• Population: 15.4 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Astana
  • Area: 2.7 million sq km (1 million sq miles)
  • Major languages: Kazakh, Russian
  • Major religions: Islam, Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 58 years (men), 69 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Kazakh tenge = 100 tiyn
  • The Republic of Kazakhstan – a massive Central Asian nation that has been inhabited since the Stone Age, way before time was recorded. The biggest landlocked nation on the planet, Kazakhstan holds unbelievable potential in the tourism industry, with great unknown travel destinations. The world’s orientation to Kazakhstan mainly takes place in History classes, but otherwise, the gigantic country by itself is unheard of to most of us, until Borat Sagdiyev, who, despite his light-hearted perspective of the nation, in essence, did little to promote grandeur of the place. His humorous take on the mystery of Kazakhstan nation was spot on, strangely enough, specifically with his grasp on the restrictions and repression of media, freedom of speech and assembly, the nation being under a dictatorship. Nevertheless, this majestic nation ought to be a centre of world tourism especially for its mystique and mystery just for those who love unchartered territory with a taste of the surprising and the new.


    The world’s ninth biggest country and largest landlocked nation of a 2,727,300 km² area is greater in size than Western Europe. Within years of independence from the Soviet easily grew to become one of the world leaders in rates of growth and economic development amongst its adjacent Eurasian nations. The former soviet republic is rich in oil and natural gas, thus, explaining Bush’s trifle over the country.

    Kazakhstan (10 N, 71 25 E) is a country of wonderful and diverse nature consisting of forest steppes and steppes in the West from Volga, as well as high-altitude meadows and forests of the Altai in the East, and the landscapes just change remarkably to south with extending deserts of Central Asia. The Khan Tangiri Shyngy is the highest point in the region with an altitude of 6,995 metres and Vpadina Kaundy is well below at -132 metres below sea level. There are over 6,000 types of plants, 600 of which are indigenous to Kazakhstan, and a heaving diversity of fauna from mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and 500 different kinds of birds. Such diverse and flourishing flora and fauna manifest a climate the best suits the nomadic pastures, that is continental with warm summers and cold winters.


    Equally diverse, the crossroads that is the multinational republic of Kazakhstan is at centre of social, cultural and economic ties between Europe and Asia. The nation is mottled with people sharing language, religion, and nationalities. Despite this, the modern Kazakhstan emerged as a new citizen of the land with an original culture that is upbeat with the times. Not to mention, football is the most popular sport and past time. Now isn’t that just beyond expectation?

    With only 16.2 million (January 2010) Kazakhstanis (nationality) in the vast expanse of land lot, there are 6 Kazakhstanis for every kilometre of land, and that is a lot of space for a person. The KAZAKH is the dominant nationality (63%), as well as the “state language” (64.4%), among 130 nationalities including Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, and Tatar. The country is generally bilingual with RUSSIAN as the “official language” spoken by almost all Kazakhstanis. ENGLISH (30%) is also widely spoken especially with the young generation of Kazakhstanis. The multi-religious nation also allows freedom of religion, but Islam takes the cake with 72% of the populace in practice. Christianity in the form of Roman Catholic and Protestantism is a minor religion.


    The inimitable nature of Kazakhstan, its historic monuments, well-developed transport and tourist infrastructures rightfully deserve Kazakhstan to be one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Rare as any tourist comes here, the traveller who opens his/her eyes to the real face of Kazakhstan will be sure to enjoy the traditional hospitality of the local residents. To preserve the unique Kazakhstan landscape and wildlife, there were created national parks, preserves, and reserves like paradise on earth best trekked on horse in authentic nomad-style. The traveller may also want to crawl and delve in the secret of underground mosques near the Caspian Sea or arise to the heights of the Altai Mountains.

    Modern hotels in the large metropolis correspond to the world standards of the hotel industry. Medeo is the largest high-altitude ice-skating rink on the planet at the height of 1,700 metres above sea level, and of course, made from the purest spring water, while Chimbulak is the ultimate ski-resort. The Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s largest and oldest operational space launch facility, the site of the launch of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned orbital flight. On the other hand, large trading entertainment complexes cinemas, sports facilities and supermarkets have been built in the republic for added entertainment and convenience. Fortunately, most attractions and activities here are indeed easy on the pocket.

    The food in the region is based on meat, which helps the Kazakhstanis keep warm during the cold seasons. They are also heavy on pasta, rice, and potatoes-the staples, cooked in, of course, meat stock. Now, Kazakh cuisine seems close to the rest of the world’s palette this way, even more so with their food offerings that consist of a balance between starch, meat, and vegetables like noodle dishes (laghman), steamed meat and veggie dumplings (manty), grilled meat skewer with lavash, a flat bread (shashlyk). The Beshparmak or “five fingers” is the national dish of several meat parts distributed based on position or status. Vegetarian food run high and dry in Kazakhstan, so head out to a Korean diner and get a decent vegetarian fix for a low cost. The Kazakh cuisine is presently very much celebrated in other countries in Central Asia, Russia, Germany, and even Korea.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

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    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

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    Joshua Boorman

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