Kazakhstan, Astana, 24 – 30 September 2016

There are no direct flights between Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Astana, Kazakhstan apparently because the Mongolian authorities will not give permission for the flights. Therefore I had to fly back to Seoul which is in the opposite direction for 3 hours, wait there for 6 hours and then fly from Seoul to Astana for 7 hours and if you look carefully you will see the flight path does not go over Mongolia. The girl at Immigration did not even look at my immigration card or passport, just stamped them and waved me through. You have to keep the immigration card until you leave when it gets an exit stamp as does your passport. Transfer from the Astana Airport to my Hotel was arranged by the hotel and cost KZT2000 or 6 euro.

Astana is the Capital of Kazakhstan, a planned city with a population of 835,000. It has the most fantastic buildings I have seen anywhere on the planet, almost as if the buildings had to be weird and wonderful to get planning approval hahaha.

It is a modern city with good roads, shopping centers and everything else you would expect in one. There is a comprehensive bus system and it has a very good GPS based app that makes it easy to plan your journey, cost 35 cents a ride. Healthcare and Education are free. SIM cards are easily available and cost next to nothing. The internet is censored and I could not update my Blog from here.

People don’t trust the local currency which halved in value in 2015 and therefore prices for many expensive items are quoted in US dollars though for everyday use Tenge is the local currency. US dollars can be withdrawn from banks and ATM’s but I could not find an ATM that actually had any, I needed the USD for my next stop which will be Iran.

The area between the Presidential Palace and the Khan Shatyr is the centre of the city and this is where you will find most of the futuristic buildings.

Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Shabyt Palace of Creativity, Palace of Independence, National Museum and Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

All of the above are grouped in one area and you can walk from one to another, you can enter the Mosque (free) and the Museum (ticket) and you get a personal guided tour of the Palace of Peace (free).

ALZHIR – Akmolinsk camp of Wives of Traitors to the Motherland – I hired a taxi for half a day (25 euro) to visit this prison camp memorial, about 40 km out of Astana.

Museum of the First President, Astana Park, Atameken, Library of the First President

 

 

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2 Responses to Kazakhstan, Astana, 24 – 30 September 2016

  1. marie-claude valero says:

    Marie et Pierre de Villalier (sur of France…) say you : Happy new year !!!! health, love, peace and good luck. We think often about you .

    ________________________________ De : Chris’s space Envoyé : samedi 7 janvier 2017 01:48 À : marieval11@hotmail.com Objet : [New post] Kazakhstan, Astana, 24 – 30 September 2016

    Chris Desmond posted: “There are no direct flights between Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Astana, Kazakhstan apparently because the Mongolian authorities will not give permission for the flights. Therefore I had to fly back to Seoul which is in the opposite direction for 3 hours, wa”

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