5-Day Almaty Expedition: Nightlife and Sightseeing with Friends

Almaty, Kazakhstan

5 days

The national nature park is the Kolsay lake near Almaty
Big Almaty Lake,Tien Shan Mountains
Gold Hotel Kazakhstan symbol
The Ascension Cathedral also known as Zenkov Cathedral
Entrance to the First President Park

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.

5-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Central Almaty

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Central State Museum, one of the largest museums in Central Asia. It houses a vast collection of Kazakh historical, archaeological, and modern cultural artifacts.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Kazakh lunch in a local restaurant. Try dishes like Beshbarmak, Kuyrdak, and Baursaki.

Afternoon

After lunch, head to Panfilov Park, a beautiful green space named after the Panfilov Heroes, 28 soldiers who died fighting against Nazi invasion. Don't miss the Zenkov Cathedral, a wooden structure without a single nail.

Dinner

Have dinner at a popular local restaurant, where you can enjoy a variety of international and local dishes.

Evening

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Almaty at one of the city's bustling nightclubs or bars.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Green Bazaar, a lively market where you can buy fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional Kazakh items.

Lunch

Have lunch at a local café, where you can try some Kazakh delicacies.

Afternoon

After lunch, visit the Arasan Baths, a famous public bathhouse with separate sections for men and women. It's a great place to relax and experience a traditional Kazakh sauna.

Dinner

Enjoy a hearty dinner at a local restaurant, where you can try a variety of Kazakh and international dishes.

Evening

Spend the evening exploring the city's nightlife. Visit a local bar or nightclub and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Kok-Tobe Hill, which offers panoramic views of the city. You can reach the top by cable car.

Lunch

Have lunch at a restaurant on Kok-Tobe Hill, where you can enjoy delicious food with a stunning view of the city.

Afternoon

After lunch, explore the attractions on Kok-Tobe Hill, including the Beatles monument, the Ferris wheel, and the mini-zoo.

Dinner

Have dinner at a restaurant in the city center, where you can try a variety of local and international dishes.

Evening

Spend the evening exploring the city's nightlife. Visit a local bar or nightclub and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Big Almaty Lake, a natural alpine reservoir located in the mountains. It's a great place for hiking and photography.

Lunch

Have a picnic lunch by the Big Almaty Lake. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and beautiful views.

Afternoon

After lunch, continue exploring the area around the Big Almaty Lake. You can go for a hike or just relax by the lake.

Dinner

Have dinner at a local restaurant in the city, where you can try a variety of Kazakh and international dishes.

Evening

Spend the evening exploring the city's nightlife. Visit a local bar or nightclub and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Shymbulak Ski Resort. Even if you're not into skiing, you can enjoy the beautiful mountain views and take a cable car ride.

Lunch

Have lunch at a restaurant in the Shymbulak Ski Resort, where you can enjoy delicious food with a stunning view of the mountains.

Afternoon

After lunch, explore the Shymbulak Ski Resort. You can go for a walk, take a cable car ride, or just relax and enjoy the beautiful views.

Dinner

Have your farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant, where you can enjoy a variety of international and local dishes.

Evening

Spend your last evening in Almaty exploring the city's nightlife. Visit a local bar or nightclub and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Attractions in Itinerary (8)

Central State Museum

1
Central State Museum

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

Museums
Panfilov Park

2
Panfilov Park

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

Parks
Cultural Experiences
Zenkov Cathedral

3
Zenkov Cathedral

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

Religious Sites
Architecture
Green Bazaar

4
Green Bazaar

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

Shopping
Food and Drink
Arasan Baths

5
Arasan Baths

Arasan Baths is a public bathhouse that combines Russian, Finnish and Oriental bath traditions. It is an architectural landmark, featuring a grand facade and intricate interior designs.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
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
Big Almaty Lake

7
Big Almaty Lake

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

Attractions
Parks
Tours
Landmarks
Shymbulak Ski Resort

8
Shymbulak Ski Resort

A popular ski resort offering a range of winter sports activities.

Sports
Entertainment

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 (5 pairs)

  • Socks (5 pairs)

  • T-shirts (5)

  • Long-sleeve shirts (2)

  • Jeans or comfortable trousers (2 pairs)

  • Shorts (1 pair)

  • Sweater or hoodie (1)

  • Lightweight jacket (1)

  • Pajamas (1 set)

  • Swimsuit (1)

  • Comfortable walking shoes (1 pair)

  • Sandals or flip-flops (1 pair)

  • Hat or cap for sun protection (1)

  • Sunglasses (1 pair)

  • Gloves (1 pair)

  • Scarf (1)

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush (1)

  • Toothpaste (1)

  • Floss (1)

  • Deodorant (1)

  • Shampoo (1)

  • Conditioner (1)

  • Body wash or soap (1)

  • Razor (1)

  • Shaving cream (1)

  • Lotion (1)

  • Sunscreen (1)

  • Lip balm (1)

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Prescription medications

  • First aid kit

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Driver's license or ID card

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash and coins

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel and/or car rental reservations

  • Emergency contacts and addresses

  • Maps and guidebooks

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Power bank

  • Headphones or earbuds

  • Laptop and charger

  • Camera and charger

  • Memory cards for camera

  • Travel adapter for plugs

  • E-reader or tablet

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks

  • Bottled water

  • Books or magazines

  • Travel games or playing cards

  • Notebook and pen

  • Reusable shopping bag

  • Umbrella or rain poncho

  • Travel laundry detergent

  • Travel-sized sewing kit

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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