You might not know much about Kazakhstan, but it is one of the most amazing countries in the world.
Here are five reasons to visit this incredible country on your next adventure.
1. The countryside is spectacular
Countries with names ending with the suffix -stan are all too frequently believed to be sun-tortured, desert war zones. Kazakhstan is not immune to this unfortunate misconception, and Borat didn’t help nix any inaccurate perceptions of it.
Yet Kazakhstan is so, so, so far removed from the dusty battlefield that the uninformed believed it to be. It is a country of rolling hills, golden fields, a tabletop steppe, beautiful forests, majestic rivers and more.
2. The cities are dazzling
The biggest of Kazakhstan’s cities is a Eurasian gem called Almaty. Perched in the Southeastern corner of the country, Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan for most of its history. In 1997, however, the capital was moved due to Almaty’s location in an earthquake-prone region, and its proximity to the volatile Chinese border. Though Almaty remains Kazahkstan’s cultural hub, the government capital was moved to a city called Aqmola. Because Aqmola translates loosely to “white tomb,” it was remained Astana, which fittingly, if not creatively, translates to “capital.”
Like Almaty, Astana is a truly beautiful city. With a sparkling skyline that spikes up from the Kazakh Steppe, Astana has the look of a smaller Dubai, Shanghai, or even Las Vegas. It is dotted with glimmering, architectural marvels like Byterek Tower, the pyramidal Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, and the Khan Shatyr, an entertainment and shopping complex situated inside the world’s largest tent.
Then there are Kazakhstan’s smaller, but no less beautiful urban hubs: Shymkent, Karaganda, Pavlodar, Kostanay, Turkistan, Semey… the list goes on. Kazakhstan is simply a country of gorgeous cities.
3. The currency is beautiful
There’s not much more to say about this point. Kazakhstan uses absolutely beautiful banknotes. Each is complete with ornate, Kazakh-themed artwork and printed in vivid color. The American dollar will look more boring than ever next time you see it.
4. It’s affordable
Good news! You won’t have to spend a lot of your beautiful Kazakh currency during your visit. Though the country is not quite as cheap as some Southeast Asian destinations, it is wonderfully affordable, and ideal for those who enjoy traveling frugally.
That said, Kazakhstan is home to plenty of fine dining and luxurious accommodation too, if you’ve got money to blow!
5. The people are incredibly welcoming
The Kazakh people are some of the kindest, most welcoming people on earth. Perhaps its because the country’s tourism industry has not yet exploded and they’re not yet jaded about the throngs of Westerners crawling over their borders. Perhaps they’re just nice. Whatever the reason, you will enjoy the company of every Kazakh you meet. They’re just good people.
For more information on Kazakhstan, visit Indy Guide.
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This article first appeared on WildLives.co on 21/5/2017