Attractions - Fitness and Banya
fitness_and_banya_edgekz_woman_in_pool_with_weightsKazakhstan's major cities offer more than enough state-of-the-art fitness centers with internationally experienced trainers, the latest machines and healthy dietary concoctions. But you'll find those in any major city in the world. As long as you're in Kazakhstan, you might as well try what's been keeping Kazakhs fit and healthy for centuries – Banya.

Banya (a Russian word for sauna) generally refers to types of steam baths and saunas. And one can quibble over whether one banya is Finnish or Turkish or uses wet or dry steam. But generally, banyas are spa-like environments where you go with friends to spend an afternoon relaxing in steam rooms and hot and cold pools. Opening the skin's pours by gently slapping your banya partner's back with birch branches is also common. Many banyas also serve alcohol, so they are great places to build business relationships and share a little local gossip. These unique places are among the best in Kazakhstan for getting a sense of local customs.

The 35-year-old Arasan Banya in Almaty and the Keremet Banya in Astana are both great places try out banya culture. But if you still want to go the health club route while in Kazakhstan, you've got plenty of outlets to choose from. Some centers specialise in particular activities, such as Astana's Daulet Tennis Complex, while other's offer a broad array of fitness opportunities, such as Almaty's FitCurves. Astana also offers great jogging and biking opportunities along its Yessil River through the heart of the city. So no matter what your fitness preference, you'll be able to stay healthy in Kazakhstan.