Budget-friendly summer trip to Burabay – capital’s favourite retreat

NUR-SULTAN – Burabay is the most popular getaway for capital citizens and one of the most picturesque, budget-friendly and entertainment-filled mountain resorts in Central Asia.

Photo credit: Diana Vassilenko.

Burabay can be accessed by train from the Nur-Sultan 1 or Astana Nurly Zhol railway stations. The trip to Burabay takes two to four hours and the cost varies according to the type of seat, carriage and train speed and schedule. Prices range from 775-8,969 tenge (US$2-23.14), with the typical cost approximately $4. Tickets can be purchased at the railway station or from any travel agency or online at tickets.kz for an additional fee. A car ride will take approximately three hours and the Nur-Sultan – Shchuchinsk highway toll is 200 tenge (US$0.52).

Upon arriving at the Shchuchinsk station, visitors take a 200 tenge (US$0.52) fare shuttle bus which goes to the resort area. Guests can also take a taxi to their desired destination, with prices starting at 300 tenge (US$0.77) per person.

Accommodations can be found along Kenessary Street, the main road in the Burabay town.

“Whenever we go to Burabay, we stay at a wooden lodge at Aunt Raya’s or in the lodge at 5a Ozyornaya Street. Both places are very simple but clean and even though some amenities, including the bathrooms, are shared, for 3,000 tenge (US$7.74) a night per person, the conditions are very nice. There is a charm in the simplicity,” said Diana Timoshenko, a student from the capital, who travels to Burabay with her family several times a year.

For those who want to be even closer to nature, camping is an option. The ever-growing industry offers areas around each of the Burabay-area lakes. Tourists can bring their own tents and pay a camping spot fee or rent the necessary equipment.

Photo credit: Diana Vassilenko.

Most visitors buy food at Bereke, the open market on Kenessary Street, which offers local specialities such as hot-smoked peled fish, crayfish and sea ​​buckthorn juice. Baked goods like cakes and pastries, corn on the cob and local ice cream are also offered for sale. Meal prices at local eateries vary widely, but are reasonably priced.

Guided mountain climbing and lake tours can be purchased to view the local scenery, but most visitors prefer self-guided tours, which they consider more authentic and interesting.

Cycling is the most popular means of summer transport. Bikes can be rented anywhere in the resort for an hourly or daily rate of 500 tenge (US$1.29) and 2,000 tenge (US$5.16), respectively.

In July, the area launched Swiss Trails in Burabay, implemented by Kazakh Tourism and Burabay Damu in cooperation with Switzerland Tourism. The project is a well-equipped mountain route with a high level of service and care for the environment. Guests may take walks with a professional multilingual guide or hike independently and read the informational signs. Tourists can also cycle along the convenient wooden tracks within the mountain woods and along Burabay Lake.

Public and private beaches require a 500 tenge (US$1.29) entrance fee. Boats or pedal catamarans are available to rent for approximately 4,000 tenge (US$10.32) per hour.

Burabay provides plenty of entertainment for children. Some beaches have inflatable water parks and the newly-opened dolphinarium gives youngsters a chance to watch an entertaining show or swim with the aquatic mammals. Ticket prices for the latter range from 2,000-5,000 tenge (US$5.16-12.90).