Almaty Kazakhstan is one of those far off cities in the middle of central Asia. Far off in distance from anywhere, 6 hours from Beijing and 6 hours from Paris. It also happens to be far off the popular tourist trail as well. Mountains rise up sharply from the edge of the city and remained snow-capped all year round making for some amazing views from the city. Almaty with teenagers is a great introduction to Central Asia
We found Almaty with teenagers an amazing destination for outdoor activities and old-world Soviet charm mixed with a desire to modernize for a burgeoning tourist industry. Almaty was once the capital of Kazakhstan and with a population of 1.7 million, it still is the largest city in the country and it will not disappoint visitors.
Know before you go. Our top Almaty travel tips
Travelling to Almaty can be such an enriching experience for the whole family. There are so many things to do in Almaty and having the best place to stay in Almaty and wander is extremely important. Here we’ve got some information to get you planning your family vacation to Almaty to make it completely hassle-free.
Where to stay in Almaty with teenagers
You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in Almaty. In Almaty, you find a range of hotels, apartments and hostels. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families and groups on every budget. If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Trip Advisor and Agoda to find the best prices in Almaty.
- Luxury: Offering family holiday suites with mountain views. and breakfast included is the InterContinental Hotel Almaty. Guests enjoy a fully equipped gym, swimming pool and tennis court.
- Mid-Range: Holiday Inn Almaty offers adjoining rooms for your family vacation in Almaty. The hotel features a bar and restaurant, laundry facilities and airport transfers on request
- Budget: Featuring double rooms with 2 pools is Shera Park Hotel. Free breakfast, wifi and airport transfers are available.
For all your other Almaty accommodation needs Booking.com also has amazing deals and some properties even have a free cancellation just in case!
Almaty Airbnb alternative for your stay
If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation then an AirBnB in Almaty is the best choice for family travel. There are so many options for singles, families and budget-friendly options as well. Check out the map below to find the perfect Almaty Airbnb.
How to get to Almaty Kazakhstan
- Almaty airport is the busiest airport in Central Asia and the largest international airport in Kazakhstan. The major airline that services Almaty is the Kazak National airline Air Astana. You can book Almaty flights with Cheap-O-Air.
- You can book an airport transfer from Almaty Airport to your hotel.
- There are 2 main train stations in the city. Almaty 1 and Almaty 2 trains stations serve both domestic and international trains. Currently. Trains departing Almaty-1 head (via Almaty-2) to Aktobe, Kostanay, Karaganda, Pavlodar and Novosibirsk.
- Sairan is Almaty’s long-distance bus station. Bus destinations include Bishkek, Urumqi, Taraz, Shymkent, Oskemen, Karaganda
- You can grab a hire car in Almaty, the quality of the roads in Kazakhstan varies greatly from western standards to third world standards. Seach your Rental Car today!
How to get around Almaty
Almaty is a fairly small city by western standards. Most things can be reached with a 2-3 kilometre walk. Alternatively we suggest you download the Yandex app and order lifts through it.
Using your phone in Almaty
Relying on Wi-fi when you are travelling can be hard. Making calls and staying in contact with who you need is a top priority. Plan your trip out and order your sim before you leave home to stop any stress about travelling, data and calls.
Things to do in Almaty with teens
Kazakhstan is an emerging family travel destination and a brilliant place to take your travelling teens off the beaten path. Let’s take a look at some things to do with teenagers in Almaty.
Central Park Almaty
Almaty Central Park is one of the most popular parks in Almaty. Formally known as Gorky Park this green space in the middle of the city covers 100 hectares. It is the largest recreational area in Almaty and it is stunning. This family-friendly park is a gathering place for people to meet, eat, drink, walk, run and have some serious fun.
At times it seems everyone in Almaty is at Central Park. Families, couples and kids gather to meet, chat and eat in the good weather of Almaty. The park features a large pond where you can hire paddleboats, ropes courses, basketball court, football pitch, the Almaty Zoo, Dino Park and gardens.
Dolphinarium Nemo is the Almaty version of Seaworld minus the whales. People travel from all around the region to see the shows at the Dolphinarium. You have to think Almaty is well over 2000 kilometres from the nearest coastline. The shows feature dolphins and seals (we know this is not something everyone agrees with) and last just one hour.
The show will keep you entertained with dolphin antics and sea lion fun as the crowd cheers and enjoys the atmosphere. The venue offers photo opportunities, dolphin therapy programs, diving with the dolphins and more. For younger visitors, there is a children’s playground.
TsPKiO – Central Park Almaty (former park named after Gorky), st. Gogol, 1, Almaty
The performances start at 12:00, 15:00, 18:00.
3,000 tenge per ticket
Children under 5 free.
Aqua Park Almaty
Aqua Park Almaty is also located with the confines of the Central Park Almaty. It is located right next to the Dolphinarium Nemo. The Aqua Park is great place for families on vacation to spend a warm summer day in Almaty. The Aqua Park features water slides, swimming pools and is shaded by trees to help you be sun smart.
There are large water slides such as the kamikaze, tornado, abyss, yellow river and the black hole. For families with both teenagers and younger children, you will find a kids area featuring two pools, slides, a waterfall has been created on the territory of the water park. There are food and drinks available on site.
TsPKiO – Central Park Almaty (former park named after Gorky), st. Gogol, 1, Almaty
Open daily 11:00. until 21:00
Adult – 5000 Tenge
Child – 4000 Tenge
Top travel in Almaty with teenagers tip:
If the weather turns bad in Almaty, there is a second water park in the city. Aqua Park Hawaii is an indoor water park in Almaty that is open all year round. If you are visiting Almaty in winter this may be a great option for a fun activity in Almaty with kids.You can find more details here for Aqua Park Hawaii
Big Lake Almaty
Located a short 15 Kilometres from the city is Big Lake Almaty. It is as much an adventure reaching the lake as it is exploring the lake. Roads in Kazakhstan leave a lot to be desired once you get out of the city. You can make regular stops on the way to the lake for some amazing pictures.
Big Lake Almaty is a reservoir high in the mountains above the city. It is located in the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains at 2511 meters above sea level. It is the lake’s unusual teal turquoise colour and surrounding nature that makes it one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.
How to get to Big Lake Almaty with teenagers easily?
The easiest way to get to Big Lake Almaty is with a Yandex. As we have previously mention Yandex is a Uber equivalent. The beauty with Yandex is you can pay a driver at a decent rate to wait for you at the lake. It will take you around an hour to get the lake, you might spend 1-2 hours there and then want to come back to Almaty. For us it cost us around $50 Australian for a 4 hour return trip.
Alternatively, you can always take a tour of the lake if that makes it easier. Big Lake Almaty is way worth a visit, one of the best family thing to do in Almaty.
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I can guarantee your teenagers will have seen nothing like this in any western countries before. The stunning Zenkov (Ascension) Cathedral is remarkable for three reasons: it’s made entirely of wood, no nails are used to hold it together, and it was one of the few buildings in Almaty to survive the 1911 earthquake (locals think this was an act of God).
The interior – Russian Orthodox icons veiled in clouds of incense – is as beautiful as the exterior, and it looks remarkable in the Kazakh winter, dusted with snow.
Kok Tobe is a natural Almaty landmark that will give you some of the best views anywhere in the world. It is a hill that overlooks the city one way and the amazing steep mountains the other. The mountain’s height is 1100 meters above sea level so you can catch a cable car to the top from near the city centre or you can catch a Yandex halfway and walk the rest!
It is a popular recreation area among visitors and tourists to Almaty and it has to be one of the best places to visit in Almaty with teenagers. Besides the amazing views you get from the cable car there is also a toboggan track, Ferris wheel and other amusement type rides and stands. There is a Beatles statue that is a popular photo spot and a small zoo. You can grab a bite to eat at restaurants, cafe and food stand all while being surrounded by magnificent views.
Shymbulak ski resort
Among the many great attractions in Almaty to see right at the top of the list of things to do in Almaty is visit Shymbulak ski resort (or sometimes spelt Chimbulak) Shymbulak is the largest ski resort in Central Asia and is one of the top Almaty tourist attractions all year round.
You need to catch a cable car from Medeu taking you up to a height of 2400 Meyers above sea level. This is the first station of the Shymbulak ski resort. Here you will find horse riding, ropes courses, hiking treks, cafes and hotels. Here you will find plenty of outdoor fun for kids in Almaty.
From here you can catch a ski lift to 2800 meters and then another to 3200 meters above sea level. You honestly feel like you are on top of the world.
Do I need travel insurance in Kazakhstan?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in Kazakhstan from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend AXA Travel Insurance
Day trips from Almaty
Getting out of the city is a great way to experience more of what Kazakhstan has to offer and it has plenty to offer. Here are some brilliant day trips from Almaty for you to consider.
The capital of Kyrgyzstan is just over 200 kilometres away. Be prepared to get up early and arrive back late at night when making a trip from Almaty to Bishkek. The trip will take around 3 hours each way with a border crossing involved. The trip has amazing views Central Asia’s Tian Shan range. Explore the State Museum of Fine Arts and the huge Soviet-era Ala-Too Square.
Charyn Canyon is the Central Asian version of the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is 200 kilometres east of Almaty close to the Chinese/Kazak border. The canyon is roughly 90 kilometres long and forms the Charyn National Park.
Not as deep as the Grand Canyon but equally impressive in parts with its stacks and colours on display for all to see In various places. In certain locations, the canyon has a depth of 150 to 300 metres.
Shopping in Almaty Kazakhstan
If you need to do some shopping Almaty there are so many places to go. Many brands you know well are for sale in Almaty and you will have no trouble getting a bargain if you are looking for one.
The newest shopping location in Almaty. Dostyk Plaza is a brand new 3 story shopping centre featuring speciality shops such as Zara, Levi’s, Nike, Guess, Xiaomi and Galmary supermarket. Mix all this in with a cinema and a food court featuring international names like KFC and Subway and local takeaway shops.
Lotte Chocolate Shop
If your near then Green Bazaar you may notice the smell of chocolate in the air. The smell is coming from the nearby the Paxat (Lotte) chocolate factory nearby. If you’re a chocolate lover and what teenagers arnt then head to the factory store. You can choose from hundreds of different chocolates
The Green Bazar
The Green Bazar has been an Almaty landmark since 1875. The market has been an important trading point in Almaty since the days it was used as as a stopover” for travelling merchants and caravans. The market currently sells spices, meats, fruit and vegetables along with produce, textile, furniture, and a wide variety of odds and ends. Along the side of the Green Bazar is an open market street with stalls on each side selling fashions, electronics and more.
Souvenirs from Almaty
If you’re visiting the Green Bazar fruit and vegetable market you will find a small row of souvenir shops next to the entrance. If you follow the little pathway of tiny shops you’ll come to a market area in that has a couple of laneways with small shops and stalls selling clothes, electronics and more. You can pick up some traditional Kazak crafts at great prices to take home.
Cinemas in Almaty
Watching a movie is popular with teenagers anywhere in the world. Going to the cinema in Almaty with teenagers is a great evening activity. You will find state of the art screens and sound for you to watch the latest blockbusters in Almaty cinemas.
10 Pin Bowling in Almaty
If you’re looking for a bit of fun, friendly family competition in Almaty then 10 pin bowling might be just the activity for you and your teenagers. You can go 10 pin bowling in Almaty at a number of different location in the city centre
- Bastau – Bowling, Billards, Restaurant
- Cosmo Bowling
Escape Rooms in Almaty
For those new to Escape rooms, this is a quick run down.
An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.
Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. If your teen likes this stuff it is definitely one of the top things to do in Almaty with teenagers.
Going to the gym in Almaty with teenagers
Fitness is very important to a lot of teenagers these days. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Just because one is travelling with teens it does not mean you need to stop working out. You can even go to the gym in Almaty.
In Almaty, you can go to a number of Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. Day passes start at 16 euros a day while a week pass costs 45 euros. You can find a list of gyms in Almaty at the Trainaway fit website.
Frequently asked questions about Almaty
For Kazakhstan, there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Kazakhstan operates on 250 voltage and 50Hz.
It is fine to drink the tap water in Almaty but not advisable in any other Kazakh city. You can buy a Filtered Drink Bottlefor your trip today
It can be a challenge in Almaty, Don’t expect anyone older that 35 to speak English, they will all speak Russian. You will be able to get by though. You should considerLangogo travel language translatorbuying the Langogo travel language translatorbefore you leave for Kazakstan
Almaty is an extremely safe city. The crime rates there are much lower than average Western cities. As in all cities be aware of your belongings while walking in tourist areas.
Tipping is not customary in Kazakhstan, as a service charge is included in hotel and restaurant bills
The Kazakhstani Tenge is the currency of Kazakhstan. We suggest you get a Transferwise Money card prior to leaving to save on withdrawal fees. You can transfer money from your home country into Tenge.
Where to stay in Almaty with family
At the top of the article, we suggested some Almaty accommodation choices. If you are looking for a wider variety of choices please find below an interactive map from Booking.com for you to find your perfect stay in Almaty.
Weather in Almaty
Almaty’s temperature can rise high into the 30’s in the summer months of July and August before plummeting into the minus degrees in the cold winter months. Snow can be seen all year round on the hills surrounding Almaty. Overall it has a nice warm mild climate for the summer months that allows you to enjoy the outdoors while winter is perfect for skiing and ice skating.
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit Almaty with teenagers. There are so many things to do in Almaty with teenagers that will have you entertained for your families the whole stay in Almaty. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Kazakhstan click through to our Kazakhstan Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.
We know because we go! Travelling with older kids has just as many issues as travelling with young kids. Use our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides from all over the world for your next family holiday inspiration.
More family travel inspiration for your family vacation with teens
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.