Being a country that has everything to live up to the expectations of even the most critical of travelers, Kazakhstan presents a perfect blend of history, culture, landscapes, and outdoor adventures.
But when exactly is the best time to visit Kazakhstan, and how can you make the most out of your stay there?
We answer all these Kazakhstan-related questions and provide you with so much more info in our guide. Now, onto the subject at hand!
Why You Should Visit Kazakhstan in 2023
Visiting Kazakhstan can be quite the adventure, and here’s why:
- Kazakhstan boasts five UNESCO World Heritage sites: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Petroglyphs of the Archaeological Landscape of Tanbaly, Saryarka — Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan, Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor, and Western Tien-Shan.
- The lakes in Kazakhstan are reason enough to have this country on your bucket list. Some of the most stunning lakes worth seeing include Lake Markakol, Lake Balkhash, Big Almaty Lake, Lake Issyk, Lake Kaindy, and Lake Zaysan.
- Next, there are the mountains — another majestic example of how fantastic nature’s beauty can actually be. From Tian Shan, the Altai Mountains, and Mugodzhar Hills to the Tarbagatai Mountains and the Ural Mountains, Kazakhstan is never short of stunning mountain peaks.
- Home to diverse national parks, Kazakhstan has a way of making nature enthusiasts turn into returning travelers. Our top national park recommendations include Altyn Emel National Park, Burabay National Park, Sairam Ugam National Park, Buiratau National Park, Kokshetau National Park, and Tarbagatai National Park.
- Nature in Kazakhstan doesn’t come without some wildlife-spotting opportunities. Heading to Kazakhstan means you stand a chance at seeing a tiger, snow leopard, Eurasian lynx, Saiga antelope, Golden eagle, Caspian seal, and many others.
- Not everything revolves around nature, however, as the locals are hospitable and have very interesting traditions. Apparently, there used to be a well-known saying in the past in Kazakhstan suggesting that one should “meet a guest as God’s messenger,” and that’s exactly how you can expect to be treated during your stay.
- Then, there’s their gastronomy. If you’re a meat lover, you’ll never wish to leave Kazakhstan. Here’s just a brief foodie overview of what you should definitely try during your stay: beshbarmak, sorpa, quyrdak, qazy, nan-salma, palau, manti, Nauryz-kozhe, koktal, and syrne.
- How often do you get the chance to travel to a country that has more than 126 ethnic groups? The majority are Kazakhs and Russians, though.
- Kazakh holidays and festival celebrations will make you question everything you know about such festivities — there’s simply nothing like it out there. From colorful parades, local customs, and vibrant costumes to creative entertainment and performances, the Kazakh way of doing things will win you right away.
Overall Best Time to Visit Kazakhstan
The overall best time to visit Kazakhstan is during the peak summer months in July and August. These two months see fluctuating temperatures between 58°F and 78°F.
As the weather’s warm, plenty of outdoor activities take place at this time. While summers can get too hot for some strenuous physical activity, such as cycling, heading to the mountains alleviates some of the heat, making the weather ideal for hiking or trekking.
We suggest Tien Shan and Big Almaty George for the best landscapes. If wandering Kazakhstan’s mountain ranges isn’t your thing, you can just stop and enjoy the lush nature and blossoming plants.
To cool off, head to some of the beach regions for a proper summer getaway, such as the Caspian Sea, the Alakol Lakes, and Kapshagai.
For a one-of-a-kind festival experience, we can’t recommend the Preserve Balkhash festival enough (the exact dates vary each summer).
Created with the purpose of preserving nature while allowing people to have fun, this festival unites bikers from different regions in the country. If you end up in Astana at the beginning of July, you’ll be in time to join the Capital City Day festivities.
Early August visitors should join the Constitution Day celebrations.
One of the country’s most significant holidays, Constitution Day is the ultimate reminder of Kazakhstan’s freedom and the responsibilities people have toward their country, marked by plenty of educational programs, gatherings, and performances.
A true cultural spectacle, FourE Festival (August), is a celebration of arts, crafts, and tradition. The Es stand for energy, ecology, entertainment, and exhibitions.
Then, usually held in August, the Chabana Festival honors the tea-preparation process with tea ceremonies, performances, and exhibitions. Do keep in mind that the exact dates may vary each year, though.
Finally, if you visit during the country’s busiest season, book your airfare tickets and accommodation in advance. Note that booking trains should be done as early as possible, especially the night ones.
Cheapest Time to Visit Kazakhstan
The cheapest time to head to Kazakhstan is in the fall (September–November). If affordable plane tickets and discounted accommodation rates rank high on your travel agenda, factor this period in when planning your budget-friendly getaway in Kazakhstan.
You probably may want to avoid heading to Kazakhstan when Kazakhstan’s International Oil and Gas Exhibition (KIOGE) takes place (September or October, as dates vary) because prices go up quite a bit, especially in more established hotels.
Fall months in Kazakhstan see pleasant weather, with temperatures between 18°F and 64°F, although occasional rainfall does occur.
Also, at this time, glacier melt is fairly intense, so rafting or kayaking on the Almatinka River is in full swing. If you hope to marvel at the fall foliage, head to Almaty, as the richness of colors is just stunning.
Real foodies should head to The FoodExpo Kazakhstan Almaty (November). Also, fall is ideal for fishing.
For instance, catfishing in Ile Delta is quite popular in September and October; if you’re interested in trout fishing in Tian Shan, consider heading there anytime from September to mid-November.
Finally, to go easy on your wallet whenever you visit Kazakhstan, try booking tours with agencies based in the country, as they’re much cheaper than the ones purchased online. Also, booking trains through their official website secures you the best deals.
Least Busy Time to Visit Kazakhstan
The least busy time to visit Kazakhstan is anytime from April through June. Whether you wish to enjoy one of the national parks in solitude or explore the country’s capital city without the high-season crowds, the spring months have your back.
Besides the fewer crowds, visitors at this time get to enjoy comfortable weather, too, so strolling in cities and visiting major attractions is quite pleasant at this time.
If you visit Kazakhstan at the beginning of spring, avoid hiking or heading to the mountains in general, as the passes will be either still covered in snow or mud.
Keeping that in mind, ice landscape views are possible on the slopes of Tian Shan in May, where the sight of tulips astounds both locals and visitors. If you visit at the beginning of May, join the National Unity Day festivities.
Celebrated with a plethora of parades, this event honors the country’s culture.
Then there’s Victory Day in the same month; expect military parades, patriotic performances, and plenty of exhibitions. During these months, visitors should expect temperatures between 36°F and 76°F.
Worst Time to Visit Kazakhstan
Weather-wise, the worst time to be in Kazakhstan is in winter (December–March).
It’s brass monkey weather, with freezing temperatures varying between -0.9°F and 28°F — certainly far from enjoyable for travelers who wish to explore the great outdoors or simply wander Kazakhstan’s cities in a laid-back manner.
That said, winters are ideal for those looking to hit the ski slopes at Chimbulak. For even more dynamic winter fun, you can try horse riding in the snow, ice fishing, or eagle hunting.
You can also try the cable car in Kok Tobe or opt for the Medeo Ice Rink. That being said, the winters in Kazakhstan may vary in intensity depending on the region you head to — some parts of the country are covered in snow; others may only get nippy weather.
To cope with the winter temperatures, we suggest trying the well-known Kazakh sauna.
December celebrations include Independence Day. From parades and fireworks to flag-raising events and cultural festivities, all events related to Independence Day are not to be missed.
The Nowruz festival in March sets the spring season in motion with its playful festivities, people dressed in traditional clothing, and tasty food.
Things to Consider
Care to gather more information about Kazakstan? Follow along as we provide you with more travel tips:
- Kazakhstan is quite a safe country — Regardless, we urge people to be cautious and mindful of their belongings at all times.
- In tourist regions, you’ll come across people speaking English. In most areas, however, have your translating apps ready to assist.
- Visa tends to be the most accepted credit card, but many smaller shops and restaurants accept only cash. Also, ATMs are readily available in larger cities, but more rural areas lack them.
- See a game of Kokpar — the best time to do so is around national holidays. Coming across such games in the country requires a lot of patience (and luck!), so try finding tour operators that can assist you in the process.
- Tipping isn’t compulsory, but most bills come with a service charge.
- Avoid drinking tap water, especially in smaller villages and towns. Even for large cities, we’d still advise you to stick to bottled water.
- Although a Muslim-majority country, locals are pretty heavy drinkers, with vodka being the most popular choice.
- Carry your passport with you at all times.
- Be careful when you take photos. Photographing certain objects, such as airports or official buildings, isn’t allowed. Also, rural regions see very few tourists and still live traditionally, so make sure you respect the locals and never take photos without requesting permission.
- Although drones are allowed in the country, you need to register them first and obtain the necessary license to use them during your stay. Should you fail to get one, you may end up with a confiscated drone, a fine, or detention.
- Get travel insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days are enough for Kazakhstan?
Being such a vast country with big distances between different cities and points of interest, you can spend from a few days to a few weeks in Kazakhstan and still feel like there’s more to do and see.
That said, in general, we suggest spending at least one week to get a sense of the country, try local food, see highlights, attend a festival (if it coincides with your travel dates), and explore nature.
Is Kazakhstan cheap for tourists?
Compared to international standards and expenses, Kazakhstan is a relatively cheap tourist destination. Travel data so far indicates you’ll need around $22 per day during your stay. Previous visitors have spent around $7 on meals and $1 on public transportation.
Depending on your travel style, you’ll need $9 per day per person if you’re on a tight budget, $22 per day per person if you’re a mid-range spender, and $54 per day if you’re up for a budgetless stay.
Anyway, if you head to Kazakhstan, always look for the most recent budget info you can find, as the above-mentioned figures are estimates and are likely to change after a while.
Do I need a visa for Kazakhstan?
If you’re a US citizen, you can travel to Kazakhstan visa-free if you stay less than 30 days and no more than 90 days within a six-month window.
That said, depending on your country of origin, we always recommend checking with your local embassy/consulate for the latest information.
Does Kazakhstan have nightlife?
Yes, Kazakhstan has a pretty cool nightlife scene. Some of the most popular venues include Arba Wine, Zaza, Avenue, and Gand Bei. So, put on your party outfit and get ready for an awesome night out.
What is the best way to travel in Kazakhstan?
The country has a good transportation system, including trains, buses, taxis, and planes. That said, many decide to rent a car for more convenience instead.
So, What Is the Best Time to Visit Kazakhstan?
|👍 Best Time to Visit||July to August|
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit||September to November|
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit||April to June|
|👎 Worst Time to Visit||December to March|
The overall best time to visit Kazakhstan is during the peak summer months in July and August. The weather’s at its absolute best, but considering this is the country’s high season, making reservations in advance is a must.
The cheapest time to head to Kazakhstan is in the fall (September–November). Being the best period for budget-conscious folks, fall provides the best airfare and accommodation deals.
The least busy time to visit Kazakhstan is anytime from April through June. It’s ideal for travelers who wish to steer away from tourist crowds or peak season queues.
And the worst time to be in Kazakhstan? Hands down in winter (December–March), as it’s cold and too uncomfortable to be enjoyable for travelers — unless you’re planning on engaging in winter activities.
On the whole, irrespective of when you head to Kazakhstan, you’re bound to have an awesome stay. Our detailed guide said it all — now it[‘s up to you to pack your bags and get there. Enjoy it!