Kazakhstan is home to many colorful and exquisitely designed national costumes. Traditional costumes come in bright red, blue, black, yellow and green with gold and shiny ornaments. Traditional costume for men is an ornamented gown called “chapan” with a soft skullcap, a tall felt cap or fox-fur hat with earflaps, while the women wear white cotton or colored silk dress, an embroidered velvet waistcoat, cap and a silk scarf. The locals still wear them today during national events, specifically the Nauryz Holiday on March 22. Fortunately, tourist can still get to see Kazakhs wearing these elaborately designed costumes and quite fortunately also they are not normally worn today. They are too hot, ornate and difficult to pull off. These days, neither culture nor tradition dictates what to wear in Kazakhstan, but the local weather and common sense.
The cue to know what to wear while touring this huge Central Asian country is to be smart. When coming for business, wear smart business attire as would your local Kazakh business partner. The average Kazakh businessman will wear a trouser or skit with matching jacket and a few accessories. Locals don’t normally wear sporty or casual outerwear jacket. And when coming for pleasure, wear light casual clothes. But most importantly, wear what is appropriate in the given weather and region.
Kazakhstan is the biggest landlocked country in the world, extending from frigid Siberia to the deserts of the Middle East. Kazakh winter requires people to wear heavy, thermal clothes, while the hot summer is perfect for a hike in the southern regions of the country. In winter, expect locals to wear a variety of heavy jackets with fur coats and fur hats that are not usually worn in Europe and America. Winter in the northern parts of the country is freezing. The capital city of Astana is located in the sub-Siberian region, with average temperatures ranging from -20 to -30°C. The coldest is 40 below zero, which gets worse with strong cold winds. The winter blizzard makes it very difficult to walk even for a few meters. Winter hat and earmuffs are also helpful. In the capital city, it snows from October and sometimes all the way to April. Fall and spring are also chilly here and summer is not hot at all. In some cases, though, temperature may rise to as high as 30°C. What’s really bad in summer is the mud. As the rains come and snow melts, the streets get filled with sticky mud that is difficult to remove. In lower southern areas, summer can last for five months and some days can be as hot as 46°C.
This former Soviet state is a beautifully exotic and intriguing country. Not many American tourists have tried vacationing here because of the distance and unavailability of direct flights, but the country regularly receives visitors from China, Japan, Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom and other European countries. Kazakhstan is the biggest and wealthiest among other former Soviet states including Russia. International tourism is steadily improving. The country experiences four seasons to their extremes, which is why determining what to wear in Kazakhstan could be a challenge for some.