The nature of East Kazakhstan combines all types of landscape that can be found separately in other parts of Kazakhstan: mountains, steppes, deserts, and even the taiga. The biggest cities in the province are Semey and Ust-Kamenogorsk (Oskemen), otherwise called “the gates of the mountainous Altai” because of its convenient location at the intersection of transport routes.
Depending on your preferences, you can visit one or several of these locations, popular among travelers in East Kazakhstan:
- Katon-Karagay National Park, with its numerous waterfalls and beautiful lakes with spectacular views is definitely a destination for digital detox.
- The sacred mountain Belukha, covered with eternal glaciers, is the highest summit of the Altai Mountains. The mountain attracts thousands of climbers every year.
- Other places to connect with nature are Ridder city and the West Altai Reserve or Markakol Lake with crystal-clear water in the Markakol Reserve.
- One of the most unusual landscapes in the province is Kiin-Kerish. Also called as the “City of Spirits”, this alien landscape resembles red flames coming from the earth.
- Semipalatinsk Nuclear testing site attracts those who are interested in Soviet Union history and the dark sides of the past. Be sure to take all necessary precautions and get a professional guide if you are planning to visit the site.
- Alakol Lake, known for its black beaches and healing waters, is an attractive birdwatching destination during seasonal migration of birds.