2015 & 2017
In 2015 I traveled for the first time to Kazakhstan in the December period. The temperature was around 10c, normally it would be closer to 0c.. I visited the city of Almaty for a reason. Which I keep for myself. I will explain my view on the country and it’s surroundings. From Amsterdam there are direct flights to Almaty, the flight took 7 hours, which wasn’t to bad.
At 4:00 in the morning, I got a taxi offer, which was relative expensive for the country. 8000 Tenge where 3000 Tenge would be more normal. I arrived in the hotel and slept some hours. Got up early for a breakfast and a walk around the city.
It’s a city with a few million people and you can see it. Pollution a lot of cars the small, this because the city is surrounded by mountains and the airflow is not optimal. When you visit Almaty it’s good to visit at least one or two sights near the city. Which is in the mountains, one is Medeu / Shymbulak. In the summer you can go hiking there, but in the winter it’s a good place for skiing and ice skating.
You get some fresh air 15 minutes away from the city and you notice the difference of the air. If you traveling in a relative spring/summer time than you can visit Big Almaty Lake. it’s longer to get there, but it’s worth the view. It is not allowed to get close to the water. It’s drinking water for the region, it’s not the risk worth to get closer as there are guards watching the area. from a distance you can have a good and nice view from the lake and surroundings.
Some awareness with the drivers (because everyone is a taxi driver). They try to rip you off because you are not from there. They do it even when you are with a local. The chance that you get a cheap ride over a long distance. Public transport is only 80 Tenge which is cheap. Bus schedule is complicated. Metro system 1 line is good and easy to take.
Although it’s a big city I wasn’t unsafe there. If you are dating a local girl then you have to be aware especially in parks and around drunk guys. Alcohol is sold till 21:00 (may 2017)
The food is in general good. It is even possible to find Georgian, Uzbek food from the surrounding countries. Food is not that expensive.