BAZAARS AND MARKETS
Please remember that it is quite normal to bargain and haggle in the bazaars and markets.
Please remember that bread is regarded as a sacred food in Kazakhstan and should be treated and eaten with respect.
DINING WITH LOCALS
If you are invited out to dinner with local people be ready to try delicious sorts of meat, fish, and poultry: beef, mutton, salmon, trout, chicken, duck. It is worth noting that the traditional Kazakh diet comprises a lot of meat, including horsemeat, and both horse and camel milk.
Flowers are a popular gift in Kazakhstan. However you should only offer bunches of flowers in odd quantities.
The population of Almaty is culturally very diverse. Although the official spoken language is Kazakh, Russian is used just as much. Most people speak English but it is a good idea to carry a phrase book with you.
DID YOU KNOW ?
The name Almaty comes from Alma-Ata, and literally means father apple.
The Green Bazaar is one of the most famous and oldest bazaars in the city. The experience of buying fragrant fresh fruit and vegetables, spices and dried fruit has hardly changed over the centuries.
Medeo is an area of outstanding natural beauty and home to the world's highest mountain speed skating rink.
Speed skating rink
The world's highest mountain speed skating rink inside an Olympic-size stadium is at Medeo, only 30 minutes away from the hotel.
Almaty is the former capital city of Kazakhstan and is the country's largest city. It is also the cultural and financial centre of the country. The variety of entertainment available here attracts people from throughout Kazakhstan and reinforces the city's multi-cultural population.
WHAT TO PACK
In summer, although the days are very hot the evenings are much cooler. It makes sense to ensure you bring some warmer clothes with you, especially if you are planning to visit the Tian Shan mountains where it can get very cold at times. In winter period temperature varies from -5C to -20C. Very good to bring warm shoes and coat (fures) with you. The rest seasons are quite warm, but it's raining from time to time so with a hight level of humidity that is normal for Almaty, temperature falls.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is 12 per cent. There is no airport tax to pay.
Please remember to always carry some Kazakh tenge with you. The local shops, restaurants and bars do not accept any foreign currency; credit cards are accepted.
It is good to have a phrase book with you. Though the majority of the population speaks basic English.
On arrival in Kazakhstan the customs police will stamp your registration form twice. You need to keep this with you until you leave the country. Hotel provides registration service additionally.