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32 Photos that will put Kazakhstan on your Bucketlist

Updated November 202132 Photos that will put Kazakhstan on Your Bucketlist was originally written in August 2019

Kazakhstan, the 9th largest country in the world, and yet so few people know anything about it. Bordered by Russia to the north, Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan to the south, China to the east, the Caspian Sea to the west, and a small sliver of Turkmenistan Kazakhstan offers up beautiful mountainscapes, mirror-like lakes, canyons, steppe, lovely cities, and gorgeous architecture.

After my first visit to Kazakhstan in 2016 I knew I’d be back and after my most recent return in 2019 I know I’m nowhere near done with this massive country.

But if you don’t believe my written word, here are photos that will put Kazakhstan on your bucketlist.


Looking for ideas on what to do in Southeast Kazakhstan? Check out Fabio Nodari’s post, Top Things To Do In Southeast Kazakhstan


Valley of Castles, Valley of Castles Charyn Canyon, Valley of Castles Kazakhstan, Charyn Canyon, Charyn, Kazakhstan canyon, Sharyn Canyon, Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon in the afternoon light.

Kazakhstan, Almaty, Zenkov, Zenkov Cathedral, Ascension Cathedral, Almaty Cathedral, Almaty Church, Orthodox Church, Orthodox cathedral, Panfilov Park

The colorful Zenkov Cathedral in the heart of Panfilov Park.

Big Almaty Lake, Almaty day trip, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, BAO

Taking in the views at Big Almaty Lake.


Start planning your trip to Kazakhstan: The Kazakhstan Travel Guide


Zailiysky Alatau, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Kok Tobe

Taking the Kök Tobe cable car down to Almaty as the sun set over the Zailiysky Alatau Range.

Green Bazaar, Almaty, Kazakhstan, zelony bazaar, green bazaar almaty
Green Bazaar, Almaty, Kazakhstan, fruit display

A woman selling fruit at the large Zelony (Green) Bazaar.

Fruit on display at the Green Bazaar.


Start planning: The 14 Best Things to do in Almaty, Kazakhstan


Kaindy Lake, Kazakhstan, Sunken Forest, Sunken Forest Kaindy Lake, Sunken Forest Kazakhstan, Lake Kaindy, Kaindy

The unique Sunken Forest at Kaindy Lake.

Almaty, Kazakhstan, Abay Theatre

Abay Ballet Theatre viewed from the Hotel Almaty.

Kolsai Lake, Kazakhstan, Kolsai Lake I, Pearl of the Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan, Kolsai

A morning scene on Kolsai I Lake.

Academy of Sciences, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Walking inside the main entrance to the Academy of Sciences. I highly recommend visiting with Dennis from Walking Almaty who does a phenomenal tour of the Academy of Sciences and the Golden Corner.

Kazkah cemetery, Saty, Saty Village, Kazakhstan, Turkik cemetery

A cemetery near Saty Village.

Republic Square, Almaty, Kazakhstan

A fiery sunset over Republic Square. Looking for more ways to spend your time in Almaty? Check out my best things to do in Almaty post.

Kaindy Lake, Kazakhstan, Sunken Forest, Sunken Forest Kaindy Lake, Sunken Forest Kazakhstan, Lake Kaindy, Kaindy

Kaindy Lake formed after a landslide that dammed off the gorge it’s in. A sprue forest still remains submerged in the lake. The portions of the trees underwater are well preserved by the cold water giving them an almost upside-down appearance.


Plan your trip to Kaindy & Kolsai: How to get to Kaindy & Kolsai Lakes


Man's Cafe, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Kazakh food, Kazakh cuisine

A dish piled high with beef at Men’s Cafe in Almaty.

Auezov, Auezova, Auezov Metro station, Auezova Metro station, Almaty, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Almaty Metro

Auezov Theatre Metro Station in Almaty.

Big Almaty Lake, Almaty day trip, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Central Asia
Kok Tobe, Almaty, Kazakhstan, ferris wheel Almaty, ferris wheel kazakhstan, carnival almaty, carnival kazakhstan, kök tobe
Charyn, Charyn canyon, canyon, kazakhstan

Views over Big Almaty Lake.

The ferris wheel atop Kok Tobe. Kok Tobe s an 1100 meter mountain in Almaty that has a cable car running up it.

Hanging on the edge at Charyn Canyon.

Charyn, Charyn canyon, canyon, kazakhstan, charyn river

At over 80 kilometers in length, Charyn Canyon morphs in appearance as you meander along its every nook.


Everything you need to know: How to get to Charyn Canyon


Jibek Joli, Zhibek Joli Zhibek Joli metro station, Jipek Joli, Jipek Joli Metro station, Jibek Joli Metro station, Almaty, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Almaty Metro

Jipek Joli Metro Station in Almaty features designs that are important to Kazakh culture. Pictured here is the lattice style woodwork you would see inside of a yurt.

Kolsai Lake, Kolsai Lakes, Kolsai 1, Kazakhstan, Kolsai I, Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan, Pearl of the Tien Shan
Kolsai Lake, Kazakhstan, Kolsai Lake I, Pearl of the Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan, Kolsai

More serene scenes on Kolsai I Lake.

Kolsai Lake I is easily reachable. Learn more on how to Kaindy & Kolsai Lakes here.


Going to Kyrgyzstan too? Check out the two week Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan itinerary


Funchoza, Korean food, Kyrgyzstan, Karakol, Karakol food, Karakol restaurants

A plate of funchoza. Funchoza is a type of salad popular throughout Central Asia but traces back to the Uyghur people of Xinjiang.

Kolsai Lake, Kazakhstan, Kolsai II, Kolsai 2, Kolsai Lake II, Tien Shan, Pearll of the Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan

After a few hours of hiking, this is the view you’ll arrive at Kolsai II Lake.


Start planning your visit to Kazakhstan and pick up a copy of Bradt’s Kazakhstan guidebook


Big Almaty Lake, Almaty day trip, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, BAO

With the hot sun beaming down from overhead Big Almaty Lake was a lighter almost white color that I was surprised to see when I arrived here.

Baikonur, Baikonur Metro station, Almaty, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Almaty Metro

Baikonur Metro Station in Almaty. Baikonur is actually a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a space launch facility, explaining the spacey-design of this metro station.


See the Almaty Metro in photos & guide


Kolsai Lake, Kazakhstan, Kolsai Lake I, Pearl of the Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan, Kolsai
Kazakhstan, Pearl of the Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan, Kolsai
Kolsai dock, Kolsai Lake dock, Kolsai Lake I Dock, Kolsai Lake, Kazakhstan, Kolsai Lake I, Pearl of the Tien Shan, Pearls of the Tien Shan, Kolsai

The early morning colors on Kolsai Lake I are hard to beat, with perfect reflections and beautiful hues ranging from the electric lime green of the algae to turquoise to deep sapphire.

The sun dropping on the Tien Shan Mountains.

A dock on Kolsai Lake I viewed through a clearing of trees.

Big Almaty Lake, Almaty day trip, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, BAO, Tien Shan

Big Almaty Lake is an easy day trip from the city. A taxi including waiting time came out to 8,000 KZT, less than $30 USD.


Everything you need to know for a day trip to Big Almaty Lake


Kaindy Lake, Kaindy, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Sunken Forest, Kaindy lake, Tien Shan

Reflections on Kaindy Lake.


Wanna combine Kazakstan & Kyrgyzstan? Cross The Karakara Border Between Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan


Valley of Castles, Valley of Castles Charyn Canyon, Valley of Castles Kazakhstan, Charyn Canyon, Charyn, Kazakhstan canyon, Sharyn Canyon, Kazakhstan

A must when visiting Charyn Canyon is getting up for sunrise at Valley of Castles to watch the hues of orange and pink wash over the rock formations as the morning unfolds in front of your eyes.

Have Any Questions About Traveling Kazakhstan Beyond Kazakhstan Photos?

Ask your Kazakhstan questions in the comments below, or keep scrolling to see my other posts from Kazakhstan.

Need Travel Insurance For Kazakhstan?

Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice, or over at World Nomads.

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