Aeroflot (travel time 4 hours 20 minutes, round-trip ticket costs 40,767 RUB) and Kazakh Air Astana fly daily from Moscow to Alma-Ata International Airport. Residents of St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk can also get there without transfers (Air Astana, 5 hours). Any other transfer options increase travel time and ticket prices.
From airport to city
The airport is located 16 km from the city center. You can leave from there by regular bus number 79 (every 15-20 minutes, the driver has a ticket), a shuttle bus (every half an hour) or a taxi. The price of a trip on an official taxi is from 11,500 KZT, on a private one – 1.5-2 times lower. Prices on the page are for August 2022. Check liuxers for customs and traditions of Kazakhstan.
Direct railway communication between Moscow and Alma-Ata has been interrupted since June 2017. You can get there only with a train change in Karaganda, Petropavlovsk, Astana or Novosibirsk. The minimum travel time, including transfers, is 76 hours. You can travel from St. Petersburg to Alma-Ata with one transfer via Novosibirsk (110 hours) or Saratov (112 hours).
By bus and private car
Fans of long-distance bus trips can make a trip from Moscow to Alma-Ata, successively changing 4 intercity buses – first to Ufa, then to Yekaterinburg, Astana and, finally, to Alma-Ata. In terms of time – 91 hours, such a trip is quite comparable to the train.
The shortest automobile route from Moscow to Alma-Ata, 3940 km long, goes through Samara, Orenburg and Chimkent. Some manage to drive it in 50 hours.
It is better to plan the trip in such a way that the border crossing time does not coincide with weekends or holidays.
The main type of public transport in Almaty is buses running on 82 routes from 6:00 to 23:30. The main carrier is the Green Bus Company. She also manages the city trolleybus fleet (8 routes). A metro line with 9 stations passes through the city center, the interval of trains is 8-13 minutes. Travel in all types of transport is paid with a contactless card “Onay!” (off. site). It can be bought at the airport, railway stations, Sairan bus station, newsstands and communication stores. A single ticket is purchased from the conductor or driver, but the trip in this case will cost 1.5 times more.
From the bus station “Sairan” (st. Tole bi, 294) intercity buses depart to Astana, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Karaganda, Pavlodar and other cities of Kazakhstan. Suburban trains from the railway stations Almaty-1 and Almaty-2 go to the city of Kapshagay, where the country’s largest gambling zone is located.
Taxi in Almaty is inexpensive – the cost of a trip around the city is from 650 KZT. A lot of “bombed” on personal cars. You need to look for a free car at metro stations, bus stops and shopping centers. If there is no meter, the price must be negotiated in advance.
Bicycles for rent
In Alma-Ata, the city bike rental service Almaty Bike is developed (off. site). To use it, you need to enter your bank card details on the site and receive an SMS with a code to unlock the bike. You can pick up/return a bike at any of the 200 bike stations. The rental price consists of a monthly fee and a tariff depending on the duration of the trip – the first half hour is free.
Returning the bike to the station every 30 minutes, you can ride for free.
For out-of-town trips, it is better to rent a bicycle at the Extremal chain of stores. As a deposit, you will need an amount equal to the cost of the bike or an identity document.
Rent a Car
A car is an indispensable assistant when traveling around Alma-Ata. There are offices of international (Avis, Hertz, etc.) and local (AutoExpress, Tandau ST) rental companies at the airport and in the city center. Kazakh traffic rules practically do not differ from Russian ones. Unless outside settlements the speed limit is 110 km/h, and on motorways – 150 km/h.
Many parking lots in the city center are paid, but compared to Moscow, the prices can be called symbolic. The cost of gasoline is also 1.5 times lower than in Russia. But the fines for traffic violations are much higher.
Local drivers slow down already at the blinking green light, but heart-rendingly honk to belated passers-by and motorists who did not move at the moment of switching from red to green.
Even having ceased to be the capital, Alma-Ata could not get rid of morning and evening traffic jams. At times, they completely block the city center, including public transport.