Ersatz Guide to Astana

Kazakhstan was an exciting and enjoyable posting, we truly loved living in the capital city Astana.

This page houses a collection of my posts that talk about what it was like to live in Astana (2011-2014) and how to deal with some of the challenges that come from living in this new city, the second coldest capital in the world.
Once you know how to cope with the basics of life there is plenty of fun to be had and places to see.
  • The Ishim Embankment - the river runs through the centre of Astana and is the perfect place to relax in both winter and summer.
  • The Circus is a local tradition.  Astana has a fabulous permanent circus building and many high quality shows year round.
  • Astana is full of malls - indoor playgrounds to while away the time in the winter.  The Khan Shatyr is the most iconic.  
  • The Gulag was a very sad part of Kazakhstan's history under Soviet occupation.  Kazakhstan makes a point of remembering all victims of political repression.  
  • Weddings - Astana is a young city full of young people so the chances are you will be invited to a wedding.  
Kazakhs celebrate everything - throw yourself into the action and enjoy every moment.
  • International Women's day is a big celebration.  Men - make sure you don't forget to give all women in your office a gift - it is a serious faux pas!
  • Men are not left out.  There is a men's day to celebrate as well, part of a trio of big May celebrations.
  • Nauruz is Kazakh New Year and one of the biggest public holidays in the country.  We like to go to the public city celebrations.  
  • Kazakh children still play many traditional games.  These are surprisingly familiar to our old European favorites.
  • Constitution Day is another large public holiday and The Day of Knowledge celebrates the start of the school year.
  • Drinking Camel's Milk in the Yurt - is a book about expat life in Kazakhstan.  Read my review here
  • Astana is a fabulous, unique place to live.  There are some things we will not miss but many that we will be sad to leave behind.   


  1. You paint a lovely picture of life in Astana!

  2. Thank you Munchyman. It is a wonderful place to live.

  3. Stumbled across your blog completely by accident but have so enjoyed reading your account of life in Kazakhstan.

    1. Dear Anonymous

      Thank you for reading my blog, I am so pleased that you are enjoying it. Astana is a wonderful place to live.

  4. As ever, you inspire us with your optimism and bring a smile with your wit and insight. Keep up the good work Mrs. EE.

  5. Hi, it's been a great help reading your blog on Astana - Thank You! - and I'm particularly happy to find that you seem to have a dog. I have two poodles and will arrive in Astana in about a month of time. I'm wondering whether there is a reliable pet hotel and a vet in that city. It you can share any info on pet caring service in Astana in general, it would be a great help. Thanks in millions in advance.

    1. Hi there - I hope you enjoy your posting to Astana - it is a truly special place. We used to use the vet at 100 Petrov Street called Zoosphera it is quite tucked away at the end of the building behind the cobblers. They are able to arrange for grooming services but it is a come and wait vets - no appointments so bring a book! Prices are higher in the evening but fewer people waiting to be seen. They will be able to help you with your pet export certificate when you leave.

      There is a pet kennels outside the city which we used once for the two dogs and it seemed very good - the ladies who ran it were professional and picked up/dropped off. Took dog's toys, vet's number, favourite food etc. I can't remember the name now but I did send details to the Astana International Club for their webpage. For pet supplies the lady who runs the pet shop in the basement of the Khan Shatyr (down the escalators by Monsoon, go out of the right hand door to the car park then turn left) has Royal Canin food, pet shampoos and supplements, brushes, leads, toys etc. If your pets are large make sure you bring bootees (we used Pawz) and a coat before you go as most of the pets in Astana are small the the majority of collars, coats etc for sale reflect that.

  6. i am an Indian dentist with 21 years experience after masters degree. can you help me explore the possibility to relocate there for work?

    1. Hello! It has been a long time since I left Astana but I would suggest you contact the dentists in the City to see if they are looking for new staff (there is a list on the Astana INternational Club website). Good luck

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