Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finding a Place to Stay in Almaty

Finding an inexpensive place to stay in Almaty is easy, as is finding an inexpensive way to get to Almaty from Astana.

I've taken the 19 - 22 hour train several times to Almaty; with one-way tickets around 5000 Tenge per adult ($33) or less, this is the best deal. I've had varying experiences on the train, however, and this time decided to take the "Spanish" train, a fast 12-hour train. More on that later.

I've also flown; flying is cheap but twice as expensive as the fast train (which is about 8000 Tenge per adult, one-way, or $54.)

Last year one of my assistants found the web site (which has a link to turn it into English). This is a great site to find apartments for short stays in Almaty. The apartments are furnished and begin at 5000 Tenge per 24-hour period. I have a map of downtown Almaty, I use this and google maps to find out just how close to downtown the apartments are.

Last year there were 6 of us traveling, we found a great one downtown for 10,000 Tenge a night (about $67.) Two large bedrooms, one living room with a pull-out couch for the girls, a nice kitchen. It was a very pleasant stay.

This year we found this one:

It was smaller than last year's, with a very small bedroom and living room (with a pull-out couch for the second bed) but suitable for 3 people (a friend, Sophia and me). It was a longer walk to the central attractions of downtown Almaty, but still downtown--still on the "downtown walking tour" in the Lonely Planet guidebook.

We chose it because the Russian description of it included some English. I had my assistant call and do the booking for us, and the landlady does speak some English, which was nice.

For 1000 Tenge extra, the landlady's husband picked us up from the train station, meeting us directly in front of our wagon and helping us with our luggage to his car. He was very friendly and knew a tiny bit of English.

Our stay was very pleasant, and I highly recommend using this web site for finding a cheap but great place to stay in Almaty.

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