Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, and is still its largest city. Being a financial and cultural center
of Central Asia, Almaty boasts moderately-sized tourist and expatriate communities.
On a clear day you can see the beautifully rugged, snow capped mountains, right at the city's doorstep to the south. The city, in
general, slopes from south to north which makes navigating the streets easy. If you are traveling uphill, you're going south.
There is also a small mountain range bordering the city to the east.
Almaty is in the top 50 most expensive cities worldwide for expats to live in according to Mercer Human Research. Although Almaty
dropped from 30th place in 2007 to 44th in 2008, it's still more expensive than Toronto, Los Angeles or Hamburg. Still, if done
carefully - Almaty can be as cheap as many South American and Eastern European cities. It is a wonderful gateway
to this undiscovered and distinctive country. Kazakh people are very kind and welcoming, and you will be pleasantly surprised by
For people from most countries, the easiest way to get to Kazakhstan is by air.
Several airlines have regular flights into Almaty, including Lufthansa, CSA, KLM and Turkish Airlines, (twice daily) to
name a few. It's roughly a 7-8 hour flight from Europe. Air Astana, with a fairly modern fleet of Airbuses and Boeings,
has direct flights from major European cities such as Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and is a comfortable and reasonably
priced alternative to the European airlines.