I went to Almaty during a three-country tour of Asia, other countries I visited included Japan and South Korea, countries I wrote about in great detail.
My last stop of the tour was Kazakhstan and I was very excited to finally kick open the doors of this mysterious country in central Asia.
Almaty was founded in 1854 and used to be the capital of Kazakhstan. The capital has since been relocated to Astana, a city the Partytrail did not get to visit.
Almaty just like other Soviet states I had visited in the past had the trail marks of communism and Russo-culturalism embedded in it but for the most part, the Kazakhs have been able to integrate Russian culture and Kazakh culture with great synergy.
To get into the city, I flew into Almaty International airport and was able to access the country with relative ease. If you have an American passport, you are guaranteed entry visa-free for a period of about 30 days.
I spent a period of about two weeks in Almaty, which was quite fun, the people, the food, the language and the culture left me quite bewildered but it was surely worth the experience.
Without further ado, let’s explore the top things a traveler can do in Almaty Kazakhstan.
1. Try some of the cuisines Almaty has to offer.
Almaty or Kazakhstan in general had some of the most interesting cuisines I ever came across, horse meat was considered a delicacy because as a local told me, it’s a very clean and noble animal to eat.
It is eaten in the form of Kazy, which is traditional horse meat Kazy. Shubat is fermented camel milk and tasted a lot more delicious than I expected. Other delicacies you shouldn’t miss out on include: Sorpa, Kuyrdak, Baursaks, and Kumys.
2. Travel the City on Almaty’s Subway System
Still in its infancy, the Almaty subway system was one of the most beautiful I had ever been to. Construction of the subway began in September of 1988 and as of April 2015, the metro serves nine stations.
While I found it easy to get around Almaty without any need for the metro, the marble interior and rich finish make one of the more interesting feats of architecture I am yet to come across.
3. Go Shopping at The Esentai Mall
Almaty has several shopping malls like the Almay shopping center, Dostyk Plaza, and MEGA but not of these come close to the glamor associated with Esentai mall in Almaty.
This mall has several floors of shops stocked with some of the best fashion brands on the planet. Some of the fashion brands you will find here include Gucci, Fendi and the like.
You will also find novelty shops and a food court at the top most floor of the mall.
4. Visit Kok Tobe
Kok Tobe (stands for Green Hill in Kazakh) in Almaty is a mountain, which is the highest point in the city. To get to the mountain top, you simply ride up with a cable car.
At the top of the mountain, you will find a monument to the Beatles, an amusement park, a view of the Almaty tower and a couple of full-service restaurants.
The closest landmark of note to the cable cars that take you to Kok Tobe is the Kazakhstan hotel.
5. Take a trip to Republic Square.
Located on Satpayev street, between Zheltoksan and Furmanov streets, the Republic square is the main square in the city. The square is a great place to relax and learn more about Almaty’s culture.
Republic square is also home to Independence monument, crowned by the Golden warrior on a winged snow leopard. There are also fountains and dome shaped structures that honestly left me a bit bewildered.
6. Pay tribute at the 28 Panfilov Memorial Park
The park is named after 28 warriors of the Guards Panfilov division. During World War II or the great patriotic war as it is called in Russo influenced countries, these soldiers put a stop to the advance of Axis forces and unfortunately almost all of the soldiers being honored by the monument died.
In honor of their valor and heroism, an eternal flame burns a few feet away from the statue of the 28 warriors.
7. Say A Prayer Or Two At The Holy Ascencion Cathedral
The Holy Ascenscion Cathedral was engineered by A.P. Zenkov and is a completely wooden construction.
It actually survived an earthquake in 1910 that destroyed most of the city, as legend has it, the Holy Ascencion Cathedral was one of the few structures in the city that did not fall as a result of the earth quake.
8. Shop At The Green Bazaar
The Green Bazaar located down the street from the park of the 28 Panfilov guardsmen has been in operation for about 140 years.
At the market, you can find everything from fresh vegetables to exotic items like fresh caviar from the Caspian sea to honey from Uzbekistan.
9. Take A Ski Trip To Medeo
Medeo was the venue of the winter Universiade 2017. Students from all the world came to participate in this event, but at other times, the facility is open to ski enthusiasts.
It was built in 1972 and covers an area of about 10,500 square kilometers. It is a 20 to 25 minute trip from downtown Almaty.
10. Partake In Almaty’s Nightlife
One thing Alamty undeniably has going for it is the bevy of nightlife and restaurant options scattered throughout the city.
I personally only visited one of the clubs in Almaty i.e. “China Gold” but from what I gathered from the locals there is never a weekend in Almaty that is not filled with tons of things to do.
Other Things To Do In Almaty
Other things to do in Almaty include visiting the city’s many museums, watching plays at Almaty’s theatres, visiting Big Almaty lake, and much more.
In conclusion, I found Almaty to be a pretty interesting city. Things like the fact that prostitution is legal threw me off a bit, but if I were, to be honest, there isn’t much more to do in Almaty than your average city.
In my opinion, while I had fun in the city, two weeks was a little long of a time to spend traveling here. One could easily see everything in Almaty in a couple of days to a week of intense exploration.
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