Winter, the best time of the year, when the true beauty of a region peaks out of snowy lands of different cities, giving them completely different makeovers. A Central Asian country, Kazakhstan is also the ninth largest country in the world with the Astana city being its bustling capital. The country is a combination of some of the most intense biomes including tundra, desert and the alpines.
Winter in Kazakhstan are like no other country, with some parts of the country receiving heaps of snow while others only experience a sweet chill.
Winter In Kazakhstan: Weather
Being the ninth largest country in the world, the temperatures vary to a very large extent in all the different parts of the country. While Shymkent does not receive much snow around the winter months, other cities of Kazakhstan such as Astana become freezing cold and are covered in snow in winter. The Almaty and Aralsk regions have relatively moderate temperatures compared to the rest of the cities.
The temperatures in different cities of Kazakhstan vary widely, but the average temperature in the winter ranges between -4 degrees Celsius and 19 degrees Celsius.
Winter In Kazakhstan: Holidays
- Independence Day: Kazakhstan celebrates Independence Day on December 16, the day is declared a public holiday in the entire country.
- New Year’s: New Year’s is a very big deal in Kazakhstan and so, December 31 is celebrated all through the country with lots of enthusiasm. New Year’s is usually followed by one week of holiday. Orthodox Christians of Kazakhstan celebrate Christmas on January 7.
- International Women’s Day: Kazakhstan celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, which honours the political, economic and social achievements of women.
What To Pack For Christmas In Kazakhstan
If you are planning to go to Kazakhstan in the winter months, make sure you pack warm clothes. Winter clothes in Kazakhstan are not your regular woollens but thick, warm thermals that will keep you warm all through the night and day in Kazakhstan. As for footwear, you will need waterproof, warm and fleece-lined boots that can be worn over thick woollen socks. It gets really cold!
Winter in Kazakhstan: 8 Best Things To Do
We have compiled a list of 8 things to do if you are visiting Kazakhstan in the winter months. Scroll down to know what awaits you in this scenic country that has it all!
1. Medeo High-Mountain
Ice-skating is one of the most fun winter sports in Kazakhstan when the paths are clogged with snow, all you have to do is pull out your ice-skating gear and get going. The Medeo skating rink is one of the highest mountainous sports complexes in the entire world and is nestled at a height of 1700 metres above mean sea level. Located close to the Almaty city, this sports complex was a training centre for Soviet Union Olympic skaters back in the day.
Timings: The rink remains open from 10am to 11pm on all days of the week, except Mondays.
Location: Gornaya St 465, Almaty 050020, Kazakhstan.
2. Kolsai Lakes
The Kolsai Lakes are located in the Almaty area and the views here are very similar to those in Alaska. The three Kolsai lakes give you the best views of pristine blue waters that are surrounded by lush green conifer forests on all sides. You can also choose to go hiking around this area as there are lots of mountains that offer opportunities for hikers to challenge their fitness levels and let them hike up the mountains. If you think you can’t handle the hike, you can still explore the mountains on a horseback. Got more time on your hands and are looking for something adventurous? Stay back at one of the lodges in the Kolsai Lake area and wake up to beautiful scenes in the morning. Make sure to carry your own food if you plan to stay back.
Timings: The lake is open to visitors all through the day and night, on all days of the week. However, we suggest you visit around 3pm so that you have enough time to walk around and admire the beauty of the place before it gets too dark.
Location: Kolsai Lakes, Almaty, Kazakhstan
3. Arasan Bathhouse
The Winter in Kazakhstan often get a little harsh. What’s better than a warm bath and a relaxing spa to beat the cold? Built in the year of 1980, the Arasan Bath is one of the best Soviet style baths in Central Asia. You can choose from the Russian-Finnish baths or the Oriental Baths, each of which come with a separate section for men and women. Each bath-type also comes attached to a spa and detox centre. For one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating experiences in Kazakhstan, choose the Arasan Bathhouse, a day in Kazakhstan that you will never forget!
Timings: The Arasan Bath is open from 7am to 11:30pm on all days of the week.
Location: Arasan Wellness and Spa, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
4. Green Bazaar
No holiday is ever complete without a shopping spree and the Green Bazaar in Zenkov (Almaty) will let you shop for everything, right from spices to fruits to furniture. The best part about the bazaar is that you can find some of the best local eats to munch on while you shop. Put your haggling skills to use at Green Bazaar as the street vendors try to quote higher prices for their goods when tourists come around to shop. Green Bazaar is especially a fun place to shop in the Winter as the weather is pleasant. You can also find some of the best spices in the winter months.
Timings: Green Bazaar remains open from 9am to 7pm on all days of the week, except Mondays.
Location: Zenkov St, Almaty 050000, Kazakhstan.
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5. Shymbulak Ski Resort
Another beautiful place to visit in Almaty, the Shymbulak Ski Resort is an adventurous escape at the Zailiyskiy Alatau Mountains. A gondola service helps you reach the top of the mountains and then you can go skiing down the mountains, in the winter months. If you are new to the winter sport of skiing, worry not as the Shymbulak Ski Resort has a set of different mountain ranges that are suitable for newbies as well as a few others that are good for professional skiers. The best months to go skiing at Shymbulak are from December to April.
Timings: The Ski resort is open to visitors from 10am to 11pm on all days of the week. The resort remains open for twenty-four hours on Mondays.
Location: 25 kilometres from the Almaty city, Kazakhstan.
6. Charyn Canyon
A canyon in the Sharyn River of Kazakhstan, the Charyn Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world. Visit the Charyn Canyon in the winter months when you are in Kazakhstan to feel the cold breeze brushing against you as you walk through the rock formations. You can either hike the Charyn Canyon with your group of friends or take a tour of the place in a minibus. If you are travelling with a group of people, we suggest you take a guided tour with a private driver, who would be able to talk to you about the history of the place to you and will take you around the Canyon.
Timings: The Charyn Canyon is open to visitors all through the day, on all days of the week.
Location: Almaty, Sharyn River, Kazakhstan.
7. Bayanaul National Park
Being the ninth largest country in the world, Kazakhstan is home to many national parks that are consist of mountain ranges and lakes. The most popular national park in Kazakhstan in the Bayanaul National Park which also happens to be the first National Park of Kazakhstan that was opened to the public in the year 1985. The Bayanaul National Park is home to the Jasybay Lake, a paradise for swimmers. The place often gets very crowded with tourists and locals who flock to the national park to get some time off so if you are visiting, make sure you choose to go on a weekday so you can chill at the park for longer. If you think it’s too cold to swim, head to Toraygir Lake for fishing, rock climbing and even mountain biking.
Timings: The park is open from 9am to 7pm on all weekdays. It remains closed on weekends.
Location: The National Park is located on the Southeastern Pavlodar Province in Kazakhstan.
8. Bayaterek Tower
Located in Astana, the stunning building of the Bayterek Tower is one of the best sights that you will see in all of Astana. A very distinct fact about the Bayterek Tower is that it is accurately 97 metres high which is the representation of the year of 1997 when Astana became the capital city of Kazakhstan. In the Winter, make sure you visit the observation deck at the Bayterek Tower to get a view of the entire city that is most likely to be blanketed in white snow and looks gorgeous as ever.
Timings: The tower is open for visitors from Mondays to Thursdays 10am to 9pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Bayaterek Tower is open from 9am to 9pm. The park is also open from 10am to 9pm on Sundays.
Location: Bayterek, Astana 020000, Kazakhstan.
So, what are you waiting for? If this sounds enticing enough to you, we say it’s time for a thrilling vacay like never before! Pack your bags and plan your trip to Kazakhstan for a blissful holiday experience with your loved ones!
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