"Almaty, Central Asian Jewel" Top 5 Page for this destination Almaty by rsleisk

Almaty Travel Guide: 373 reviews and 895 photos

Tian Shan mountains "mountains of the spirits"

Although my time in Almaty was brief, only 3 days because of an error with my visa, I found the city to be very European and modern.

The issue I had with my visa was that it had expired. I had only gotten the visa a day before I left the US. I mistook 08/07/04 for August 7th when it was really July 8th.

When I arrived in Almaty at nearly midnight I was going through customs and the soldier whisked me away telling me that my visa had expired. I ended up getting a transfer visa based on my Uzbekistan visa which allowed me only 3 days in Kazakhstan.

The problem with that, which I didn't find out until I was leaving was the guy stamped it with 5 minutes till the next day so I was supposed to leave on the 29th, well I left on the 30th, so I was illegal leaving the country.

I ended up working a deal with the customs lady and her boss, I bought them both bottles of vodka to leave the country! That's how some things work here. Next time I will read my visa more carefully.

The city was bustling with the economic boom of an oil rich land. There were many fancy cars and Casinos. The people were very friendly, an interesting mix of Kazak, Russian and Muslim.

The food and transportation was very inexpensive. You could take a Taxi or a ride all around the city and not pay more than 200 Tenge ($1.50 USD).

The temperature was very nice and cool. The majestic Tian Shan mountain range is only about 20 minutes away but there are breathtaking views from many vantage points in the city.

Check out this website for more great info:


Plazas and statues

This was a major plaza with nice statues. Hidden in between the buildings behind these statues was a great Irish pub called The Dublin. Try a pint of Kilkenny beer and a burger!

Further to the right of these statues is Furmanov street where there are shops and good restaurants like Line Brew.

Building Boom

The town seemed to be going through a growth spurt for there were many new buildings being erected.

This was a view from my hotel room at the Regent Ankara which gives you a glimpse at the Tian Shan mountain range.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Vibrant, European, modern city, beautiful mountains!
  • Cons:Not there long enough to find any...
  • In a nutshell:Central Asian Jewel
  • Last visit to Almaty: Jul 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (13)

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    Interesting page about a very interesting destination! Cheers, Pierre

  • birchy99's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2006 at 8:39 PM

    Ya gotta like a guy who likes a place that has good beer. Cheers, Mart

  • planxty's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2006 at 9:08 PM

    Excellent Almaty tips, mate, very informative. fergy.

  • Nov 8, 2005 at 8:23 AM

    What an interesting destination...! I'm glad to hear Norway's on your wish list now -and no visa is required here..;o) ~mette~

  • Vea's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2005 at 3:27 AM

    That's a great Almaty page!!! been there before and going there next week. Superb Page! Cheers, V P.S. Baltika forever! :)))

  • Maillekeukeul's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2005 at 2:30 PM

    A good glimpse of the city...

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2005 at 1:36 PM

    An interesting place to get stuck! Do not talk to me about these date conventions... I suffer with it everyday; the French do D/M/Y, and the Americans M/D/Y, and I am still not used to the (illogical) American way!! Another excellent page!

  • Aurorae's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2005 at 9:16 AM

    What an ultra appealing destination!!! Central Asia has been my dream for years! Nice page!

  • bscott1's Profile Photo
    Dec 6, 2004 at 7:26 PM

    Sounds like a pretty far out experience! I've heard similar things about Kazakhstan!

  • orlikins's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2004 at 2:37 AM

    Irish pubs in the heart of Kazahkstan? whatever next? ;) Amazing what some officials will do for a bottle of vodka ;)


“In the end you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn Mountain.”

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