Mega: A mall a very large mall!
" MEGA Alma-Ata, the biggest shopping and entertainment mall in Kazakhstan, was opened in 2006 in Almaty. At the moment the mall is the favourite place of both residents of the city and visitors for shopping and relaxation. On a weekday MEGA Alma-Ata mall is visited by 30,000 people on average. On weekends that number is double. There is a food hypermarket, a consumer electronics shop, over 100 boutiques selling world famous brands, a huge food court, an 8 screen multiplex cinema, a climbing wall, a skating rink, an entertainment park for children, bowling and much more. MEGA Alma-Ata was designed with careful attention to the seismic dangers of the area without compromising the architectural attractiveness of the building. " from the Mega Website
What to buy: We had an opportunity to go shopping - and we were taken to the Mega Mall. It has a number of different parts developed over the last few years.
There are many designer names and the centre itself is large and spread over 3 floors. There is much to do other than shopping. There was an ice rink, a climbing wall and a lot of other family orientated activities.
Dacmapxah: 24 hours open large supermarket
"Dacmapxah" would be Russian or Kazakh name and name of the supermarket in Almaty. I found this supermarket on the way to TuSM. It is located on Gogol Street between Abylay Street and Pantilov Street, it is close to TsUM, just one block south side.
It is convenient supermarket with large selection of foods, drinks and consumer products, and it is 24 hours open. They accept credit card and next door is Meloman Books and Music which is also 24 hours open.
TsUM: TsUM, cosmetics to mobile phone, souvenirs, etc.
TsUM is located on the corner of Zhibek Zholy Street and Abylay Khan Street street, and every post-Soviet city has this department store and every resident of Almaty knows TuSM.
TsUM composed of dozens of small shops with identical little counters selling mobile phones and electronic goods on the backside of the first floor, and cosmetics are found in the front side of the first floor. Clothes and underwear can be found on the second. There is a good selection of bed linens, tablewares, kitchen goods and souvenirs on the third floor.
They accept only KTZ so there are foreign exchange service in each floor but they close at 20:00 while shops are open till around 21:00.
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Ramstore is a Kazakh version of MIGROS. MIGROS supermarkets are run by KOC company in Turkey and same company runs RAMSTOREs in Kazakhstan. This is a typical supermarket focused on food and drink.
Ramstore is in its mall building at the end of Satpeyeva Street. The mall has cafes, boutiques, etc including Lacoste and other well known brands
What to buy: Everything.
What to pay: Average European.
Beignets: Food on street
On trouve de nombreux vendeurs dans les rues, ici, des sortes de beignets, bien huileux et gras à souhait.
One finds many sellers in the streets, here, of the ways of fritters, very oily and fat to wish.
Récemment, de grands centres commerciaux ont été construit. ils font le bonheur des Kazahks (du moins, de ceux qui ont les moyens d'y aller faire des achats), et attirent de nombreux curieux. Pour les touristes, il n'y a aucune différence avec ce qu'ils connaissent dans leur pays, et il est possible de retrouver toutes les grandes marques occidentales, qui pratiquent une politique expansionniste.
Lately, big shopping malls have been constructed. they make the happiness of the Kazahks (of the less, of those that have the means to be going there to make some purchases), and attract many curious. For the tourists, there is not any difference with what they know in their country, and it is possible to recover all big western marks, that practice an expansionist politics.
Duty Free Almaty: wide choice and good quality
if i knew they have high quality artcrafts sold here in duty-free i wouldnt even go to TSUM,
there are 2 reasons:
1. all sold things are 100% kazakh and not from other asian countries
2. all hand made, good design
What to buy: again things made from felt like homeshoes, bags; some small rugs, pillowcases and many others...
What to pay: quite expensive, but good quality
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TSUM Almaty: no leather...
just go up to the 3rd floor and you will find everything you need, though it's not that easy to find good work and the biggest problem is to find some local crafts, cause everything is so mixed up, all things that i liked were or from Uzbekistan, or from India (India is definitely not close to Kazakhstan..) but at the end i found really nice colorful dolls made from felt and it was kazakh work for sure, also i advise you not to buy things made from leather or with leather on it, it's not processed correctly and has a specific smell, first i liked some bottles with leather on it (useful for nomads i think)..but it smelled so badly...:(
was asking people from Almaty maybe they could advise any other shop to buy presents, but they all agreed about TSUM, maybe it's a bit expensive, but at least everything is at one place and if you dont have much time to spend on shopping..sounds reasonable!
What to buy: these colorful and comfortable felt slippers to wear at home (must be so warm in it in winter!)
What to pay: not cheap at all, that's surprising compared to average prices for everything in Almaty
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Different shops: Where to buy kilims
shops in Kasteeva Museum
a small shop on Panfilova street
What to buy: Kilim is a type of Central Asian rug, and Kazakh rugs are known for their ancient ethnic design. There are many shops in Almaty,where you can get beautiful kilims you can take back home with you . Some kilims are light, others heavy, do consider the weight when you buy. Its best to take along a local with you, as kilims do not have a fixed price, and we managed to trade down to a half of the oriinally requested price. Note that in Europe kilims sometimes cost ten times the Kazakhstani price.
What to pay: anything from $10 to $600 or higher, depeding on the size, texture, and your bargaining skills!
Prices of things in Almaty: Prices of things in Almaty
There are many places where you can buy your stuff in Almaty. Either street vendors, fancy supermarkets or local grocerie stores also neighborhood markets.
At the moment i was there, $50USD=6765KZT
What to pay: Here i make you a list of things I bought during my stay either on the streets or in supermarkets, restaurants, taxis expensies etc:
passport copy: 115T
water:50T also 65T
2 cheese pastry: 80T
city bus: 15T
bus almaty-medeu: 30T
water silk way city 1l: 59T
tomato beens can silk way city: 75T
govinda's restaurant full meal: 850T
chocolate bar snickers: 55T
Govindas lite meal: 300T
phone card: 800T
music tape 150T
cheese pastry: 45T
500ml kefir: 50T
street milkshake: 100T
chocolate bar silk way city: 95T
water 5l silk way city: 126T
cheese silk way city: 61T
salad 250gr. silk way city: 26T
juice silk way city 250ml mago: 29T
300g bananas: 78T
500gr cheese: 286T
bread silk way city: 66T
bus almaty->turkistan: 950T
pizza margerita cafe perekrectok: 450T
juice cafe perekrectok: 195T
tram almaty: 25T
kazakh hat barakholka: 100T
iran visa: 55USD
uzbekistan visa: 55USD
i think that with this you have a full idea of the prices in Almaty.
"TSUM" AKA "Zangar": Ok, now you need a real Kazakh souvenir...
Ok, now you need a real piece of Kazakh craft like a toy camel, toy nomad house, real dombra, kamcha (a lash) or a saber... Gosh, what a taste... :))
But if you really need it, go to TSUM (also known as Zangar) - the choice is greatest there.
What to buy: If you want a nice souvenir, try these soft home shoes - they are at least handy, or try my favorite - "shan kobyz" - the musical instrument that you put in your mouth and pull a string on it - you change your mouth shape to adjust the tone and to resonate... Doesn't take too long to learn especially if you get your audience sufficiently drunk or in a deep trance :)
What to pay: You will most likely overpay for anything you buy, but you'll have advantage of huge choice. You can spend from $10 for a small present like the slippers up to immense sum for an "exquisite" saber or chessboard (what the latter has to do with Kazakh craft, I have not the slightest idea...)
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Best 'non-souvenir' shopping in Central Asia
Deoderant, good shampoo and the like can be a little hard to find in central Asia. Almaty is a good place to pick this stuff up if you're in central Asia for any length of time. The shops in Almaty have the most 'western' goods of all kinds. Want a new pair of sneakers or a good pair of jeans? Almaty, and perhaps Tashkent, are the the only places you'll have much luck.
(Expect to pay around the same as you would at home!)
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Shopping and sight-seeing
There are places to buy things ranging from rikety magazine stalls to ultra-modern shopping malls. So cash that Tenge.
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