Shopping and Nightlife in Kazakhstan
The following items can be imported into Kazakhstan duty-free in hand luggage (people aged 16 and over):
200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 200 g of tobacco products;
3 liters of alcoholic beverages and 2 liters of wine;
Perfume for personal use;
Gifts up to a value of US $ 1500 (foreigners only).
A customs declaration must be filled out upon entry and should be kept carefully until departure. All personal belongings including valuables and currencies are noted on this form. With precise customs control, the customs formalities can take a long time, but German tourists usually have no customs problems when entering the country.
Only Kazakh goods that have been proven to have been acquired with foreign currency may be exported.
Guns, ammunition, drugs and anything that can be considered as accessories for drug use, propaganda material directed against Kazakhstan, pornography and third party items intended to be imported for that person. More detailed information, including from the embassies (see contact addresses).
Weapons, precious metals, furs, jewelry, precious stones and antlers. A special permit is required for antiques, art objects and carpets.
Popular souvenirs from Kazakhstan, a country located in Asia according to aristmarketing, are colorful silk scarves, fragrant spices, caviar * and tea. A noble souvenir is silver jewelry, which is often decorated with rubies or emeralds, sometimes with semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli.
In small mom and pop shops you can get everything for daily needs, such as hygiene articles and groceries. In the bigger cities there are colorful bazaars where traders offer a variety of different products. In addition to food and fresh fruit and vegetables, you can also get clothes, shoes, jewelry, electronics and much more here. The prices can be haggled over. The most famous bazaar is Baracholka in Almaty, which is located north of Panfilov Park and is one of the largest bazaars in Central Asia.
In recent years, more and more supermarkets have opened in Kazakhstan, the larger chains include, for example, GROS, Green or Ramstore. The German Metro Group also operates several branches that are spread across the country. Often you can find products from the West in the supermarkets, the prices correspond to the European level.
In the big cities such as Astana, Almaty or Turkistan there are luxurious shopping centers, such as the Silka Way City Mall in Almaty, where you can also find international labels such as Yves Rocher or Benetton.
Most shops open Mon-Fri 9 am-8pm, some shops open Sat 9 am-3pm. Large shops such as shopping centers sometimes also open on Sundays.
* The import of caviar to Germany is strictly limited due to the species protection law. Violations are severely punished.
Most cities have a limited number of accommodations of acceptable comfort. It is best to book in advance either directly or through a travel agent. Categories: The accommodations in Kazakhstan are divided into the following categories: Super Class A, Super Class B, First Class and Second Class. Most hotels in Almaty, Karaganda, Tschimkent, Astana, Kokschetau and Kostanaj belong to the second class. Classifications of tourist hotels and campsites are made by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Tourism (see addresses). All other accommodations are classified by the district offices.
The only designated campsites are the permanent base camps from which the mountain peaks of Kazakhstan can be climbed. Wild camping is at your own risk.
There is a varied entertainment offer in the major cities of the country with nightclubs, discos, bars and pubs. In many restaurants, music is played after 8 p.m. to create a relaxed atmosphere. In the rural areas it is much quieter.
The city of Almaty in particular has an exciting nightlife to offer. Live music is often played in the numerous clubs. The most popular club in town is the fun to mass. The Soho Club (Internet: www.soho.kz) and Guns’n Roses (Internet: www.thegunsandroses.com), which also have branches in Atyrau, Astana and Aktau, are popular with foreigners. Lovers of the performing arts will find a wide range of theaters, operas and ballet houses in Almaty, including the Uyghur National Theater, which is the only professional Uyghur theater in the world. In the Deutsches Theater, which is located in the west of the city, pieces are played for the German-speaking minority living here.
In the capital, Astana, the nightlife is much quieter, but there are also some nightclubs, such as the Fashion Club. The city also has some very good theaters to offer, such as the Tilep Kobyz Sarayi (Internet: www.tilep.kz) or the Kalibak Kuanyshev Kazakh Theater. In the modern Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall (Internet: www.ckzkazakhstan.kz) there are three concert halls as well as several restaurants and bars. The main concert hall is one of the largest concert halls in the world with 3,500 seats. Classical music events as well as rock and pop concerts, ballet performances, cinema screenings and various conferences take place in the building all year round.