Travel to Kazakhstan – Episode 307

categories: asia travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Michael Soncina about his recent trip to Kazakhstan.

After a two month internship in Kyrgyzstan, Mike wanted to see the rest of Central Asia. He explored this large area on a backpacker’s budget. The only people who could tell him about Kazakhstan was the movie Borat. Kazakhstan is the 9th biggest country in the world.

“It’s just huge. It’s huge and flat, so if you don’t have a lot of time, you can’t sell all the wonderful things that are there. Kazakhstan is in a bit of an identity crisis at the moment. Officially they are this old nomadic Mongolian culture. They are one of the hordes that settled there after Genghis Khan kicked the bucket. And now, with all the oil, and all the gas, and all these natural resources, it is developing really, really fast. So in the very West end of the country, you have old mosques. In the new capital Astana, you have futuristic buildings.”


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Show Notes

Travel to Southern Taiwan – Episode 276
Travel to Hiroshima and the Chugoku Region of Japan – Episode 224
Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi
Lonely Planet Central Asia
About Kazakhstan – Semey
Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve
Museums of Kazakhstan
Kok Tobe


Bitten by bugs on my Delta Air Lines flight to New York
Some major U.S. hotel chains are planning to go into Iraq
Carnival cruise ship to host first horror convention at sea


What are you afraid of? discussion
Jim comments on Travel to The Ring of Kerry in Ireland – Episode 304
Tony wrote 45 Unique Things to Do or See in Tampa, Florida after listening to Travel to Tampa, Florida – Episode 305

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to Kazakhstan – Episode 307”

Simon Salter


Hi Chris,

In 2009 I drove a London Taxi from England to Kyrgyzstan as part of the London-Bishkek rally. We crossed the whole of Kazakhstan and it’s difficult to comprehend the scale of this vast country, apparently the size of Western Europe. We were supposed to cross the Aral Sea area but due to heavy rains the ‘roads’ were impassable. Therefore we had to take the long route around via Astana. Our maps had motorways marked, yet they were not built yet! Long days were had and wild camping overnight. A fascinating country and being invited to the English Ambassadors reception in Almaty was a great way to finish our time there. Thanks Michael for a great account of Kazakhstan.

I have added the link to The Travel Bloggers Guide to Kazakhstan I’m developing.

Looking forward to the next show.

Kind regards, Simon



This was another one of those episodes where the enthusiasm of the guest blew me away! Michael most certainly has a passion for traveling and his honest love for Kazakhstan was evident. I have already added it to my “next places to visit” list. Does Michael have a blog or somewhere to hear more about his travels? Looking forward to his next time on the show!





No, Michael doesn’t have a blog right now. Usually the very first link in the show notes is the blog for the guest if they have one.

Mike @sonchy


@ Jon thanks so much for the complements, Kazakhstan was one of my favorite places in Asia if you ever go ill be glad to help you out. I am not the blogging type but I am starting slowly. Please follow me on twitter or look for me in the AFAR connect community at Michael Soncina till my blogging pilot project materializes. Thanks again!

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