|Languages :||Kazakh, Russian|
|Currency :||tenge (KZT)|
|Time Zone :||EST +11hrs (divided into three time zones)|
|Capital City :||Astana|
|Population :||15.2 Million|
|Government :||Republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch|
|Total Area :||1,049,155 mi²|
|Climate :||Continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid|
|National Holidays:||Independence Day, 16 December|
|Additional Info:||Kazakhstan has untouched landscapes, great, open and free, with a unique mix of true deserts, steppes, savannas, taiga, tundra, wild forests, pristine lakes and rivers. It has an abundance of untouched mountain nature and glaciers up to 7,000m. These ranges are devoid of people and, because of the altitude, the light and colors are very different from Europe and Eastern Asia.|
The great thing about visiting a country like Kazakhstan is its relatively undiscovered feeling, in places there are no signs that another human has passed before you at all.
The Tien Shan ("celestial mountains" or "mountains of the spirits") is a mountain range that lies in the border region of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China. The best starting point for a trek into the Tien Shan is the city of Almaty. From this city you can see the huge mountain range with snow covered peaks rising to 16,000ft and more. The Tien Shan's second highest peak, Khan Tengri (Lord of the Spirits), at 23,000ft, straddles the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border.
An excellent route starts out amongst pleasant foothills, with lush grass and forest. After a couple of days, you will reach a high and glaciated region and the remainder of the trek follows the South Inylchek Glacier. For newcomers, it's best to sign up to a trekking company who will navigate the area and ensure you take a safe route. The altitude and sometimes difficult terrain can make the trekking slow in some parts. This trek is considered demanding so not recommended for the newbie trekker but is well rewarded with its spectacular sights of the mountain range.
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