Backpacking in Kazakhstan

Backpacking in Kazakhstan is a thrilling adventure that offers travelers the opportunity to explore a country known for its vast landscapes and rich cultural heritage. With its stunning mountains, lush valleys, and captivating cities, Kazakhstan has become an increasingly popular destination for backpackers seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth-largest country, is located in Central Asia and has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. It was once part of the Silk Road, an ancient trade route connecting East and West, which played a crucial role in the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultures. Today, backpackers can still witness the remnants of this ancient network while immersing themselves in the unique traditions of the country.

One of the most intriguing aspects of backpacking in Kazakhstan is the opportunity to explore its stunning landscapes. The country is home to the majestic Tian Shan Mountains, which offer breathtaking views and exciting hiking trails. Backpackers can embark on multi-day treks through the Almaty region, where they can camp in remote valleys and discover hidden waterfalls. Moreover, the vast steppes, deserts, and lakes of Kazakhstan create a diverse and awe-inspiring environment for backpackers to explore.

In recent years, backpacking in Kazakhstan has become more accessible and affordable, making it an attractive destination for budget travelers. The country has made efforts to improve its infrastructure, including public transportation and accommodation options, ensuring that backpackers can navigate their way through the country easily. Moreover, hostels and homestays have emerged as popular choices for backpackers seeking authentic experiences and interactions with locals.

An interesting statistic regarding backpacking in Kazakhstan is that the country has experienced a significant increase in foreign tourists in recent years. According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international visitors to Kazakhstan has been steadily rising, with backpackers in search of authentic cultural experiences contributing to this growth. This surge in tourism has positively impacted the local economy and encouraged the preservation of Kazakhstan’s cultural heritage.

As an alternative to overcrowded backpacking destinations, backpacking in Kazakhstan offers an off-the-beaten-path experience, allowing travelers to discover a country rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity. With its stunning landscapes, cultural heritage, and emerging tourism industry, Kazakhstan has become a sought-after destination for adventurous backpackers seeking unique and enriching experiences. So, if you’re up for an exciting adventure, grab your backpack and explore the hidden gems of Kazakhstan.

Backpacking in Kazakhstan
Backpacking in Kazakhstan

Is Backpacking in Kazakhstan Worth Your Time? Explore the Wonders of the Hidden Gem!

Backpacking in Kazakhstan refers to the act of traveling on a budget, exploring the stunning landscapes, rich traditions, and incredible cultural diversity that this lesser-known Central Asian country has to offer. With its vast and awe-inspiring mountain ranges, expansive steppes, picturesque lakes, and ancient cities, Kazakhstan is an ideal destination for adventurous travelers. Whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences, backpacking in Kazakhstan will undoubtedly offer you a unique and unforgettable journey. Delve deeper into this hidden gem as we explore the remarkable attractions, must-visit regions, and the remarkable experiences awaiting you in backpacking across Kazakhstan.

Backpacking in Kazakhstan

Backpacking in Kazakhstan offers adventurous travelers a truly unique and off-the-beaten-path experience. This diverse and vast country, located in Central Asia, is a hidden gem for backpackers looking to explore untouched landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures.

1. Why Backpack in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country in the world and is known for its stunning natural beauty. From the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan mountains to the vast steppes and deserts, there is no shortage of picturesque landscapes to explore. Backpackers can hike through the scenic Altyn-Emel National Park, camp in the Charyn Canyon, or even venture to the otherworldly landscapes of the Kolsai Lakes.

Moreover, Kazakhstan boasts a rich cultural heritage. The country is home to diverse ethnic groups, including Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, and many more. This multicultural atmosphere creates a fascinating blend of traditions, languages, and cuisines. Backpackers can immerse themselves in the nomadic culture by staying in yurts, sampling traditional dishes like beshbarmak or shubat, and attending local festivals and celebrations.

2. Backpacking Routes

There are several popular backpacking routes in Kazakhstan that showcase the country’s best attractions. One of the most popular routes is the Almaty-Saty-Kaindy-Kolsai loop. This route starts in Almaty, the country’s largest city, and takes backpackers through the charming village of Saty, the breathtaking Kaindy Lake with its submerged forest, and finally to the stunning Kolsai Lakes.

Another popular route is the Astana-Burabay-Kokshetau circuit. This route allows backpackers to explore the modern and futuristic capital city of Astana, visit the Burabay National Park with its unique rock formations, and discover the beautiful landscapes of Kokshetau National Park.

3. Safety and Practical Tips

While backpacking in Kazakhstan can be an incredible experience, it is essential to keep safety in mind. Here are some practical tips for a safe and enjoyable backpacking trip:

  • Obtain a good travel insurance policy that covers medical expenses and emergency evacuations.
  • Research and respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and be mindful of cultural norms.
  • Carry a copy of your passport and important documents, and store them in a secure place.
  • Plan your accommodation in advance, especially if traveling during peak tourist seasons.
  • Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. Kazakhstan’s climate can vary, so pack appropriate clothing and gear for different weather conditions.
  • Use reliable transportation options and avoid hitchhiking.

4. Backpacking in Numbers

Backpacking in Kazakhstan has been gaining popularity in recent years. In 2019, the country welcomed over 8 million tourists, with backpackers comprising a significant portion of these visitors. The stunning landscapes, unique cultural experiences, and affordability of travel make Kazakhstan an attractive destination for backpackers looking for a truly memorable adventure.

So, if you’re looking to embark on an unforgettable backpacking journey off the beaten path, consider exploring the enchanting landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Kazakhstan. With its diverse attractions and warm hospitality, this Central Asian country is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Backpacking in Kazakhstan FAQ

1. What are the must-visit places for backpackers in Kazakhstan?

Some popular destinations for backpackers in Kazakhstan include Almaty, Astana, Charyn Canyon, Lake Kaindy, Big Almaty Lake, Shymkent, and the Altyn-Emel National Park.

2. Is it safe to backpack in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan is generally a safe country for backpackers. However, it is advised to take necessary precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night, keeping your valuables secure, and being mindful of your surroundings.

3. What is the best time of the year to backpack in Kazakhstan?

The best time to backpack in Kazakhstan is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) seasons when the weather is pleasant and comfortable for outdoor activities.

4. Do I need a visa for backpacking in Kazakhstan?

Most visitors to Kazakhstan need a visa. However, citizens of select countries may be eligible for visa-free entry or can obtain a visa on arrival. It is recommended to check the visa requirements for your specific nationality before traveling.

5. What is the local currency in Kazakhstan?

The official currency of Kazakhstan is the Kazakhstani Tenge. It is advisable to carry some cash in Tenge for smaller towns and rural areas. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major cities.

6. Are there any cultural norms or customs I should be aware of?

Kazakhstan is a diverse country with various ethnic groups. It is appreciated to respect local customs and traditions. It is also customary to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home and to offer a small gift when visiting someone as a sign of respect.

7. Can I easily find hostels or budget accommodations in Kazakhstan?

Hostels and budget accommodations are available in major cities like Almaty and Astana. However, in smaller towns or remote areas, the options may be limited. It is recommended to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

8. What are some popular local dishes to try in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan offers a variety of delicious local dishes such as Beshbarmak (boiled meat with pasta), Manty (steamed dumplings), Kazy (horse meat sausage), and Samsa (baked pastries with meat or vegetables). Don’t forget to try the famous Kazakh tea!

9. How is the public transportation system in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan has a well-developed public transportation system, especially in major cities. You can find buses, minibuses (known as “marshrutkas”), and taxis. It is advisable to have cash for public transport fares and to check the schedules in advance.

10. Are there any specific health precautions I should take while backpacking in Kazakhstan?

It is recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. You should also ensure that your routine vaccinations are up to date. Depending on the areas you plan to visit, additional vaccinations like Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Rabies may be recommended. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic before your trip.


Kazakhstan offers a remarkable adventure for backpackers seeking unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences. From its stunning landscapes to its rich culture and history, this Central Asian gem has so much to offer. Firstly, the country boasts diverse natural wonders, including the awe-inspiring Altyn-Emel National Park and the breathtaking Charyn Canyon. Backpackers can hike through these majestic landscapes, camp under the star-filled skies, and witness the beauty of the Kazakh wilderness up close. Moreover, with its affordable prices and friendly locals, backpacking in Kazakhstan provides a budget-friendly option for travelers.

Additionally, Kazakhstan’s cultural heritage provides an enriching experience for backpackers. The vibrant city of Almaty offers a blend of Soviet-era architecture and modern cosmopolitan vibes. Exploring the city grants an opportunity to visit local markets, taste delicious traditional dishes like beshbarmak, and appreciate the Kazakh art scene and museums. Furthermore, venturing into the rural areas allows backpackers to immerse themselves in the nomadic traditions of the Kazakh people, experiencing their warm hospitality and learning about their customs.

In conclusion, backpacking in Kazakhstan is an adventure of a lifetime. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and affordability, this hidden gem in Central Asia deserves a spot on any backpacker’s bucket list. So, grab your backpack, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes and immersive culture of Kazakhstan.

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