Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is one of the few countries in the world that can still be considered as an off-the-beaten-path destination. It’s the 9th largest country in the world so there’s a lot for you to explore. From arid plains, endless steppes and tiny dusty villages in the desert to lush valleys, glacial lakes, snowcapped mountains and modern cities.
The biggest city, Almaty, is almost reminiscent of Europe with its leafy avenues, chic ALZhiR Museum-Memorial Complex, glossy shopping centres and hedonistic nightlife. The capital Astana, on the windswept northern steppe, has been transformed into a 21st-century showpiece with a profusion of bold futuristic architecture. But it's beyond the cities that you'll find the greatest travel adventures, whether hiking in the high mountains and green valleys of the Tian Shan, searching for wildlife on the lake-dotted steppe, enjoying homespun hospitality in village guesthouses, or jolting across the western deserts to remote underground mosques.
What currency should I use in Kazakhstan?
The official currency of Kazakhstan is the Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT). 1USD is about 340 tenge. ATM’s are very easy to find in the cities but make sure to bring cash money when you visit remote villages and regions. There are also plenty of exchange offices, especially in the big cities, in case you want to exchange some dollars or euros.
Getting around in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is a big country so the easiest and most comfortable way of getting around in the country is by taking a train. It’s a cheap way to travel long-distances through this vast country, there are regular connections between all the main cities and towns and you’ll also meet many locals along the way. Kazakhstan has excellent international air connections through numerous carriers including the good national airline, Air Astana. Between them, Astana Airport and Almaty Airport have numerous direct connections to Europe, Asia and Central Asia, as well as the Gulf States.
Traffic police and poor roads (in that order) are the main hazards of driving in Kazakhstan. Main intercity roads may have bad, potholed stretches but are mostly in decent condition. Huge infrastructure projects are massively improving some major trunk routes. Traffic police may stop motorists just to check their papers, and have a reputation for finding irregularities that they may then overlook if bribed
Travel tips for Kazakhstan.
When entering the country – whether it’s in the airport or at a land border – you have to fill in a migration card. This card will be stamped twice at the passport control upon arrival, which indicates that you’re registered. This is the registration card that you have to keep with you throughout your stay in Kazakhstan.
One of Kazakhstan’s most curious sights is the Buddhist rock carvings and paintings of bodhisattvas at Tamgaly Tas, (literally, ‘stones with signs’) found on the banks of the Ili River, 100 miles north of Almaty.
There are no required vaccinations for entering Kazakhstan, but Hepatitis A and Tetanus are advisable and Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tick-Borne Encephalitis and Typhoid are worth considering. If coming from a country at risk from yellow fever, you must bring a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
In general, tap water is not safe to drink in Kazakhstan. Some locals do, or have filters attached to their taps, but it's best to err on the side of caution and either boil the water or buy bottled water.
In Kazakhstan there are areas of high altitude (over 2400m) and very high altitude (over 3600m). If hiking or skiing in the mountains, there is a small risk of developing Acute Mountain Sickness, so if you feel unwell, descend immediately.
Sending money to Kazakhstan
When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to Kazakhstan you need to start with finding out the latest Kazakhstani Tenge exchange rate for foreign-transfers, which can be very different to the wholesale rate.
Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much
you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.
Get a better deal for foreign transfers to Kazakhstan
When sending money to Kazakhstan it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers.
To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Kazakhstani Tenge amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted KZT amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Kazakhstan.
Use the above Send to Kazakhstani Tenge calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more -
end result is more Kazakhstani Tenge deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!