HomeFeatured PostsAlmaty: A Complete Guide

Almaty: A Complete Guide

Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan, which until 1997 was the capital of the country, and now it is proudly called the “Southern Capital”. The name “Alma-Ata” is translated from Kazakh as “Father of Apples”, because the city was famous for its apple orchards, but it is correct to say “Almaty” (remember “Belarus” and “Belarus” ). Almaty is a city at the foot of the majestic Tien Shan, a city of mixing of peoples and cultures, hundreds of fountains, and large cars. Pointing the direction to a lost traveler, here they say not only “to the right” – “to the left”, but also “up” – “down”. 

Almaty is located in the east of Kazakhstan, not far from the border with China (according to local taxi drivers, it is only 74 km away, but Google maps say more about 200 km), so it is not surprising that locals often go there “for purchases.” If you’ve never been to Asia, Almaty is ideal for a “soft” entrance on Wednesday. We will tell you how to get there, where to stay and how to have fun in the city.

Transport

 The easiest way to get from Minsk to Almaty is by plane: Belavia operates direct flights 3 times a week (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, departure at 20:15). Only € 303 (in economy class, taxes and fees included) and 5 hours of flight – and you are in Almaty!

There are as many as 4 city buses running from the airport to the city (№79, 86, 92, and 106), the fare is € 0.20. A taxi to the city will cost € 8-10. An Uber ride will cost a little less – about € 7.

It is customary to move around the city by paid hitchhiking. For 100 tenge (approximately € 0.30), you can drive from one end of the city to the other, and if the driver is on the way, he can give it to the driver for free. And immediately a life hacks: so that drivers understand that it is not the first time for you to drive around Almaty, and do not break prices “for tourists”, naming the address you need, use the old Soviet names, which can be peeped here and here.

Public transport, in addition to city buses, is also represented by trolleybuses, fixed-route taxis, and even the metro. True, the metro has only one line, consisting of 6 stations, so it’s unrealistic to get somewhere by metro, but it’s worth just taking a ride and seeing the stations. You can buy a ticket for one trip right on the bus, or you can save money and buy a single rechargeable Only card right at the airport.

There are also bike paths and bike stations in Almaty where you can take a city bike ( tariffs and locations ). The first 30 minutes of rental are free, so by returning the bike to the station every half hour, you can use the bike all day without paying anything.

Accommodation

Nomad’s GH (38/61 Tulubaeva st.) Is one of the largest hostels in Kazakhstan, located in the center of Almaty, in a specially designed building. Home comfort, bright colors in the interior, as well as many additional services, will be pleasant additions to your trip. A night in the dorm will cost € 7.5, a night in a double VIP will cost € 32.

DA Hostel Almaty (33 Mukhamedzhanov str. (Formerly Turgenskaya), 33) is a small cozy hostel located not far from the city center. Ideal for active and sociable travelers. The price for a bed in the dorm starts from € 7.5, double – € 13 per night.

BAZA Hostel (Kaldayakova st., 17) is the largest hostel in the city, located on the territory of an operating printing plant! Loft 6-meter ceilings will undoubtedly delight all connoisseurs of space. The base is located in the very center of the city next to the Green Bazaar, bars, clubs, and the historical center of Almaty. A night in the dorm starts from € 6, a two-level studio for six € 58, and hikers can spend the night in a tent (provided by the hostel) for € 4.5.

Super Hostel  (44, Dostyk Ave.) is a modern hostel in the city center with coworking, games room, and library. And if you are planning a long trip with a large company, count on discounts. A night in the dorm will cost you € 6-8, but if you are looking for privacy, alas, this option will not work for you – there are no single or double rooms.

Om Hostel  (Ormanova st., 15a) is a homely cozy hostel in a private house near the center of Almaty. The hostel has a courtyard where in the morning you can practice yoga or just do exercises, and in the evenings it is so cozy to drink tea, looking at the starry sky. There are no separate rooms. A night in the dormitory costs € 6–8. In the warm season, there is an option to spend the night in a gazebo in the yard (negotiable price).

Resident Hotel Almaty  (Tokhtarova st., 100) is a stylish three-star hotel not far from the center. You have an option if you are used to polish and additional options, such as a sauna or SPA. Single room – € 35, double – € 52 per night.

Hello Hostel (85 Maulenova st.) Is one of the chain’s hostels located in the center of Almaty. Spacious, bright, with a system of bonuses and discounts, the hostel is perfect for you if you like to hang out and save money. A night in the dorm starts at € 4.5, and an elite VIP with two separate beds will cost you a modest € 29.

Almaty Hostel Dom  (Sarsen Amanzholov str., 42-3A) is a mini-hostel in a private house. Bright, cozy and not far from the center, this hostel is your choice if you don’t like solitude, because all the rooms in it are for six people. For a night in this one, you will pay a democratic € 6.

Loco Hostel (152d / 1 Radostovets str.) Is a bright, authentic, non-standard hostel with a beautiful interior imbued with the spirit of Zen Buddhism and street art. You can come here with your four-legged friend, despite the fact that there is a cat in the hostel. A night in the dorm will cost you € 7, a double studio € 26.

Sky Hostel Almaty (107 Kurmangazy str.) Is a hostel in the city center with a bright non-trivial interior in the pop art style and gorgeous views of the mountains and the city from the rooms. Breakfast included! True, you will have to fork out, because the price per night in the dorm starts at € 10, and a double economy room with two separate beds costs € 26.

Golden Palace (54 Baitursynov St.) is a 4-star hotel with a touch of bourgeois luxury. In addition to a great view of the city, you will get a hearty breakfast and a well-equipped gym, because you want to stay in shape, don’t you? A night in a Standard room will cost € 58 and in a Superior Suite € 102.

Culture

Most of all, Almaty residents are proud of their mountains. Therefore, the first place where you should go will be Medeo (Gornaya st., 465). Medeo is the world’s highest skating rink. Two hours of skiing with skate rental will cost you € 8.

Not far from Medeo, a gondola road begins, which leads to the top of Mount Chimbulak. Even if you are not going to ski, it is worth climbing the mountain because of the amazing views. It is especially pleasant to meet the sunset there while drinking wine in a restaurant or alpine bar. Do not be afraid to freeze – you will definitely be offered a warm camel blanket. A roundtrip gondola ride will cost you € 7.5. Well, if you ride, then a day pass for the slope plus travel will cost € 28 on weekends and € 19 on weekdays.

If you have only a couple of days in the city, and Medeo is too far away, go (or go on foot) to the “city” mountain – Kok Tobe (104b Dostyk ave.). The mountain offers a beautiful view of the whole of Almaty, plus there is a city amusement park, a mini-zoo, and a TV tower. Another attraction located on Kok Tobe is a monument to The Beatles(it really deserves a special mention, don’t be too lazy to find it!). There are three ways to get to the top of Kok Tobe: walk, take a special minibus that runs from the foot of the mountain (round trip ticket € 1.5 in the daytime and € 3 at night), and ride on a brand new cable car (€ 6 round trip). But, if you are too lazy to go up on foot, and you want to save money, feel free to take a one-way ticket, and go back down on foot – it will take no more than 20 minutes.

Since Almaty is the cultural capital of Kazakhstan, there are many museums, theaters, parks, and other cultural entertainment, which you can read about on Wikipedia. However, let me advise you to visit the Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan (st. Samal-1, 44), namely the exposition “Archaeological Gold of Kazakhstan”. Believe me, you will not see such amazing exhibits anywhere (well, except, perhaps, the hall of Ancient Egypt in the Hermitage). This room is paid separately (but the price includes the services of a guide). It will cost (together with an entrance ticket for locals – you can’t sleep that you are a Belarusian or a Ukrainian?) € 4.5.

Museum of Folk Musical Instruments (Zenkova, 24). A museum where the soul can unfold – more than 40 types of Kazakh musical instruments are collected here, the history of their creation is told, they introduce Kazakh folklore and even let them play.

The Central Synagogue of Kazakhstan (Raiymbek Avenue, 206e) – an opportunity to see how everything is arranged among the Jewish diaspora.

Theater “ARTiSHOK” (Kunaeva 49). The main Kazakh independent theater, the performances of which are a must-see for fans of experiments and improvisations. You will definitely like the place – in the basement of a residential building.

German Drama Theater (Satpayeva, 64d). How about production in Germany in a chamber atmosphere? If you want to know what site-specific performances are, book a place in the hall in advance. The ticket will cost € 2.4.

Korean Theater of Musical Comedy (Papanin 70/1, corner of Yaroslavskaya Street). The Korean theater was opened in 1932 in Vladivostok, but when Koreans were forcibly deported to Kazakhstan, it also moved and has been working since then in Almaty. You are unlikely to find such a flavor anywhere (except for Korea itself, of course). The ticket will cost € 1.5.

The Almaty central city mosque (Pushkina, 16), the Beket Ata mosque (Zhagorkyzy, 663), and the Ali-Mukhammed mosque (Omarova, 13B) are the brave three of the most beautiful places of worship in the city.

Arbat (from Abylai Khan Avenue to Furmanov Street) is a pedestrian street in Almaty. Come here in fine weather in the evenings, and better – on weekends. There is music, dances, souvenirs, and fountains, and on the morning of the weekend, a market for seasonal products unfolds.

If you get tired of the bustle of the city and exhaust gases, go to the southeast of the city to the Park named after the First President (intersection of Navoi Street and Al-Farabi Avenue), where you can not only enjoy the beautiful views of the Tien Shan, singing fountains and scattered throughout park sculptures but also organize a picnic in the gazebo or right on the well-groomed grass. The entrance to the park is free (keep in mind, you won’t be allowed in with your four-legged friends).

Charyn canyon. Although it is located at a distance of 200 km from the city and it is rather difficult to get there on your own, due to the absence of real asphalt roads, you simply must visit this place, because there are only two such formations in the world: the Charyn Canyon and the American Grand Canyon. An additional attraction for Marco Polo fans: several scenes of the first season were filmed here. You can get to Charyn on your own in a rented car (SUV, of course) or book an excursion (yes, the guide will broadcast all the way, but this will not prevent you from sleeping for three hours, and on the way back you will definitely want it, believe me). An economy tour will cost you € 14.5, an individual jeep tour with a stop at the golden eagle farm will cost you € 290.

Coffee in Almaty

Traveler’s Coffee is a Russian coffee chain located in six outlets in Almaty. Here you will find not only classics such as espresso and cappuccino but also coffee with alternative brewing methods: Chemex, pour-over, french press. Baristas will help you choose a monosort or a proprietary blend for each of the methods, taking into account your taste.

Costa Coffee is a European chain located in four large shopping centers in Almaty. Great coffee will surely cheer you up before shopping!

Urban Coffee (Satpayeva Ave., 4a) is one of the most popular coffee houses among locals. Superhero motives and fresh pastries will complement your aromatic coffee or freshly brewed tea.

Double Coffee (94 Nauryzbay Batyr St.) is a Latvian chain coffee shop with a cozy interior and a rich menu. Run in here if you expect not only to drink coffee but also to dine.

“Owl” (113 Abylai Khan Ave.) is one of the most atmospheric coffee houses in Almaty. A lamp atmosphere, alternative brewing methods, and even caffeine-free coffee – everything to keep your inner owl happy!

Coffeedelia is a small local network of coffee houses, which so far consists of two establishments (79 Kabanbay Batyr St. and 117 Zheltoksan St.). In addition to delicious coffee, in a coffee shop on the street. Zheltoksan has public lectures, open lessons, and meetings. Admission to such events is free. So, if you have long dreamed of improving your knowledge of the preparation and consumption of coffee, Coffeedelia is your choice!

Aroma (113 Abylai Khan Ave.) French-style coffee shop, light and airy, created for romantic meetings and gentle Sunday brunch. The choice of coffee is small here, but tea and wine lists will easily correct this drawback.

Fast food

Master Doner (Tole bi, 64) is a 24-hour kebab house. Inconspicuous interior, fast service, delicious food. In the summer you can hang out on the terrace. Juicy meat kebab € 6.

Dastarhan Food (Nauryzbay Batyr str., 122) is a local analog of Lido: self-service, homemade food, breakfast, and lunch complexes. Hearty, tasty, inexpensive. Average bill € 6.

Bedobay Organic Doner (60 Abylai Khan Avenue) – according to the owner, only organic ingredients. Large kebab with meat – € 6.

Khan Kebab (Zhambyl st., 157) – barbecue and kebab in one person. You can order food with you, or you can sit in the hall, believe me, everything will be delicious here. The menu has an option “make your own burger/kebab”, which means that a vegetarian will not leave here hungry! Average bill € 10.

Smug Burger Bar (Bogenbai Batyr St., 128) is just some kind of burger paradise! Everyone will find here a burger to their liking, and in addition to it – a glass of craft beer.

Cafes/Restaurants

Chaikhana No. 1 (55 Panfilova St.) is an authentic Central Asian place with soft sofas, carpets, and bright fusion-style interiors. The menu is replete with oriental delicacies such as Lagman, dolma, and baklava. Prices are moderate: the average bill is € 6–12.

Tomato  (st.Mendikulova, 98) . Nice mid-range Italian restaurant. Contemporary decor, signature cocktails, and proximity to the city center make this a great choice for the weary traveler. Pizza from € 4, steak from € 10, cocktails from € 2.

“Pivovaroff” (Shevchenko st., 71) is a great place for those who love breweries like Minsk “Friends”: incomparable beer (take wheat, you won’t regret it), meat snacks, and an unassuming interior. The place is not cheap, mind you. A mug of beer for € 3, a meat snack – for € 7.

Namaste  (Minina St., 2) is an institution with a colorful interior, which serves Indian, Chinese, and Thai cuisines. There is a separate vegetarian menu (which is a rarity for Almaty). The average bill is € 6-15.

Bollywood (518 Seifullina Ave.) is a real Indian restaurant: the interior is dumb, the food is delicious, hearty and the price tag is moderate. You can even bargain!

Blackberry Cafe (Kabanbai batyr st., 122) is a cozy place located on a quiet street not far from the center. There is a nice little terrace (the best place in the establishment). The pleasant atmosphere, Italian cuisine, and breathtaking desserts will win your heart. Best place for romantic brunch. The average bill is € 6-12.

Black Coffee (Zheltoksan st., 144) is a good place on the bar street of Almaty. Minimalistic interior, delicious food, and drinks. If you have long wanted to taste horse meat steak – feel free to order! It will be cheaper than in pretentious steakhouses, and will not be inferior to taste.

Kishlak is a Kazakh chain of oriental restaurants. If you want to get to know Kazakhstan better – you are here! Delicious pilaf, the entire assortment of fermented milk drinks (there is even shubat – a drink made from camel milk) will allow you to better understand the cuisine of the nomads who once settled on this land.

Red Dragon (64 Valikhanova st.) Is a Chinese restaurant with a Chinese chef. A varied menu (we bet you don’t know what 80% of the items mean?), Generous portions, but if you’re not a spicy lover, it’s better to check the degree of spiciness of the selected dish with the waiter. During the business lunch, the all-you-can-eat buffet for only € 3 per person.

Bars

Mr. Haze (35A Kairbekova str., 2nd floor) – no noisy parties are organized here, but the best steam cocktails are prepared and the most delicious tea is served. The menu is varied. There are hookahs. Average bill € 10.

Chic ooh  (Zenkov str., 24) – a bar-club were made to rest at the “working” of young people: sports broadcasts, fashionable music, hookahs, and laksheri-interior. The terrace is open in summer. The average bill is € 13–20.

“Jabberwocky” (str. Satpayev, 3) will please you excellent interior, designed in the style of “Alice in Wonderland”, a variety of drinks (more than 20 kinds of whiskey in the menu), and of course, friendly staff. The bartender will not only serve you your favorite shot, but will also be happy to chat with you, so if you are alone in this noisy city, go to the Jabberwocky for a chat. A cocktail will cost € 6, a glass of craft liqueur – € 4.

PubEda (Seifullin Ave., 472.) – a pub with classical wooden interiors, plenty of seating, and live music in the evenings. The average bill is € 6-10.

Bar copa (Zheltoksan Street 66.) – Night club bar slash. Incendiary Latin American music, dirty dancing, and tequila are held in high esteem!

“Familiar Faces” (street Nauryzbai Batyr, 102.) – probably the most themed bar southern capital: everything here revolves around movies – old and new. Hollywood stars look at you from the walls, signature cocktails can surprise even Tom Cruise, and also theme parties almost every day! Come on Tuesday if you are a real gentleman (get free whiskey) or Thursday for a free beer evening.

Freerider house pub (Gagarin Avenue, 232) – the motto of this institution says: “Its atmosphere. Our people. Own music ”. It is more of a pub club with regular concerts, good food, and craft beer.

BarSode (Furmanov street, 103.) – one of the youth clubs of Almaty. Fashionable music, non-pathos interior, in general, a great place to make new acquaintances.

Chillout Bar Tooman (Furmanov street, 118.) – This pretty young hookah bar, designed in minimalist style quickly became popular among the youth of Almaty. Here you can not only smoke a hookah and drink beer, but also sing in karaoke because they love this business in Almaty!

“Apartment number 148” (Zheltoksan Street, 148.) – the warmest tube bar in Almaty. You can sit in the kitchen, living room or study. Sing karaoke. Watch TV. And all this in a relaxed and relaxed atmosphere of an old Soviet apartment. Themed parties are regularly held here, and the average bill is only € 8.

“Pioneer truth” (Gagarin Avenue, 111 in.) – for those who are bored at times conducted in a red tie, as well as for those who are thrilled by stories of October and Pioneers. Themed parties and hits of the late 80s are waiting for you!

“Tin” (Rozybakiev, 236.) – a rock club for fans of “metal”. There are concerts of heavy music, there is rock karaoke, and in general, if your soul is still longing for a white leather jacket and fretless bass, this is the place for you.

Bar Barviha (Pushkin street, corner of Kurmangazy str..) – if you miss the gloss “Dozari” bold move here! A creepy party in the style of “Gentlemen of Fortune” and other Soviet thrash music will cheer you up and distract you from sad thoughts.

Underground  (St. Zhandosova 2B.) – a place with an unusual atmosphere. Interiors with a ska punk bias, themed weekend parties, and just a nice bar with cute bartenders at the counter.

Gogol (Gogol Street, 157.) – if you are looking for a youth crowd, creative design, and good music, you should definitely wrap here. Yes, and there is karaoke here because Almaty is an Asian city, which means karaoke is entertainment number 1.

Shopping

Shopping in Almaty, as well as throughout Asia, is a delicate matter. If you want to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables and cheap souvenirs made in China – go to the markets and do not forget to bargain like hell. And if you want to buy something worthwhile – lots of new huge malls to help you!

Green Bazaar (Zhibek Zholy St., 53-55.) – The legendary market with more than 100-year history. In the mid-70s, a monumental building was erected on the site of the spontaneous market. In this huge pavilion with 800 seats (and in the adjoining annexes), you can find everything your heart desires: from dried apricots to camel fat.

flea market located in the north of Almaty. It is difficult to indicate its address since it is located on vast territories of several hectares. And this is a real Asian market: everything is here – both color and a variety of goods for sale (perhaps even donor organs can be bought here): Chinese shops, Korean shops, Japanese technology, fur coats, crocodile leather belts … re-read. It has its own fast food – this is pilaf cooked in hot cauldrons right in the middle of cardboard pavilions, creating a fire hazard. 

It is because of these cauldrons, apparently, that the flea market burns every year, and the authorities have been threatening to close it since the summer of 2013. But this has not happened yet. You simply must visit this market. One of the most picturesque places in Almaty. Just keep all your valuables close to your body but rather leave it at home – the concentration of pickpockets here is simply amazing. And if you decide to buy something, you should know that cards are not accepted here. Cash only.

Nikolsky Market (Baitursynov.) – a small, but very nice neighborhood near the center of the city. It is worth a walk here at least because of the wooden architecture around the market.

Concept Store Experimentarium (3 floors of the shopping center “Dostyk Plaza” Samal-2, 111) – a boutique, where you can look after yourself veshchichek from fashion designers from Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Almaty the Label of Pink  (2-floor mall “CUM” Prospect Abylaikhan, 62) – the Big Almaty concept store where you can find things like from the young and from the famous Kazakh designer. If the names ZZ Collection, LA.BEL dress studio, Anara, Valeriya Levitskaya, Oblaka, Akka_style atelier salon, Dinara Nurlan, Aisho, Lui Boom, A&S design tell you something, you should definitely look here.

UNICORNer (130 boutiques, shopping center «Promenade», Abay Ave., 44A.) – no doubt you will be interested not only design clothes, but also in a selection of bags and accessories.

Concept Store Showroom Backstage view  (shopping center “Almaty”, Republic Square, 2) – This stylish concept store Almaty connects leading designers of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia, and China. The boutique has an excellent selection of collections from such designers as LaRiya, Aida KaumeNOVA, JAKA Fashion, Sandella, Tamara Lamanukaeva, Salle de Mode, Atelier Artisan, Leonid Zherebtsov, Teezar Studio.

If your heart lies to the mass market, the largest shopping centers in Almaty will help you: Almaty (Republic Square, 2), Dostyk Plaza (Samal-2, 111), Mega Center Alma-Ata (Rozybakieva st., 263), and MEGA Park (Seifullina Avenue, 483).

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