Dressing for the weather
Kazakhstan is the seventh biggest country in the world – it’s almost the size of Europe and is only slightly smaller than Australia, so as you might guess, there are a lot of different climates and weather conditions. Astana is the second coldest capital in the world (after Ulaan-Bataar), during which temperatures can drop as low as minus 40, but it also reaches well into the +40s in summer. Almaty isn’t quite as cold, or quite as hot, but still has pretty extreme summers and winters, with little in the way of spring and autumn. Almaty gets a fair amount of rain, but most of the rest of Kazakhstan is desert and gets almost none. So, look up the weather for where you’re going and when, and pack what you need!
If you are travelling in the major cities, just wear whatever you’d wear at home, however if you are getting off the beaten path a bit and exploring the steppe, mountains, Aral Sea, or lakes, you might need some more activity appropriate footwear.
In winter, the footpaths can be very muddy and icy, so make sure you’ve got a good pair of boots or something with a decent grip on them if you are traveling at that time of year.
Probably for most of the time you’re in Kazakhstan you won’t be carrying your luggage much further than from the hotel lobby to a car or bus, however it’s still a good idea to have relatively lightweight and easy to carry luggage for those times when you’re either switching transport between different types of cars/buses, or if you’re lucky enough to experience one of Kazakhstan’s long distance trains.
In major cities there are plenty of pharmacies, and you’ll even find some (especially in Almaty) that have English speaking staff. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how cheap most of your favourite medications are.
The Kazakh steppes are beautiful, but they’re also very monotonous, so make sure you’ve got a few playlists or podcasts, or a kindle with a few books on it, to keep you occupied during any long trips.