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Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Retire in Kazakhstan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Jan 04, 2023

Summary: Kazakhstan is an attractive destination for retirees due to its low cost of living, diverse culture, and stunning natural beauty. The country is home to a variety of landscapes, from the snow-capped mountains of the Tian Shan range to the vast steppes of the Central Asian plains. The weather in Kazakhstan varies greatly depending on the region, but generally the summers are warm and dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (18-30°C). Winters are cold and dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-teens to the mid-30s Fahrenheit (-10 to -1°C).

What is it like to retire in Kazakhstan?

"Retiring in Kazakhstan can be a pleasant experience depending on where you choose to live. The country has a diverse population with many different cultures which makes for a unique cultural experience. The cost of living is quite low in most parts of the country and the healthcare system is improving. The climate can be moderate to cold depending on where you live and the scenery is varied with a variety of mountains and lush valleys. Living in Kazakhstan can be an interesting, exciting and overall enjoyable experience with numerous activities such as visiting museums, exploring the countryside and opportunities to meet with locals," said another retiree in living in Kazakhstan.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Kazakhstan?

"Retiring in Kazakhstan can be challenging due to the difficulty in getting reliable information. Adapting to the culture is a challenge since cultural values can be quite different from the US, especially in terms of the roles of different genders. Language is another challenge since the primary language is Kazakh which is not widely spoken outside of Kazakhstan. Additionally, the cost of living in Kazakhstan is much less expensive than in the US, which can make it difficult to stretch retirement savings. Finally, the healthcare system in Kazakhstan is not as robust, or as expensive, as it is in the US, which can be a challenge for some retirees," commented one retiree living in Kazakhstan.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Kazakhstan?

"Retiring in Kazakhstan can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The country offers numerous advantages for those looking to retire, including a high standard of living, affordable healthcare, diverse culture, welcoming climate and a low crime rate. Additionally, there are numerous places to explore in Kazakhstan, such as the stunning Tien-Shan and Altai Mountains, and a variety of activities to enjoy. With its combination of vibrant cities and traditional villages, Kazakhstan offers a mix of both urban and rural living. Retirees can also take advantage of the low cost of living and benefit from the country's generous pension scheme. With its combination of incredible natural beauty, friendly people and affordable lifestyle, retiring in Kazakhstan can certainly be an incredibly rewarding experience," said another retiree in Kazakhstan.

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What are healthcare services like in Kazakhstan?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Kazakhstan. They wrote:

"Kazakhstan has a comprehensive healthcare system in place for its citizens. Primary healthcare is available in all regions through rural health facilities, health posts, and district hospitals. Secondary healthcare is available through regional and specialty hospitals. Private clinics and hospitals exist, but health insurance options in Kazakhstan do not cover care received in private establishments. Healthcare is free in hospitals run by the government, but private hospitals may require payment. Kazakhstan also has a national immunization program in place, providing free vaccinations to citizens," commented one retiree living in Kazakhstan.

"Kazakhstan has a publicly funded healthcare system, which is regulated by the Ministry of Health. This system consists of a network of primary, secondary and tertiary health care providers that are administered by the government. Since 2011, the government has taken steps to increase access to healthcare, including investing in new hospitals and clinics. Access to healthcare is generally improved in larger cities, but many rural areas still lack adequate health facilities. The same applies to mental health services, which are limited in Kazakhstan. The country has also recently implemented a national system of electronic medical records (EMR) to improve medical data collection and analysis," explained one retiree living in Kazakhstan.

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How do I meet people in Kazakhstan?

When we asked people living in Kazakhstan about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Kazakhstan is a large and diverse country, so there are many different ways to make friends and meet people. One option is to join online communities related to shared interests, such as expat forums and social media groups. Alternatively, attending local gatherings or events is a great way to meet people in-person. Places like churches, cafés and school events can be great sources of new friends. Another option is to join a variety of clubs and organizations such as sports, language, or arts clubs. This is a great way to meet people with similar interests and build meaningful relationships," said a retiree who moved to Kazakhstan.

"Almaty International Women's Group despite the name it is open to both men and women. They have a guide, lots of activities and meet every Wednesday in the Ankara Intercontinental Hotel, 10.30 to 12.00 Otherwise expat bars Mad Murphy's Dostyk Avenue very well known," said another retiree in Almaty.

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What is life like in Kazakhstan?

When we asked people living in Kazakhstan what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in this area can be a pleasant experience with plenty of activities to enjoy. The weather is generally sunny and hot, which is perfect for outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, and outdoor hikes. In addition, there is an active expat community, with many organized activities and regular gatherings. There is a plethora of restaurants offering traditional fare as well as international cuisine. Shopping and leisure facilities are also plentiful and easily accessible. Local transport is good, with both buses and tuk-tuks offering reliable and affordable services. The cost of living is reasonable, so expats can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with access to all the necessary amenities. All in all, this is a great place to live, work and play," said another retiree in living in Kazakhstan.

"I belong to the marries group and really don't know any single people here so I can't judge. The married lot socialise with each other, dinner's parties, trips to the mountains and places of interest. There always seems plenty going on. Many of the employed people spend a lot of time travelling within the country, its 2000KM to the capital Astana from Almaty and 3,000 to the Caspian. So they tend to want quiet weekends," explained a retiree in Almaty.

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What do I need to know before retiring in Kazakhstan?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Kazakhstan, they said:

"Before retiring in Kazakhstan, it is important to know about the country's legal requirements for residency, pension eligibility, and taxation. It is also important to consider the cost of living, healthcare access, and availability of leisure activities in the area. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the local dialect and culture beforehand, in order to ensure smooth integration into the local community and lifestyle. Additionally, the expatriate should take measures to ensure that the move is secure and safe, such as obtaining a valid visa, registering with the police department, and getting relevant insurance," explained a retiree in Kazakhstan.

"Make sure they are well paid Almaty is expensive more than London or Amsterdam and much more than US cities. Have good medical insurrance you need to be flown out for almost anything. Only come if you like out door activities, skiing, walking, there is limited cultual activity though what there ia is more accessible than other cities in the world. Opera and ballet is inexpensive. There are several art galleries and many up and coming artisits. Buy the biggest stongest car you can afford, land cruiser or similar the traffic is deadly, don't take the local gypsy cabs unregulated cars which pick up people, they are very dangerous. Take great care crossing the road. Bring as much of everything that you can, it is probably available here but you won't like the price, lack of choice or quality," explained one retiree living in Almaty.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan

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