ASTANA – The five winners of the second “Kazakhstan Through the Eyes of International Media” contest took in views, spa treatments, horseback rides and karaoke on a trip to Borovoye, Astana’s major weekend getaway destination.
“It was a great vacation for body and soul,” said Bartosz Mendyk, a journalist from Poland, who had won in the European region.
The five winners stayed in the Rixos Borovoe, the resort’s luxury hotel. While in the resort, a two to three hour drive from Astana, the winners were offered spa treatments, horseback riding and a two hour sightseeing excursion around the mountains and lakes of the region, which is called the Switzerland of northern Kazakhstan.
“I have taken a lot of photos from this visit to Kazakhstan and posted them to my Facebook account and on Instagram. Moreover, I advised my minister of foreign affairs to visit Borovoye, and particularly to stay in this hotel,” said Marwan Zubaidi, Radio Republik Indonesia journalist, who won among journalists in Asia and Oceania.
“Combination of fresh air and an outstanding view of the forest make me feel incredibly happy and relaxed,” said Ahmed Abdu Tarabeik, a journalist from Egypt.
Alo Khodzhayev, winner from Uzbekistan, dedicated a poem to Rixos Borovoe General Manager Fevzi Opsar as a way of expressing his gratitude for the hotel’s hospitality, he said.
“We always welcome our guests and try to show hospitality that flows in our veins,” Opsar said.
A local tour company “Zhemchuzhina Sinegoria”, has been instrumental in organising a good trip for the journalists, providing guides and supplying information about the place, including famous myths.
“In the north of Kazakhstan, between Astana and Kokshetau cities there is a wonderful area, a real oasis – Borovoye. Geographically this nook is called Kokchetav Highlands but local guides gave it a name of Kazakhstan’s Switzerland,” said a tour guide of this company during a trip.
The trip to Borovoye is among the prizes the five winners received, which also include visits to Astana and Almaty, as well as a sightseeing programme. The other winner is Evelin Armella of Argentina. The contest, now in its second year, is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan and sponsored or otherwise supported by national railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Transaero Airlines, the Hilton Garden Inn Astana and the Rixos Borovoe, as well as transport company Argymak.