Cities: Nur-Sultan (capital, previously known as Astana), Almaty, Shymkent, Taraz, Aktau, Atyrau
Languages: Kazakh, Russian
Time zone: UTC+5/6
Dialling code: +7
Power: 220–240 V Euro round 2-pin, French/German Schuko 3-pin
Climate: The four distinct seasons make visiting a varied experience depending on time of year and location, with most travelling between late April (spring) and late October (autumn). Springtime temperatures in the south reach about 18°C, while summer temperatures can reach well into the 30s Celsius. Autumn can be rainy and misty in the mountainous areas but still be quite hot in the desert areas.
Currency: Kazakhstani tenge (KZT)
Exchange rate: USD1 = KZT404
More information: www.visitkazakhstan.kz/en
USTYURT PLATEAU: A stony desert of around 200,000 square kilometres, Ustyurt is an otherworldly realm of breathtaking rock formations and awesome canyons tucked into the southwestern corner of Kazakhstan. Vultures and eagles circle overhead and – far more surprisingly – wild horses roam its rugged terrain. Join an experienced adventure tour and overnight in a tent.
NUR-SULTAN: Taking Almaty’s place as the capital and seat of government in 1997, Nur-Sultan (previously known as Astana) has been rapidly developed into an ultramodern city complete with gleaming futuristic buildings like a giant transparent tent (Khan Shatyr) and an enormous glass pyramid (Palace of Peace and Reconciliation). The largest mosque in Central Asia, Nur-Astana Mosque, is also found here.
ALMATY: In every way the nation’s capital (except on paper, the way it apparently matters to President Nursultan Nazarbayev), Almaty is a prosperous, cosmopolitan city that has echoes of Europe in its lovely parks, fine museums, excellent shopping and wonderful selection of places to eat and drink. Chimbulak ski resort is nearby, as is Big Almaty Lake, a beautiful spot surrounded by excellent hiking trails.
ARAL SEA: Straddling Kazakhstan and Karakalpakstan (an autonomous republic of Uzbekistan), the Aral Sea was the world’s fourth largest lake 50 years ago, but has steadily dried up as irrigation projects diverted the rivers that once fed it – a man-made environmental tragedy almost without parallel. What’s left of the area – a desert wasteland of rusting, abandoned ships – has spawned the country’s prime hotspot for so-called “disaster tourism”.
BESHBARMAK: Meaning “five fingers” (referring to the tools you’ll need to eat it), this Kazakh national dish comprises boiled horse or mutton and is usually accompanied by shorpo, mutton broth served in traditional bowls.
SUJUK: These tasty horsemeat sausages are well spiced and dried for several weeks before consuming.
KUYRDAK: Another contender for national dish, kuyrdak utilises the kidneys, heart, liver and other innards of a cow, sheep or horse – cooked together with onions and peppers and served in soup form with bread.
MANTI: These very popular spicy morsels are the Kazakh (and Central Asian) answer to dumplings – typically served with a dollop of sour cream or garlic sauce.
Nowruz (Persian New Year) March 21, annually, nationwide
Kurban (end of Islamic fasting month) currently May, nationwide Russian Orthodox Easter March/April, nationwide
Eurasia Film Festival Nur-Sultan, postponed till autumn 2020 (due to the global pandemic), www.eiff.kz
Cities: Bishkek (capital), Osh, Dzhalal Abad, Karakol, Tokmok
Languages: Kyrgyz, Russian
Time zone: UTC+5/6
Dialling code: +996
Power: 220–240 V Euro round 2-pin, French/German Schuko 3-pin
Climate: The effects of the continental climate depend on elevation. Lowland areas drop a little below freezing in winter and can reach up to 30–35°C in summer. Wintertime temperatures in the highland areas go as low as –20°C with year-round on the peaks. The best time to visit is generally July to September.
Currency: Kyrgyzstani som (KGS)
Exchange rate: USD1 = KGS75
More information: www.discoverkyrgyzstan.org
JETI-ÖGÜZ ROCKS: A well-known landmark that is the subject of songs, paintings and various local legends, Jeti-Ögüz is a unique geological formation that resembles seven angry red bulls. A favourite among hikers, the region, located at an altitude of 2,200 metres in the country’s extreme east, is known for its fresh mountain air and excellent views.
ISSYK KUL: The planet’s second-largest saline lake is surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan, earning it the name “hot lake” in Kyrgyz because the salt prevents it from freezing. Head to one of the country’s undisputed beauty spots for the lovely views, healing waters and decent beaches.
OSH: A venerable city that was once one of the major trading towns on the Silk Road, Osh retains much of its exotic history in its massive bazaar in the city’s north. Haggle your way to a few bargain souvenirs before paying a visit to a few remnants of Soviet influence (including a rare statue of Lenin). Plan an excursion to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, with its numerous ancient places of worship and caves with petroglyphs.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Metal Revolution: The Eight Metals That Shaped Society
The discovery of metals revolutionised civilisations. Making up around 25 percent of Earth’s crust, they have shaped the way we live and governed our development and progress as a society
The Battle For Earth's Rare Metals
We’ve come a long way since our ancestors discovered copper and fashioned the first rudimentary metal objects. In recent decades, we have put the rarest metallic chemical elements to use in the most exotic applications, from smartphones to fighter jets. These abundant but highly dispersed, difficult-to-extract metals – the rare-earth elements – have become one of Asia-Pacific’s most important strategic resources.
Staying Tough: The Metal Element
Valued for their strength, durability, versatility and electrical conductivity, metals make up an important part of our society. The material of protective shields and the sharpest of swords, metal represents solidity, strength, persistence but also rigidity. Yet unbeknown to many, metals are intricately entwined within our bodies and more than just being the material of products, metal is the element of life.
The Future Of Metals
Today, metals are found in our most sophisticated technological innovations and have become essential elements in maintaining our high-tech way of life
Discovering The Wrecks Of The Philippines
The Philippines is one of the largest archipelagos in the world. With more than 7,600 islands, the country is a diver’s playground, catering to divers of all skill levels. It is also home to some of the most exciting wrecks, some of which can even be dived by beginners. Join us as we reveal the mysteries of three of the country’s best wreck dive sites.
The Fabled Realm Of Suvarnabhumi
Cloaked in mystery for centuries, Suvarnabhumi has been the subject of much debate among scholars and historians alike ...
With Rolex, The World Is Your Oyster
The word “Perpetual” is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values.
A Quick Guide to Central Asia
Celebrating Nowruz - Central Asia
Get a glimpse of ancient cities along the Great Silk Road, bask in the nomadic culture and Soviet heritage, and experience the vast mountains and steppes of Central Asia. Each of the five “stans” has much to offer, especially in times of celebration
Question And Answer On The Mountain
Translated from Chinese
TALES OF KAZAKHSTAN ON TWO WHEELS
It’s noon in the blistering heat. I drop the bike again on the sand track over the Taukum Desert. After some cursing, I recall the warning voices of Marat, the owner of the rental bikes, and several others who told us not to come here. “Every time there’s trouble—people get lost, can’t find fuel, get hurt or break the bikes. Further, there are private hunting reserves in the area that can also cause headaches. It’s best not to go.”
BORAT IS BACK, AND THIS TIME HE FITS RIGHT IN
Since Sacha Baron Cohen first appeared as his Kazakh journalist on “Da Ali G Show,” Borat Sagdiyev has been remarkably consistent. The accent is the same. The gray suit is still rumpled. “Nahce” and “Mah Wahfe” regularly exude from him with a mangled melody. Borat hasn’t changed in the last 20 years. But America has.
‘BORAT' SEQUEL TO BE RELEASED BY AMAZON BEFORE ELECTION
Borat is back. Sacha Baron Cohen has filmed a sequel to his 2006 film “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” that Amazon plans to release before the election.
The Posh School's Burden
Boarding schools that once trained young men to run the British Empire are opening campuses for elites in countries with reputations for corruption and long colonial pasts. It could get awkward
Almaty's Changing Musical Rule Book
Traveling across central Asia, Nicholas Pritchard discovers musical acts of dissent in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Transcontinental Enduro Marathon
14,500 Miles on a Honda XR650L from Togliatti to Magadan
कजाकिस्तान के साथ रक्षा सहयोग बढ़ाने पर सहमति
भारत और कजाकिस्तान रक्षा क्षेत्र और इससे संबद्ध औद्योगिक सहयोग बढ़ाने पर सहमत हुये हैं।
Dubai Municipality, MBRSC to launch region's first eco satellite
The satellite will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket will be launched at 9.07am Moscow time (10.07am UAE time) on Mar.20
Walking the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan
Two experts in South Africa’s pome fruit industry recently undertook an adventure to an ancient forest in Kazakhstan, known as the birthplace of the modern apple. Brian Berkman reports.
What Happens When Two Strangers Trust The Rides Of Their Lives To The Magic Of The Universe?
Once upon a road in Kazakhstan, two men converge in the desert. Strangers born an ocean apart, riding bicycles burdened like camels, they emerge from either horizon, slowly approaching a common point. Day by day, hour after hour, they make their way through the land as flat and featureless as a page without words. Thousands of kilometers spool out behind them. Thousands more lie ahead.