Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan (though many people mistakenly take Almaty as the capital). It is located in the northeastern part of Kazakhstan, on the Ishim River, within the Aqmola Region. Astana is a large, but very modern city, with a large ex-pat community. There are many hotels, skyscrapers, sports complex, education facilities, and healthcare facilities -- this may surprise many travelers that have fallen into the belief that the famous movie, “Borat” actually held some truth to it. Fortunately, the movie is just a load of lies, and in fact Astana is a very futuristic city. It is also recommend to not mention the movie “Borat” when traveling in Kazakhstan, as Kazakh people are very proud people, and most that have heard of the movie find it very offensive. Russian and Kazakh are to two main languages spoken in Astana, however there are also a large portion of people that speak English (to some degree). It is definitely recommended to learn some Russian and Kazakh phrases before traveling to Astana, as it will not only help you out a lot, but it will also be much appreciated by many of the locals.
Accommodation is of a high standard, and relatively cheap. Astana hostels, hotels, and guesthouses are the most popular options. All accommodation types provide internet access, breakfast or access to a communal kitchen, usually free tea and coffee are provided, as well as laundry facilities, bike hire, tourist and travel information, airport pick-up options, access to phones, and help in extending your visa or registering with the correct government agency.
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