In a country as large and diverse as this, it can be hard to imagine the single best time to visit Kazakhstan. With everything from ski resorts to sand dunes, deciding when to visit Kazakhstan is going to depend on what you want to see and do.
With plenty of activities, a low cost of living and good transport links, there’s never been a better time to travel to Kazakhstan. A comfortable and efficient train network connects the diverse landscapes across the country. While in-city transport is cheap and easy to come by.
And, trust me, there’s plenty to experience in this Central Asian country. Moreover, the fact that mass tourism isn’t coming here anytime soon, only makes the whole country more magical. Everything feels like a hidden gem.
Find out more about this fascinating country and the best time to travel to Kazakhstan in this helpful guide…
When is the best time to visit Kazakhstan?
For sightseeing and general travel, the best time to travel to Kazakhstan is in spring (April, May) or autumn (September, October). These months provide the best balance of weather and tourism levels.
For skiing and other snow sports, the best time to visit Kazakhstan is in winter, between late November and March. Although, for hiking in the mountains, you’ll need to visit in the summer months between June and September, once the snow has melted.
As a large and landlocked, continental country, the weather comes in extremes. Blistering heat in the summer and heavy snowfall with freezing temperatures in the winter. In fact, higher parts of the country see snow on the ground for 10 to 11 months of the year.
Best time of year to visit Kazakhstan
The peak season for tourism in Kazakhstan is in the summer months of June, July and August. This is when Europeans and North Americans visit for their summer breaks. Kazakhs themselves and other Central Asians also visit the country to take in its varied beauty.
In these months, prices for tours and hotels are typically slightly higher. Additionally, trains can become sold out a few days before departure. Make sure to book in advance if you’re travelling in these months.
Outside of these peak summer months, booking a couple of days in advance is usually all that is necessary. Of course, if there are certain tours or trains that you know you will do on a set date, there’s no problem booking early. Night trains should always be booked as early as possible.
However, tours that are purchased online are often way more expensive than booking with an agency in Kazakhstan. Try to find a Whatsapp number for a tour agency through Google or Facebook to save money. Book trains through the official site for the best price.
Best season to visit Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, spring is much shorter than in other western countries. This is due to the extreme temperatures and weather conditions in both summer and winter, which leave only a short while in the middle where the weather is more balanced.
Overall, spring is probably the best season to visit Kazakhstan – April and May. Although by mid-May in the south of the country, temperatures are already starting to rise.
Spring brings beautiful colours to the fields of wildflowers and lush landscapes. The melting snow means rivers are fast running and the greens and plants are full of life and colour.
Tourism levels are starting to rise, meaning you’ll meet other visitors. But, it isn’t yet getting busy.
Autumn – which doesn’t start until October in the south of the country – has fewer visitors, cooler temperatures and autumnal colours. After particularly hot summers, the land can be parched and dry until regular rainfall starts again.
In contrast, winter is good for snow sports and eagle hunting. If you’re after snow, it’s almost guaranteed in Kazakhstan, especially on higher ground. Although, even the boundless steppe plains experience snowfall in the winter months.
However, the freezing temperatures of the low season are not good for sightseeing or accessing mountainous routes. It’s not unusual to see temperatures as low as -12 Celsius/10 Fahrenheit in the south and -20 Celsius/-4 Fahrenheit in the north.
The summer months bring temperatures to the other extreme. Although, average temperatures sit around 30 Celsius/86 Fahrenheit in the south. Which, is a bit lower than seen in neighbouring Uzbekistan! But, individual days can be much hotter.
The Best month to visit Kazakhstan
All things considered, the overall best month to visit Kazakhstan is probably April. This month offers enjoyable weather conditions and a low level of tourism. Similar conditions are likely in late September and October for those who want to visit during Autumn.
Of course, if you’re visiting the country for skiing, snowboarding or other winter sports, April is too late and October is too early.
The best time to go to Kazakhstan for snow-related activities is March (or late February). That avoids the bitterly cold months but still means snow on the ground and ski resorts being open.
If you want to visit in summer, aim for June. This should reduce the chance you experience a particularly hot weather front. And, you’ll avoid the peak vacation period in July and August.
Best Time to Travel to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan
For a good number of international visitors, a trip to Kazakhstan is coupled with travelling to Uzbekistan and/or Kyrgyzstan. The easy-to-navigate land borders and easy visa or visa-free access are perfect for adding another country to your itinerary.
However, a trip to Central Asia should be carefully planned. Uzbekistan typically experiences even more extreme heat than Kazakhstan, while Kyrgyzstan has a distinct visiting season when the country is most accessible. Therefore, working out when the best time to visit Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan requires some thought.
The best time to visit Uzbekistan is in May, with April, September and October as good other options. This is largely similar to Kazakhstan as the countries have a lot of similarities in their landscapes.
In contrast, the best time to visit Kyrgyzstan is in July, August and early September. It’s only during these months that the mountain passes and hiking trails open once the snow has melted. While hotels and restaurants, particularly in summer hotspots, can be closed for the rest of the year.
If you’re wanting to combine your trip to Kazakhstan with hiking in Kyrgyzstan, you need to time your visit well. One option is to visit Kazakhstan in mid to late June before crossing into Kyrgyzstan at the start of July. Uzbekistan can be added on to the start of the trip, but high temperatures are likely there and in Kazakhstan.
A better option is to start your trip in mid to late August in Kyrgyzstan before entering Kazakhstan, with the option to travel to Uzbekistan afterwards. This will give you the best chance of missing temperatures much above 30 Celsius/86 Fahrenheit, which start to get a little uncomfortable.
Is Kazakhstan good for tourists?
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path travel destination, time outside your comfort zone and a unique experience, then Kazakhstan is for you.
It’s not a country that’s for everyone. It’s more of a travel trip than a holiday. And, it’s probably going to be difficult at times – unless you know Russian.
But, as the world’s 9th largest country, there is plenty to see and do. Kazakhstan is full of diverse and varied landscapes. In just a few 100 kilometres you can see sand dunes, endless plains, snow-capped mountains, canyons, lakes and vast cities.
Kazakhstan is a hybrid of everything. A rich history as a Soviet state, a trading post on the Silk Road and a legacy of nomadic cultures.
Located in Central Asia, it’s unlikely that Kazakhstan is ever going to see mass international tourism like parts of South-East Asia. But, the fact there are so few visitors makes it a truly special place to visit.
You won’t see pictures of this country plastered across social media and travel magazines. So, your memories can be even more treasured.
Is it cheap to travel in Kazakhstan?
Yes, prices are low by international standards – especially for visitors from Europe and North America.
Although perhaps slightly more expensive than its near-neighbours, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, you still get fantastic value for money in Kazakhstan. Transport, hotels and restaurants are all budget-friendly.
Tourist hotspots such as the Shymbulak Ski Resort and the ‘new Mecca’ city of Turkistan are more pricey. But, are still doable even on a tight budget.
Tours can be quite expensive and are normally priced in USD. Generally, the price per person goes down as the group size increases, as these are mostly private tours. In part, due to the low levels of international tourism in the country.
This can make it more expensive to travel solo or as a couple. But, nevertheless, the tours provide excellent value for money and take you places well away from public transport links.
How many days do you need in Kazakhstan?
How many days you need in Kazakhstan really depends on what you want to see. It is a huge country with large distances between cities and attractions.
7 days would be a comfortable amount of time to explore the south of the country. You’d be able to spend time in Almaty for metropolitan city vibes. Then, take a trip to see the Charyn Canyon, Kolsay Lakes and/or Altyn Emel National Park. From Almaty, you can catch a train to Turkistan for a more cultural experience.
The capital city of Astana is remotely located in the north of the country. Similarly, the Caspian Sea is a long way from most other places tourists visit. Train connections to these places are slow but comfortable. However, you would need to factor travel time into your itinerary.
Do you have any questions or want any more information? If so, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Information is correct as of January 2023 but is subject to change in future.