3-Day Adventure and Exploration Guide to Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty, Kazakhstan

3 days

Entrance to the First President Park
Kaindy Lake known also as Birch Tree Lake or Underwater forest
Shymbulakski resort located in the upper part of the Medeu Valley in the Zaiilisky Alatau mountain
Gold Hotel Kazakhstan symbol
Big Almaty Lake,Tien Shan Mountains

About Almaty, Kazakhstan

Discover Almaty, the cultural and financial hub of Kazakhstan, nestled in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. This vibrant city offers a unique blend of modern architecture and Soviet-era charm. Visit Panfilov Park, home to the Zenkov Cathedral, a stunning wooden structure, or explore the Central State Museum to delve into Kazakhstan's rich history. Enjoy a cable car ride to Kok-Tobe Hill for panoramic city views and visit the bustling Green Bazaar for local produce and handicrafts. For nature lovers, the nearby Big Almaty Lake and Medeu outdoor ice rink offer breathtaking scenery and adventure. Almaty is a melting pot of cultures, offering a diverse culinary scene from traditional Kazakh to international cuisine. Experience the warm hospitality of Almaty, a city that beautifully combines tradition and modernity.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring the Heart of Almaty

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Panfilov Park, a beautiful green space in the heart of Almaty. Here, you'll find the Zenkov Cathedral, one of the world's tallest wooden buildings.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Kazakh lunch in a local restaurant. Try dishes like beshbarmak, a hearty meat and pasta dish, or plov, a flavorful rice dish.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Central State Museum, which houses a vast collection of Kazakh artifacts. Then, head to the Green Bazaar, a vibrant market where you can buy everything from fresh produce to traditional Kazakh crafts.

Dinner

Have dinner in a restaurant offering a fusion of Kazakh and international cuisines. Don't miss trying kumis, a traditional fermented horse milk drink.

Evening

End your day with a stroll along the Arbat Street, a pedestrian street filled with shops, cafes, and street performers.

Morning

Begin your second day with a cable car ride up to Kok-Tobe Hill, offering panoramic views of Almaty and the surrounding mountains.

Lunch

Have lunch at a hilltop restaurant on Kok-Tobe Hill, enjoying the stunning views of the city below.

Afternoon

Visit the Almaty Zoo in the afternoon, home to a variety of animals from around the world. Then, take a leisurely walk in the nearby Gorky Park.

Dinner

Dine in a restaurant offering a wide range of cuisines. Try some Kazakh wine, known for its unique flavors.

Evening

Spend the evening at a local theater, enjoying a performance of traditional Kazakh music and dance.

Morning

Start your final day with a visit to the Big Almaty Lake, a stunning natural wonder located in the mountains south of Almaty.

Lunch

Enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake, taking in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Afternoon

In the afternoon, visit the Botanical Garden, home to a diverse range of plant species. It's a perfect place for relaxation and nature photography.

Dinner

Have your farewell dinner in a restaurant offering a panoramic view of Almaty. Try some local desserts like baursak, a type of fried dough.

Evening

End your trip with a visit to the Ascension Cathedral, a beautiful Russian Orthodox church, and a leisurely walk in the surrounding park.

Attractions in Itinerary (11)

Panfilov Park

1
Panfilov Park

A beautiful park named after the Panfilov Heroes, 28 soldiers who died fighting against Nazi invasion.

Parks
Cultural Experiences
Zenkov Cathedral

2
Zenkov Cathedral

A stunning Russian Orthodox cathedral made entirely of wood, without any nails.

Religious Sites
Architecture
Central State Museum

3
Central State Museum

One of the largest museums in Central Asia, it houses a rich collection of artifacts reflecting Kazakhstan's history.

Museums
Green Bazaar

4
Green Bazaar

A bustling market where you can buy local produce, spices, and traditional Kazakh foods.

Shopping
Food and Drink
Arbat Street

5
Arbat Street

Arbat Street is a popular pedestrian street in the center of Almaty. It is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and often hosts street performances and art displays.

Attractions
Shopping
Cultural Experiences
Neighborhoods
Kok-Tobe Hill

6
Kok-Tobe Hill

A popular tourist spot offering panoramic views of the city of Almaty. It also features a variety of entertainment facilities including a zoo and amusement park.

Attractions
Tours
Almaty Zoo

7
Almaty Zoo

Home to a variety of animals, it's one of the largest zoos in Kazakhstan.

Attractions
Gorky Park

8
Gorky Park

A popular recreational park in Almaty, featuring amusement rides, a Ferris wheel, and a variety of food stalls.

Parks
Big Almaty Lake

9
Big Almaty Lake

A natural alpine reservoir located in the mountains, offering stunning views and hiking opportunities.

Attractions
Parks
Tours
Landmarks
Botanical Garden

10
Botanical Garden

A large and beautiful garden with a variety of plant species from around the world.

Gardens
Ascension Cathedral

11
Ascension Cathedral

One of the tallest wooden buildings in the world, this Russian Orthodox cathedral is a must-see.

Attractions
Religious Sites
Architecture

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak is a traditional Kazakh dish, often considered the national dish of Kazakhstan. It is a hearty meat dish usually made with boiled lamb or beef and served over pasta.

Kumis

Kumis

Kumis is a traditional fermented dairy product made from mare's milk. It is a popular drink in Kazakhstan and is often consumed during special occasions.

Baursaki

Baursaki

Baursaki are deep-fried dough balls that are a common snack in Kazakhstan. They are often served with tea and can be sweet or savoury.

Shashlik

Shashlik

Shashlik is a popular dish in Kazakhstan, typically made from marinated cubes of meat grilled on a skewer. It is often served with onions and a side of bread.

Kazy

Kazy

Kazy is a traditional Kazakh sausage made from horse meat. It is often served as part of a larger meal and is a popular dish in Kazakhstan.

Kurt

Kurt

Kurt is a traditional Kazakh snack made from dried curdled milk. It is often consumed as a snack and is a popular food item in Kazakhstan.

Manti

Manti

Manti is a type of dumpling popular in Kazakhstan. It is typically filled with meat and served with a side of sour cream.

Chak Chak

Chak Chak

Chak Chak is a popular dessert in Kazakhstan. It is made from deep-fried dough that is then coated in honey and left to harden.

Kompot

Kompot

Kompot is a traditional non-alcoholic beverage in Kazakhstan. It is made by boiling various fruits in water with sugar and is often served chilled.

Samsa

Samsa

Samsa is a popular snack in Kazakhstan. It is a baked pastry filled with meat, onions, and spices.

Shubat

Shubat

Shubat is a traditional Kazakh drink made from fermented camel's milk. It is a popular drink in Kazakhstan and is often consumed during the summer months.

Plov

Plov

Plov is a popular dish in Kazakhstan. It is a rice dish cooked with meat, carrots, and spices, often garnished with fresh herbs.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Almaty, Kazakhstan is during the late spring and early autumn, specifically from April to June and September to early November. During these periods, the weather is generally pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities. The city is beautifully adorned with blooming flowers in spring, while autumn offers a stunning display of fall foliage. Winter can also be an interesting time to visit if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, as Almaty is home to some of the best ski resorts in Central Asia. However, the weather can be quite cold and harsh for those not accustomed to it.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 2

Tue

New Year Holiday

January 7

Sun

Orthodox Christmas Day

March 8

Fri

International Women's Day

March 21

Thu

Nauryz

March 22

Fri

Nauryz Holiday

March 23

Sat

Nauryz Holiday

March 25

Mon

Nauryz Holiday observed

May 1

Wed

Unity Day

May 7

Tue

Defender of the Fatherland Day

May 9

Thu

Victory Day

June 16

Sun

Kurban Ait

July 6

Sat

Day of the Capital

July 8

Mon

Day off for Day of the Capital

August 30

Fri

Constitution Day

October 25

Fri

Republic Day

December 16

Mon

Independence Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Public buses are a common way to get around Almaty. They cover a wide area of the city and are quite reliable. However, they can get crowded during peak hours. You can pay for the bus using cash or a transport card which can be purchased and topped up at various locations around the city.

Almaty's metro system is a convenient and efficient way to travel around the city. It's clean, modern, and the trains run frequently. The metro system is not extensive, but it covers some of the main areas of the city. You can pay for the metro using a transport card.

Taxis are readily available in Almaty. You can hail a taxi on the street or book one through a taxi company. It's recommended to negotiate the fare before starting the journey. There are also several taxi apps available for use in Almaty, including Yandex.Taxi.

Ridesharing services are popular in Almaty. The most commonly used ridesharing app is Yandex.Taxi, which works similarly to Uber. It's a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. You can pay for your ride through the app using a credit or debit card.

Almaty is a bike-friendly city with many dedicated bike lanes. There are several bike rental services available, making it easy to explore the city on two wheels. However, be aware that Almaty is quite hilly, so cycling can be challenging in some areas.

Renting a car is another option for getting around Almaty. This gives you the freedom to explore the city at your own pace. However, traffic can be heavy and parking can be difficult in the city center. An international driving permit is required to rent a car.

Almaty has a small tram network that covers some parts of the city. It's a cheap and eco-friendly way to travel, but it's not as fast or convenient as other modes of transport. You can pay for the tram using cash or a transport card.

Many of Almaty's attractions are located close together, making it possible to explore the city on foot. The city is pedestrian-friendly with plenty of sidewalks and pedestrian zones. Walking is a great way to experience the local atmosphere and discover hidden gems.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency₸ KZT

Time zoneUTC+6

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone3

Drinking waterOpt for bottled water

Power sockets

Power socket type CPower socket type F

Voltage220 V

Things to know about Almaty, Kazakhstan as a first time visitor

1

Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and served as the country's capital until 1997.

2

The official language is Kazakh, but Russian is also widely spoken and understood.

3

The local currency is the Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT). Credit cards are accepted in many places, but it's a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments.

4

Almaty operates on Kazakhstan Standard Time, which is six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+6).

5

The city has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. Average temperatures range from -4°F to 30°F (-20°C to -1°C) in winter and 65°F to 95°F (18°C to 35°C) in summer.

6

Tipping is not customary in Kazakhstan, but it's appreciated in restaurants and cafes. A tip of around 10% is considered generous.

7

Public transportation in Almaty includes buses, trams, and a metro system. Taxis are also widely available.

8

Kazakhstan uses the type C and F plug sockets. The standard voltage is 220 V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

9

Almaty is generally safe for tourists, but like any large city, it's advisable to take precautions against pickpocketing and other petty crimes.

10

Traditional Kazakh cuisine is meat-heavy, with dishes like beshbarmak and shashlik being popular. Vegetarian options may be limited.

11

Drinking tap water is not recommended in Almaty. It's best to stick to bottled water.

12

Kazakhstan is a predominantly Muslim country, but Almaty is quite cosmopolitan and tolerant. However, it's still important to respect local customs and traditions.

13

The dress code is generally casual, but it's advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.

14

Healthcare facilities in Almaty are adequate, but it's recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical evacuation.

15

Almaty is located in a seismic zone, so familiarize yourself with safety procedures in case of an earthquake.

16

The city is surrounded by mountains, which can cause rapid weather changes. Always check the weather forecast before planning outdoor activities.

17

If you're planning to visit rural areas, be aware that facilities may be basic and English may not be widely spoken.

18

Smoking is banned in public places in Almaty, including restaurants, cafes, and bars.

19

Almaty's air quality can be poor, especially in winter, due to pollution and its location in a mountain valley. If you have respiratory issues, take necessary precautions.

20

Visitors to Kazakhstan must register with the local authorities within five days of arrival. Most hotels will do this for you, but if you're staying in private accommodation, make sure your host registers you.

Basic Kazakh to know as a first time visitor

English phrase

Native phrase

Pronunciation

When to use it

Hello

Сәлем

Sälem

Greeting someone

Goodbye

Сау болыңыз

Sau bolıñız

Leaving or saying goodbye

Please

Өтінемін

Ötinemin

Making a request

Thank you

Рахмет

Rahmet

Expressing gratitude

Yes

Иә

Agreeing or confirming

No

Жоқ

Joq

Disagreeing or denying

Excuse me

Кешіріңіздер

Keshiriñizder

Getting attention or apologizing

I'm sorry

Кешіріңіз

Keshiriñiz

Apologizing

Do you speak English?

Сіз ағылшынша сөйлейсіз бе?

Siz ağılshınsha söyleysiz be?

Trying to communicate

I don't understand

Мен түсінбеймін

Men tüsinbeymin

Having trouble understanding

Where is the bathroom?

Дәретхана қай жерде?

Däretxana qay jerde?

Looking for the bathroom

How much does it cost?

Бұл қанша тұрады?

Bul qansha turady?

Asking for the price

I need a doctor

Маған дәрігер керек

Mağan däriger kerek

In case of emergency

Can I use my credit card?

Мен кредиттік карта пайдалануға бола ма?

Men kreditik karta paydalanuğa bola ma?

Shopping or dining

Where is...?

... қай жерде?

... qay jerde?

Asking for directions

Can you help me?

Маған көмек көрсете аласыз ба?

Mağan kömek körsäte alasız ba?

Asking for help

I'm lost

Мен жолдан тап қаттым

Men joldan tap qattım

When you're lost

Water

Су

Su

Ordering water

Food

Тамақ

Tamaq

Ordering food

Cheers

Құттықтау

Quttıqtau

Making a toast

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • T-shirts

  • Pants/Jeans

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Sweater or jacket (depending on the season)

  • Pajamas

  • Swimsuit (if your hotel has a pool)

  • Hat and sunglasses

  • Scarf or bandana

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • Hand sanitizer

  • First aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers

  • Prescription medications

  • Travel-size laundry detergent

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Driver's license or other ID

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash (in local currency)

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel and/or car rental reservations

  • Emergency contacts and important addresses

  • Maps and guidebooks

  • Phrasebook or language guide

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Headphones

  • Camera

  • Charger for camera

  • Power adapter/converter

  • Portable power bank

  • E-reader or tablet for entertainment

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks

  • Bottled water

  • Travel pillow and blanket

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Travel-size umbrella

  • Reusable shopping bag

  • Notebook and pen

  • Books or magazines for entertainment

Weather Conditions

Almaty, Kazakhstan experiences a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. If you're planning a trip, it's essential to consider the season and pack accordingly. During the summer months, from June to August, temperatures can reach up to 86°F (30°C). It's the perfect time for outdoor activities like hiking in the Tian Shan mountains or exploring the city's parks and gardens. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, a hat, and light clothing to protect yourself from the sun. In contrast, winter in Almaty, which runs from November to February, can be quite cold with temperatures dropping to as low as -4°F (-20°C). Snowfall is common, making it a great time for winter sports enthusiasts to visit the nearby ski resorts. Pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat, and consider investing in thermal layers. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are transitional seasons with moderate temperatures. Spring can be quite wet, so it's advisable to pack a waterproof jacket or umbrella. Autumn, on the other hand, is relatively dry but can be chilly, especially in the evenings. Lastly, Almaty is located in an area prone to seismic activity. While it's not directly weather-related, it's still a natural phenomenon that could affect your travel plans. Stay updated with local news and follow any safety instructions provided by local authorities. Remember, weather can be unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast before your trip. Enjoy your visit to Almaty!

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

-1° / -10°

January is the coldest month in Almaty, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Snowfall is common, making it a great time for winter sports enthusiasts.

February

1° / -9°

February is still quite cold, with a slight increase in temperature. Snow is still present, offering beautiful winter landscapes.

March

9° / -3°

March sees the start of spring with temperatures slowly rising, but nights can still be chilly. The snow begins to melt, revealing the greenery beneath.

April

18° / 4°

April is a pleasant month with moderate temperatures. The city is in full bloom, making it a great time to explore the outdoors.

May

23° / 9°

May is warm and sunny, with long daylight hours. It's an excellent time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

June

27° / 13°

June marks the beginning of summer with temperatures rising significantly. The weather is ideal for hiking and exploring the city's parks.

July

29° / 15°

July is the hottest month in Almaty, with temperatures often exceeding 25 degrees. It's a perfect time for mountain trekking and enjoying the city's outdoor cafes.

August

28° / 14°

August is still quite hot, but temperatures start to cool down towards the end of the month. It's a great time to visit the city's lakes and rivers.

September

23° / 9°

September marks the start of autumn with temperatures dropping. The city is adorned with fall colors, making it a picturesque time to visit.

October

16° / 4°

October is a cool month with temperatures continuing to drop. The fall foliage is in full swing, offering stunning landscapes.

November

7° / -1°

November is a chilly month with the first signs of winter. It's a quiet time to visit, with fewer tourists and serene landscapes.

December

1° / -7°

December is a cold month with snowfall starting again. It's a magical time to visit, with the city adorned in Christmas lights and snow.

Did you know?

Did you know that Almaty, Kazakhstan was the capital of the country until 1997 when it was moved to Astana (now Nur-Sultan)?

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