Kazakhstan is a country in Asia according to philosophynearby. Few tourists know Kazakhstan, a fascinating and relatively unknown country with vast plains, distant mountain ranges and an enchanting culture. Central Asian history was written in southern Kazakhstan, where many monuments still bear witness to the past. The diverse landscape is mainly determined by the snow-capped mountain peaks, lakes and glaciers of the Tian Shan Mountains, which transition into steppe and desert. The unusual 3.2 km long Barkhan Singing Sand Dune emits an unusual sound resembling singing as it wanders. Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan and is picturesquely situated between the mountains and the plain. It is a big city with modern architecture, interesting fountains, parks and a spectacular view of the mountains in the background. In 2019, President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned after 30 years in office. With his resignation, the capital Astana was renamed Nursultan in his honor.
Arriving by plane
Kazakhstan’s national airline Air Astana (KC) flies from Frankfurt/M. non-stop to Nursultan and from there to Almaty. Lufthansa (LH) connects Frankfurt/M. non-stop with Nursultan and Almaty and also offers these flights as connecting flights from Zurich and Vienna. Air Baltic (BT) flies from Berlin to Almaty with a stopover in Riga.
Berlin – Almaty: 9 hours 5 minutes (including stopover); Frankfurt/M. – Astana. 5 hrs 40 mins; Frankfurt/M. – Almaty: 6 hours 30 minutes; Vienna – Almaty: 8 hours 30 minutes; Zurich – Almaty: 8 hours 35 minutes
Arrival by car
There are good road connections to Russia, the other Central Asian countries and China. By car: Coming from Europe by car, you can come from the north via Poland, Belarus and Russia, or from the south via Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Driving at night should be avoided. KazNetworkBus buses run from Shimkent to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) every hour from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (journey time: approx. 4 hours). There is also a bus connection between Shimkent and the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. Toll: There is no toll in Kazakhstan. Documents:
Arrival by train
The night train connection from Berlin to Nursultan via Moscow is the longest train route that starts from Germany. The route takes about 90 hours. From Kazakhstan to China there is a direct night train connection from Almaty to Urumqi (China) once a week (journey time: approx. 36 hours) as well as connections from Almaty and Nursultan to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, among others. There are also rail connections to Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg) and to Uzbekistan (Tashkent).
Arrival by ship
The main ports are Aktau, Atyrau, Oskemen, Pavlodar and Semey. Ferries operate between Baku (Azerbaijan) and Aktau (Kazakhstan).
Traveling by plane
Air Astana (KC) offers an extensive route network in Kazakhstan. There are several daily flights between Almaty and Nursultan, as well as flights from both cities to Aktobe, Atyrau, Kostanay and Oskemen, among others. Kazakh airlines Scat Airlines (DV), Bek Air (Z9) and Qazaq Air (IQ) also fly to numerous destinations in Kazakhstan. Among other things, they run regularly between Almaty and Nursultan.
Traveling by car/bus
The well-developed road network has a length of around 100,000 kilometers and connects all cities and regional centers. Toll: There is no toll in Kazakhstan. Gas stations: There are enough gas stations in and around the cities. In rural areas, however, you should always make use of any refueling options that arise.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Over 90% of the entire road network is paved. However, the road conditions do not correspond to western standards. The roads are best developed and maintained around Almaty, Qaragandy and Semej and between the Caspian Sea and the Russian border.
The different road categories in Kazakhstan are denoted by letters. These are: – М for international trunk roads; – A for trunk roads between administrative, cultural and economic centers of Kazakhstan and neighboring countries; – R (Cyrillic Р) for other regional trunk roads; – K and a letter assigned to a specific area, for streets of local importance.
There are car rental companies in Almaty, Nursultan and at the airports, among others. The age for drivers is mostly limited to 25-70 years. An additional fee is often charged for rentals by younger or older drivers.
Taxis are available in all Kazakh cities.
There are regular bus connections between all major cities. But smaller towns are also served by buses.
Traffic regulations: – alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰; – Public transport has priority. Speed limits: – urban: 60 km/h; – extra-urban: 100 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of accidents or breakdowns with the rental car, the first point of contact is the rental car company.
The national driver’s license is valid in Kazakhstan either with an officially certified translation or in combination with the international driver’s license.
Note on travel by road
In general, travelers should avoid cross-country journeys at night. Anyone who wants to drive a car in Kazakhstan should have knowledge of Russian.
Traveling in the city
There are good bus networks in Almaty and Nursultan. Taxis are also available everywhere.
Locally on the way by train
The state railway company of Kazakhstan Temir Scholy operates the Kazakh railway network. With 15,000 km of railway line, you can get to almost all parts of the country very cheaply. The Talgo Express high-speed train runs between Almaty and the capital Nursultan. It is advisable to buy tickets and reserve seats in advance.
Traveling by ship
Atyrau and Aktau on the Caspian Sea have ports.