Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth-biggest country thanks to its abundant reserves of oil and other valuable minerals. When you come to Kazakhstan, usually you visit one of the major cities – Astana, which is the capital, or Almaty, the old capital and the cultural city of Kazakhstan. As our branch office is registered and based in Almaty, we share our ultimate must-do list for a perfect visit if you only have 24 hours in this exciting and vibrant country….
Places To See:
The Arasan Baths: Known as the best bathhouse in all of Central Asia and for good reason! The marble bathing area is gorgeous, and the facilities are spotless.
Panfilov Park: Named after the Panfilov Heroes, a group of 28 soldiers from the Almaty infantry unit who died in 1941 fighting off the Nazis, the park is a great place to relax with a book and an ice-cream cone!
Zenkov Cathedral: Located at Panfilov Park, this colorful cathedral was built in 1904 and is a functioning Russian Orthodox Church.
The Green Market: Teeming with fresh fruit, all kinds of meats, nuts, clothing and household items. Not only are the fresh foods delicious, but the vendors are from all over Central Asia and are very friendly.
Central Mosque: One of the largest mosques in Kazakhstan, which can be visited every day except for Fridays. Note: women must cover their arms, legs and heads here.
Go to the Opera/Ballet: Check out the Philharmonic, the Abay State Opera House or the Ballet Theatre. There are three or four performances a week and if you have a mid-range budget, it makes for a great evening out on the town.
Things To Discover:
Big Almaty Lake (Ozero Bolshoe Almatinskoe): One of the most beautiful spots is the Big Almaty Lake (it’s only 1.6km long). The colour of the lake can be green, turquoise or even grayish depending on the time of year. The forest is stunning and it’s a great place to get some fresh air!
Medeu Ice Rink and Chimbulak Ski Resort: These two spots make for a perfect day trip out of the city. During the winter, you can put on skates and skis, and in the summer, it’s a great place for hiking around the valleys, or just having lunch and a beer while enjoying some spectacular views.
Kok-Tobe Hill: At 1,100m above sea level, this is the place to go for great views of Almaty city. Once at the top, chill out at one of the restaurants, buy some souvenirs, enjoy the fairground, and don’t forget to have a look at the bronze statue of the Beatles!
Where To Eat:
You can’t leave Kazakhstan without trying the local food…
Tyubeteyka: A long-standing, much loved local restaurant with an abundance of Central Asian favourites.
Line Brew: A popular nationwide microbrewery that attracts the carnivorously inclined with stone-cooked meats and some of the juiciest shashlyk in the region. The local craft beer is the best in Almaty and there is a pretty summer terrace on top of the restaurant.
Venetsia: The outdoor terrace of this popular restaurant is a great place to eat on summer evenings. There is a huge choice of Central Asian and Caucasian dishes, including Kazakh’s famous beshbarmak (flat noodles with meat cooked in a vegetable broth, which is eaten separately).
Local Drinks: For those who like challenges, you should try the local speciality drinks, such as Kumys (horse milk) and Shubat (camel milk), but don’t indulge before taking a flight or a long drive, as they are very strong!
Where To Stay:
Ritz Carlton: A new, modern hotel located in the upper side of Almaty, where you can relax and enjoy a perfect view of the mountains and forests.
Rixos Hotel: Located in the city centre, next to Green Park.
Intercontinental Hotel: A lovely hotel with stunning mountain views.
Almaty is a city for those who enjoy night life. There are plenty of cool night clubs and cafes where you can stay and watch the sunrise.
Kazakhstan Fast Facts:
Population: 18, 473, 900
Currency: Kazakhstan Tenge
Time Zone: GMT +6
Languages: Kazakh, Russian, English, German