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Things to do in Astana
Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan. Found in the country’s northern steppe, it’s a grand showcase of how modern and innovative Kazakhstan is. But the city’s goal is to become a worthy capital not only of Kazakhstan, but a capital city of Central Asia.
Astana’s skyline is continuing to grow even more wondrous each year as landmark buildings are built in a variety of Asian, Western, Soviet and futuristic styles. The locals have given these iconic buildings funny nicknames, but you’ll still be impressed when you see them in person.
Once you’re in the city, you’ll instantly see the The Bayterek Tower which has been nicknamed as the Chupa Chups. Visit this 97-metre high tower to get a fantastic view of Astana. You might even need a whole day here because Bayterek also has an art gallery, an aquarium, and a restaurant for you to enjoy.
Bring your camera to capture some breathtaking snaps next to the giant transparent tent that is Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center. You'll feel like you're in a city within a city when you ride the monorail and stop by the park, shopping and entertainment area, minigolf, boating river, and its indoor beach resort. Another entertainment complex you can’t miss is Duman Entertainment Centre. This domed area has an Oceanarium, 3D theatre, souvenir shops, and cafes.
Astana is also home to several cultural treasures. Marvel at the two biggest mosques in Central Asia. Nur-Astana Mosque is the second biggest, while Hazrat Sultan Mosque is the largest. The gardens and outside of the mosques might stun you when you see them, but the insides are worth your time and attention too. Just remember to take off your shoes to show respect before you start looking around.
The city’s museums are gorgeously built as well. Make your way to the Presidential Museum of Kazakhstan and see the country’s exhibitions about their history. There’s also the Shabyt Palace of Arts, which Kazakhs have fondly named “The Dog Bowl.”
Visit the Atameken so you can experience an outdoor museum. The Palace of Independence is also well worth your time because this is where you’ll see a huge scale model of what Astana will look like in 2030. And don’t forget to check out the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is the youngest but biggest museum in Central Asia.
Another spot that you’ll adore can be reached by riding the bus to the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. This impressive pyramid building has two art galleries, a museum, and a grand opera hall. But most of all, it gives you a stunning view of Astana. Look over the city and see where you’ve been and where you should go next on your return trip.
What you should know
The best time to visit Astana is the month of July when the temperature and weather are most comfortable. Other great months for you to visit Astana are from May to September. But if you don’t mind bringing a coat, you can also enjoy a visit during the cool months of April and October.
Although locals have a working knowledge of English, Kazakh and Russian are the main languages spoken in Astana. It’s best that you bring a good phrasebook and find a language app to help you enjoy your trip.
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you can fly to Kazakhstan and visit Astana visa-free for up to 15 calendar days until December 31, 2017. If you’re travelling after that date, check out the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for more information about your travel requirements.
Travelling to and around Astana
The climate in Astana is best described as extremely continental with warm, dry summers and long, cold winters. The coldest month in the city would be in January, while the warmest temperature is felt during the month of July.
Travelling to and around Astana
You will be flying to Astana International Airport. When you land, you can easily reach Astana by bus or taxi. Start wandering around this beautiful city by riding the public bus, taxi, hop-on hop-off tourist bus, or marshrutka (shared minibus with fixed routes).
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Temperature average in November
-10.8 - -2.6°C
Rainfall average in November
Cheapest time to fly to Astana (TSE)
All prices refer to return flights to Astana and include taxes and charges.