Tourism information about Eastern Kazakhstan
Eastern Kazakhstan in the center of Eurasian continent
Eastern Kazakhstan is situated in the center of Eurasian continent. That is marked by corresponding memorial. Crossover point of 79 th and 49 th latitudes and meridian. Additionally, East Kazakhstan has a unique geopolitical position. The region is located in the place where four large states are crossed: Mongolia, Kazakhstan , China and Russia.
An interesting peculiarity of East Kazakhstan is the possibility to observe on its territory nearly all kinds of Central Asia landscape on relatively small area. Its territory can be got over by one tour. Here one has an opportunity to see sandy deserted landscapes, clay canyons, classical steppes, mountain steppe landscapes, deciduous forests and taiga, alpine meadows and mountain peaks, which height is up to 4500 meters above sea level (such as the highest point of Altai and Siberia – Belukha Mountain).
The unique geographical and geopolitical position, as well as landscape diversity caused mixing of cultures and traditions. During a tour anyone has a possibility to associate with classical nomadic Kazakhs, representatives of Kazakh fishing subculture, Old Believers and to visit maral nursery (classical occupation of old believers). All this in total provides an interesting, varied and dynamic trip schedule for tourists.
The richest bio-diversity is maintained by 24 nature reserves, which area amounts to 6% from total area of East Kazakhstan. Rare and endemic animals, which can be met here attract nature lovers: birdwatchers and buttreflywatchers. The nominal border between Asia and Siberia fauna is get over the territory of Eat Kazakhstan.
Special attention should be paid to the territory of Kazakhstanee Altai, which is part of Altai-Sayanskiy eco-region. By its landscape uniqueness and biological diversity it belongs to 200 priority global eco-regions, defined by the International company WWF Living Planet. Up to the present this territory avoided destructive urbanization. Thus, East Kazakhstan region is a region, where tourist objects of global uniqueness are available. Landscape diversity and cultural mixture is an effective confirmation of tourist potential of the region. It is possible to create a specific tourist product characterized by high dynamics of tourist objects types changes.
One can reach the region by airplane, train or by car. Airports applicable for landing of international lines airplanes are available in Ust-Kamenogorsk and Semipalatinsk. In summer there are direct flights Europe – Ust-Kamenogorsk (Gannover – Ust-Kamenogorsk). The lines connecting Ust-Kamenogorsk with the International Airport in Almaty (Moscow) are functioning during the whole year. Accordingly, there exist rather fast variants for arriving at East Kazakhstan by air transport from Europe.
Additionally, one can reach East Kazakhstan by railroad. Railroad transport fits in ecological tourism ideology as the most nonpolluting. And sometimes using of railroad is more appropriate as compared to air transport. In this case it is possible to transit tourists from Almaty (where international airport is available) to Semipalatinsk or Ust-Kamenogorsk. Auto transport can also be used. The trip from Almaty to Ust-Kamenogorsk lasts 21 hours. The most convenient way to travel through the territory of East Kazakhstan is by car. Railroad can be used for tours through Kazakhstan, East Kazakhstan being part of this tour.
Transport inside Eastern Kazakhstan. Tourist transport directions
East Kazakhstan has a large territory. Often the most outstanding tourist objects are located in relatively large distance from towns and cities (up to 500 km). In this connection the issue of tourist transport inside the region should be considered separately. Apart from the fact that East Kazakhstan possesses its railroad system. The most realistic and effective transport can be auto transport. The alternative transportation variants are also available – using of internal aviation, the project is developed in details and realistic (it is considered below).
So, let's return to auto transport. Main roads in East Kazakhstan are paved, it is possible to drive at the speed of 70-90 km/h. Such roads are available for the greater part of tourist routes. However in some road sections, asphalted covering is damaged. Such zones needs driving at the speed of 40 km/h to feel comfortable.
In some directions to tourist objects of importance, roads are unpaved, such roads require driving at the speed which does not exceed 20 km/h and only all-wheel drive vehicles can traverse here. For example, such road leads to Markakol' Lake (the largest lake in Altai). In some tourist routes there are mountain roads, which are difficult to traverse, where driving speed is about 5-10 km/h. The example of such road is the road through Burhat pass (place where conditional border between fauna of Siberian and Asia is passed). For 10 years these roads have been used in eco-tours and considered as an element of Safari. However recently such roads causes considerable difficulties, their condition worsens and it makes impossible to carry out some tours.