Things to do in Almaty
- Arasan Baths, Kunaev St 75. Tuesday - Sunday: 0800 - 2400. A large public bathing complex with a magnificent Samarkand style domed pool. The perfect place to spend a few hours relaxing. Due to its cold and windy conditions, visiting saunas with friends is very popular in Kazakhstan. Saunas (Russian "banyas") are an excellent place to discuss business issues or just socialize with friends. Having parties (birthdays, New Year, etc.) in saunas is normal practice. In fact many modern saunas in Almaty are fully equipped with karaoke, billiards, swimming pools, relax rooms, massage rooms, etc.
- Hike Big Almaty Lake (Bus 28 bus goes from the roundabout at Al-Farabi and Navoi up Dulati St and ends at the last left turn before Almaarasan. This is a good ways up towards Big Almaty Lake; the remainder can be done on foot: the hike is about 15 km and a 1,000 m altitude increase (to 2,500 m) Follow the road about 8 km until you reach a big water pipe, and then follow the water pipe. The first bit is steep, but beyond that it gets easier. If you don't take the water pipe the journey is much longer. When you get off the Bus 28 there are taxis waiting: they will take you up to within 4 km of the lake for KZT2,000 (Oct 2011). From the roundabout at Al-Farabi and Navoi a taxi will take you to within 4 km of the lake. You should be able to barter them down to KZT2,000 (Oct 2011) for a one-way trip.). There is good hiking around the Big Almaty Lake area up in the mountains (the lake is at 2,500 m and there are peaks overlooking it, some of them above 4,500 m.) The lake and surrounding area are beautiful. The lake freezes in the winter and in the autumn it is a stunning turquoise.
- Kazakhstan English Language Theater, Ave Abay 2 or 30? (On the campus of KIMEP Institute in the heart of Almaty, Moscow Subway Station a couple meters away), e-mail: [email protected]. Started in 2001, the Kazakhstan English Language Theater (KELT) is the only English language theater in former Soviet Central Asia. KELT does two shows a year, and runs English language theater classes and workshops periodically throughout the year.
- Kok-Tobe (The cable car leaves from near the corner of Abay and Dostyk (still sometimes referred to as Lenin St), next to the cinema, and costs KZT800 (about USD5) one way or KZT2,000 both ways. Or take buses 95 & 99 (KZT50)). Take the cable car up to Kok-Tobe for wonderful views of the mountains, vineyards, and Almaty. Buy souvenirs and have a cup of hot chocolate at a table under the shadow of the TV tower or take a ride on an unpowered roller coaster.KZT100.
- Medeu Ice Skating (Outside town, on the road to Chimbulak. Take Bus 6 in front of Hotel Kazakhstan on Dostyk Ave to go to the Medeu (KZT50 on weekdays, KZT70 on weekends), every 20 min). The world's highest Olympic-sized ice stadium. More than 180 world records were made on this ice. Fun to visit in winter. Skate rentals are available. Tipsy teenagers teeter across the ice, coloured lights and loud pop music create a slightly surreal, but fun ambience. There is also a large mountain-water swimming pool just below the ice rink, open in summer. The water is extremely invigorating, about 15°C.
- Panfilov Park (City center, surrounded by Gogol, Zenkov, Kazybek and Kunaev streets). Stroll this beautiful park, featuring Soviet-era architecture, the cathedral, and spectacular WW2 monuments that are popular for wedding photographs.
- Picnic at Tamgaly Petroglyphs (Drive 2 hr out, about 30 km past Copa off the road to Bishkek). Pack a picnic and. The famous "Sunman" is worth the drive.
- Ski or Snowboard. At Chimbulak, Ak-Bulak and Tabagan ski resorts.
- Tau Spa. Relax at this mountain spa, worth a visit summer or winter. Try the plunge pool at -15 degrees C!
Kazakhstan - Travel guide