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Exploring Tourism in Kazakhstan
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Places to Visit Details

Shymkent, Kazakhstan

Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve, which is the oldest nature reserve in Central Asia. It is named after the river that runs through it—the Aksu—and the Zhabagly mountain range. The park offers gorgeous golden fields, steep gorges, crystalline blue waters, and some interesting rock formations.

“Aksu” means “white water” in Kazakh, so named for the blue glacial water fueling the river. The river is icy cold most of the year, but brave souls can find places to swim if they so choose.

The park is quite large, and it’s possible to visit for several days. If you want to attempt this, though, it’s best to do so with a guide; there are no well-marked trails.

You can get from Shymkent to the park by taking a mashrutka (minibus). They leave once a day in the morning (around 9am) from the Aina Bazaar in Shymkent to the village of Zhabagly.

It’s a 2-hour ride and you’ll arrive near the entrance of the park. However, you can’t enter the park on your own.

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