Travel and Cultural Tips
Kazakhstans TRAVEL TIPS
List of items you are required to bring to Kazakhstan when you travel.
- Long flapped underclothes
- Firm pants
- Warm socks: as many pairs as possible: pure wool socks are recommended since they dry more quickly
- Long flapped t-shirt, which protect your belly and kidney.
- Long Jacket to wear during windy and rainy days
- Even though you will be coming during the summer months, Kazakhstan is 2500m above sea level. The weather becomes cold after sunset and colder still at night.
We recommend long flapped clothes because when you travel to the countryside you will often need to sit down on the grass, or small chairs (in Yurts). With short Jackets you’ll feel cold in the belly and may easily catch cold.
In the summer time in Kazakhstan, we mostly have very sunny days and thus a great possibility of getting sunstroke. That’s why you’ll be needing stuff to protect you from sunstrokes such as a hat or suitable headgear (we recommend cowboy hat).
You will need to bring the following items to Kazakhstan in order to protect yourself against sunburn:
sunbeam protection cream (sun light protection level must be above 20 )
Nasal sun cream
UV filtered lipstick
UV filtered sunglasses
On rainy days a feather-weight rain-coat or plastic rain-jacket with hat is enough.
The most comfortable footgear for a countryside trip is an ankle protected top booted shoe. Shoes should have as few air inlets as possible to prevent water seeping through. On a countryside trip you will go with water-logged places. We recommend that you bring 2 pairs of shoes in case one should require drying.
Also other boots/shoes, which you will be wearing during sunny days and during warm periods.
Gear you need to take on a countryside trip:
- Moisture protected warm ISOMATTE bedding gear, sleeping bag
- Flashlight /with enough battery reserve/
- Insect protection lotion cream and spray
- Multifunctional trip chopper knife
- Spoon, fork and cup
- Pure water sac and vessel
- Durable and of a good size
- Water bottle
- Candles and a lighter
- Multi-pocket jacket
- Handkerchiefs, towels and soap
- Mini pharmacy / first-aid kit
Kazakh Manners and Etiquette
- Greetings are rather formal due to the hierarchical nature of society.
- The common greeting is the handshake, often done with both hands and a smile. Since many Kazakhs are Muslim, some men will not shake hands with women, so be sensitive to these religious differences.
- Once you have developed a personal relationship, close friends of the same sex may prefer to hug rather than shake hands.
- Most Kazakhs have a first and patronymic name (the father’s name followed by a suffix -ich or –ovich for son of or daughter of, respectively).
- Wait until invited before using someone’s first name, although the invitation generally comes early in the relationship.
Gift Giving Etiquette
- There is not a great deal of protocol in gift giving.
- When invited to someone’s house for dinner, it is polite to bring something for the hostess such as pastries.
- Practising Muslims do not touch alcohol, so do not give alcoholic beverages unless you know your host drinks.
- Gifts are usually opened when received.
- Kazakhs are very hospitable people and enjoy hosting dinners at their homes.
- You will be served tea and bread, even if you are not invited to a meal. Since Kazakhs consider bread to be sacred, serving bread is a sign of respect.
- When served tea, your cup will often only be filled halfway. To fill the cup would mean that your host wanted you to leave.
- It is not imperative that you arrive on time, although you should not arrive more than 30 minutes late without telephoning first.
- Dress conservatively in clothing you might wear to the office. Kazakhs value dressing well over comfort. To dress too informally might insult your hosts.
- Table manners are not terribly formal in Kazakhstan.
- Table manners are Continental — the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
- Some foods are meant to be eaten by hand.
- Your host or another guest may serve you.
- In more rural settings, you may sit on the floor.
- You will be given a bowl to drink broth or tea. When you do not want any more, turn your bowl upside-down as an indication.
- If alcoholic beverages are served, expect a fair amount of toasting.
- Meals are social events. As such, they may take a great deal of time.
- Leave something on your plate when you have finished eating. This demonstrates that you have had enough, whereas if you finish everything it means you are still hungry and you will be served more food.
- Expect to be served second helpings.
A Sheep’s Head
- In rural settings it is a sign of respect to offer the most honoured guest a boiled sheep’s head on a beautiful plate.
- The guest then divides the food among the guests in the following fashion:
- The ear is given to the smallest child so that he or she will listen to and obey the elders.
- The eyes are given to the two closest friends so that they will take care of the guest.
- The upper palate is given to the daughter-in-law and the tongue to the host’s daughter so both women will hold their tongues.
- The pelvic bones go to the second most respected guest.
- The brisket is given to the son-in-law.
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