|International Women’s Day|
March 21 - 23
The day of Unity in Kazakhstan
|Defender of the Fatherland Day|
Day of the Capital
Constitution day of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The day of the First President of Kazakhstan
Independence Day of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s currency is Tenge (international reference code - KZT, within
the country – T), it equals 100 Tiyn.
At present, in Kazakhstan, there are banknotes of the following values in a
cash-in-hand flow: 200, 500, 2000, 5000, 10,000, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100
tenge coins. Tenge is the only legal payment instrument in Kazakhstan, though in
practice, US dollars and Euro are accepted for payment. US dollars can be easily
exchanged for tenge, Euro is accepted practically in all banks and currency
exchange points. Most banks accept only the new banknotes.
Major European and international credit cards are accepted for payment. They
accept them in large hotels, stores and restaurants in large cities of
Kazakhstan. ATMs can be found in banks, hotels and shopping centers.
For entrance in the country, foreign citizens require a visa. This regulation
is not valid for CIS citizens only, in particular, citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belorussia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan. Visa free
regime is also acting now for the citizens of the USA, Netherlands, Great
Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, UAE, Republic of Korea and Japan, for
the period from July 15, 2014 until July 15, 2015. Visa free regime is also
acting for Ukraine and Moldova for stay in the country up to 90 days. All
entrance details can be obtained in embassies and consulates of the Republic of
National or foreign cash more than 10 thsd. US dollars brought to the country
is subject to obligatory written declaring. Alcohol beverages - not more than 3
liters for one individual who reached the age of 18 years. In addition, you can
bring undeclared tobacco and tobacco products: 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars
(cigarillos), or 250 g of tobacco, if total weight of these products in the
range does not exceed 250 g, for one individual who reached the age of 18 years.
It is forbidden to export:
- rare minerals and gem stones;
- game birds;
- rare animals.
City transport basically comprises buses, in Almaty there are also trolleys.
Fare is 80 tenge.
On December 1, 2014, Almaty subway was opened — the off-street speedy rail
transport system in Almaty. Fare is 80 tenge
There are taxies in all large cities, though taxi fare should be bargained
first. You can order taxi on the phone, vie the Internet, or just to catch a
taxi in the street. Besides official taxi, you can catch a private one: it’s
cheaper, but such a trip is at your own risk.
Railway lines in Kazakhstan are developed, they provide both freight (about
70% traffic flow) and passenger traffic (about 60% traffic flow).
There is a number of car rentals in large cities. In order to rent a car, one
should have an international driving license and be above 21 years old.
Hotels in Kazakhstan
Once arrived in Kazakhstan, foreign citizens and tourists can easily find a
place to stay for the period of stay. Every large city has several hotels, they
all are different: there are the tourist class hotels, and there are
international chained-brand hotels. Therefore, price and service level are
different as well. However, according to statistics and social research, most
tourists prefer staying in luxury 5-star hotels.
Working hours of institutions
Banks work from 9:00AM until 06:00PM Monday through Friday. Lunch break is
usually from 01:00PM until 02:00PM, but many banks work without a break.
Weekends are the days off. One can exchange currency in every bank or the
official exchange point. You should keep the receipts until leaving the
Major European and international credit cards are accepted for payment. You
can easily pay with cards in large hotels, stores and restaurants in large
cities. Tourist cheques should be taken in the US dollars, to avoid additional
exchange operations. ATMs are located in banks, hotels and shopping centers.
Stores in large cities, like Astana and Almaty, are usually open from 09:00AM
until 08:00PM or 10:00PM, some supermarkets work around the clock.
Since long ago, the hospitality has been a characteristic feature of the
Kazakhs. Dear guest was always welcome, they sit him/her at the very head of the
table, treated with best food they had. Meat is a basis of most dishes. Meat
specialities include Kazy, Shuzhuk, Zhal, Zhaya and Karta, and they are cooked
from horse beef. Boiling is a preferred cooking method in traditional Kazakh
cuisine. They have broadly used milk and fermented milk from long ago. It was
easier to preserve Kumys, Shubat and Airan in their nomadic life conditions.
Bread was baked as a flatbread, favorite pastry was the Baursaks, the most
popular drink was tea with milk. A Kazakh family would start any feast with milk
drinks –Kumys, Shubat or Airan, thereafter, tea with milk, Baursaks, raisin,
Irimshik, Kurt. Thereafter, they serve horse beef starters – Kazy, Shuzhuk,
Zhal, Zhaya and Karta. The only hot appetizer in Kazakh cuisine is the Kuyrdak.
The Kazakhs eat at a low table called the Dastarkhan. The most popular Kazakh
dish is the Beshbarmak. It is the main national dish. In Kazakh, the Beshbarmak
means “5 fingers”, due to the way they eat this dish – with hands. The
Beshbarmak is cooked from large pieces of boiled meat to be dressed by the host.
Every guest is treated with titbits: hipbones and a gaskin are given to the
honorable old men, a brisket – to the son-in-law or the daughter-in-law, neck
bones to the girls and etc. Nowadays, the Dastarkhan gathers not only the
Kazakhs, but the other nations as well: Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, Uzbek,
German, Uighur, Dungan, and Korean. For many centuries, these nations have
peacefully lived next to the Kazakhs and have influenced their cuisine, daily
routine and culture. Moreover, they adopted some Kazakh traditions. Therefore,
modern Kazakh cuisine includes not only traditional Kazakh dishes, but also
beloved dishes of Uzbek, Uighur, Russian, Tatar, Korean and other cuisines. It
is the reason why the modern Kazakh cuisine that preserved national properties,
also shows international signs.
In large hotels and restaurants, a service fee is often included in the bill.
As a rule, it is 5-15%. If the fee was not included, but you like service, you
can round it up. Taxies and rail transport have the fixed service rates. When
you buy any goods at the Kazakh market, don’t forget to bargain.
The most popular souvenir the tourists bring from Kazakhstan is the small
Baiterek monument. Souvenir products from Baikonur are also popular. Local
cognac is famous worldwide. You can buy it practically in every store in
Leather products. Those should be bought on the market. It is due to
the fact that the ancient leather processing and product manufacture method has
existed in Kazakhstan. Herewith, production is always associated with handcraft.
You can see it in a corresponding lace design. Most popular among tourists are
the bags, purses, Torsyks, Sabas and headwear. The Kalkan is set apart, it is a
shield made from leather with a national picture design.
Silver jewelry. Most jewelry made in Kazakhstan has a national design.
The brightest sample is the Blezik. It is a wide bracelet on the arm or leg.
National clothes. You can buy it both on the
market and in a special shop. Here, the most genuine cloth is the Saukele. It is
the traditional female headwear to be put on only for the wedding ceremony.
Emergency Services Phone Numbers
101 – fire service
102 – police
103 – emergency health service
104 – gas service
112 – rescue service
171 – long-distance and international calls booking
118 – call center of local telephony operators
169 – paid reference service
Useful Tourist Information
While talking to the Kazakhs, you should remember they one should not break
older people, otherwise they can accept it as an abuse. When entering into a
room, one should greet every person present, but not only those you know. The
Kazakhs are very hospitable people, therefore, when visiting the Kazakh house,
you will surely be invited to the table. One should refuse from any food, since
hosts can see it as a disrespect to them.