The hotel is located in central Almaty Kazakhstan. The airport is about a 30 minute taxi ride away.
Our stay included a descent breakfast. We preferred to eat outside since there were a few good restaurants in the area including one just down the street.
The hotel is small. It has only 2 floors but the rooms are fairly large. Our room had a balcony, cable tv, air conditioning, and all the basics you would find in most hotels. Most importantly to me was that it was clean and had a good shower.
The bathroom had a 3 head shower. It felt great after a hot day, and lots of walking.
Very central, safer than feared. It had all the luxury of some place rented on hour basis, including jacuzzi, strobe lights and mirrors on the ceiling.
it didn't have amenities such as hot water.
This one was very central, in Gogol St.
Interesting if you want to impress the lady-friend you met in the street.
I spent five nights in Feb. 2007 on business. It is said that hotel charge in Almaty is expensive than neighbouring countries. Indeed, this hotel charge is 12,800 tenge equivalent to USD100 with single room including breakfast (1,000 tenge). At breakfast you can order whatever you want from menu and your room charge covers 1000 tenge. Foods are average and there is no filtered coffee.
The hotel is locate din the centre and near by Science Academy and is four stories building and there is no elevator. The room is reasonable size with higher ceiling. Heating system, radiator, is well work for keeping at 21 Celsius. Lighting in the room is a little dark and a TV and a desk are facilitated.
Internet service is provided via telephone line and it will be charged depending on how many minute did you use.
There is another Tien-Shan Hotel, but it is Tien-Shan Hotel Grand near by (north) and it is more expensive and classic style of building.
this is just a few hotels i list just for your interest. i didnt stay here but for sure it will make it easy for you to look for something in town:
MIDDLE PRICE HOTELS IN ALMATY:
phone:720070/47, this is a flat building hotel near the center aside the theatre of opera and ballet of almaty. price go from $10 to $60, depending on what you want. street:Kabanbai Batyr 85, www.hotel-almaty.kz
phone:613265. Near Hotel Almaty, better rooms, good deal for doubles. prices go from $40/$50. street: Furmanov 135.
this is just a few hotels i list just for your interest. i didnt stay here but for sure it will make it easy for you to llok for something in town:
CHEAP HOTELS IN ALMATY:
phone:604213;dormitory with shared bath, costs only $2!!!! this is ocated inside the international all of the almaty II train station. watch out for your stuff...;
phone:737522;room for $10; very old hotel just a few hundred metres from the russian embasy and from the goethe institut. Zhandosova 1;
this was a fabulous weekend. you can just get the bus to medeo and you have this amazing cold ice rivers and nature. horses and wonderful mountain views.
i remember just staying there not doing much more than just reading my "Way of TAO" book for a whole day and getting some burning sun! yes watch out for the sun which is very strong on the mountains.
you can get your camping gas gear and cook for youself. i had enough drinking water from the river which i just mixed with some "clear water" pills. so fresh water, sin, good book and relaxation on the moutains for hours in a row. i bought some pasta with mushrooms and cheese, quick cook and some bread, kefir...just enough for the weekend.
i heard this area can get a bit dangerous for people haning out alone and sleeping there also alone... be careful tough. check out the picture and see my shoes, camping gas gear sleeping bag. it get chilly during the night.
price: FREE, nature is for FREE!!
this tip is from a place already a few hundred kms from almaty. but i put here cos i intend to tell all my almaty experience on this page, so i went here for a weekend while staying in almaty. this way you can se what kind of things you can prepare for shirt way out of the city and during weekends.
really deep inside the Ili Alatau park we saw some kazakh nomads. we went up the mountain with the 4wd car but i end going alone 7 kms to meet this nomads the next day we arrive and camp on the top of the hill. i meet this very nice nomad family and stayed with them. thier tea is fantastic. remember they dont even speak much russian so my dialogues were very limited.
amazing opportunity for pictures! amazing opportunity to meet the real kazakh nomads on their daily life witough any intermisson of tourism agencies or something like this.
if you are vegetarian is better to make it undestandable right in the few minutes of meeting the families. try their tea and actually help the father taking cre of the goats and stuff like this...
be careful with AYRAN made from horse... argh!!! ahhhhh bad bad awful taste.
price: KAZAKH YURT FOR FREE
This was also another nice weekend and a big adventure for me. sho this lady where i was staying in almaty knew another lady that had her grandson going camping with some friends to the mountains. i joined them on the 4x4 cars, so we went off road to the mountains on the border with kyrgistan inside the national reserv Ili Alatau.
nature nature all over. because we had a 4x4 car we could go inside the mountains even without any roads, passing rivers and rocks. during the night we made this fire and they drunk alot of vodka while i made my normal tea hehe. they were very syprised that i wasnt drinking with them. in the morning they had for breakfast more vodka and tomato juice...booldy mary for breakfast while i had kefir and musli...
again, price: FREE, nature's always for free!
So this was the thing that made all my stay in almaty worth 1000%!!
i end up staying with a family. after 2 days loking for an affordable hotel in almaty (i intended to stay for a month, so i had to choose the cheapest of course) ,i ended meeting this lady who gave me her friendship right from the start.
i was on my way to a hotel when i saw this lady waiting for a taxi. i asked her if she knew how could i get a bus and where could i buy a ticket. her english was very ok and she explained me all i needed. after 2 minutes waiting for a bus i asked her if i could share a taxi with her. so we started talking about me and about her and she said she would show me a hotel where i could stay. we went there but it was full. this hotel was so far the cheapest i foud but full. she said that if i didnt find anything until 5pm that i should call her to go to her house and drink a cup of tea. i went to a fw more hotels which were too expensive for a month stay so i decided to go and call her when on my way to the phone i meet her! faith i guess!
i went to drink a cup of tea at her house where i met her mother and her 18old daughter. after a while her mother (the grandmother) said she liked me a lot hehe bla bla bla and they said they could rent one of their rooms for me for a few days. the price was very ok by me. from the star tthe price was $6us with full board. after all i saw in town this was really a good price.
i stayed 1 month there and i had great time playing piano. this lady sveta was a music teacher and i could start learning piano with her and with her daughter alina, which was in fact the best young flaute musician in whole kazakhstan. she had won already a sholarship for 3 months in moscow to learn in a very important school. so i was in a very decent house full with artists.
sveta's father was a very well known jornalist which was killed on the streets near their house after publishing an article about local mafia. so the government gave them the house to live in. sveta works as a secretary in a lutheran church association where i ened giving voluntary help as a art workshops teacher and help also on their english children summer semminars on their summer camp house in the mountains.
i met this guy on my flight from frankfurt which was working in almaty already for a few years. so after many hours chating on the airplane we ended creating a friendship. after and because we arrived to almaty already during the night, he offered me a ride on his 4x4. so i had a ride with a private driver to this youth hostel near hotel kazakstan which was closed. as it was to late already he said i could sleep on his living room and go out in the morning loking for something better with more time.
im just telling this story here cos this can actually happen to you. so prepare to be offered a place to sleep or even be prepared to OFFER a place to sleep.
this house was located on the hill part of the town on the way to the bear gorges, south-west part of town. the way to this neighborhod was a bit less depolluted than the rest of the town.
I arrived in Almaty and there was nothing available for under $100/night. I finally found a dorm bed out at the bus station. Very clean, adn only T400 ($3) for a bed. The first night I shared a room for T1800 with my friend. The 43 bus and some trams head out to the bus station (3KM outta the center). It's worth the commute; it's easy to get to and from town. There is also supposed to be a cheap place at the train station but I heard it's VERY noisy.
Smelly toilet. Staff tries to keep you from taking the dorm room. Otherwise great. Oh yea, VERY hard beds; hardlly any mattress.
The photo is of my dorm bed.
Rooms to share with four single beds are available around the back of Sayran bus station in western Almaty. A bed costs about $2 in tenge. Showers and toilets are shared between the four people in each room. Public transportation is easy to find to the city centre.
As far as I know the only other option below about $17 is the train station where for the same money you can get your own room but there is no shower available.
As far as hotels are concerned, I have made detailed comments on my KAZAKHSTAN VT page. Suffice to say that my personal choices would be either the former 'Residence No. 3' (formerly visited mainly by Soviet Politburo and those of similar rank) or the 'Dostyk' Hotel (formerly 'Druzhba', meaning 'Friendship', also formerly reserved for Party apparatchiki at the Central Committee level), on Kurmangazy Street. Neo-Stalin columns, quiet and peaceful, collonaded atrium, white-columned restaurant and a merciful lack of American, Israeli and other businessmen yapping into mobile telephones...The more expensive places are the Alatau Country Club (about USD$400 a day), the Hyatt Rachat Palace (about USD$300 a day) and the Ankara (maybe USD$200 a day), all considered 5-star. The Dostyk, Hotel Kazakhstan, Astana and a couple of others might be described as 3/4 star (though the Kazakhstan is very poorly managed and maintained). Of cheaper places, try the gloomy Otrar (formerly the Intourist flagship here) by Panfilov Park on the North side. I have heard that the Zhentitsu Hotel is adequate, but only saw it from the outside so will not rate it. I expect you'd be paying about $50 a night there. Watch out for prostitutes in all the cheaper places from the Kazakhstan down. The others have security.
For longer term visits, rental of an apartment is the thing. Avoid agencies which will probably either be expensive or ripoffs. Personal contacts will always be able to find you a suitable apartment within a few days or a week or two. If you do not speak Russian, take along someone who does. These rentals are not written down (the locals want to avoid the rascally tax authorities) so make sure you have an OK feeling about the people who own the place; I never had a serious problem and rented three apartments during my year in the city (1996-1997).For an apartment in the Abaia-Lenina-Panfilov Park triangle think in terms of between about USD$500-$2,000 per month depending on size, location etc. In the poorer neighbourhoods, you could probably pick up a reasonable-sized (3-5 room) apartment for maybe $200 or $300 or, for $50-$100, a room sharing with a family. Obviously, that means further out from the centre of the city, or in an area with less security/more crime, or more drunken people around (who are swiftly cleared out from the more prestigious neighbourhoods). Some people (usually Americans or others with money and families en poste) take a dacha, but this comes with attendant problems: possibility of heating, water and power outages in winter, plus the ever-present yapping and barking of the dogs which the Kazakhs keep chained in their yards for security...
My most pleasant apartment (though without city views and slightly out of the city proper; also not the largest) was one I took in the 'Military Settlement' area. These buildings, built between a large modern maternity home in extensive grounds and the former KGB--now Border Guards--School, were originally reserved for highranking Army and KGB officers, now mainly occupied by old ladies. I was the only foreigner in this peaceful oasis
In 1997, my three large rooms (plus kitchen/bath) cost me USD$650 a month.For another $100 a month, you can usually get some lady like one of the owners or her mother to come in 3-5 days per week and do all your housework (great!), meaning cleaning, bedmaking, washing-up, laundry and even buying food for you at Optovka or in the Zilyony Bazaar (if you can write a list in Russian)
Russians and--in their own way--Kazakhs can be very generous and it may well be that you will be invited to stay overnight by a family, or an individual--in the case of an unacompanied Western man, probably a woman looking for a Western friend/boyfriend.... Be warned: while many offers (of whatever sort) are fully genuine, Almaty CAN be a lawless place at times and you should feel very comfortable with the individual or people inviting you before you go (not knowing the city or perhaps the language) with them to their apartment. Murders of foreigners are rare but have happened (an American had his throat cut in his own apartment across the way from the building where I myself lived during my first few months in Almaty); more likely, for a male traveller, might be the acquisition of an unwanted girlfriend (ie. one who becomes a 'Velcro' attachment to you during your whole stay!) or even the theft of money or an expensive watch from you by a casual acquaintance. Having said that, I wore a Rolex SeaDweller (then worth around USD$3,000) all my time in the city and never had a problem. Like food poisoning, theft and murder do occur in Almaty, but are rare (in ascending order of likelihood).As for the girlfriends, the vast majority of girls in Almaty are absolutely genuine and not trying (as some foreign men seem to believe) to snare a foreigner and his passport at any cost! I knew of several cases myself where girls were offered marriage by English and other foreign men and rejected them or only accepted after many months or even years of a relationship.
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