Top things to do

Top Choice Italian in Shymkent

Olivia

Visually a sultry cross between a stone-walled cellar and a library, with plenty of books on art and design on surrounding shelves, this gorgeous restaurant serves beautifully executed pasta dishes, risottos and gri…
Top Choice Museum in Shymkent

Museum of Victims of Political Repression

This small museum documents Soviet oppression in Kazakhstan, from the dekulakisation (Soviet campaign of political repression from 1929 to 1932) and Stalinist repressions of the 1930s to the victims of Zheltoksan in…
Top Choice Uzbek in Shymkent

Kok-Saray

Atmospheric multiroomed Kok-Saray, with carved-wood pillars, murals and an airy front terrace, serves the best Uzbek food in town (and in Kazakhstan, claim aficionados). Don’t miss the perfect plov (tashkentsky with…
Museum in Shymkent

Regional Museum of Southern Kazakhstan

In its shiny new quarters on the northern outskirts of the city, this regional museum has well-presented, trilingual displays on local geology, Iron Age burial mounds (check out the human bones buried in a large cla…
Park in Shymkent

Tauelsizdik sayabagy

Tauelsizdik sayabagy, accessed by footbridge from the tall, Mother Earth–topped Independence Monument, was inaugurated in 2011 for the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence. It focuses on Ramizder alany (Sym…
International in Shymkent

Bar Villa

Overlooking the park behind Kinoteatr Kakakhstan, Bar Villa's two levels of mostly sofa seating have big windows to enjoy the leafy view, and there's a three-level garden terrace for summer. The well-prepared fare f…
Asian in Shymkent

KazakhAsia

Another superlative restaurant inside the Rixos hotel, this informal Pan-Asian place features original decor with Kazakh elements, an open kitchen that serves Kazakh, Chinese, Japanese and fusion dishes. It can be a…
Memorial in Shymkent

Alleya Slavy

In Abay Park, two tall concrete pillars lean on each other above an eternal flame, and the alley is lined with plaques bearing the names of the more than 140,000 people from the south Kazakhstan region who lost thei…
Cultural in Shymkent

Navrus

Shymkent’s Navrus (Nauryz) celebrations, on 22 March, are among the biggest in the country. Kokpar, horse races, audaryspak (horseback wrestling) and kyz kuu (a boy-girl horseback chase) all happen at the Ippodrom (…
Market in Shymkent

Bazar Samal

Of several new markets around the city fringes, Bazar Samal, next to Samal bus station, is the biggest and most interesting, with a particularly colourful array of rugs and textiles, as well as food and millions of …