Astana: The Central Asian city that is the symbol of determination and achievement. Borne out of nothingness, using its own resources without rejecting its past, Astana has become the pride of the region. Perfect for those willing to work with discipline and make money – but really, really cold in winter!
1Eat “sashlik” in Ali Baba’s.
Also known as Farhi, the restaurant was opened in 1999. The very first Kazhak restaurant in Astana and it also has fusion dishes. You may want to try regional delicacies such as “beshparmak” and “piroske” while you’re there.
2Visit the Pyramid of Peace and Accord.
Aside from the temples of 18 different religions, there’s a museum and a university inside.
3See the Bayterek Tower.
The “symbol” of Astana, great panorama of the city from the top.
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4Take a walk on the Quay Astana.
The Ishim River bank is a popular hangout. You might prefer cycling if the weather is nice.
5Try the frozen river activities in winter.
Jump in the freezing water from a hole, slide down with inflated sleds or better yet: jet-ski on ice.
6Visit the local markets.
Local markets like Eurasia or Zelyony not only sell really interesting merchandise but also give you a chance to observe the local city life from a different angle. Don’t forget to negotiate though, ok?
7See the Nur-Astana Mosque.
The Nur-Astana happens to be the biggest mosque in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
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8If you feel like going out, Za Za and Fusion are quite chic.
9Sports bars are quite popular too.
10Go shopping at the Khan Shatyr.
This is the biggest tent in the world: and a giant shopping and entertainment center!
11Enjoy a “day at the beach” at the Sky Beach Club.
Located at the top floor of the Khan Shatyr, this place is perfect for children: not only are there waterslides, but the sand comes all the way from the Maldives.
12Do visit the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The highlight of the National Museum are the artifacts pertaining to the traditional Kazakh lifestyle throughout the ages. But it’s huge, you might want to to visit the other exhibitions. And if you have the time, do see the other museums in the city.
“Kumis” is a traditional drink made of fermented mare’s milk. Easily found even in supermarkets, its alcohol content usually ranges between 1-2.5%. If you’re lucky, you might even find kumis-flavored ice cream around the city.