Kazakhstan is a unique country with a wide variety of climatic and natural areas, with entertaining past and present. The territory of Kazakhstan takes a ninth position by land area among the states of the world and being located in the heart of Eurasia, it is a special natural complex embodying the most vivid examples of the landscape of both parts of the continent. Each of the 14 regions can provide its guests with stunning landscapes and ancient monuments which are vividly reminiscent of the rich culture of the people of the region. There are more than 700 itineraries available for travellers. The northern, southern, eastern, western and central regions of Kazakhstan are ready to offer practically all the existing types of tourism for their guests such as educational, recreational, ethnic, eco, health, children’s, sports, hunting, equestrian and adventure tourism.
A wide variety of natural areas points to the wealth of flora and fauna of the country. A network of national nature reserves has been created for the maintenance of wealth of flora and fauna of Kazakhstan. There are snow leopard, white-clawed bear, long-tailed marmot, lynx and wolves inhabit under the state protection in Aksu-Zhabagly. The world famous pink flamingos nestle located in Korgalzhyn reserve. There is Kuludzhun nature reserve which is the usual habitat for a gray crane, dwarf eagle, white heron, Zaisan round headed lizard. The country also features Markakolsky Reserve. One of the attractions of the park is a large Markakol lake (length - 38 km, width - 19 km), where the uskuch lives - a local variety of the Siberian goldilocks.
More recently these and other protected areas of the country have become available for tourists. Thus, an impetus for the development of ecotourism, which is quite popular in the northern regions of Russia and European countries, was created apart from trekking and ethnographic tourism in Kazakhstan. Belukha, Marble Pass, Ulytau, Kok-Kol waterfall, Kazygurt, Burhat pass – they are only short list of attractions of mountainous part of Kazakhstan, which is visited annually by hundreds of enthusiasts from near and far abroad. But, of course, one of the main natural characters of the republic is considered to be the northern mountain range of Tien Shan or Zhetysu (Seven Rivers), as the local people call it. This is a unique place. In the old days Zhetysu was a crossroad of many trade and military routes.
The most northern mountain range of Kazakh Tien Shan is Zailiyskiy Alatau. The length of the mountain range is 400 km. The most popular climbing routes in Zailiyskiy Alatau are located in the Small Almaty clove and Bogdanovich glacier. The main attractions of this place are: Pogrebetsky Glacier (4231 m), passes Tuyuk Su (4100 m), Ordzhonikidze (3980 m), Komsomol (4000 m), Manshuk Mametova (3750 m), the peaks of Locomotive (4182 m), Amangeldy (4000 m), Abay (4010 m), Shkolnik (3590 m) and others.
Kazakhstan is a country with a unique culture and rich history, so it is not surprising that one of the tourist destinations in this region is ethnotourism. Tourists are interested in an authentic life of Kazakh people - their traditions, customs, art and culture in almost every corner of the country; everyone will find a lot of interesting things. One of the most significant attractions is Berkara canyon in the Zhambyl region, located on the territory of Berkarinsk state reserve. The valley features 504 mounds, four of which, according to historians, refer to the early Saka period. Moreover, there is a judgment that Chenghis Khan once stayed with his great army on the grounds of the present Berkarinsk reserve.
Zhambyl Zhabayev museum complex is located on the territory of Almaty region. The complex includes a house once belonged to the poet, a garage and a garden, and an administrative building. Moreover, there is a Zhambyl Zhabayev mausoleum in the museum complex. Thanks to the efforts of caretakers it is managed to preserve set of items belonged to the owner in original form in the home of the poet. We can say that this historical monument is a clear characteristic of the way of life of Zhambyl, as well as the epoch in general where the poet lived and worked.
In addition to specific historical monuments that characterize the life of the Kazakh people, there are so-called ethnographic parks in some cities, the largest of which is the ethno-memorial complex "Map of Kazakhstan" Atameken” which is located in the city of Astana.
"Atameken" is a unique open-air museum. There are 14 regions and 2 cities of Astana and Almaty on the map. Here the attention of tourists is attracted by climatic zones and landscapes of the country, as well as the major city attractions and historical sites in Kazakhstan in a miniature form. The territory of the ethno-memorial complex is 1,7 hectares.
Another focus of the tourism industry of the country which in recent years has received a significant boost to the development is water tourism. Kazakhstan is not only the steppe region, it is also a land of rivers and lakes. The largest number of reservoirs is concentrated in the south-east of the country in the region with a symbolic name Zhetysu - Seven Rivers. Almost all the rivers of Zhetysu belong to the Balkhash basin. The most popular among tourists (both local and foreign) are: Ili, Charyn, Koksu, Karatal and Chilik.
Ili is formed from 2 rivers - Tekes (Kazakhstan) and Kunges (China). It originates in the mountains of China, flows through Kazakhstan (the length of the Kazakh section of the river is 815 km) and enters the Balkhash Lake. Ili is the third river by size in Kazakhstan, following the world famous Irtysh and Ural.
Sports tourism and mountaineering
As it well-known Kazakhstan hosted the Asian Games in 2011. Selection of the next host country of the white Asian Games was not accidental, as one of the priorities in the country was and is promotion of winter sports. A unique sports complex at an altitude of 1691 meter above sea level was established by the Soviet architects in the 50’s of the last century in the mountain area Medeo in Kazakhstan. The largest skating rink with artificial ice is a main highlight of this building which attracts enthusiasts from all over the country and foreign countries. The total area of the ice rink field is 10,5 thousand m². The unique system of artificial freezing allows saving high quality of cover more than 8 months a year. During the existence of the "Medeo" SC 170 world records were set on this rink.
Another major attraction of the sport in Kazakhstan and relevant to the winter holidays is a ski resort "Shymbulak". The resort is located in the Zailiyskiy Alatau clove (25 km from Almaty). Snow covers the ground here from November to May. Sunshine is recorded here over three hundred days a year. Snow covers the mountain slopes on average 150 cm. Ski slopes equipped with chair lifts. The resort hotel works with the same name that can accommodate up to 114 visitors.
National Park "Kokshetau" includes a large number of resort areas and for many years it is known as a good place to relax. At the beginning of the 20th century the first medical sanatorium was opened. In 1920-30 years, spa resort Borovoe considered to be the country's most famous one. In 1938 the New York exhibition featured the first photos of Borovoe resort. Landscape and nature of this unique area, a tourist paradise, located in the steppes, are simply unforgettable. Numerous lakes give special beauty to this place. No wonder this place is called as "Little Switzerland". Thousands of tourists come here for the purpose of active recreation, fishing, ecotourism, hunting, hiking and informative tourism.