Hitchhike Your Way Through Almaty – Kazakhstan’s Vibrant Metropolis

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Almaty boasts of a vibrant metropolis and surreal landscapes

Almaty is Kazakhstan's commercial, social and cultural centre. It boasts of skyscrapers, extravagant shopping centres, trendy cafés, fine-dining restaurants, luxurious hotels, lively nightclubs and ski-resorts.

Not only is Almaty Kazakhstan’s main transport and business hub, but it is also a major tourist destination. The city has awe-inspiring museums, verdant parks, wildlife sanctuaries, exotic bathhouses, ornate monuments, and magnificent cultural and religious buildings. Moreover, Almaty is situated at the foot of the Tien-Shan Mountains. This scenic city located in the southeast of Kazakhstan, with its lush green parks and snow-capped mountain ranges, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia.

Almaty is situated at the foot of the majestic Tien-Shan Mountains

While the city of Almaty has great public transport, an interesting way to get around is by hitchhiking. This is a phenomenon unique to Almaty and Kazakhstan. Hitchhiking is customary in Almaty for short distances as well as for cross-country travel. It happens so often that after a while, you will not even notice how frequently people are hitchhiking.

If you would like to hitchhike, offer money for the ride upfront or you could check if the driver will take you for free if he is going in the same direction. Moreover, Central Asians are often perceived to be cold and not friendly. However, the local population of Almaty is very warm and hospitable.

Almaty's majestic Abay State Opera and Ballet Theatre

Relax at Almaty’s Arasan Baths, which were built in the 1980s, in avant-garde Soviet architecture. This bathhouse is known as one of the best traditional bathhouses in Central Asia. Learn about the history of Almaty at the Central State Museum, which is one of the finest museums in Kazakhstan.

Arasan Baths in Almaty is one of the best traditional bathhouses in Central Asia

If you would like a break from being indoors, make your way to Respublika Alany, the central square of Almaty. This open and spacious, traditional, Soviet-built plaza offers scenic views of the mountain ranges and is enclosed by numerous striking buildings and magnificent monuments.

Then head to the Panfilov Park, a leafy sanctuary, which is one of central Almaty's most popular spots. At the park’s centre is the multi-hued Zenkov Cathedral, a majestic, candy-coloured cathedral. In Almaty, you should not miss the Abay State Opera and Ballet Theatre. Not only is it a stunning building, but its shows are also spectacular. Thereafter, visit the Central Mosque, Almaty’s gold-domed, multi-towered, white-marble central mosque.

At Panfilov Park's centre is the multi-hued Zenkov Cathedral, a majestic, candy-coloured cathedral
Central Mosque is Almaty’s gold-domed, multi towered, white-marble central mosque

Immerse yourself in the local Almaty culture by visiting the Green Market. This enormous, two-level market offers an authentic Kazakh experience. Take a break from the city and visit Kök-Töbe Hill, which is located in the city’s southeast edge. Kök-Töbe Hill comprises a 372 metre-high TV tower, which boasts of uninterrupted views of Almaty and the Tien-Shan Mountains.

Take a break from the city and visit Kök-Töbe Hill, which is located in the city’s southeast edge

Where to stay in Almaty

This luxury 5-star hotel is located in the heart of Almaty. This exquisite hotel’s 235 well-appointed rooms are magnificent, elegant and understated.

This glamorous 11-storey property is a 20-minute drive from Kök-Töbe Hill. With a glass façade and an extravagant lobby with beautiful palm trees, this hotel houses opulent guest rooms.

InterContinental Almaty is glamorous property, a 20-minute drive from Kök-Töbe Hill

This modern and economical property is efficient, spotless and located on a peaceful lane off Zhibek Zholy. All the guest rooms are well furnished and feature a balcony with uninterrupted views of the city.

Situated about 200 metres from Almaty Circus and Central Stadium, this sophisticated 5-star property houses lavish guest rooms with scenic views.

Where to eat in Almaty

Venetsia

This is a famous restaurant, which is located near the Malaya Almatinka River. Venetsia offers delicious Central Asian cuisine in a relaxed setting.

Tandoor

If you’re missing Indian food during your travels in Almaty, make your way to a north Indian restaurant known as Tandoor.

Korean House

One of the most popular Korean restaurant chains in the city is Korean House. This classy restaurant is a local institution and has multiple branches in Kazakhstan.

My Café

This chic café with trendy interiors is located in the city centre. The restaurant serves delectable international and local cuisine.

My Café is a chic café with trendy interiors is located in Almaty's city centre

Gosti

Gosti serves lip-smacking Russian dishes with a contemporary twist in a traditional setting.

Gosti serves lip-smacking Russian dishes with a contemporary twist

Almaty travel tips

Best time to visit

June – September

Population

1.7 million

Visa

Indian citizens require a Kazakhstan visa

Currency

Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT)

Language

Primarily, people speak Russian and Kazakh. Younger population of the city speaks some English.

Money

ATMs are common, and credit cards are widely accepted.

Etiquette

It is customary for local men to greet each other with handshakes and local women to kiss each other on the cheek.

Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest metropolis is a cosmopolitan city

Getting Around

Bus, Tram and Trolleybus

They run from 6.00 am or 7.00 am to 10.00 pm daily.

Metro

Almaty’s hygienic and air-conditioned metro is especially convenient for cross-city trips.

Taxi

There are a plethora of taxis in Almaty. Uber is also available in Almaty.

Almaty boasts of ornate monuments and magnificent cultural and religious buildings

Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest metropolis is a cosmopolitan city with surreal natural landscapes. Visit this vibrant city for a spectacular cultural experience amidst stunning natural scenery.

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