The train from Urumqi to Almaty is fairly new - I think only since 1992. It's about Y500 and a nice journey; plus you get to experience the changing of wheels at the border. I was travelling at the beginning of Oct when there is a week of National holiday in China, which means the border teh bus uses is closed, and so the train was a great option. Surprisingly the berths weren't sold out. I bought a ticket the day before.
Southern edge of Alma-Ata is closer to the mountains than the northern one, and, hence, some hundred meters higher. This elevation northwards is quite apparent when you walk the streets. All locals use 'up' and 'down' to indicate direction in this sence. And you can almost always see mountains in the south.
To get from one point inside the city to another you may just raise your hand in the street to stop a car. Note that official taxis are very infrequent, and personally I am a bit afraid of using them. Also note that you should better negotiate the price before you get in the car. And that a car with only the driver is preferable to one with passengers, just for safety reasons. And that as a foreigner you will have to pay some extra.
Prices are rather low: a ride from city edge to the centre must cost around 200 tenge ($1.5) to a local-looking person, and some 300 tenge for a foreigner. (year 2003 rates)
Rides from the airport are, of course, much more expensive. To any point in the city drivers will charge from 1500 tenge to infinity depending on the client. However, if nobody is meeting you at the airport, in the daytime you can use public transport to get to the city. It is not far, really.
If walking down from mountains to the city, drivers would often offer you a lift for free, it's ok to agree.
The trams service in Alma-Ata began in 1937. During the USSR in city was 10 tram routes, and depot totaled 205 cars of manufacture RVR, Riga and Ust-Katav carload factory (Chelyabinsk region). In connection with construction of a line of underground in 1995 many routes liquidated, rails have removed from streets, having started up instead of them trolley buses. Now in Alma-Ata operates 2 tram routes on which ply 50 tram cars of the Czech manufacture brought to us after several years of operation in Berlin.
Going by train: Now the most likely option. Though the journey from Moscow is long and rather tiring (and uncomfortable, if you do not book a deluxe compartment), you will get closer to several things you are not likely to see otherwise. First is the Baikonur space launch system and the second - the shores of the Aral Sea, or what's left of it.
Getting there by air: it may be quite a hassle now. For several reasons. Firstly, few major international air carriers fly to Kazakhstan at all. The situation has become worse since Astana became capital. Many flights from former Soviet republics (the most realistic option of getting to Alma-Ata was to fly from Moscow) were diverted to Astana. Then, secondly, the airport burned down to ashes a couple of years ago, and though mostly reconstructed, it still can not hadle a huge number of flights.
In fact, train is an awful way to get to Almaty! The train to/from Moscow is reputedly crowded, dirty and full of drunks, thieves and other people you don't want to share with. Having said that, I never tried it. If you want to, bear in mind the fact that Moscow-Almaty by fastest express is a 77-hour journey...The picture shows me with wind-caught shirt (consequently looking like Sydney Greenstreet or J. Edgar Hoover) on my one curious visit to Almaty rail station. I'm sacrificing myself to my fellow VT-ers in showing this photo, as it not only shows me as monstrously fat but short as well (I'm 6 feet tall in fact!)
me by statue of Kalinin outside Almaty station
Air is the best way to get to Almaty. British Airways, Austrian, Lufthansa, KLM all operate several flights per week, as do Turkish Airlines (much cheaper but far less comfortable and convenient). Transaero and Kazakair also have intra-CIS flights: Transaero roundtrip from Moscow is about US$400.Rail, as already described, is not recommended (especially if you come in from China or Uzbekistan, where the border guards on the Kazakhstan side are notoriously dishonest). There are, also, at least apparently, incredibly long, uncomfortable bus journeys available from Moscow; the car journey is not one a foreigner should make without Russian or Kazakh assistance-- or even with it. So that's it, unless you parachute in!
Sergey Uniazov (ex-Soviet Parachute Assault Forces and a good friend of mine, making a perfect landing at his 'Deltadrome' training ground outside Almaty (paragliding/parachuting enquiries to him at email@example.com)
from Almaty 3,5,6
to Almaty 2,4,5
from Almaty 2,4,7
to Almaty 1,3,6
from Almaty 2,6
to Almaty 2,6
from Almaty 1,2,4,5,6
to Almaty 1,4,5
The national airlain company is 'AirKazakstan.'
We arrived here by plane, with aeroflot company. The plane was small and moved a loooooot, but we had a nice flight anyway.
you can get buses to china. ill come back with this informaton soon. i didnt did it but i wanted to so i colected all the info i needed to do it.
youll find many of these cars all over kazakhstan. volga is a very string car and people there call it the russian mercedes.
Bus to Barakholka: 71, 149 and 530 westbound on raiymbek. you can take the bus at abylay khan ulits and enjoy the 10km ride to this big flea market.