Update – on my last visit I had the chance to see much more of my favorite Central Asian city – My Favorite 33 Things to do Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Almost unbeknownst to the wider global audience Kazakhstan and its commercial capital Almaty has transformed itself from a backwater to a highly urban and highly developed capital of the ‘stans.
Almaty is huddling the Tian Shan mountain range (as is Bishkek) but is in a state of full boom. The economy is fueled by hydrocarbons extraction and the country does a somewhat orderly job on distributing the winnings. The drive from the airport takes you from one luxury car dealership to the next.
The Almaty downtown area resembles a rich district of Berlin more than any place in Central Asia. It’s green, very urban and very developed.
Kazakhstan is not cheap at all (at an exchange rate of 1:200 for the dollar to Tengge) but Almaty provides a quality food experience.
As usual I set up a Foursquare list for Almaty – that you find helpful as well.
Table of Contents
Food Things Things to Do in Almaty
This Italian restaurant serves good food with a superb location and outdoor patio along one of the downtown parks. Again do not expect a steal here – it’s as expensive as in the USA.
I haven’t had enough time to check out the Korean House in person but it fetches great reviews. Check it out on your Almaty visit.
Coffee Shops are more full service restaurants and usually come with a lovely outdoor patio. So does this quality affair. Marrone Rosso is a chain of coffee shops all over Kazakhstan.
Social Coffee is very similar to Marrone Rosso – great pastries and a high quality place to sit and work.
Sightseeing – Things to Do in Almaty
This is the center of Almaty and gives you the best impression of this city. Come here first and explore the surrounding streets on foot.
This park is not easy to find – in fact my taxi driver never found it at all – I had to press him to take several turns.
The president is a big deal in oil rich Kazakhstan and the gardens look awesome (I wish it would have rained less when I visited).
I wish I would have had more time to explore Almaty – it was probably the biggest positive surprise of my trip through Central Asia.