cultural center that was awarded the Kazakhstan City of Culture for 2021.
The place has a good number of parks, shopping malls, museums, and theaters where you can enjoy and have an excellent experience. Apart from this, there are numerous hills, green meadows, dense forests, and beautiful rivers present which are mesmerizing. Several sports clubs are active in the city. You can also enjoy sports activities which are conducted by authorities from time to time.
Best Tourists Places in Kokshetau
- Kokshetau Mountain
- Kokshetau National Park
- Kokshetau City History Museum
- Museum of Literature and Art
- Church of the Resurrection
- Akmola Regional Russian Drama Theater
- Akmola Regional Universal Scientific Library
- Museum of the Hero of the Soviet Union Malik Gabdullin
How to visit Kokshetau?
Due to its location, it is a major transport hub on the highway and rail networks. You can visit there by public transport like taxis, buses, trains, and cars. Apart from this, you can also get there by flight. There is an international airport named “Kokshetau International Airport” operated in this region that connects major cities of Kazakhstan as well as neighboring countries.
Oskemen is the next tourist spot on our list where you should visit. It is located in the eastern part of the country near the border with Russia. The interesting thing about this place is that it has two names. For Kazakhs, it is Öskemen while for Russians, it is Ust-Kamenogorsk (Усть-Каменогорск). The Irtysh and Ulba rivers are the two rivers that make Oskemen more beautiful and nature-wealthy.
The culture, tradition, and customs of these people are very unique. I highly recommend you to experience their cultures and traditions. Oskemen has three very famous cinemas where you can enjoy their movies. There are also museums and monuments that shed light on the history of Kazakhstan. In winters, you can experience the lowest temperature there as the temperature drops to -49 degrees Celsius in January.
Best Tourists Places in Oskemen
- Kiin Kerish
- Belukha Mountain
- Orthodox Church
- Zhastar Park
- Oskemen Airport
- Regional Local Lore and History Museum
- Eastern-Kazakhstan Regional Architecture and Ethnographic Museum-Reserve
How to visit Oskemen?
There is an international airport named Oskemen Airport operated in Oskemen. You can reach there by flight, bus, car, train or taxi very easily without having any trouble.
18. Charyn Canyon
Do you excite canyons? If so, Charyn Canyon is one of the best places in Kazakhstan that you should definitely visit. It is located on the Sharyn River at a distance of 200 kilometers in the east of Almaty. It is approximately 154 kilometers in length and is one of the major parts of the Charyn National Park. There are various landscapes that are worth visiting.
The beautiful greenery, vegetation, plants, and wildlife of this place spontaneously attract people from all over the world. Apart from this, there are some adventure sports activities that you can enjoy there. Rafting, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are the most popular and most played sports in this region. There are many photography spots where you can capture the best moments.
Best Tourists Places in Charyn Canyon
- Panoramic point “bridge”
- Canyon Temirlik
- Panoramic point “the highest point”
- Valley of castles of the Charyn canyon
How to visit Charyn Canyon?
You can visit Charyn Canyon by the local tour company they will manage everything. If you don’t want to get there by the tour company, you can also get there by rental cars, taxis, and also by hitchhiking.
19. Ile Alatau National Park
Have you ever been to a national park? If you didn’t, you should definitely visit Ile-Alatau National Park. It is located in the mountainous region in the south of Almaty. It tries to show you the natural heritage of Kazakhstan. The tall and very big trees with so many herbal plants over there are very mesmerizing. Moreover, the melodious sound of the clean and flowing water will surely make you go crazy for the park.
If we talk about the soul of this park which undoubtedly its wildlife is very beautiful. A total of 300 species of birds and animals have been recorded from the Ile-Alatau National Park. You can easily witness many animals and birds like snow leopards, Central Asian lynx, Tian Shan brown bears, golden eagles, etc in this national park.
Best Tourists Places near Ile-Alatau National Park
- Almaty Nature Reserve
- Big Almaty Lake
- Water pipe from the lake
- Chemolgan River
- Gorge Turgen
How to visit Ile-Alatau National Park?
You can visit Ile-Alatau National Park by Public transport from Almaty.
20. Altyn Emel National Park
Like Ile-Alatau National Park, Altyn-Emel National Park is also one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan. It is located between the Ili River and the Ak-Tau mountain range. The interesting thing about this national park is that it not only consists of dense forests but also includes desert and rocky terrain. It is a treasure trove for archaeologists as it contains very important historical evidence about past lives.
It comprises various landscapes, including sand deserts, mountains, and flora. So, if you are a photoholic, it will be one of the best places for you to visit in Kazakstan. You can find there the red mountains, lunar mountains, green meadows, mounds, sand dunes, an oasis consisting of a grove of trees, etc. The wild lives here maybe not be exciting because you will hardly be able to see any wild animals. This place is best for you if you like history.
Best Tourists Places inside Altyn-Emel National Park
- Aktau and Katutau mountain range
- Turanga forests
- Singing sand dune
- Terekty petroglyphs
- Chokhan Valikhanov
How to visit Altyn-Emel National Park?
By the local tour company or by rental car, you can visit Altyn-Emel National Park.
FAQs on Things to see in Kazakhstan
1. What places in Kazakhstan you would recommend visiting?
There are many interesting places that you should visit on your Kazakhstan trip. These places are-
2. Is Kazakhstan safe for tourists?
Yes, Kazakhstan is absolutely safe for tourists. Even the government of Kazakhstan spends a big budget on their tourism to make it more effective.
3. What is best in Kazakhstan?
The friendly people, their culture, customs, and traditions, and most importantly their hospitality are notable things of Kazakhstan. There are some places, like museums, modern cities, and natural as well as human heritage that are the best things in Kazakhstan.
4. Is Kazakhstan beautiful?
Yes, undoubtedly. Kazakhstan is a nature-wealthy place. You can witness many beautiful places there.
5. What is Kazakhstan famous for?
Kazakhstan is famous for many things all over the world. It is famous for its medical education, science, natural heritage, interesting history, and trade.
6. Is Kazakhstan cheap?
Not at all, it depends on which country you are a resident of. If you are from a high economic country, you will feel it is cheap for you. If you are from a low-economic country, it will feel expensive for you.
7. What can I buy in Kazakhstan?
You can buy clothes, chocolates, domestic accessories, sweets, etc like many things from Kazakhstan.
8. Does Kazakhs speak English?
Not everyone, Kazakhs usually speak Kazakh and Russian. But, there are many people who also speak English.
9. Is Almaty worth seeing?
Yes, there are many museums, resorts, shopping malls, parks, and mountains that you should definitely see.
Conclusion – Kazakhstan Tourist Attractions
Kazakhstan is undoubtedly one of the best travel destinations in the world. There are many things to do in Kazakhstan. Although there are many unique and interesting things that are good to bring back home, I would recommend you to bring these things from Kazakhstan to make your Kazakhstan trip a memorable one.
As you have known about those 20 best places to visit in Kazakhstan, now you should prepare a to-do list and write these travel destinations on it. After that, you should start to explore one by one. Believe me, after this journey, you will have very beautiful moments and great experiences.
One last thing, make sure to mention the travel destination from where you are going to start your travel journey.
Your Next Read –