The following is addressed to all people who travel on their own or staying
in foreign countries.
Central Asia is sometimes perceived as dangerous
by foreigners and their families. This perception is heightened by media coverage
of violent incidents, which fortunately occur infrequently. Most of the feeling
of danger stem from the situation being new and not knowing how to react.
There is a different feeling in Central Asia sometimes and it is best to have
your guard up. We would like to provide you with some tips to help you stay
safe during your time in one of the most welcome destination in the world.
No matter how safe your community appears to be, you should acquaint yourself
with your new environment by reading safety information, especially that provided
by your country's embassy. The Embassies regularly issues updated safety,
information that can be obtained at the request.
Upon arrival, begin orienting yourself:
- Familiarize yourself with your neighbourhood by walking around in the daylight.
- Ask around about areas you should avoid at night.
- Do not walk alone at night.
- Note the address of your country's embassy.
- Locate the police station that serves your neighbourhood.
- Identify the hospital emergency room nearest to your home and know what
to do in
case of an accident.
- Keep "emergency" numbers near your phone at home (see Emergency
Telephone Numbers in communication section).
It is very important that you watch your belongings at all times,
especially when you are at busy public places such as: "bazaars",
stores, underground ways ("podzemka"), streets, etc. Beware pickpockets
and bag slashers. Try not to keep your wallet in the bag hanging on your back
because somebody can cut the bag and take your wallet out. It is recommended
that women wear their purses diagonally across the body, with the strap on
one shoulder and the purse close to the body on the opposite side. Bags should
be carried with a firm grip. Do not display money, jewelry, or other valuable
items. If you know you are going to carry a lot of money, it is better to
divide it into several parts and put it into several different places in your
purse, wallet, and on your clothes. You should also avoid keeping large amounts
of cash or other valuable items (such as expensive jewelry) in your apartment,
or hotel room. Valuable items can be kept in the safe of the hotels or banks.
Another thing you can do to help safeguard your
belongings is to be conservative in giving out your address, home number or
even inviting people to your place. We do not mean to give you the impression
that everyone is trying to get hands on your money, but you must exercise
your judgment - unscrupulous individuals may try to take advantage of you
as a foreigner who is unaccustomed to Kazakh social customs, and may not understand
Safety at Night
It is especially important to guard your safety at night in
big cities as well as small towns and villages. Try to avoid walking in the
streets after dark all by yourself. You might want to find someone to accompany
you during your night trips.
There are some general safety tips to protect you and your
- Never leave your bags unattended in public places, even if you are only
walking away from them for a few minutes.
- Do not carry large amount of cash, or store money in your apartment. Deposit
money in a bank account, where it will be protected.
- Always lock your door when you are leaving, even if only for a short period
- Never ever open your door to people you don't know even if they know your
name. This applies to anybody even if they sat they are from the police.
- Be careful about lending or giving money to anyone, especially strangers
or people you have only met a few times. If you lend money, consider it a
donation, don't expect it to be returned regardless of the promises they make.
- If you're called on the telephone and you're not interested in or do not
understand the caller's offer, just interrupt, say "No, thanks",
and hang up the phone.
- Always carry your passport with you. Also make a photocopy of your important
documents, and keep the copies at home or hotel room.
- If a stranger does try to steal your bag, do not fight. It is not worth
risking serious injury for a few belongings.
- At home, you know how to recognize and deal with threatening people and
difficult situations. Learn to do the same in your new environment.
Talking with Police
Occasionally you may be stopped by police and asked for identification.
First is that most often the police will stop you at night. These stops are
most always routine and end up with a friendly shaking of hands, but there
have been reports of people having money stolen from their pockets so you
do need to be on guard.
First, you should always carry your passport
with you, also keep a copy of your passport and visa in safe place. If they
say they need to talk with you somewhere else, and try to get you to walk
with them stand your ground in a friendly but firm manner. If they try to
search your pockets do not let them, they do not have a right to do this.
You can show them the contents of your pockets, but do not let them touch
you. The police must show identification; they have been required to wear
uniforms and badges. If somebody without a uniform should stop you assume
they are not real police. Ask them for identification, if you have pen or
pencil write down the information in the document, by now they will wonder
what you are doing, but if you have their information from their document.
This explanation is not meant to scare you or
make you worried about being out and about in town. But you should be aware
of what to do in case you are stopped.