Travel Tips for Almaty: Your Ultimate Guide!

 In Adventure, Almaty, Places to stay, Places To Visit, Shopping, Things to do, Travel, travel guide

Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, is a wonderful place to visit. Surrounded by the beautiful Tian Shan mountains, it offers a mix of nature, history, and modern comforts. Whether you love hiking, exploring museums, or tasting new foods, Almaty has something for you and these travel tips for Almaty will help you plan your trip with ease. Visiting these places is one of the top Things to do in Almaty Kazakhstan.

In Almaty, you can explore lively markets like the Green Bazaar, where you’ll find colorful fruits, spices, and local treats. Relax in green spaces like Central Park or admire the stunning Zenkov Cathedral. If you enjoy outdoor activities, don’t miss the breathtaking views at Big Almaty Lake and Kok-Tobe Hill. It is one of the top places to visit in Almaty.

Getting around Almaty is easy with many options like buses, taxis, and bikes. The city is known for its friendly people and offers a range of places to stay, from fancy hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Most locals speak Kazakh and Russian, but many also understand English, making communicating easier.This guide will provide simple travel tips for Almaty to help you enjoy your visit to Almaty. We’ll cover the best times to visit, how to get around, what to eat, and where to stay. With these tips, your trip to Almaty will be smooth, fun, and memorable. Welcome to Almaty, a city full of beauty and adventure with our Almaty Tour Packages!

Best Time to Visit


Spring (March to May):

  • Mild weather with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F).
  • Perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the city’s parks and gardens in full bloom.
  • Fewer tourists compared to the summer.

Summer (June to August):

  • Warm and sunny, with temperatures between 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F).
  • Ideal for hiking, outdoor activities, and exploring the mountains.
  • Busy tourist season, so book accommodations in advance.

Autumn (September to November):

  • Cool and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F).
  • Beautiful fall colors in the parks and surrounding countryside.
  • Great time for cultural exploration and city tours.

Winter (December to February):

  • Cold, often with temperatures below freezing.
  • Perfect for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding at nearby resorts.
  • The city has a festive atmosphere with holiday decorations.

How to Get There

  • By Plane: Almaty International Airport (ALA) is the primary airport, with many international and domestic flights. You can take a taxi or a shuttle bus from the airport to the city center, about 30-40 minutes away.
  • By Train: Trains connect Almaty to other cities in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries. The main station, Almaty-2, is centrally located and offers various services.
  • By Car: Driving to Almaty is an option if you enjoy road trips. The roads are generally in good condition. Car rentals are available at the airport and in the city, providing flexibility for exploring the region.

Getting Around the City

  • Public Transportation: Buses, trams, and trolleybuses cover most of the city. A single ride costs about 80 KZT (USD 0.20). The metro is efficient, clean, and a great way to avoid traffic. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.
  • Taxis: Taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced. Use apps like Yandex.Taxi or Indriver for safe and fair pricing. Ensure the taxi meter is running or agree on a fare beforehand.
  • Bicycles: Almaty is becoming more bicycle-friendly with rental shops and bike lanes. Cycling is a fun way to explore the city and get some exercise.
  • Walking: Many attractions are within walking distance of each other. The city is pedestrian-friendly with wide sidewalks and scenic routes.

Where to Stay

  • Luxury Hotels: For a luxurious stay, consider The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty, or InterContinental Almaty. They offer top-notch amenities, including spas, fine dining, and excellent service. These hotels are centrally located, making it easy to explore the city’s main attractions, and are the best Hotels and resorts in Almaty.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: Kazzhol Hotel Almaty and Novotel Almaty City Center offer comfortable rooms and good facilities at reasonable prices. These hotels often provide amenities such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and fitness centers. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.
  • Budget Hotels and Hostels: For budget travelers, Sky Hostel Almaty and Dostyk Hostel are great choices. They offer basic amenities and a friendly atmosphere. Staying in hostels can also be a great way to meet other travelers and get tips on what to see and do.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb offers a variety of options, from private rooms to entire apartments. This can be a cost-effective way to stay, especially for longer visits. It also gives you the chance to experience local living and maybe even get some insider tips from your host.

Food and Dining

Kazakh cuisine is hearty and flavorful, with influences from Russian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Here are some must-try dishes and dining tips. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.

1. Local Dishes

  • Beshbarmak: This traditional dish consists of boiled meat (usually lamb or beef) served over flat noodles, garnished with onions and herbs. It’s often considered the national dish of Kazakhstan.
  • Plov: A rice dish cooked with meat, carrots, and onions. It’s similar to pilaf and very filling.
  • Kuurdak: A hearty stew made with meat, potatoes, and onions. It’s a comforting dish, especially in colder weather.
  • Baursak: Fried dough balls that are often served with tea or soup. They are slightly sweet and very addictive.

2. Restaurants

  • Kishlak: A popular restaurant in Almaty offering traditional Kazakh cuisine in a rustic setting. The atmosphere and decor give you a taste of local culture.
  • Navat: Known for its delicious Central Asian dishes and cozy atmosphere. It’s a great place to try a variety of local foods.
  • Daredzhani:  A Georgian restaurant offering a variety of flavorful dishes. Georgian cuisine is popular in Almaty, and this restaurant is a favorite.

3. Cafes and Street Food


Some of the best cafes in Almaty and street food stalls where you can grab a quick bite. Popular street foods include samsa (savory pastries), shashlik (grilled meat skewers), and lagman (noodle soup). Cafes are also a great place to relax and enjoy coffee or tea, often served with sweet treats like baursak.

4. Vegetarian and Vegan Options


While traditional Kazakh cuisine is meat-heavy, you can find vegetarian and vegan options at international restaurants and cafes. Govinda’s is a vegetarian restaurant, and Health Project is a vegan cafe offering a variety of plant-based meals.

Things to See and Do

Almaty is a city with a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty. Here are some top attractions and activities. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.

1. Cultural and Historical Sites

  • Zenkov Cathedral: This beautiful wooden cathedral is located in Panfilov Park. It’s one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world and a must-see for its unique architecture.
  • Central State Museum: Offers a comprehensive look at Kazakhstan’s history and culture. The museum’s exhibits include artifacts from prehistoric times to the present day.
  • Green Bazaar: A bustling market where you can buy fresh produce, spices, and local delicacies. It’s a great place to experience local life and try some traditional foods.

2. Natural Attractions

  • Kok-Tobe Hill: Offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. You can take a cable car to the top, where there are restaurants, a mini-zoo, and entertainment options and is one of the best photography spots in Almaty
  • Big Almaty Lake: A picturesque mountain lake located about 15 km from the city. It’s a popular spot for hiking, picnicking, and taking photos.
  • Medeu Skating Rink: The highest ice skating rink in the world, surrounded by beautiful mountains. In the winter, you can skate, and in the summer, you can hike in the area.

3. Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking: Almaty is surrounded by mountains, offering numerous hiking trails for all skill levels. Popular adventure activities in Almaty include routes in the Ile-Alatau National Park and around the Shymbulak ski resort.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding: During winter, Shymbulak ski resort is a favorite destination for winter sports enthusiasts. The slopes are suitable for both beginners and experienced skiers.

4. Cultural Experiences

  • Opera and Ballet: Almaty has a rich cultural scene, and you can enjoy performances at the Abai Opera and Ballet Theatre. It’s a great way to experience local arts.
  • Traditional Music and Dance: Look for performances of traditional Kazakh music and dance to experience the local culture. These performances often feature traditional instruments and colorful costumes.


1. Traditional Markets

  • Green Bazaar: A must-visit for local produce, spices, dried fruits, nuts, and souvenirs. The vibrant atmosphere makes it a fun place to explore.
  • Zilyoni Bazaar: Zilyoni Bazaar is another popular market where fresh produce and local foods are found. It’s a great place to experience the local way of life.

2. Shopping Malls

  • Dostyk Plaza: A modern mall with a variety of international and local brands, restaurants, and a cinema. It’s a good place for shopping and entertainment
  • Esentai Mall: A high-end mall offering luxury brands, fine dining, and a range of services. It’s the place to go if you’re looking for upscale shopping in Almaty.

3. Souvenirs


Look for traditional Kazakh handicrafts like felt products, jewelry, and textiles. These items make great souvenirs and gifts. You can find them at markets, specialty shops, and department stores. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.

Safety Tips

  • General Safety: Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places. Keep your belongings secure and avoid displaying valuables. Stick to well-lit and busy areas, particularly at night. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.
  • Transportation Safety: Use registered taxis or ride-hailing apps like Yandex.Taxi or inDriver. This ensures you get fair pricing and reliable service. On public transport, keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.
  • Health: It’s best to avoid tap water and drink bottled water instead. Bottled water is widely available. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical expenses in case of illness or injury.
  • Emergency Numbers: Dial 112 for emergencies. It’s also helpful to know the contact details of your embassy or consulate in case you need assistance.

Language and Communication


Kazakh and Russian are the official languages of Kazakhstan. Here are some tips to help you communicate more effectively:

  • Learning Basic Phrases: While many people in tourist areas speak some English, learning a few basic Kazakh or Russian phrases can be very helpful. Simple greetings and thank-you are especially appreciated. Phrases like “Hello” (Salem in Kazakh, Zdravstvuyte in Russian) and “Thank you” (Rakhmet in Kazakh, Spasibo in Russian) can go a long way.
  • Translation Apps: Use translation apps like Google Translate. These can be very helpful for translating signs, menus, and basic conversations. Download language packs for offline use in case you don’t have internet access.
  • English Signage: Major attractions, hotels, and restaurants often have English signs and menus. However, this may be less common in more local or remote areas, so having a translation app or phrasebook can be useful.

Money and Currency


Kazakhstan’s currency is the Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT). Here are some tips for handling money during your trip:

  • Currency Exchange: You can exchange money at banks, exchange offices, and some hotels. Rates are usually better at exchange offices, which can be found throughout the city.  ATMs are widely available and accept international cards. Look for ATMs in banks, shopping malls, and major hotels. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.
  • Credit Cards: Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted, but it’s always good to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases. In case you visit more remote areas.
  • Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Kazakhstan, but it’s appreciated. In restaurants, a 10% tip is usually sufficient. For taxi drivers and hotel staff, rounding up the fare or leaving a small amount is a nice gesture. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.

Connectivity and Internet

  • SIM Cards: You can buy a local SIM card from major providers like Beeline, Kcell, or Tele2. They offer prepaid plans with data, which are useful for staying connected during your trip. You’ll need your passport to purchase a SIM card. These can be bought at the airport, mobile phone shops, or convenience stores.
  • Wi-Fi: Most hotels, cafes, and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi. There are also several public Wi-Fi hotspots around the city. Wi-Fi is generally reliable, but it’s good to have a local SIM card as a backup, especially if you plan to travel outside the city.
  • Roaming: Check with your mobile provider about international roaming plans. However, using a local SIM card is usually more cost-effective and offers better data speeds.

Cultural Etiquette

  • Greetings: A handshake is a common greeting in Kazakhstan. In more formal settings, it’s polite to use both hands. When greeting someone, it’s respectful to stand up if you’re seated and greet the oldest person first.
  • Dress Code: Dress modestly when visiting religious sites. Women should cover their heads and shoulders, and men should avoid wearing shorts. In general, casual attire is acceptable, but it’s respectful to dress neatly, especially in more formal settings. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.
  • Respect for Elders: Kazakh culture places a high value on respect for elders. Always greet older people first and offer them your seat on public transportation. When entering a home, it’s customary to remove your shoes and often to bring a small gift, such as sweets or flowers.
  • Dining Etiquette: When invited to someone’s home, it’s customary to bring a small gift, such as sweets or flowers. It’s polite to wait for the host to start eating before you begin. In a restaurant, it’s common for the host to pay for the meal. If you’re the guest, it’s polite to offer to pay, but don’t insist.

What is the best time to visit Almaty?

The best time is from late spring to early autumn (May to September) for mild weather ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

What are the must-visit attractions in Almaty?

Visit Medeu Skating Rink, Kok Tobe Hill for city views, Central State Museum for history, and Big Almaty Lake for stunning natural beauty.

How can I get around Almaty?

Easily explore via public buses, taxis, or rental cars. Almaty’s metro system provides efficient transportation between major landmarks.

What should I know about local customs and etiquette in Almaty?

Greet with a handshake, remove shoes before entering homes, and avoid discussing sensitive topics like politics or religion unless initiated by locals. It is one of the best travel tips for Almaty to explore.

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