Kazakhstan has Snow, is reasonable and close to Delhi

  • This photo feature is for those who wish to enjoy snow at a location that is not too far from India and reasonable.

During the last couple of months two friends visited Kazakhstan in the month of April and as part of Rotary Groups. One had a group size of around 80 and the other was an all women group of 45. All inclusive cost of trip was app Rs 1 lakh.


When I saw the snow pictures loved them. So here is a short piece consisting of their pictures, insights and other matter searched from the net.


The main cities in Kazakhstan are Almaty (capital until 1997 and now financial capital) and the capital is Astana. The very popular Shymbulak Mountains are in Almaty. So also Charyan Canyon is about 3 hours drive from Almaty city.


How to reach

Flying time from Delhi to Almaty is about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Flying time from Delhi to Astana is about seven hours.


Pictures of Shymbulak mountains, Almaty

Visit the Shymbulak Ski Resort i.e. situated in Zailiyskiy Alatau mountain ranges. It was once upon a time a training base for Soviet skiers.


To reach the resort one has to take a cable car ride. Enroute wow view of mountains as you see below. The ski resort has 3 levels meaning you change the cable car thrice. It reminded me of my visit to Auli Skiing Resort near Joshimat, Uttarakhand. The resort has cafes, restaurants, plush hotels, perfect slopes. Check if the slopes are good for skiing.


Saw lots of Indians playing with snow there. The best time to go is winters when there is snow. If there is snow and skiing that you love please check if the Skiing Resort is open before booking for the trip. It is very cold so go prepared.

View from flight.  

View of the Zailiyskiy Alatau mountain range. 

View enroute. 

Higher up, amidst fog.

Cable car behind which is chair car. Had sat on similar chair car in Auli. 


Views enroute. 


Also close to Almaty is Charyan Canyon. Friend said, “It is about 3 hours drive from Almaty city and a small version of Grand Canyon near Las Vegas. Our bus went there, but some of us did not go. Those who went came frustrated because of long and tiring drive. They take you to Kolsai Lake i.e. nothing great

Charyan Canyon.

Evening dance at Almaty Hotel. 

My friend said that took a deposit of USD 50 when one checks into the hotel (for what you may consume from room fridge etc). Many ladies did not get the money back, it was held back on the flimsiest of grounds. Cannot say if it was a one-off or a regular experience.


Indian Food

Am told that Almaty has a few Indian restaurants. However, since vegetables do not grow there the menu is limited to Paneer, Dal (lentils) and Chana dishes. One gets good fruits in the hotel.


Is Kazakhstan Muslim

It is a Muslim majority country. But, being part of the Soviet Union till recently, the Muslims are different from what we see in the Indian subcontinent or the Middle East.


Impact of Modi visit   

“On 13 July 2015, Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister to have visited all five Central Asian states—Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—during a single trip.” Mint My Uncle friend who recently visited told me that Modi is well known in Kazakhstan. Locals credit the surge in tourist arrivals from India to Modi’s trip.  


For those who want an alternate to visiting Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand to enjoy snow, this seems like a worthwhile option.


Also read

1. Kanatal is a great place to enjoy snow

2. What to see in Astana

3. Chadar Trek Ladakh was memorable

4. AULI Skiing

5. Snow at Badrinath

Receive Site Updates