This is the most asked question of us in Kazakhstan. The crazy thing is that it’s asked everywhere; on the street, in hotels, and even as we are driving down the street other cars will slow down, roll down their windows and ask the popular question.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a country that is so untouched by Western tourists…but Kazakhstan welcomes the few they get. I’ve been stared at a lot before in India and Nepal, but in Kazakhstan they look at you with wonderment in their eyes.
As cars pass us on the highway they drive by, look at us, and then do a double take. You can see the recognition come across their face…the look of “wait a minute…what are you doing here?” In fact we’ve even had people follow us down the sidewalks and while driving just to watch us longer.
People honk and smile and say hello, and some give us the peace sign. Everyone shyly tries to practice their English as if this is the one time a year they get the chance to speak to a real English speaking person!
I’m not exactly sure what the tourism numbers are for Kazakhstan but I’m pretty sure they are non-existent! Business travel is alive and well here, but considering they have no non-business hotels here I’m assuming tourism is an afterthought.
In fact, some of Kazakhstan’s biggest cities aren’t even covered in Lonely Planet Guides. I was surprised and appalled that the bustling city of Aktobe didn’t even have a map in Lonely Planet devoted to it and it only had 2 hotels listed. Let me tell you – it’s near impossible to find a hotel WITH a map…it’s a miracle without a map.
But…they will come. It won’t take long for tourists to find Kazakhstan and come in hordes. So come now…while you are still considered an endangered specie here! People will welcome you with open arms…and honks.
How to donate to our charity – the Christina Nobel Foundation – we are still collecting donations along the way!
- It’s Real Now
- Pimpin’ Our Ride
- Festival of Slow – Mongol Rally Kickoff
- First Stop – Brussels
- Stopped by the Police – Mongol Rally
- Learning to Drive on the Autobahn
- CzechOut our Camping – Mongol Rally
- Racing Through Prague – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Romania
- Twilight in Brasov – Mongol Rally
- Four People One Key – Mongol Rally
- Crossing Borders with Natasha- Mongol Rally
- What I see out my window – Mongol Rally
- Ukraine Highway Culture – Mongol Rally
- Mongol Rally: Driving in Ukraine
- Hotel Nissan – Mongol Rally
- Kiev Paperwork Forgery – Mongol Rally
- Teaming up in Volgograd – Mongol Rally
- Russian Stereotypes
- Good Luck at the Kazakhstan Border – Mongol Rally
- The Hardest, Longest, Slowest, Dirtiest Road Yet – Mongol Rally
- The End of The Road – Mongol Rally
- Camping on the Mongol Rally
- Locals to the Rescue – Mongol Rally
- Setting Up Camp – Mongol Rally
- Bad Things do Happen on the Mongol Rally
- The Birth of Kazakhstan Tourism – Mongol Rally
- Kazakhstan’s Secret City – Astana
- The Best Laid Plans – Mongol Rally
- Our Car’s Health – Mongol Rally
- My ride in a Kazakhstan Police Car – Mongol Rally
- The Real Adventure Begins – Mongol Rally
- Minor Repairs – Mongol Rally
- How To Wait at a Border – Mongol Rally
- Border Bonding – Mongol Rally
- Mongolia Freedom – Mongol Rally
- Lost in the Mongol Rally
- Slowing Down – Mongol Rally
- The Mongol Rally Diet
- Muffler Mayhem – Mongol Rally
- Sink or Float – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Hospitality – Mongol Rally
- Driving in Mongolia
- Tire Trouble – Mongol Rally
- Desert Illusions – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Malls and Mechanics
- Shocking Tarmac – Mongol Rally
- Mongolian Cloudscapes – Photography
- Ulaanbaatar in our Sights
- The Finish Line – Mongol Rally
- What’s it all for?
- What Happens to the Car?