Driving in Almaty is madness! is you are able to rent a car youll have your hair tuned white just in a few minutes inside the car. be careful and have fun! this is te best way to get where you want to go, either bear gorge, medeu and other place a few kms away from the city.
This is my friend Marco that went alone with his van all the way from Italy to kazakhstan. he said he had big problems on the north part of the country coming from russia when on his map said he had road, but then he had 800 km without road trhu the desert and got stuck for a few days. he also mention me the worst part was ukraina where police is very bad and took a lot of money from him.
he intended to make the countries that marco polo did centuries ago, so this expedition MARCO POLO 2004 was agreat idea of him! he intended to go to china but he had to pay about $6000 to get the permission to go inside the country plus a government gide and his hotel. this authorization would take about 2 to 4 months to be given. he didnt want to wait so he went by airplane to bankok. he end up staying in kazakhstan for 4 months as he meet a russian girl from whom he fell in love with...
Nomad Kazakh transportation: horse. on the mountains people use horses as transportation. animals are the only chance of people having a transport from mountains to mountains.
this picture was taken in the mountains a few kms away from the entrance of Ili Alatau Natural Park. this is almost the border with kyrgistan and China. you can notice the yurt on the back part of the picture.
you can take this cable car to kokktyube. you cay 100T each way and enjoy this ride to the top of the hill and enjoy almaty's wonderful view from the top. you can take it from the back part of the palace of the republic near kazakstan hotel. this is located on the foothill of the zalaisky alatau moutain range. by the time i was there the cable car was closed due to the destruction during the last earthquake in almaty. the cable car runs from 11am to 7pm.
on the picture you can see the blue cable car and the city. this is an amazing ivew of almaty and cant be missed while in the city.
this is a very nice experience, going off road to some mountains. if you can, rent a $WD or if you are lucky youll make some friends that have one and that go to the mountains camping and take you along with them. you can see on the picture, on of the cars i went passing the river. my car went next and this is fun!
Cars and pullution in Almaty is one of the most problematic things in the city. there are so many cars and so many cars are in bad shape so lots of smoke goes to the sky. by the end of the week in some parts of the city the air is really tough and you will really feel you need some fresh air. thats why people usually go to the mountains during the weekend. to breath some extra oxygen for the week in the city.
this picture was taken in front of the presidential palace on the street going west from hotel kazakstan.
Bicycle in Almaty makes it easy to go around the city. there is always a place to put them. dont forget to lock it otherwise youll be robbed. you have to be careful with other cars as they respect much bicycles. many people ride bykes specially young poeople. there is a big large amount of poeple that actually enjoy riding bikes and that every weekend go to the mountains and enjoy nature. this picture was taken on the north entrance of the big new shopping mall silk way city at tole bi koshesi ulitsa. you can get some people that go all the way on a week travel to Issik Kul lake kyrgistan.
You can get to Medeu by 3 ways. either small faster bus, bigger bus or by taxi.
on the picture you have the smaller faster buses that transport you from almaty all the way up to medeu right in front of its olympic stadium.
Bus no 6 goes to medeu every 40 minutes and you can get in in front of hotel kazakstan on dostyk ulitsa. this is the bigger bus and you should pay about 50 Tenge for it.
Taxis all the way up wil cost you about $6 but you can get some people to share it of course. the taxis as to pay another extra $1 to enter the area of medeu.
you can get the daily resort working bus going out of the corner with dostyk and satpaev every day at 7:30am 8:10am and you pay about 200 Tenge for this passangers truck going up the mountain. you can take the truck back from chimbulak between 5:30pm and 6pm (just one bus, so be there between this times) and the ride back takes 50minutes.
Horse rides in Medeu sound fun. i didnt try but many local people actually do it. there are many people that have a few horses to rent to peoplçe that climb this mountain. this looks like a very good business as they are always full of people that go thee just for the horse rides in the mountain.
There are 2 types of taxis in town. oficial and non oficial taxis. this means that everyone that wishes to make some extra money can take you where you want. this can be tricky so make sure you somehow trust the person who stops to take you somewhere. another important thing is to deal the money of the trip before the cars starts. if you are not happy you can get out and get another one. they will just leave. be careful cos if you decide to go out of the taxi they will not wait until you close the door and properly go out of the veicule. so do it fast as you can just fall to the road as they speed with the car before you are outside.
officlal taxis have checkboard signs all over and telehone numbers so you wil not miss them. the normal price for a ride in almaty goes from 30, 50, 100 tenge for a ride depending the distance of your trip inside the city. if you want a bigger distance dont forget to deal the money first before you go with the trip.
you can just go inside the taxi and say where you want to go. i the end when the car stops just give the driver 50 tenge and see what he says.
you can call for a taxi at this number: 58 or 068. they dont speak english, only russian or kazakh. youll have an extra $1 charge for calling asking for a taxi.
Use underground crosswalks to avoid being hit by a crazy driver. actually this is the fastest sullotion to cross these soviet type of roads. during the night be careful with some of them as they tend to have some gangs wainting to rob someone.
Small buses in Almaty are the ones faster and you have different companies that make the some trajectory. they all seem to fight against easchtoer to see how gets the costumers first so expect them to drive like mad people. prices on the bus are the same usually. a small busfrom private company ticket in summer 2004 costed me about 25 Tenge.
Some buses you should know about:
BUS NO 2 & 100:
goes from south of furmanov from gogol to ramstor and further;
BUS NO 30:
goes from almaty-I train station, seyfullin, and south on baytursynuly;
BUS NS 34 & 434:
goes again from almaty-I train station to seyfullin, west on abay;
BUS NOS 92 & 492:
goes from the airport, sayakhat bus station near the mosque, city air terminal, zheltoksan and abay ul.;
Wanna know one of the crown jewels of russian car industry? Let me introduce you the "Volga"! they are all around the city. My favorite are the ones with colorful curtains :) But seriously, they are quite comfortable, and take you to your destiny which is what transportation is meant to be after all.
Foreigners are not allowed to carry out from Kazakhstan more currency in cash than they have brought in. Customs declaration is pretty useful in case a custom officer wants to check you. They don't do it often lately, though, by default you just go through the 'Green Corridor'.
Taxis, well there really weren't any real taxi services that I saw. Mostly if you stand on the street corner and flag down a car someone will take you where you want to go. Most people I met spoke some English but if you know a little Russian like me you will be better off.
We had this one guy take us to find a local business and after driving for a long time and not finding the place he took us back to our hotel for no charge at all, which I thought was quite generous seeing as how much gas he used.
You should be able to get around the city by formal taxi or by hitch-hiking for no more than
200 tenge or ($1.50 US dollars).