The Most Interesting Places to Visit in Kazakhstan :: Travel Blog

The Most Interesting Places to Visit in Kazakhstan

Steppe in Kazakhstan

When I was planning to visit this 9th biggest country in the World, I didn't have a lot of expectations. So it was a surprise that there are so many interesting places to visit in Kazakhstan.

Traveling to Kazakhstan was for me a few years ago one of the most memorable trips in my life. I thought that there will be a lot of steppes and nothing more, so I was surprised when I started to driving from city to city visiting places I've never known they are existing. Let's start my list of the most interesting places to visit in Kazakhstan.

Almaty city in Kazakhstan


Located in South East part of the country, Almaty (Alma-Ata) is the Kazakhstan's main transport hub, the biggest city and one of the most important travel destinations. It is also a former capital and you will see in the city that it's still more the Soviet Union city than a proper Kazakhstan town.

You can find here a lot of different museums, restaurants, dance-till-dawn nightclubs, coffee lounges, exhibitions, art galleries and theatres, all in the western style, so it's almost impossible to get bored here. Near Almaty, there are also skiing and mountain hiking possibilities in the nearest mountains. If you want to know more about this city, read my full article about what to do and to see in Almaty.

Astana city in Kazakhstan


Astana is the current Kazakhstan capital that was built on the northern part of the steppe and with a clear conscience, I can call it a showpiece for 21st-century Kazakhstan. Tne funny fact is that this was once a small mining town. Nowadays, many of the wacky futuristic buildings were created in a variety of Asian, Western, Soviet by famous international architects. Many people even call it the Singapore of the Steppe.

The city of Astana is the second biggest city in Kazakhstan and a number of people here are still rising. While being here you should notice the old and new architecture standing side by side. It's also a good idea to visit Bayterek tower and Duman aquarium.

Khan Shatyr in Astana, Kzakhstan. Source: Wikipedia.

Khan Shatyr

Khan Shatyr is the crowning jewel in the Astana's modern architecture. It's a really huge transparent tent (150 meters high, covering 140000 square meters) that was built in the purpose to give people of the city a relief from the harsh winter climate.

You can find here a lot of different entertainments like boating river, minigolf, beach resort, park and even a shopping center. The inner temperature varying here from 15 to 30° C, even during the winter.

Khan Shatyr was opened in 2010 on the 70th birthday of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Source: Wikipedia.

Baikonur Cosmodrome

This is the largest and oldest (still functioning) space launch center. You can find it in the vast Kazakhstan desert steppes. Well, most of the Russia's space explorations had it's beginning here.

Dear friends, known and unknown to me, my dear compatriots and all people of the world! Within minutes from now, a mighty Soviet rocket will boost my ship into the vastness of outer space. What I want to tell you is this. My whole life is now before me as a single breathtaking moment. I feel I can muster up my strength for successfully carrying out what is expected of me.

Who said that? That was the Yuri Gagarin words he spoke in 1961 a few minutes before he became the first human to reach outer space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Issyk Lake, Kazakhstan. Source: Wikipedia.

If you want to visit this tourist attraction, you must give 45 days notice in advance. You can find special travel agencies in Kazakhstan that will help you to arrange this visit in Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Issyk Lake

Issyk Lake is the beautiful area just 20 minutes drive from the town of Issyk (which is less than an hour drive from Almaty) in Kazakhstan. The water in that stunning lake is in blue, green and turquoise colors, which makes a great effect with surrounding grays.

If you are planning to visit Issyk Lake, it's a good idea to travel also to Issyk town. There are a lot of beautiful mosques and churches here, you should also see it's small markets.

Torysh, the Valley of Balls in Kazakhstan. Source: Wikipedia.

Torysh, the Valley of Balls

While traveling to the Western parts of Kazakhstan you should definitely visit Valleys of Balls (called also Torysh). You can find here a lot of rock formations in ball shape placed across a wide part of the steppe. The size of that balls may vary from small to even a car-size.

It's hard to say what are that balls, but some scientists say that they were formed from the volcanic ash and revealed by a process where sediment accumulates around a harder core to spherical shapes. If you are planning to visit the Torysh, the Valley of Balls, think about climbing the Lion Rock (called Sherkala in Kazakhstan, about 332 meters), where there is an awesome view.


I hope I showed you the most interesting places to visit in Kazakhstan and you now know that this country is not only steppes, but it's also a great place to travel. If you have some questions or you know other great places in Kazakhstan, feel free to write me a comment in the section below.

Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!

4.50 | 6 votes
Comments: 4
  •   15th November 2017, 08:43

    Welcome to the people that thought Kazakhstan is only a steppe! :-) And really BIG thanks for showing me the most interesting places to visit in Kazakhstan! I will gladly use this travel guide for my own trip.

  •   9th February 2018, 09:09

    Nice pictures. Ive been in Kazakhstan 2 years ago. I visited Torish and Charyn canyon Ill never forget those beautiful places. Im planning to come back in Kazakhstan this May but this time I will go with my family. But I need to fix our visa first. The good thing here in the Philippines there are visa consulting firms that are willing to help us in processing our visa needs. Thanks for sharing this guide, I will definitely use it on our trip.

  •   26th May 2018, 18:42

    Its hard to find well-informed people for this subject, however, you seem like youu know what youre talking about! Thanks

  •   15th January 2020, 16:05

    This summer I plan to be in Kazakhstan. Thanks for sharing! I am intrigued and want to visit the Valley of the Balls.

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