I mentioned in my post “First Impressions Count” about how friendly the people of the Kazak country-side were. If Almaty is the first place you come don’t hold your breath. The experiences I had with the people in the 5 days that we stayed here were far from pleasant, enough so that I have no plans to visit Almaty ever again.
Yes, the city is very beautiful as it rises up toward the huge mountains that separate it from Kyrgyzstan, but in my opinion this has been dulled by the general cold/bitchy attitude of it’s inhabitants.
Women, while extremely hot, (x2) walk around on a Tuesday afternoon at a shopping mall dressed like they are ready to attend a presidential ball with a pouty, I’m more important than anyone else look. The men are not far off with their bling, fancy cars and aviator glasses.
I know this is the same in many other cities around the world, but I have never been to a place where the people are so unwilling to help a stranger out, especially one who is blatantly from out of town. This cold bitchiness has extended into most retail stores and shops that we have walked into as well.
Add this to the ridiculously overpriced accommodation, food, and Internet of Almaty and I would give it a rating of 2/10.
I would suggest going 60km East where there is a lovely little town called Esik nestled in the mountains. While I only cycled through there I’m sure that it would be a much nicer place to stay.
Of course we did have he odd kind person help us out, but in general the feel of this city is that if you don’t have money, or at least put on the appearance of having money you don’t belong. Keeping up with the Jones’s is alive and well in Almaty.
To these people of Almaty – Take a few pointers from your fellow countrymen/women. A smile and some form of manners goes a long way.
Also watch your pockets and bags. I caught a guy opening the back pocket of my bag while I was waiting at a kebab stall. I didn’t realize till I got home that he had stolen something out of it.
**This is the opinion of me and may not represent your experience.