Lake Kapchagai is just over an hour’s drive from Almaty and has been dubbed the ‘Ibiza of Kazakhstan’, as Almaty’s party animals decamp here every summer to attend huge outdoor parties. The lake is, in fact, a vast man-made water reservoir created by a dam on the Ile River. It’s not necessarily the most scenic of places but there are a few nice resorts offering sandy beaches and swimming in manmade pools and the lake itself, which anyone spending a hot summer in Almaty will know is a welcome prospect. It’s also possible to charter yachts – ask your resort for details. In terms of accommodation, we suggest checking out the Altyn Emel, Esperanza and Freedom resorts (the latter two host the Freedom and Ibiza Mega Dance music events respectively in summer). Another attraction for pleasure-seekers is the fact that Kapchagai is now one of Kazakhstan’s two casino havens after gambling was forbidden throughout the country. Although minimum bids for most games tend to be high ($300-500) it is possible to play poker more cheaply.