Budget: Less than 8000T
- Hostel dorm: 2800–3500T
- Meal at a stolovaya: 1000T
- City bus: 80–100T
- Admission to museums: 500–1000T
- 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 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.
The national currency is the tenge (T). ATMs abound and credit cards are accepted at many shops, restaurants and hotels.
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.
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.
Exchange offices (marked ‘Obmen Valyuty’) are common on city streets. Dollars, euros and roubles are the most widely accepted currencies.
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.
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.