Taxi from Airport
When you are exiting from the arrival hall, some ladies will meet you at the exit gate asking if you need a taxi. Do not take the taxi they offer. This is an airport taxi and charge you double of nominal price. There is no taximeter in Kazakh taxis.
Unique Suggestions: The best thing is to go out of the arrival hall and negotiate with the other guys offering you a ride. As mentioned before, practically all private cars are taxi in Almaty. You do not find so many taxis in classical sense (with taxi sign). This is safe, you do not need to worry. Typical cost to city center from the airport is about 2000 tenge ($16).
Fun Alternatives: Many hotels offer pickup from airport, costs you little higher than normal.
- School Holidays
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
dont forget warm clothes when going to Chimbulak
if you are going from Almaty up in the mountains you will need some warm clothes, even if it's summer and it's +30 down. We were driving to Medeo and after more up to Chimbulak after working day and didnt have enough time to drop by the hotel..but there is a solution to every problem:) near cashier desks before taking cable car you can always find few nice guys making business from your problem...for 300tenge you get a coat..but in our situation there were no coats left, but these guys found somehow military coats for my 3 men colleagues and one of the women at cashier desk gave me her own coat:)
but i suppose every normal person would take warm clothes when going in the mountains....just we were not:))
Unique Suggestions: take warm clothes or at least have some "tenge" with you
- Mountain Climbing
- Skiing and Boarding
890 steps up to the top of the hill!
890 steps up to the top of the hill! if you decide to walk up to the top of the hill on your way to shymbulak or the valley with the fresh water river. you have several stages of steps. so after a few hundreds you can stop and rest. some people sell juices and water on the way up.
Unique Suggestions: go slowly and keep the rythem. if you keep you breath controled and created a rythem all the time you can climb all the 880 steps at once.
this is the way up the hill from the Medeu olimpic stadium. amazing view from the mountains below.
Fun Alternatives: you can get a taxi to the top, or you can get a horse ride to the top also. some local people can actually give you a ride on their cars if you ask i think.
american movies in russian suck! i would prefer to watch a russian movie, but now american doubled in russian , bad bad bad. its not only the fact that i dont understand, but like i say, i would enjoy if the movie was russian and i didnt understand anyway. some theatres in town have non doubled movies so you can understand the movies. this movie theatre is located right aside the palace of the republic, on the right side of the hotel kazakhstan.
horse rides in medeu
horse rides in medeu can get very expensive if you dont decide the price before you go on top of the horses. this is very nice and you can ride the horse in the mountain but be sure and like the taxis to say how much it costs before you get the horse.
Taxis are the same problem in central asia. this tip is very repetitive and i think everybody already knows it. but again, and just for the record remember that taxis in almaty are not oficial. this means everyone can have a taxi and drive you just to get a few extra money. always decide the money youll give to the person before she actually starts driving the car. this will avoid you to have big problems with the drivers after when they ask you for $10 for a normal ride of just a fe dollar cents... they will call the pollice and say you would give them those $10. i guess the police can even take some percentage of this business if it happens... $5 for me, $5 for you! lets rip this tourist off! haha ;o)
Unique Suggestions: if you dont have knowledge of russian language and dont even know the numbers just bring a pen and a paper along with you in order to write numbers to make yourself more understood.
pickpockets in green market (Zelyony market)
Zelyony market is the perfect place for you to get your wallet robbed. just be careful where you bend to see stuff and where you take your wallet to pay something.
i believe that you will get lost and be wondering around just looking at all the crazy stuff people sell here, so youll be the perfect target for robbers that know you will be with you attention somewhere else not in your wallet or bag. be careful also for someone trying to open your backpack.
Unique Suggestions: watch out for people folowing you and dont ever show lots of money. what i do is that i take some money out of my wallet before i go inside, just the enough money to get a bunch of goods and then i go awya.
Fun Alternatives: there is no need for an alternative, just open your eyes and take care of your stuff.
car accidents while you are on the bus
As you can already understand all this problem just from the title i gave, you can imagine how bad it is car accidents while you are on the bus... this happend on my way out of the Barakholka market 10km away from the city centre. this guys all drive like crazy people! so this was suposed to hapend right from the start.
Unique Suggestions: be calm and go out of the bus and give a bit of distance from the accident place. people fighting with eachother and you dont want to mess with them, two drivers very furious right?
Fun Alternatives: take another bus. there are many buses going to the city centre from here. if you are in a rush take a taxi. i dont think you would be in a rush and decided to come to Barakholka market. you need a lot of time to get there ,to be there and finally to get out of there back to the city centre.
Horse Ayran BAD BAD BAD arghhh :o[
we ate some bread cookies and fresh ayran made from horse! arghhhhh ahhhhhh again i hate this stuff made from horse milk. go by me, just taste it to have an idea of how bad it tastes hehehee sorry...
it had this very strong taste for me and i end up knowing why. to conserve the milk not to get ruined, they put some animal fat inside, so this was why i could actually drink more than 2 zips of it. it was just to strong for me. my body was telling me: joao dont drink this man... i listened i after i found out the reason why it had such a strong taste for me.
for this ayran we payed each about $2 also for some cookies. in this small house you can also eat some chashlik and rice if you oirder and wait for a while. all not fsuitable for vegetarians like me of course, but just for the recoed cos you might want it.
Unique Suggestions: dont do this haha
Fun Alternatives: normal kefir or ayran...
Up to tv tower hill
the way Up to tv tower hill can be tricky and full of bad places. you have to pass a lot of garbage dumps and smelly rivers, dead animals and marijuana plantations. also the neighborhod on the way up to avoid being stop by police is also not very good so be careful with your stuff. always act friendly and not very rich i think.
Koktyube Cable Car not working
Koktyube Cable Car not working can ruin your plans on enjoyed an explendid way up the hill to see Almaty from above. While i was there and due to the last earthquake that destroyed all the cable car structure this very nice hot spot in town was not working.
when working this cable car costs around 100T and runs from 11am to 7pm. you can enjoy sun set in town.
this cable car is located right after the palace of the republic on dostyk up to koktyube which means green piak, where the huge TV tower and tv transmiter centre is located. this tv tower surrounding is of limits.from the top of this hilll which is the foothill of the zailiysky alatau mountains you can apreciate an amazing bird view of Almaty city.
Unique Suggestions: well.. do like i did, just go up the hill, walk in this small paths passing local poor neighborhods and hills, rivers, dirty holes and rivers, piles of garbage and marijuana fields. or just go on the road up. in this case if it is still closed due to precarity of the structure the police will not let you go up so you better just go up the hill in the bushes and enjoy until the police comes and pick you up.
There are presently no money changing facilities at the airport when you arrive, so until you get to a major hotel, you will have to make do with US$.
There are usually hundreds of people offering taxis, and various beggers at the airport door.
Try to have a pickup pre-arranged through your travelagency or hotel. Many bi-lingual private tour people can be found.
The local currency is the TENGE and US$100 will get you around 15,500 of them. Be sure to carry clean, newish, unmarked US$ notes as others may not be accepted. Some hotels have ATM cash machines, and these accept the 'PLUS' international transfer system. Check your electronic cards. I have had no problem getting cash from Australia at the ATM in the Regent Hotel.
50 Tenge will buy a loaf of bread or bottle of softdrink in one of the many small shops or supermarkets.
Unique Suggestions: As with many cities throughout he world, be very carful of engaging a taxi at the airport door. Cellphones work well in most cities of Kazakhstan (non US type) so call your hotel for a car to be sent or have one pre-arranged.
These pickups will cost perhaps 1000 Tenge or more. The airport is about 20 minutes ride from the centre of the main 'city block'.
Be careful of pick-pockets.