Kazakhstan offers a wealth of experiences for visitors, and when compared to other Central Asian countries it is a relatively safe place to visit. Most people enjoy pleasant and fun travels through the country with no problems. There are some issues, however, surrounding staying safe in Kazakhstan, and one should pay particular care to personal safety when travelling around. Guests are often treated with warmth and hospitality, but it pays to exercise caution.
Some top tips for staying safe in Kazakhstan are as follows:
Avoid Walking Around in the Dark
Whilst the vast majority of areas are perfectly safe during the day, walking around most cities and towns should be completely avoided at night. Muggings and violent crimes can be problematic, even for people in groups. Solo travellers should definitely not walk around at night.
Keep Your Passport on You at All Times
It is a requirement, and a well known scam is for police to try and extort money from foreigners. This is particularly problematic on long distance public transport. It is also important to have a certified copy of your passport in a safe place, as well as leaving a copy with a family member or friend for in case of emergency.
Alcohol lowers people’s reflexes and awareness, and it is during this relaxed state that many problems occur. Travellers should avoid placing themselves in difficult, but avoidable, situations.
The penalties for drugs in Kazakhstan are very high, and conditions in prison are often very poor, with treatment often being classed as inhumane. Don’t be tempted to dabble.
Wear a Seatbelt at all Times
The roads and drivers in Kazakhstan are often not as safety friendly as back at home. Whether driving yourself, or whether as a passenger in a taxi or other vehicle, always wear your seatbelt. Pay extra special attention on the roads, as drink driving and incredibly careless and selfish driving is a huge problem.
People of Kazakhstan have high levels of pride, and do not react well to losing face. They can often act in an extreme manner when angered or provoked, and confrontations can quickly escalate into violence.
Avoid Showing Expensive Items
Pickpockets are a risk in most areas. As well as making sure that all valuables are secure, to avoid unwanted attention it is best to avoid wearing clothing or accessories that may be viewed as expensive. You should also take care not to show expensive electronic devices, including laptops, phones, cameras, and similar.
Be Aware of Prostitution
Prostitution is a widespread problem in many areas of the country, with sex workers travelling to Kazakhstan from even poorer neighbouring countries. Sex workers can be found in hotels, saunas, and nightclubs. Men especially should be wary of overly friendly advances from the opposite sex.
By exercising some basic common sense and being aware of the surroundings, psyche, and environment, you should not encounter any problems on your adventure in Kazakhstan.