Where we go....Kazakhstan

We have only seen a limited area of Kazakhstan - namely, the towns of Atyrau and Bautino which are on the north and east coasts of the Caspian Sea.  Kazakhstan is a HUGE country and the public transport system does not seem to be particularly brilliant.  Kazakhstan used to be part of the Soviet Union and was treated much like Siberia due to its remoteness and harsh climate.  Regions of Kazakhstan were also used for "secret" nuclear testing during the Soviet years.

The People

The Kazakhstanis we have met are wonderful people, though they are not usually overly friendly on first meeting.  They have very interesting physical features, some oriental, some caucasian, and a mix of others.

Things to Know 

If you decide to visit Kazakhstan, you will need a visa to get in and the customs process involves lots of papers you need to fill out.  Make sure that you list everything of value that you are bringing into the country on these forms as you may be asked to account for each item on your way out.  This includes all paper currency.  Make bloody sure you do not carry out more currency than you brought in - additionally, you are not allowed to take any Kazak currency with you out of the country.  You will know the customs men when you see them because they wear these huge, flying saucer shaped hats that you really get the urge to pull off and launch them into the air frisbee-style.

The exchange rate is currently about 150 Kazakh tenge to one US dollar.  Taxis in Atyrau are very cheap, as are pirated goods such as CDs, DVDs, and software.  Local beers cost less than a dollar and the local vodka is cheap as well, though the next day's hangover will certainly make you question whether you did indeed get a good deal.

Things to See and Do 

We didn't have time to see much of anything, so we'll update this once we have seen more!







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