Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty, Kazakhstan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Almaty, Kazakhstan: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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Is the cost of living in Almaty high?

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We asked people about the cost of living in Almaty, they wrote:

"The cost of living in Almaty is "Euro light". For example, American groceries and fruits and vegetable out of season can be very expensive. However, there is always an abundance of season produce that is extremely inexpensive. Gas is very cheap. Buying a car can be expensive. Household items, clothing, and public transportation is far less expensive than Western prices. Housing can be expensive closer to downtown, but in the outlying areas of the city, all with excellent public transportation, homes and nice apartments are much more reasonably prices, and well below Western prices," said another expat in living in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Residency & Visa Requirements

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"Kazakhstan requires a visa for foreigners. Work visas can be obtained through employers. Travel visa for Americans are good for 30 days. The visa process can be quite arduous, and many foreigners do a visa run to the border with Kyrgyzstan, which is quick and cheap," said another expat in Almaty.

Why do people move to Almaty?

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When we asked people why foreigners move to Almaty, they responded:

"Foreigners move to Almaty for careers in banking, commerce, oil, and education. The breathtaking mountains and easy access to nature, along with four glorious seasons and many Western conveniences, cultural events, and green spaces make it an ideal city for families," said another expat in living in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

What do I need to know about living in Almaty?

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

"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," remarked another in Almaty.

How do I meet people in Almaty?

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

"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," remarked another expat in Almaty.

What is life like in Almaty?

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

"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 one expat.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Almaty accepting of differences?

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"It's generally very relaxed. There is no dress code the women in summer wear very revealing clothes. Generally people are smartly dressed only the expats wear shorts in town. I have never seen homosexuals openly walking hand in hand as in Europe so I have the impression this is not tolerated, nor people kissing on the streets, so I assume its not done," said another person in Almaty.

What are the schools in Almaty like?

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"The school is mostly local as the international community has moved to Astana. This is a problem for every 'international' school in Almaty. Quality Schools International system of learning / teaching is something to get used to (mastery education). Creativity is very low among teachers and this shows in art classes, or classes for the elementary children. The budget of the school is never published and the tuition money are not reflected in the quality of the staff or of the school. The school lacks guidance counselor for the elementary school, and this translates in issues being 'solved' through the principal who is not necessarily trained adequately," remarked another expat living in Almaty with children attending Almaty International School, QSI (Quality Schools International) .

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Panfilova Street in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Almaty, KazakhstanGuide to Living in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty, Kazakhstan: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Almaty

Kazakhstan Forum Kazakhstan Forum
Join our Kazakhstan forum to meet other people living in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Almaty.

Healthcare in KazakhstanHealthcare in Kazakhstan

Information about healthcare and hospitals in Kazakhstan.

Almaty, KazakhstanExpats Talk about Living in Almaty

Expats talk about what it's like living in Almaty, Kazakhstan: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Almaty Should Know

12 Tips for Living in Almaty, Kazakhstan12 Tips for Living in Almaty, Kazakhstan

An in-depth look at Almaty, Kazakhstan - international schools, hospitals, residency and visa requirements, recreational activities and more.

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Almaty

A teacher from South Africa decided to move to Almaty after experiencing significant culture shock while living in Semipalatinsk. He share why he enjoys life in Almaty.

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