Almaty is a happy blend of contrasts –prosperity has brought international designer glitziness to some parts of the city, while other parts retain their traditional chaotic warmth and charm.
People from all over Central Asia get along happily in Almaty, bringing their own unique contributions to this friendly and beautiful city.
- Stroll around Almaty – there are plenty of green spaces flanked by astonishing architecture - Panfilov Park with the colourful onion-domed Zenkov Cathedral is particularly striking
- Appreciate a vast array of Russian and Kazakh art, from old masters to modern decorative pieces at the light and airy UNESCO-assisted State Museum of Arts
- Learn about the fossils, archaeology, ethnology and history of Kazakhstan right up to the present day in the extraordinarily comprehensive Central State Museum, including a special exhibition of gold treasures
- Travel to the top of Kök-Töbe hill, the highest point in Almaty by cable car, which passes over some of the oldest parts of the city and offers a 360° panoramic view of the city and mountains from the top
- For an extreme shopping experience, visit the colossal Barakholka flea market- a bustle of visiting Uzbeks, Uyghurs and Chinese set up tiny stalls, mats on the ground or even shipping containers, selling everything from live animals to shower caps
- Sample the most popular Kazakh dish – beshbarmak – noodles with slow-cooked meat , onions and spices in an intense stock
- If you enjoy ice skating, you can practise your triple salchows on the highest skating rink in the world – Medeo Ice Skating – on the high eastern outskirts of Almaty
- To get around in Almaty, simply stick out your hand! Most Kazakh drivers will give you a lift – it’s part of the local hospitality - but offer to pay, too.
Tips for travellers
About 3 hours drive from Almaty is the Charyn Canyon – a dramatic landscape of impressive rock pillars and formations, described as ‘the Grand Canyon’s little brother’