I was fortunate to be able to drive hours upon hours through the Southern part of Kazakhstan and its rolling hills and mountain vistas were spectacular.
This is a huge country which is about 5 times the size of France and ranks in the top 10 largest countries. It’s also incredibly wealthy due to its access to the Caspian sea’s vast oil and gas resources. Don’t confuse Kazakhstan with Borat; it is a highly industrialized powerhouse, and an incredible vacation destination not-to-be-missed. Since the U.S. retired its space shuttle program, the Russians are the only ones to launch rockets to the International Space Station, and they do it from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is a vacationer’s paradise and offers a little bit of everything for adventurists, including white water rafting, hiking, climbing, fishing and skiing, all at reasonable prices.
Almaty is distinctly modern, with most of the stores and shops that you’d see in many European capitals. Its wide streets are lined with trees and the city has a number of nice parks.
Regardless, I ventured south into the mountains to participate in a falconry demonstration with a brown falcon and bald eagle. On the way back to my hotel I was in the most horrific thunder and hailstorm I’ve ever experience in my life.