View of the TV tower of the city of Almaty from the central park of culture and recreation
View of the TV tower of the city of Almaty from the central park of culture and recreationShutterstock

All You Need To Know About Getting Around Almaty

Although there are tons of things to do in Almaty, the "apple city" is huge, and getting around can be confusing. So here's a guide to getting around Almaty

Getting around Almaty, the largest city and former capital of Kazakhstan, can be a challenge for visitors. The city is spread over a large area, and traffic can be congested and chaotic. However, there are also many options for public transportation and alternative modes of travel that can make your trip easier and more enjoyable. Here are some things you need to know before you visit Almaty.

Public Transport

Almaty’s efficient public transportation system includes buses, trams, and a metro system, which is a practical way to navigate the city. While buses and trams are cheap and frequent, they may be crowded and not the fastest option due to traffic. In contrast, the metro offers a more modern and less congested experience, though its reach is currently limited to a single line. You can buy tickets at kiosks or vending machines at the stations, or use a contactless card called Onay.

Additionally, apps like 2GIS or Bus are handy tools for route planning and schedule checking.

Hail A Taxi

Taxis are also readily available and affordable in Almaty. You can hail a taxi on the street, call a licensed company, or use apps like Yandex, Taxi, or Uber. Be aware; however, that some drivers may try to overcharge you or take longer routes. It is advisable to negotiate the fare before you get in or use the meter. You can also ask your hotel or hostel to arrange a taxi for you if you prefer.

Explore On Foot Or On Bike

Aerial view of the bronze sculpture of the Golden Man on top of the Independence Monument
Aerial view of the bronze sculpture of the Golden Man on top of the Independence MonumentShuterstock

Exploring Almaty by foot or bicycle is an excellent option for those who prefer an active way to see the city. Almaty is a pedestrian- friendly city with parks, and attractions within walking distance of one another. You can also rent a bike from one of the many bike-sharing stations around the city, or join a guided bike tour. Cycling is a great way to see the city and its surroundings. It is important to stay vigilant of the unpredictable traffic and to be mindful of varying road conditions while cycling.

Trains Are Comfortable And Reliable

If you want to venture outside the city, you can also use trains, buses, or hitchhiking. Almaty has two main train stations that connect it to other cities in Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries. Trains are comfortable and reliable, but they can be slow and expensive. Buses are faster and cheaper, but the downside is that they can be crowded and uncomfortable.

Tickets are available for purchase at the stations or online. Apps like Tickets.kz or Aviata.kz are also helpful in ticketing. Hitchhiking is also a common and adventurous way to travel in Kazakhstan, but it comes with some risks and challenges. You should always be cautious and respectful and carry some cash and have knowlege of basic phrases in Russian or Kazakh.

Getting There

Almaty city near the Tian Shan mountains in winter
Almaty city near the Tian Shan mountains in winterShutterstock

Almaty has an international airport with the same name, about 25 km from the city that connects it with many major cities around the world. 

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