This extraordinary addition to Astana’s list of leisure activities is arguably the most fun. In a city hundreds of miles from the sea and often suffering temperatures of -30ºC, what better solution than a year-round indoor beach? It sounds hard to believe, but such a place exists on the sixth floor of the Khan Shatyr Shopping Centre. With fine, white sand imported from the Maldives, underfloor heating for a natural beach feel and gently lapping waves, this is indeed a small slice of paradise in the midst of the steppe. On one side is the more active water park with a slew of adrenaline-pumping slides, a wave simulator and a waterfall, and on the other a more chilled-out, chicer stretch of sand. Between the two is the Beach Bar, the ideal stop for a fresh juice or cocktail. Table-tennis and volleyball are also available for more active types – though sprawling lazily on the sand suits us down to the ground.