If you are planning a trip to Kazakhstan, then at least 1 day in Almaty is highly recommended. Almaty, Kazakhstan used to be the capital of the country until it was changed to Astana in 1997. So, while Alamty is not the capital, it still has that capital feel that most locals and travelers will attest to, which is why so many travelers end up here. And to tell you the truth, Almaty does have a lot of draws. The city has a diverse assortment of museums, parks, restaurants, and other attractions that convince people to include it in their plans for a holiday in Kazakhstan. Transportation is cheap and easy (you can ride the bus for less than $1), the city is extremely green, and compared to other Central Asian cities, quite clean. While the options might seem limitless of places to go and things to see in Almaty, here are several suggestions to make your stay in Almaty, Kazakhstan both relaxing and memorable.
Kok-Tobe Cable Car: An Almaty Travel Option with Panache
The Kok-Tobe Cable Car takes you on a pleasant ride up to the highest point above the city, giving you an excellent panoramic view of Almaty, one that is especially beautiful at night. Once you get off the cable car at the top, there is a lovely little area complete with a miniature zoo, several nice cafes, game booths for children, and souvenir shops. Benches are interspersed throughout the area and the landscaping is quite nice. Overall, it is just a relaxing place to spend a few hours with family or friends on your Kazakhstan vacation. (*Tip: Take a look at the English on the signs posted on the animal habitats for a chuckle!)
Panfilov Park: Punctuated with History
Panfilov Park is by far one of the most famous and visited parks in Almaty. Beautiful flower beds, Soviet statues, and an old Orthodox cathedral are just a few things you’ll find in the park. The statues throughout the park highlight the glory and bravery of those that gave up their lives in war, adding a solemn yet proud atmosphere to the area. Horse-drawn carriage rides are also available here. If you are lucky, services are still held at the old cathedral on the edge of the park and you might get to hear the choir singing. This is yet another relaxing destination to visit as you travel around Almaty.
Folk Musical Instrument Museum: A Museum Not All in the Past
Almaty’s Folk Musical Instrument Museum is located just outside Panfilov Park. Here you can see over 40 ancient Kazakh instruments displayed in a newly renovated facility. However, it does not stop there. Musical performances are given in the museum on a regular basis of world-class caliber including performances of composers like Mozart as well as traditional folk music, fusion, and small string ensembles. Even beyond displays and performances, master classes are given here to help teach the current generation how to appreciate and keep alive the traditional music of Kazakhstan. If you are interested in both music and culture, this is an experience you do not want to miss during your trip to Kazakhstan.
Almaty Tram Café: Drinks & Desserts on Wheels
Let’s face it, food is an extremely important part of any vacation as well as seeingnew places, so to top off your Kazakhstan vacation in Almaty, consider hopping on a working tram that has been converted into a small “café” of sorts and get a tour of the city! Leaving from Shevchenko & Zharokov, this tram takes you on roughly an hour-long tour of the city and serves drinks, coffee, and desserts. So, if you want a nice relaxing end to your day in Almaty plus a unique night-time tour, this little “café on wheels” is the way to go. The tram leaves at 8PM, 10PM, and midnight every day of the week, with a few extra earlier times available on the weekends. Make sure you leave room for cheesecake!
DESTINATIONS IN ALMATY EVERYONE CAN ENJOY
The great thing about all of these destinations is that they are perfect for a group of friends, individual travelers, and families with kids alike. The Kok-Tobe cable car is a hit with kids and adults, Panfilov Park lets the kids run around but also has history for the adults, the Music Museum is not just dusty displays, but a lively music center, and the tram café is the perfect wind-down for any group traveling together. So charge up your camera battery and mosey along the streets of Almaty for a relaxing holiday in Kazakhstan.
Photos by – http://rewalls.com/, http://www.mimi-gallery.com/, http://dostoprim.almaty.kz/, http://www.almaty-kazakhstan.com/, http://zhasatyrau.kz/