A river trip on Esil in Nur-Sultan

Nazerke Makhanova | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The biggest city of Kazakhstan, Almaty, states that mountain trips are the key to tourism. What can a capital city that lays in the middle of the steppes be proud of? Nur-Sultan is divided into two parts by the Esil river: same as Budapest is split into two parts by Dunai. Apart from newly built architecture, unique museums, such as the Nur-Alem EXPO spherical museum, cafes, and shopping malls, tourists can enjoy a river trip on Esil in Nur-Sultan. 

© Flickr / Vladimir Zotov

Esil river

Esil is a river that is 2450 km long and runs through Kazakhstan and Russia. It is the longest tributary of the Irtysh river. Thanks to the dam, the river is filled enough to have boat trips and allow swimming. Authorities say that, if the dam has not been built, citizens could be able to walk across it. However, apart from having water-related activities, the river allows people to enjoy the riverside walk. The river splits the city into two sections: the left bank where the new city is built and the right. On the left, one may find the Presidential residence and the most luxurious housing districts. The right bank is known as the old town where the Nur-Sultan city started its city life. Both parts are equally taken care of and densely populated. Many pedestrian bridges connect the two parts of the Nur-Sultan city: such examples are Seruen, Karaotkel, and Atyrau

© iStock / sudok1

River trip

As for locals, it was hard to believe that someday there would be boats full of people sailing back and forth through the Esil river. For years the river was just a swimming and fishing spot, and in winters, a place for Epiphany dips. However, the city is getting more and more renovated, and something that you could not imagine would happen in a hundred years is finally a reality. The motor ship trips first started on May 11, 2017. It was quite a big event that drew the attention of the population immediately. Since that time, locals have been enjoying it a lot!

© iStock / sudok1


The river trip has around five stationary berths where people can hop on and off. In the nearest future authorities are planning on starting the river taxi service in Nur-Sultan, but these are just plans for now. The city has changed beyond recognition in such a short time! So, the trip starts in the right bank of the town near the Pupil's palace for the growth and development of children and ends in the left bank, near the Presidential palace. With this trip, you will enjoy a variety of sightseeing options in Nur-Sultan. Note that the journey starts from the 'oldie but goldie' part of the city and then proceeds in the future, the newest part of the town! 

© iStock / kiwisoul

Prices and schedule

The motor-ship trip starts near the famous Seruen bridge. The prices of tickets are the following: 1000 tenges for adults and 500 tenges for children. It is a fair price considering it takes 50 minutes and takes you around approximately in an 18 km roundtrip. There are about five motor stations, where the boat can stop, and you can hop on and hop off at any of those. The working hours are pretty convenient too, as the trips start at 12 pm and end by 9 pm: within this time frame, you can see the best of the Nur-Sultan city in both day and night time. During this trip, you will enjoy sightseeing in the most beautiful parts of both left and right banks of the city. It is an unusual yet fast and easy way to see the most famous tourist destinations of the Nur-Sultan city

© iStock / Alexey_Arz

Nur-`Sultan has become a city of fun activities. Do not forget that it is a central yet capital city of Kazakhstan. In the summertime, there is no better place to spend your time than at the riverside with all its amenities. Enjoy its cafes, coffee & ice cream spots, bicycle or jogging roads, and, of course, the top activity of the river itself, a river trip on Esil!

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