Why carry an IDP while driving in Kazakhstan?
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information.
It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Kazakhstan highly recommends an International Driving Permit.
How to get your IDP
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1. Apply Online
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2. Upload Photos
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3. Get approved
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Top Destinations in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is a large country with a wide land area, primarily with vast steppes without trees. It is the largest country in Central Asia and the ninth largest country in the world in terms of land area. As a former Soviet republic, the primary language is Russian, which is why the traffic police require an International Driving Permit in Kazakhstan, so your information is easily readable for them.
Most of the tourists visit Almaty and Nur-sultan (formerly Astana). Almaty used to be the capital and the center of commerce, but they chose a former village and named it Astana, meaning capital. The Kazakh government made sure that their capital was a visual spectacle and true enough, Nur-sultan is a first-rate destination.
Best Time to Visit
Kazakhstan has extreme climates, with very cold winters and hot summers. Kazakhstan has a lot of winter activities to enjoy, and the best time to visit the country for that would be from December to February. You should also try the spring, which is from May to September, for an adventurous trip in the steppes, spotting wild tulips. No matter what season, always include the International Driving Permit in Kazakhstan on your list of essential items.
You can get your International Driving Permit for Kazakhstan on the International Drivers Association's application page. The IDA can have your International Driving Permits delivered to your residences or even your hotel.
First President's Park
Almaty in the day during pleasant weather is a wonder to behold. It is a complete city but usually not as hectic as other cities. The First President’s Park is a good starting point to get a feel of the city. They have concerts at the amphitheater and other entertainment programs. The park is ideal for strolling, but International Driving Permits in Kazakhstan come in handy for identification in any zip code.
Take your International Driving Permits in Kazakhstan for a bit of a drive to the south of Almaty. Kok-Tobe Hill is an elevated getaway and one of the Kazakhs treasured destinations. This place has it all.
You can get a spectacular view from the cable car and see Almaty and the neighboring cities with an elevation of over 250 meters. It also has an amusement park, and the Almaty Tower, a Kazakh landmark that used to be the third tallest tower in the world. Renovations have rendered it closed to tourists, but they are confident because this tower is safe from earthquakes. All around the hill, there are restaurants and cafés to unwind to. Don’t forget to always bring your International Driver License in Kazakhstan along with your local driving license anywhere you go.
The Beatles’ Monument
This is a must for all music lovers. A bronze statue of the Fab Four in Kok-tobe Hill will bring back all the moptop memories of any Beatles fan. John Lennon plays guitar on a bench while Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr surround them. This was only built in 2007 but has already been recognized around them.
Medeu Skating Rink
From the Kok-tobe Hill, a short drive through Gornaya street takes you to the valley of Medeo. The main attraction of Medeo is the world’s largest speed skating rink. This is where ice skaters can live out their “frozen” dreams and skate the day away until the night comes in. It is also a fitness challenge as you need to climb 842 steps to get there, located 5,500 feet above sea level. Bring your International Driver License for Kazakhstan along with your local driving license in this region since there are also vast stretches of beautiful nature spots in the place.
Before you plan your trip to Kazakhstan, shopping is always on the cards. Just like when you prepared your International Driver License for Kazakhstan and filled out the form, your shopping list in Kazakhstan should include Kazakhstan Chocolate, Caviar from the Caspian Sea, and the legendary healing potion Honey from a Camel’s Thorn. These are all Central Asian delicacies, and you can find them all in Zelenyy Bazar, also called the Green Bazar.
The place is not just for tourists as it also contains wet market fare like meats, fruits, vegetables, and any spice that you may need. You can also buy clothes and fabrics, which are also must-haves for tourists visiting Central Asia. Use your International Driving License in Kazakhstan to explore the smaller shops and not just limit your shopping to the mall to get the best bargains.
Right at the marketplace, Chukotka is the perfect nighttime party place in Kazakhstan, This is where the hip crowd like artists and creatives, young professionals, and the LGBT hang out. They have bars, music lounges, and even cafés that serve any kind of beverage with live bands, performers, musicians, and DJs serving up the music. Don’t sleep on Chukotka as a party place. Also, bring with you your local driving license and IDP so you can drive freely through the busy streets of Chukotka.
Kazakhstan’s population is mostly Muslim, so they only have designated places and time limits on the sale of alcohol. Bars and nightclubs in Chukotka are legal, so this is the place to be. Just remember to have a designated driver, since drinking and driving are prohibited in the country. Never forget that even if you have an International Driver’s License in Kazakhstan, the location’s laws still apply.
Ak Orda Presidential Palace
It’s time for a long drive, and your International Driver’s License in Kazakhstan will let you change zip codes yet again. It is a long, 18-hour drive, but it’s all worth it since Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, is practically a living postcard.
The Ak Orda Presidential Palace looks like the US Capitol on steroids. It has a blue and gold dome and a spire and is the seat of power in Kazakhstan. Marvel at this waterfront building, the centerpiece of the main square. It is slotted next to the left bank of the Esil River and houses the presidential staff and library.
National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan
You can take a crash course on Kazakhstan's heritage, from the prehistoric to the contemporary, in the National Museum. Artifacts and artwork are all housed in a building complex area of 74,000 square meters. This is the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The immense structure is sparkling new for museum standards built in 2014, boasting 14,000 square meters of exhibit space. Your international driver’s permit in Kazakhstan won’t need an update, but your camera storage may be full when you finish.
Palace of Peace and Recreation
When you drive vehicles with your local driving license and International Driver’s License in Kazakhstan, it is best to note the contact number of your car rental company or the emergency hotline. There is a chance you might get lost when you go beyond the outskirts of the city. In the meantime, you could be mesmerized by the Palace of Peace and Recreation, another signature landmark that will leave you breathless in Astana.
The palace was built in 2006 for the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions which convenes every three years. It is also an iconic cultural venue, with a library and an opera house with a capacity for 1,300 people. Often mentioned as one of the best structures in Central Asia, the Palace of Peace and Recreation looks like a futuristic pyramid.
It has definitely placed Astana, and Kazakhstan itself on the map, and that was exactly the vision. It was designed by Norman Foster who also designed the Gherkin skyscraper in London and the Hearst Tower in New York City. Some people who have seen this online immediately inquired for an International Driver’s License in Kazakhstan and had an update on their validity.
Beshbarmak at Farhi Restaurant
What is a trip without eating local delicacies? The beshbarmak is the popular local dish that they serve for visitors. The ingredients are boiled meat, noodles, and onion sauce, and it is highly recommended by the locals. Farhi Restaurant is one of the leading restaurants that count beshbarmak as their specialty. Keep your international driving permit for Kazakhstan and let go of your form for a while since this has calories.
You can’t miss the Bayterek Tower as it is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Central Asia, not to mention it is also a spectacular site itself. Drive in Nur-sultan with your local driver license and International Driver License in Kazakhstan, and you can spot several villages in Nur-sultan in this 105-meter tower.
Bayterek is a memorable monument where you can get a 360-degree view of Astana and its neighboring regions. The tower was inspired by a Kazakh legend about the tree of life and a mythical bird of happiness named Samruk. The bird had laid its egg between branches of a poplar tree.
Military History Museum
There are other historical sites like the Museum of Russian Military History. Kazakhstan became the holding area of political prisoners under the regime of Joseph Stalin. This museum has Soviet military heritage pieces like uniforms, symbols, and weapons. This is a must-see for military fans and Cold War enthusiasts. At that time, you could not get an International Driver License to Kazakhstan or any district in Russia if you’re from the United States and its allies.
Most Important Driving Rules
Kazakhstan has very similar driving rules to the rest of the world, and since they drive on the right side of the road, most people from the US and the West would not have much adjustment to do. However, Kazakhstan is a very different country from the US and western countries. The vast steppes shaped the rules and much of their driving rules. Their local legislators have given much thought to the specific needs of the driving public, both local and foreign.
International Driving License in Kazakhstan
The most notable driving rule in Kazakhstan is that they require an International Driver’s Permit along with your domestic driver license. That applies to Kazakhstan and many former Soviet republics as they open their doors and understand that many visitors from the West do not speak the Russian language and their own national language.
The traffic police officers are very conscious about safety, and the main concern is that cars could get in an accident or break down while in the middle of the vast expanse of the steppes. They will check your International Driver’s Permit, your Kazakhstan address and the qualifications and limitations stated on your license.
Police Officers at Checkpoints
The government is very particular about their checkpoints, and they need to see your documents: passport, local driver’s license, International Driver’s Permit, your Kazakhstan contact number, and address among others. While there are instances of bribery, the checkpoints are mostly about safety. They advise visitors to verify the identity of the apprehending traffic police officer.
They have assigned a special badge for personnel assigned specifically to check on vehicles. You must identify that badge, so you can be confident that they are legitimate police. Once verified, you should cooperate and present your passport, International Driver’s License in Kazakhstan, and other requirements like car registration and insurance certificate for a smooth Kazakhstan travel experience. That is also another driving rule, they require insurance, and they also encourage memberships that provide emergency services, specifically towing.
Zero Alcohol Tolerance
Perhaps the most unique driving rule of Kazakhstan, although it applies to many other Islamic States, is that they have zero tolerance for drunk driving. You might be accustomed to being able to drink and drive, as long as you keep it to a tolerable level (one for the road) to pass the breathalyzer test. In Kazakhstan, they will not allow you to have even a whiff of alcohol when you drive. “Drunk driving” does not necessarily mean you are drunk or tipsy--it simply means that you consumed alcohol of any amount.
The penalty for drunk driving has recently increased to 1 million Kazakh tenges, which converts to about US$6,530. That is a stiff amount, and depending on the amount of alcohol and whether you have been involved in any mishap or altercation, the police can detain you or impound your vehicle. There are even scenarios when the government would deport the tourists because of drunk driving. This is a serious law for Kazakhstan.
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