Monday, May 6, 2024

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan was the first stop of my 5 "Stans" Central Asia adventure. I chose Advantour to help with itineraries, visas and logistics just because Central Asia is huge and being that I don't have the luxury of taking months off to travel, it just made more sense to have a tour company help out and ensure that I would be able to cover the highlights of each "Stan" in a short period of time in order to get a taste of what they have to offer. Their services were amazing and I highly recommend them!

In Kazakhstan, I was based in the city of Almaty which used to be the capital city up until 1997. It's the largest metropolis of the country and remains the country's cultural and trading hub. The city is beautiful! and the tree lined boulevards enhance it's beauty even more. Unfortunately it was rainy during my stay in Almaty but the show still had to go on so I managed to check out some of the main highlights of the city. 

Zenkov Cathedral - Beautiful Russian orthodox cathedral made of wood with no nails

Panfilov Park - This urban park has a rich history and was established as the city garden in 1872. It's a pretty park to walk around and even though it was rainy when I visited, I can imagine how lively it gets when the sun is out.

Green Bazaar - This is the most famous bazaar in Almaty located in the city center. Here, you can get a taste of different local cuisines such as horse meat which I had a taste of, I thought it tastes like beef.

City Museum - If you are curious to learn about the country's history which I would recommend, head to the museum. It's not too big and you can get through it within a reasonable time depending on how you pace yourself.

Shymbulak Ski Resort - Largest ski resort in Central Asia so for those that love winter activities, this place has you covered.

That's it folks, even though I felt like I nearly scratched the surface of this huge country, I was glad to have got a little taste of it and wouldn't mind visiting again to see more. The people were super friendly, local food was cheap and I honestly fell in love with Almaty's vibe. 

Quick Facts:

Kazakhstan is the largest and richest country in Central Asia

Islam is the dominant religion in the country

The main languages spoken are Kazakh and Russian

Visa Free for American Passport holders

Their currency is called Tenge and $1 is equivalent to about 440 Tenges (give room for fluctuation)

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