Backpacking Kazakhstan: A 10 Day Roundup

Dariece Swift author's bio Goats On The Road

We weren’t too sure what to expect when backpacking in Kazakhstan. We knew it was the ninth largest country in the world, that Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman rode through here on motorbikes in The Long Way Round (awesome series by the way) and that the movie Borat was supposed to be portraying this Central Asian nation.

mosque in astana
I don’t remember seeing anything like this in Borat…

We only spent 10 days in this huge country because we wanted to make sure we were in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for the trekking season and to make the epic Parmir Highway journey without freezing to death. Even though we only spent a week and a half here, we had an unforgettable time.

Here are some highlights from our journey through Kazakhstan:

We took a very long overnight bus journey from Russia to get to Kazakhstan – and almost overstayed our Russian visa!

bus from omsk to astana
It was a very long overnight bus ride!

We wandered around the streets of Astana gazing in awe at the awesome feats of architectural engineering. From egg-shaped buildings to heat absorbing tent-like structures, from mosques to museums, from grand palaces to massive malls, Astana has some of the most interesting structures we’ve seen.

bayterek in astana
Standing at 97m high, the Bayterek Monument is impressive

We boarded yet another train and made the 21 hour journey from the capital city to the former capital city, Almaty.

train astana to almaty
Nick on the train…reading up on our next destination: Almaty!

We ate meat stews, meat skewers (shashlyk), fried rice with meat, steamed meat dumplings, and more meat! The Kazakhs love their mutton, lamb, chicken and beef. Different breads, soups and salads accompanied our amazing meat dishes.

mutton shashlyk
Some delicious mutton shashlyk

We wandered through local markets, sampling dried fruits and nuts and honey along the way from excited vendors.

dried fruits
Some delicious dried fruits at the market

We enjoyed some western comforts of pizza and beer as the sun was setting.

pizza in kazakhstan
mmm….pizza!!

We bought loads and loads of fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and honeydew melons from street-side fruit vendors.

fresh berries
The fresh berries in Almaty were amazing. We bought some every day!

We scrubbed ourselves down in one of Central Asia’s finest bath houses.

We met some amazing friends in Kazakhstan who treated us to lunch and spent the day with us at the glowing Big Almaty Lake.

big almaty lake
Enjoying the scenery at Big Almaty Lake

We took a gondola up to the nearby ski resort and hiked to the perfect picnic spot.

hiking kazakhstan
Off to find the perfect picnic spot

We enjoyed days spent in beautiful parks, while gazing up at brightly coloured Russian Orthodox Cathedrals.

zenkov cathedral
Inside the stunning Zenkov Cathedral

But most importantly, we relaxed! We had some amazing down time in Kazakhstan and loved wandering around the leafy streets of Almaty and not having to be somewhere. We had been dealing with some “down days” before coming to Kazakhstan, but after spending 10 days in this beautiful country, we were cured! No more low days for us, we were back in travel mode and loving life.

ice cream car
Feeling quite happy here! Enjoying an ice cream cone from a pretty cool vendor

Rakhmet Kazakhstan!

Check out this quick video of our time spent backpacking through Kazakhstan:


Have you ever travelled to a country and weren’t really sure what to expect? Tell us about it below!

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN ALMATY

THE LEAFY STREETS OF ALMATY: ARE WE IN KAZAKHSTAN?

ASTANA: THE DUBAI OF CENTRAL ASIA

Like this Post? Pin it!



Backpacking Kazakhstan: A 10 Day Roundup

Dariece Swift author's bio Goats On The Road

Written by

Dariece Swift

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course... travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 12 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel.

Related Posts

Looking Back On 2023: A Year of Transitions

It’s that time of year! A time when we sit back and reflect on the past 365 days. I’ve been writing these “Looking Back” posts since 2012 and I’m sad to say that for various reasons (some of which you’ll read about here), I missed writing about 2022. Most of 2022 was amazing and we ...
alarm clock

5 Crazy, Spooky Coincidences We’ve Had While Traveling

In this post, I wanted to do something a little bit different and share some really strange, serendipitous, spooky feeling coincidences that have happened to us while we’ve been traveling and living abroad. Not only were they super strange and almost too unlikely to be coincidences, but they also made us feel link the universe ...
campervan trip in portugal

Van Life in Portugal: Our 10 Day Portugal Campervan Trip

A Portugal campervan trip may not be first on a list of top adventures in Europe, but our experience says otherwise. When you think of taking a holiday in the small European country of Portugal, what comes to mind? Most people envision the glistening turquoise waters of the Algarve, the epic surfing in Nazare, or ...

6 thoughts on “Backpacking Kazakhstan: A 10 Day Roundup”

  1. So glad you have your travel mojo back. Taking a break is so needed after a long period of go, go, go. I really enjoyed the video content and your creative way of showing your destination. Nicely done!

  2. I hope you can go back and explore the country further. I’ve been 8 times now and still so much more to discover! I’m planning on moving to Almaty in a few months so I can dedicate more time to exploring Central Asia!

Comments are closed.