...

Almaty

23rd May 2024

20 Things to Avoid in Almaty for a Safe Trip (2023)

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we’ve uncovered the top things to avoid in Almaty.

Almaty is a gem in Central Asia, and while there’s so much to love about it, knowing what to avoid can make your visit even more incredible.

Almaty is a city of charm and cultural delights, and we’re excited to share our local insights on the things you should steer clear of during your adventure.

From passport reminders to cultural sensitivities, let’s dive into the dos and don’ts that’ll ensure you have a smooth and unforgettable journey in Almaty!

Things to Avoid in Almaty

1. Avoid Drinking Tap Water

In Almaty, it is advisable to avoid drinking tap water to ensure your well-being during your visit. While the city has a water treatment system, it’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to bottled water.

Opting for bottled water will help prevent potential stomach upsets and discomfort caused by unfamiliar water sources.

Ensuring proper hydration is crucial, especially when exploring a new destination, so having bottled water on hand will keep you refreshed and ready to make the most of your Almaty adventure.

So, when it comes to staying hydrated, remember to avoid tap water and carry bottled water with you throughout your stay.

2. Avoid Displaying Valuables

To enhance your safety and security while in Almaty, it’s essential to avoid displaying valuable items like expensive jewelry, electronic devices, or large sums of money in public.

Flashing valuable possessions can attract unwanted attention and increase the risk of theft or pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas.

By keeping your valuables discreet and secured in a bag or hidden under clothing, you can minimize the chances of becoming a target for theft.

Remember that being inconspicuous with your belongings is a proactive measure to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience in Almaty, allowing you to focus on exploring the city’s rich culture and fascinating attractions.

3. Don’t miss the Local Markets

While the title may seem contradictory, “Don’t miss the local markets” refers to not overlooking the vibrant and culturally enriching experiences offered by Almaty’s markets.

The city’s local markets, such as the Green Bazaar, are a treasure trove of colors, aromas, and flavors that give you a true taste of Kazakh culture. Rather than avoiding these markets, embrace them and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.

Explore the stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, traditional Kazakh dishes, and handcrafted goods. Engage with friendly vendors and try your hand at bargaining for unique souvenirs.

By not missing the local markets, you can discover the authentic soul of Almaty and make lasting memories of your journey.

4. Don’t overlook Public Transportation

While it may be tempting to rely on private transportation options like taxis or ride-hailing services, it’s important not to overlook the convenience and cost-effectiveness of Almaty’s public transportation system.

Buses and the metro offer an efficient way to navigate the city and access various attractions without breaking the bank.

By avoiding overlooking public transportation, you can save money on transportation expenses and use those funds to indulge in more cultural experiences or delicious Kazakh cuisine.

Embrace the local transportation options, hop on a bus, or take a ride on the metro to uncover the city’s hidden gems and make the most of your time in Almaty.

5. Avoid unauthorized Currency Exchange

When dealing with currency exchange in Almaty, it is vital to avoid unauthorized or unregulated exchange services. Stick to authorized exchange offices or banks to ensure you get fair rates and authentic currency.

Unscrupulous street money changers may offer unfavorable rates or even counterfeit money, leading to potential financial losses. By steering clear of unauthorized currency exchange, you safeguard your finances and prevent any unpleasant surprises during your trip.

Always prioritize safety and reliability when converting your money, and take advantage of reputable exchange options to make the most of your spending power in Almaty.

6. Don’t fall for Taxi Scams

In Almaty, like many other tourist destinations, some taxi drivers may take advantage of unsuspecting travelers, especially those arriving at airports or train stations.

To avoid falling victim to taxi scams, it’s best to use reputable taxi apps or pre-negotiate the fare before starting your journey. Research the approximate cost of your ride to have an idea of the reasonable price.

Additionally, opt for taxis with visible meters and official markings, as these are more likely to be reliable and honest. By being cautious and informed, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free transportation experience in Almaty.

7. Don’t skip trying Kazakh Cuisine

One of the highlights of visiting Almaty is the opportunity to indulge in the rich and flavorful Kazakh cuisine. Avoid skipping this culinary adventure and immerse yourself in the traditional dishes that reflect the country’s nomadic heritage.

Must-try dishes include Beshbarmak, a hearty meal of boiled meat served on flat noodles with onions, and Manty, delicious steamed dumplings. Sampling local delicacies like Kazy (horse sausage) and Baursaki (fried dough balls) can be a delightful experience.

Moreover, for those with adventurous palates, trying shubat, an iconic Kazakh beverage made from fermented camel’s milk, is a unique cultural experience not to be missed.

8. Avoid Disrespecting Local Customs

Respecting local customs and traditions is crucial when traveling to Almaty. Kazakh culture places significant importance on hospitality and manners, so it’s essential to show gratitude and politeness.

Avoid speaking loudly or engaging in behavior that may be considered offensive or disrespectful to locals. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and ask for permission before taking photos of people or religious monuments.

Embrace the opportunity to learn about the local customs and interact with the friendly residents of Almaty in a way that fosters cultural understanding and appreciation.

9. Don’t ignore Weather Changes

Almaty experiences diverse weather patterns throughout the year, and ignoring these changes can impact your travel plans.

Summers are generally warm and ideal for outdoor activities, while winters can be cold, especially in the mountainous regions surrounding the city. It’s crucial to pack accordingly, with layers to accommodate sudden temperature shifts.

If you plan to venture into the mountains, be prepared for colder conditions. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and be flexible with your itinerary to ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip to Almaty.

10. Avoid Air Pollution

Almaty, like many urban centers, faces challenges with air pollution, particularly during certain times of the year. In winter, temperature inversions can trap pollutants close to the ground, leading to smog and reduced air quality.

To protect yourself, wear masks in highly congested areas, especially if you have respiratory conditions.

The local government is taking steps to address pollution, but being mindful of the air quality and taking necessary precautions will help you have a healthier and more pleasant experience while exploring all that Almaty has to offer.

11. Don’t Hitchhike in Remote Areas

While hitchhiking can be an adventurous way to explore Almaty, it’s essential to exercise caution, especially in remote areas.

While Kazakhstan is generally considered safe for hitchhiking, remote regions might have limited traffic and fewer opportunities to find rides. This could lead to longer waiting times and potential risks.

It’s best to stick to well-traveled routes during daylight hours when there are more vehicles passing by.

Additionally, communication may be challenging in remote areas where locals might not speak English. For a safer experience, consider using public transportation or reputable ride-hailing apps instead.

12. Avoid taking photos of Locals without Permission

Respect for local customs and privacy is crucial when traveling to Almaty. While capturing memories through photographs is natural, avoid taking pictures of locals without their consent.

Always ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly in intimate or religious settings.

Some locals may feel uncomfortable or offended by unsolicited photography, and it’s essential to be sensitive to their feelings and cultural norms.

Engaging with the locals in a respectful manner can lead to meaningful interactions and a deeper understanding of their way of life.

13. Avoid Sketchy Areas at Night

As with any city, it’s wise to avoid poorly lit and less frequented areas during nighttime in Almaty.

While the city is relatively safe, certain neighborhoods may have higher crime rates after dark. Stick to well-populated and well-lit areas, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the surroundings.

If you plan to explore nightlife, opt for popular and reputable venues that cater to tourists and locals alike.

Being aware of your surroundings and traveling in groups can further enhance your safety and enjoyment during evenings in Almaty.

14. Don’t skip Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a vital aspect of any trip, including Almaty. It provides financial protection in case of unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost belongings.

Medical expenses can be exorbitant, and having adequate coverage ensures you receive proper care without worrying about hefty bills.

Additionally, travel insurance may cover trip interruptions, flight delays, and other unexpected disruptions, offering peace of mind during your journey.

Before traveling to Almaty, research and select a comprehensive travel insurance policy that aligns with your specific needs and activities.

15. Avoid excessive Alcohol Consumption

While indulging in local beverages can be a part of experiencing a new culture, it’s essential to drink responsibly.

Almaty offers various bars, pubs, and nightclubs with tempting drink choices, but excessive alcohol consumption can lead to risky situations. Know your limits and be mindful of your alcohol intake, especially at high altitudes, which can amplify the effects of alcohol.

Inebriation can impair judgment and make you vulnerable to potential scams or accidents. Instead, enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol and focus on exploring the city’s rich culture and attractions responsibly.

16. Don’t Forget Your Passport

One of the most crucial things to avoid in Almaty is forgetting your passport. Your passport is your primary identification document while traveling, and you’ll need it for various purposes, including hotel check-ins, money exchange, and any official interactions.

Leaving your passport behind in your accommodation or losing it can cause unnecessary stress and disrupt your travel plans.

Always keep your passport in a secure and easily accessible place, such as a money belt or a locked compartment in your bag.

Additionally, consider making photocopies or digital scans of your passport and other important documents as a backup.

17. Avoid Discussing Sensitive Topics

While interacting with locals or fellow travelers in Almaty, it’s essential to be mindful of discussing sensitive topics.

Avoid engaging in discussions about politics, religion, or any contentious issues that may cause discomfort or disagreements. Kazakhstan has a diverse cultural and ethnic background, and people may have varying opinions on such matters.

Instead, focus on light and positive conversations, such as appreciating the city’s attractions, local cuisine, or sharing travel experiences.

Respecting different perspectives will ensure a pleasant and harmonious experience during your visit to Almaty.

18. Don’t Litter

Almaty, like any beautiful city, should be treated with care and respect. One of the most important things to avoid is littering. Be conscious of your waste and dispose of it properly in designated trash bins.

Littering not only tarnishes the city’s charm but also harms the environment and affects the local ecosystem.

Keep in mind that Almaty takes pride in its natural beauty and green spaces, so preserving its cleanliness is a responsibility shared by both locals and visitors.

By being responsible travelers and avoiding littering, we contribute to maintaining the city’s allure for future generations to enjoy.

19. Avoid Unregistered Taxis

While taxis are a convenient way to get around Almaty, it’s essential to avoid unregistered taxis. Opt for official taxi services that are licensed and have visible identification.

Unregistered taxis may not adhere to safety regulations or fare standards, and there’s a higher risk of scams or overcharging.

To ensure a safe and fair ride, use reputable taxi apps or ask your accommodation to arrange a trusted taxi service for you.

By avoiding unregistered taxis, you can enjoy hassle-free transportation and focus on exploring the city’s attractions.

20. Avoid Public Displays of Affection

Kazakhstan, including Almaty, has a conservative culture when it comes to public displays of affection (PDA).

To respect local customs and social norms, it’s advisable to avoid excessive public displays of affection, such as hugging, kissing, or holding hands in public places.

While it’s acceptable to show affection within private spaces or among close friends, exercising discretion in public spaces shows cultural sensitivity and helps create a comfortable environment for both locals and visitors.

Embracing local etiquette enhances your travel experience and fosters positive interactions with the friendly people of Almaty.

Conclusion – Things to Avoid in Almaty

In conclusion, while exploring the captivating city of Almaty, it’s essential to be mindful of these Things to Avoid. Avoiding tap water, respecting local customs, and embracing the vibrant markets will ensure a remarkable journey.

Stay safe by using registered taxis and being cautious with currency exchange. By immersing in Kazakh cuisine and navigating public transportation, you’ll savor an enriching experience.

Remember, small gestures like avoiding littering and excessive PDA contribute to preserving Almaty’s allure for generations to come.

Embrace these tips and embark on an unforgettable adventure in this gem of Central Asia!

FAQs – Things to Avoid in Almaty

Is it safe to drink tap water in Almaty?

No, it’s best to avoid drinking tap water in Almaty. Though the city has a water treatment system, sticking to bottled water is recommended to prevent any stomach issues. Stay hydrated and refreshed with bottled water during your Almaty adventure.

Are there any sensitive topics to avoid discussing?

Yes, be mindful of discussing sensitive topics like politics and religion. Respect the diverse cultural background of Kazakhstan and focus on positive conversations about local attractions and cuisine.

How can I ensure my safety while exploring the city?

Keep your valuables discreet, avoid poorly lit areas at night, and use reputable taxi services. Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting religious sites for a stress-free and enjoyable experience.

Can I rely on public transportation in Almaty?

Absolutely! Embrace the convenience of Almaty’s public transportation system, including buses and the metro. It’s a cost-effective and efficient way to navigate the city and access its various attractions.

Are there any precautions for currency exchange?

Yes, avoid unauthorized currency exchange. Stick to authorized exchange offices or banks to ensure fair rates and authentic currency. This will safeguard your finances and prevent any unpleasant surprises during your trip.

How can I enjoy local markets without missing out?

Don’t miss the chance to explore the vibrant local markets like the Green Bazaar. Engage with friendly vendors, try traditional Kazakh dishes, and bargain for unique souvenirs to get a true taste of Kazakh culture.

Should I try the local cuisine?

Absolutely! Indulge in the rich and flavorful Kazakh cuisine, from hearty Beshbarmak to delicious Manty. Don’t miss out on unique experiences like trying shubat, a Kazakh beverage made from fermented camel’s milk. Embrace the culinary adventure!
  1. The Ultimate Baikonur Cosmodrome Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  2. Best Honeymoon Destinations In Kazakhstan: 7 Idyllic Retreats For Newlyweds (2023)
  3. The Ultimate Shymbulak Ski Resort Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  4. 12 Unforgettable Kazakhstan Family Friendly Activities: Fun For All Ages (2023)
  5. The Ultimate Singing Dunes Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  6. 12 Best Shopping Malls In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Destinations (2023)
  7. 11 Best Family-Friendly Attractions In Almaty (2023)
  8. Unveiling Best Time To Visit Kazakhstan: A Month-By-Month Weather Breakdown (2023)
  9. 10 Best Kazakhstan Traditions And Culture You Need To Know Before You Go!
  10. 17 Best Cafes In Almaty: Unleash Your Taste Buds!
  11. 15 Best Offbeat Kazakh Locations: Know It All (2023)
  12. Discover 15 Best Family Destinations In Kazakhstan: Create Lifelong Memories (2023)
  13. The Ultimate Kok Tobe Hill Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  14. 10 Best Things To Do In Kazakhstan
  15. The Ultimate Aktau Mountains Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  16. Best Time To Visit Almaty: A Month-By-Month Weather Breakdown (2023)
  17. 10 Best Kazakhstan Traditions And Culture You Need To Know Before You Go!
  18. The Ultimate Almaty Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  19. 10 Best Street Foods In Almaty That You Should Definitely Try
  20. Best Things To Do In Astana
  21. 10 Best Kazakhstan Traditions And Culture You Need To Know Before You Go!
  22. 15 Best Things To Buy In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Guide (2023)
  23. 11 Best Nightlife Spots In Almaty: Experience Electric Nights (2023)
  24. 10 Best Things To Buy In Astana: Shopping Paradise
  25. 12 Breathtaking Instagram-Worthy Spots In Almaty (2023)
  26. 12 Things To Know Before Visiting Almaty: Plan Your Perfect Trip
  27. 15 Best Restaurants In Astana: A Culinary Journey
  28. 10 Best Historical Sites in Astana
  29. Discover 10 Best Area to Stay in Astana
  30. 16 Best Cafes in Astana: Your Ultimate Coffee Guide
  31. 10 Best Things To Buy In Astana: Shopping Paradise
  32. The Ultimate Green Bazaar Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  33. 10 Things to Avoid in Astana – Your Must-Know Guide
  34. 20 Things To Avoid In Almaty For A Safe Trip (2023)
  35. Best Time To Visit Astana: A Month-By-Month Weather Breakdown (2023)
  36. 10 Incredible Reasons To Visit Astana That You Should Definitely Know
  37. The Ultimate Big Almaty Lake Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  38. 12 Best Historical Sites In Almaty (2023)
  39. 8 Best Architectural Marvels In Almaty You Shouldn’t Miss!
  40. 13 Best Hiking Trails Near Almaty: Uncover Spectacular Hikes (2023)
  41. 9 Best Indian Restaurants In Almaty You Need To Visit (2023)
  42. 10 Best Street Foods In Astana That You Can’t Miss
  43. 10 Things to Avoid in Astana – Your Must-Know Guide
  44. 11 Best Instagram-Worthy Spots In Astana, Kazakhstan (2023)
  45. The Ultimate Charyn Canyon Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  46. 10 Best Things To Know Before Visiting Astana
  47. 7 Best Architectural Marvels in Astana : Get Amazed
  48. 10 Best Kazakhstan Souvenirs: Uncover The Hidden Gems! (2023)
  49. 10 Irresistible Reasons To Visit Almaty: Discover The Jewel Of Kazakhstan
  50. The Ultimate Almaty Central Park Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  51. 10 Best Things to Know Before Visiting Astana
  52. 12 Best Shopping Malls In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Destinations (2023)
  53. 11 Best Nightlife Spots In Almaty: Experience Electric Nights (2023)
  54. 6 Best Indian Restaurants In Astana, Kazakhstan For All Foodies (2023)
  55. 15 Best Restaurants In Astana: A Culinary Journey
  56. 10 Mouthwatering Kazakh Local Dishes You Must Try (2023)
  57. 12 Best Shopping Malls In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Destinations (2023)
  58. 10 Best Things To Buy In Kazakhstan
  59. 15 Best Things To Buy In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Guide (2023)

Check out our other trips