2-Day Astana, Kazakhstan: Gourmet Delights and Shopping Adventure

Astana, Kazakhstan

2 days

Interior of Atyrau Bridge, a contemporary pedestrian bridge over Ishim river
City center with skyscrapers and Baiterek Tower, symbol of Kazakh people
Avenue of Republik
The Baiterek monument
Hazrat Sultan Mosque

About Astana, Kazakhstan

Experience the vibrant fusion of modernity and tradition in Astana, now known as Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan. Marvel at the futuristic skyline, dominated by the Bayterek Tower, offering panoramic views of the city. Explore the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, a symbol of cultural harmony, and the Khan Shatyr, the world's largest tent housing a shopping center and indoor beach. Immerse yourself in Kazakh history at the National Museum, or enjoy a performance at the Astana Opera. With its unique architecture, rich history, and diverse culture, Astana promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Central Asia.

2-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Iconic Landmarks and Cultural Experiences

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the iconic Bayterek Tower. Enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the observation deck. The tower is a symbol of the city and offers a great introduction to Astana.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Kazakh lunch at a local restaurant. Try dishes like Beshbarmak, a hearty meat and pasta dish, or Kazy, a type of sausage made from horse meat.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. This pyramid-shaped building hosts a variety of cultural events and exhibitions. Its architecture is a sight to behold.

Dinner

For dinner, sample some international cuisine at a trendy restaurant in the city center. Astana's food scene is diverse, offering everything from Italian to Korean fare.

Evening

End your day with a leisurely stroll along the Nurzhol Boulevard. This pedestrian zone is lined with modern buildings and illuminated fountains, making it a perfect spot for an evening walk.

Morning

Begin your second day with a visit to the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center. This massive tent-shaped structure houses a shopping mall, a beach resort, and an indoor amusement park.

Lunch

Have lunch at a café in the entertainment center. Try some local pastries and coffee, or opt for a light salad or sandwich.

Afternoon

In the afternoon, visit the Astana Opera. This stunning building is a masterpiece of modern architecture and hosts a variety of performances, from ballet to opera.

Dinner

Enjoy a fine dining experience at a high-end restaurant. Try some local wines paired with gourmet dishes.

Evening

Finish your trip with a visit to the vibrant Night Market. Here, you can shop for souvenirs, try street food, and soak up the lively atmosphere.

Attractions in Itinerary (6)

Bayterek Tower

1
Bayterek Tower

A monument and observation tower in Astana. The tower is considered a symbol of post-independence Kazakhstan, representing the tree of life holding a golden egg.

Attractions
Landmarks
Architecture
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

2
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

A pyramid-shaped building in Astana, designed by British architect Norman Foster. It houses a variety of facilities including a concert hall and a museum.

Attractions
Landmarks
Architecture
Nurzhol Boulevard

3
Nurzhol Boulevard

A central boulevard in Astana, featuring a variety of modern buildings and green spaces. It is a popular place for locals and tourists alike.

Attractions
Neighborhoods
Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

4
Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center is a giant transparent tent that houses a shopping mall, indoor beach, amusement park, and botanical garden.

Attractions
Entertainment
Shopping
Astana Opera

5
Astana Opera

A newly built opera house in Astana, known for its stunning architecture and world-class performances.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Architecture
Night Market

6
Night Market

A bustling market that comes alive in the evenings, offering a variety of local goods and food stalls.

Shopping
Food and Drink

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak

This is the national dish of Kazakhstan, typically made with boiled meat (usually lamb or beef), served over pasta and garnished with onions and herbs. It's a must-try for any visitor to Astana.

Kumis

Kumis

A traditional fermented dairy product made from mare's milk. It's a staple drink in Astana and is often served chilled in summer.

Baursaki

Baursaki

These are deep-fried dough balls, similar to doughnuts, and are a popular snack in Astana. They are often served with tea.

Shubat

Shubat

This is a traditional Kazakh drink made from fermented camel's milk. It's a unique taste experience for visitors to Astana.

Kazy

Kazy

A traditional Kazakh sausage made from horse meat. It's a popular dish in Astana and is often served with onions and vinegar.

Kuiruk-boya

This is a traditional Kazakh dish made from boiled lamb fat. It's a hearty and filling dish, perfect for the cold Astana winters.

Zhauburek

Zhauburek

Also known as Kazakh dumplings, these are similar to Russian pelmeni but are usually larger and filled with lamb or beef.

Kurt

Kurt

This is a traditional Kazakh snack made from dried, salted cheese. It's a popular snack in Astana and is often served with tea.

Manti

Manti

These are large steamed dumplings filled with meat (usually lamb or beef) and vegetables. They are a popular dish in Astana.

Chak-chak

Chak-chak

This is a traditional Kazakh dessert made from fried dough and honey. It's a sweet treat that's popular in Astana.

Samsa

Samsa

These are baked pastries filled with meat (usually lamb or beef), onions, and spices. They are a popular snack in Astana.

Kompot

Kompot

This is a traditional Kazakh drink made from stewed fruit. It's a refreshing drink that's popular in Astana.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Astana, now known as Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan is during the summer months, from June to September. During this period, the weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The average temperature ranges from 20°C to 30°C. However, if you enjoy winter sports like ice skating or skiing, you might consider visiting in the winter months, but be prepared for very cold temperatures.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 2

Tue

New Year Holiday

January 7

Sun

Orthodox Christmas Day

March 8

Fri

International Women's Day

March 21

Thu

Nauryz

March 22

Fri

Nauryz Holiday

March 23

Sat

Nauryz Holiday

March 25

Mon

Nauryz Holiday observed

May 1

Wed

Unity Day

May 7

Tue

Defender of the Fatherland Day

May 9

Thu

Victory Day

June 16

Sun

Kurban Ait

July 6

Sat

Day of the Capital

July 8

Mon

Day off for Day of the Capital

August 30

Fri

Constitution Day

October 25

Fri

Republic Day

December 16

Mon

Independence Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Astana International Airport is the main gateway to the city. It is well connected with major cities around the world. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the city center.

Astana city has an extensive bus network. Buses are a popular and convenient way to get around the city. The bus service is reliable and covers most parts of the city.

Taxis are readily available in Astana. You can either hail a taxi on the street or book one through a taxi booking app. It's a convenient way to get around, especially if you're not familiar with the city.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Yandex.Taxi are available in Astana. These services are convenient, reliable, and often cheaper than traditional taxis. You can book a ride using their respective apps.

Astana is a bike-friendly city with many dedicated bike lanes. You can rent a bicycle from one of the many bike rental stations in the city. It's a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the city.

Many of Astana's attractions are located close to each other, making walking a viable option. The city is pedestrian-friendly with plenty of sidewalks and pedestrian zones.

If you prefer to drive, car rental services are available in Astana. You can rent a car from one of the many car rental agencies in the city. Remember to carry your international driving permit.

Astana's train station, Astana Nurly Zhol, is a major transportation hub. Trains are a convenient way to travel to and from Astana, as well as to other parts of Kazakhstan.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency₸ KZT

Time zoneUTC+6

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone3

Drinking waterOpt for bottled water

Power sockets

Power socket type CPower socket type F

Voltage220 V

Things to know about Astana, Kazakhstan as a first time visitor

1

Astana was renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019 in honor of Kazakhstan's first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

2

The official language is Kazakh, but Russian is also widely spoken and understood.

3

The currency used in Nur-Sultan is the Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it's a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments or markets.

4

Nur-Sultan has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. Average temperatures range from -4°F to 19°F (-20°C to -7°C) in winter and 55°F to 86°F (13°C to 30°C) in summer.

5

Tipping is not customary in Kazakhstan, but it is appreciated. In restaurants, a tip of around 10% is standard if service charge is not included.

6

Kazakhstan is a predominantly Muslim country, but Nur-Sultan is quite modern and cosmopolitan. However, it's still important to respect local customs and dress modestly.

7

Public transportation in Nur-Sultan includes buses, trolleybuses, and taxis. The city also has a bike-sharing program.

8

Tap water in Nur-Sultan is not recommended for drinking. It's best to stick to bottled water.

9

The standard voltage in Kazakhstan is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power plugs and sockets are of type C and F.

10

Nur-Sultan is generally safe for tourists, but like any city, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.

11

Kazakhstan is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+6).

12

Kazakhstan has a rich culinary tradition. Be sure to try local dishes like beshbarmak, kuyrdak, and baursaks.

13

If you're planning to visit rural areas, it's recommended to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

14

The city is known for its futuristic architecture. Don't be surprised to see a mix of traditional and modern styles.

15

The Kazakh people are known for their hospitality. Don't be surprised if locals invite you to their homes for a meal.

16

Nur-Sultan has a vibrant nightlife with a range of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from.

17

Shopping in Nur-Sultan can be a unique experience. From modern shopping malls to traditional markets, there's something for everyone.

18

If you're a nature lover, the city has several parks and green spaces for you to explore.

19

Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic country with over 130 ethnic groups. This diversity is reflected in the city's culture and cuisine.

20

Emergency numbers in Kazakhstan are 101 for fire, 102 for police, and 103 for medical emergencies.

Basic Kazakh to know as a first time visitor

English phrase

Native phrase

Pronunciation

When to use it

Hello

Сәлеметсіз бе

Sa'lemetsiz be

Greeting someone

Goodbye

Сау болыңыз

Sau bolyngyz

Leaving or saying goodbye

Thank you

Рақмет

Rahmet

Showing appreciation

Please

Өтінемін

Otynemin

Making a request

Yes

Иә

Iya

Agreeing or confirming

No

Жоқ

Zhok

Disagreeing or denying

I don't understand

Мен түсінбеймін

Men tusinbeymin

When you don't understand something

Help

Көмек

Komek

When you need assistance

Excuse me

Кешіріңіз

Keshiringiz

Getting attention or apologizing

Bathroom

Дәретхана

Daretjhana

When you need to find a restroom

Food

Тамақ

Tamak

When you're looking for something to eat

Water

Су

Su

When you're thirsty

Hotel

Қонақ үй

Konaq uy

When you need to find a place to stay

Taxi

Такси

Taksi

When you need a ride

How much?

Қанша?

Kansha?

Asking for the price

Where is...?

... қайда?

... qayda?

Asking for directions

I'm sorry

Кешіріңіз

Keshiringiz

Apologizing

Do you speak English?

Сіз ағылшынша сөйлейсіз бе?

Siz agylshynsha soyleysiz be?

Trying to find someone who speaks English

I need a doctor

Маған дәрігер керек

Magan dariger kerek

In case of a medical emergency

Call the police

Полицияны шақырыңыз

Politsiyanı shaqyrıngız

In case of an emergency

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Underwear (2-3 pairs)

  • Socks (2-3 pairs)

  • T-shirts (2-3)

  • Pants/Jeans (1-2 pairs)

  • Sweater or Jacket (depending on the season)

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Sleepwear

  • Swimwear (if you plan to use a hotel pool)

  • Scarf, gloves, and warm hat (if traveling in winter)

  • Toiletries

  • Travel-sized toothpaste

  • Toothbrush

  • Deodorant

  • Razor

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Lotion

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • Travel-sized first aid kit

  • Prescription medications

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Visa (if required)

  • Driver's license (for ID or car rental)

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash (in local currency)

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel and transportation reservation confirmations

  • Emergency contacts and important addresses

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Power bank

  • Headphones

  • Camera (if not using phone camera)

  • Charger for camera

  • Universal travel adapter

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Books or e-reader for entertainment

  • Travel guide and map

  • Notebook and pen

  • Umbrella or raincoat (depending on the season)

  • Reusable shopping bag

Weather Conditions

Astana, now known as Nur-Sultan, is the capital city of Kazakhstan and is known for its extreme weather conditions. The city experiences a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. If you're planning to visit Nur-Sultan, it's important to consider the time of year. The winter months, from November to March, can be extremely cold, with temperatures often dropping to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower. If you're not accustomed to such cold weather, it's advisable to avoid visiting during this period. However, if you do choose to visit in winter, ensure you pack plenty of warm clothing, including thermal layers, hats, gloves, and scarves. The summer months, from June to August, are much warmer, with temperatures often reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). This is a more comfortable time for most tourists to visit. However, the weather can still be unpredictable, with occasional thunderstorms, so it's advisable to pack a mix of light clothing and rain gear. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are transitional seasons with moderate temperatures, but they can be unpredictable with sudden changes in weather conditions. It's advisable to pack layers so you can adjust to the changing temperatures. Regardless of when you visit, it's always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip to ensure you're prepared for the conditions. Remember, the weather in Nur-Sultan can be extreme, so it's important to pack accordingly and stay safe.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

-8° / -19°

January is the coldest month in Astana, with temperatures often dropping below -10°C. It's a great time for indoor activities, but outdoor sightseeing can be challenging due to the cold.

February

-7° / -18°

February is still very cold, with temperatures similar to January. It's a good time to visit museums and indoor attractions.

March

1° / -11°

March sees a slight increase in temperature, but it's still quite cold. The snow starts to melt, making it a good time for winter sports.

April

15° / 1°

April marks the beginning of spring in Astana. The weather is more pleasant, making it a good time for outdoor activities.

May

22° / 8°

May is a comfortable month to visit Astana. The weather is warm, and the city is in full bloom.

June

26° / 12°

June is the start of the summer season in Astana. The weather is warm, and it's a great time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

July

29° / 15°

July is the warmest month in Astana. It's a perfect time to explore the city's parks and outdoor attractions.

August

27° / 13°

August is still quite warm in Astana. It's a great time to visit the city's landmarks and enjoy outdoor activities.

September

19° / 7°

September marks the beginning of autumn in Astana. The weather is cooler, and the city is adorned with beautiful fall colors.

October

11° / 1°

October is a cool month in Astana. It's a good time to visit if you prefer less crowded tourist spots and cooler weather.

November

3° / -7°

November is the start of the winter season in Astana. The weather is cold, and the city is often covered in snow.

December

-5° / -15°

December is a cold month in Astana. It's a great time to enjoy winter sports and experience a white Christmas.

Did you know?

Did you know that Astana was renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019 in honor of Kazakhstan's first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev?

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