One of the most complicated parts of travelling in the former Soviet Union is registering your visa. If you are staying in a hotel, this is usually not a problem - the hotel should register your visa for you, at least for the amount of time that you are staying in the hotel. However, if you are doing a homestay or staying with friends, my preferred types of accommodation, you either have to do battle with the local OVIR (Office of Visas and Registration) or find some other way to do it.
In Almaty, I found ACS Travel Agency to be very useful. For a fee of 4200 tenge (around $30 USD), they will register your visa for you for your entire stay in a day or two with minimal wait time (you avoid the horrendous lines and confustion at OVIR). Make sure you go within 5 days of arrival!
Address: 27 Pr. Dostyk, Almaty.
Hello ya'll and welcome,
So one warning about Kazkhstan is the lost wallet. If you see a wallet on the ground DO NOT PICK it up!!! It is a scam, if you do happen to pick it up as a good hearted person, you will have a man pop out from nowhere and explain to you that money has been lost. So what happens here is that the man will inform you that both of you can go somewhere and split the cash. Many people have fallen for this and the result ends up like this: The foreinger ends up in an isolated area and a local Kazakh man will show up and inform you that you stole his money. You will be searched and your own money will be used against you, ending up as being his "stolen money". So the locals will tell you that they if you do not pay the at least $5000 that they will call the police ,have you arrested and then deported.
If you're going to visit Kazakhstan you should be prepared to meet new kinds of insects and bug you haven't seen before.Some of them can fly,some jump,some creep and some of them can do all:) dont ever leave a window open at nights...
If you're going to visit Kazakhstan you better be aware of the fact that most people's monthly income doesn't even afford their basic needs.So they often ask for bribery or they beg.In Tengiz after 8:00 at night non of the foreign people could go outside alone.As far as I heard even if it isn't night policemen are asking for bribery.
The police is one of the things you should keep an eye on in western Kazakhstan, around Atyrau and Tengiz. In Tengiz for example, walking the street under influence of alcohol is prohibited. Police may detain you just because you had a couple of beers. I saw policemen waiting at disco/bar gates to pick up people that are just getting out of the bar and going home!!! I was never caught by them, if that had happened, I would call my company and they would take me out. But if you are alone, maybe bribing the police is the trick.
Kazakhs in western Kazakhstan are not the nicest people against foreginers. Strangely enough, although they share the same ancestors, they almost hate Turks. I have heard of a number of street fights, and people beaten. The reason might be that one foreginer didn't want to offer one of his cigarette to a local. (Asking for a cigarette is quite common in Kazakhstan, just like asking for lighter)
In the Tien Shan Mountains, the high altitude can be a problem. It is not uncommon for those unaccustomed to the altitude to feel a shortness of breath with the slightest exertion. In severe cases, altitude sickness can cause death. It is a good idea to take it easy for the first few days until the body becomes acclimatized to the altitude.
The Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory where I stayed for two nights is at about 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) in elevation. Hiking in the surrounding hills was an effort, and when I lay in bed at night, I felt a pressure on my chest and an accelerated heartbeat caused by the altitude. When we went even higher, to 12,000 feet (3,658 meters), the symptoms were worse.
Kazakstan is a difficult place to travel. First, it is difficult to obtain a visa to enter the country since the government has abandoned the 72-hour transit visa. Today, you need a letter of invitation to obtain a visa. According to a recent report by the U.S. State Department, robbery is common in almost every town of Kazakstan, even the police are after your money and your passport.
Be very careful of taxi drivers, ESPECIALLY official taxis. Avoid casinos, local (as distinguished from 'expat' nightclubs and (from what I have been told) prostitutes. Pickpockets are numerous in the open markets (eg: 'Optovka'), especially the busy ones on the edge of town and on public transport. Having said that, I used buses, trams and trolleybuses extensively for months without a problem. Watch out for poorly cooked shashlik (shishkebab), especially pork. Chicken is safer. Do not attempt to drive yourself anywhere, especially in town.
Dangers of a more serious nature DO exist: by avoiding most nightspots, bad areas of town (stick to the higher in altitude parts, which are more prestigious) and so on, you will probably be safe even if your stay is lengthy. But...I know a man and woman who, separately, were mugged right in the heart of 'official' Almaty (Furmanova). While I lived in the city, an American --supposedly, a journalist of some sort-- was tied to a chair in his own apartment and had his throat cut. Never open your apartment door, especially after dark, to anyone, even if in police uniform, you do not know. Many doors are steel, so you can probably say get lost with impunity!
I spent a lot of time sick in Kazakhstan with a festival of gastrointestinal ailments. It's hard to avoid this, but try and bring medication to alleviate it. Of course, I now believe that the time I spent there pretty much immunized me against stomach illnesses for the rest of my life--these days I travel 7-8 times a year to developing countries and never get sick any more.
When captured it is to be made part of the USSR and there for is under the control of Markov Spirello.
Furmanov Str. 164, Almaty, 050021, Kazakhstan
Good for: Families
Sarky Arka 4, Astana, Kazakhstan, 010000, KZ
Good for: Business
Best and most expensive business Hotel to stay in Atyrau. However this is not saying much. This...more