Currency

tenge (T)

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than 8000T

  • Hostel dorm: 2800–3500T
  • Meal at a stolovaya: 1000T
  • City bus: 80–100T
  • Admission to museums: 500–1000T

Midrange: 8000–28,000T

  • Double room in a hotel: 12,000–20,000T
  • Lunch and dinner in local restaurants: 5000–7000T
  • Taxi ride across town: 1500T
  • Train from Almaty to Astana platskartny (hard-sleeper train)/kupeyny (soft-sleeper train): 4443/9774T

Top end: More than 28,000T

  • Double room in a top hotel: 25,000–70,000T
  • Dinner in a high-end restaurant: 8000–20,000T
  • High-speed train from Almaty to Astana (VIP class): 13,567T

Bargaining

Bargaining is sensible in markets and when agreeing on taxi prices. In shops, prices are fixed. Asking for a discount on hotel accommodation during low and shoulder seasons is a good tactic.

Money

The national currency is the tenge (T). ATMs abound and credit cards are accepted at many shops, restaurants and hotels.

ATMs

ATMs abound at banks, shopping centres, supermarkets, hotels, some train stations and elsewhere. Look for ‘Bankomat’ signs. Most accept at least Maestro, Cirrus, Visa and MasterCard.

Cash

Tenge (T) notes come in denominations of 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000T. There are also 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100T coins. 1T and 2T are not legal tender on public transport. If you have 10,000T or – heaven forbid! – 20,000T bills, get change as soon as you can and hold on to smaller bills, as public transport, taxis and small convenience stores find it difficult to deal with larger bills. Prices in hotels are usually quoted in the national currency, but occasionally US dollars or euros.

Changing Money

Exchange offices (marked ‘Obmen Valyuty’) are common on city streets. Dollars, euros and roubles are the most widely accepted currencies.

Credit Cards

You can make purchases with credit cards (Visa and MasterCard preferred) at a fair number of shops, restaurants, hotels and travel agencies. There is sometimes a surcharge for doing so.

Exchange Rates

Australia

Unit

A$1

Tenge

266T

Canada

Unit

C$1

Tenge

267T

China

Unit

Y1

Tenge

50T

Euro zone

Unit

€1

Tenge

398T

Japan

Unit

¥100

Tenge

304T

New Zealand

Unit

NZ$1

Tenge

249T

Russia

Unit

R10

Tenge

56T

UK

Unit

UK£1

Tenge

440T

USA

Unit

US$1

Tenge

335T

Tipping

Tipping is not customary in Kazakhstan, as hotel and restaurant bills often include a service charge. However, since the restaurant service charge doesn't go to the waiter, a tip is always appreciated.