National Geographic: Why 2024 is Best Year to Explore Kazakhstan

ASTANA – National Geographic magazine described how to explore the best of Kazakhstan’s landscapes, culture, and events this year in its article “Why 2024 is the prime time to discover Kazakhstan,” published on June 15.

Charyn Canyon. Photo credit: The Astana Times

The article highlights direct flight routes, festivals with nomadic flair, and millennia-old natural beauty as key attractions drawing travelers to the Kazakh Steppe.

Almaty and its surroundings

“Most visitors will enter Kazakhstan from the forest-swathed southeast, landing in Almaty. Divided by dense thickets of pine and birch, the city’s surrounding green mountain peaks conceal vast lakes and twisting horse-back trails,” the author writes.

He recommends visiting Lake Kaindy in Kolsai Lakes National Park, known for its picturesque hiking trails and secluded accommodation options, and traveling to Charyn Canyon “for equally dramatic yet drastically different scenery.”

Central Kazakhstan

The author says that a train to Turkistan and the historic Silk Road city of Shymkent is advised for those eager to explore further. Shymkent’s Uzbek architecture and Persian designs, preserved under Soviet rule, make it an ideal stop for those curious about the history of the Turkic Steppe and an excellent base for exploring the Turkistan Region.

Western Kazakhstan

According to the article, the port city of Aktau, with its Caspian shores, offers easy access to the Mangystau Region’s otherworldly plateaus.

“Laced with lines of ochre rock and amber streaks, here colorful geology enshrouds labyrinthine desert trails and dramatic gorges. Sharp jutting ridges and undulating rock formations shadow clear traces of 50 million years of life existing in its canyons – paleontologists regularly unearth new evidence of animal life in the Ustyurt Nature Reserve,” the author writes.

Kazakh traditions and best times to visit

Travelers can witness ancient Kazakh traditions, such as horse riding displays and falconry, before trying traditional dishes such as beshbarmak and qurt.

The author recommends visiting Kazakhstan this September as competitors from all over the Eurasian Steppe will convene in Astana for the fifth World Nomad Games.

“The best time to visit is during the spring or autumn, when the climate is more moderate. In winter, head to Almaty, where ski areas are accessed via cable-car,” the article concludes.

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