Almaty’s shopping options range from traditional to modern to just plain interesting.
Whether you want a three-story glass enclosed megamall with a rock climbing wall or a teeming local bazaar where you can bargain with the venders, you will be able to find it in Kazakhstan’s business capital.
Starting with the more traditional options, you can head to the Green Bazaar. This is a huge outdoor and indoor traditional Kazakh bazaar which specializes in the foods of the region. You can watch butchers chop up chunks of horse meat and experienced workers hand-stuffing spicy Kazakh sausages. Colorful piles of fruits, vegetables and mixed dishes line the aisle and sampling is encouraged.
Among the city’s most modern malls is Mega Center where you’ll find more than 100 top designer boutiques such as Zara, Calvin Klein and Yves Rocher. Mega also includes a skating rink, rock climbing wall and bowling alley.
And for an interesting slice of local flavor, head to Barakholka and Adem. Barakholka is a teeming crowded marketplace where you can find just about anything you could want. It can appear a bit chaotic but is certainly an experience. Nearby is Adem, which is a similar atmosphere only less crowded and with much appreciated air conditioning.
And if you’re hungry, Almaty offers an excellent 24 hour food market with a large selection of imported items, a quality deli and lots of wine.
From modern to traditional you can find it in the shops of Almaty.
Barakholka and Adem
If you like a little local flavor with your shopping this is the place to go. Barakholka is a huge, teeming and crowded flea market. It may seem a bit chaotic at first but you can find bargains on literally everything you could want – from household appliances, to shoes, to souvenirs. Just remember to keep a hand on your wallet as the jostling crowds are prime feeding grounds for pickpockets. Sunday mornings are the most crowded.
Just before arriving at Barakholka you’ll notice three buildings on your right. These buildings make up another market called Adem, which is the better known and more modern partner to Barakholka. You’ll find pretty much the same selection of stuff here as Barakholka, but Adem is smaller, less crowded, offers better security, and – best of all – it’s air conditioned.
Kazakhstan’s growing energy wealth is beginning to reach the pockets of Almaty’s middle and upper classes. And Mega Center is where they go to spend it. You’ll find the latest fashions at Mega Center’s more than 100 boutiques including Zara, Calvin Klein Jeans, Yves Rocher and Benetton. The center also offers a rock climbing wall, bowling alley, movie theater and skating rink.
Ramstore is best known around Almaty as a high quality supermarket chain with one of the city’s best selections of imported items. But the Ramstore Trade Center is way more than a food shop. The Ramstore Center at the corner of Furmanov and Zholdasbekov Streets is a combination mega food store, entertainment complex and upscale mall. In addition to its quality supermarket, the center offers restaurants, cafes, a movie theater, skating rink and 56 stylish boutiques.
If you’re hungry at 4 am, this is where you go. It’s a 24-hour supermarket that is way more than a late night convenience store. It offers an ample selection of imported food and beverages, a well-stocked deli and lots of wines. It’s also right in the center of Almaty. So if you can’t sleep or just want some good cheese at midnight, head to Stolichny.
Zangar, also known as Tsum
It’s not flashy, but you’ll find what you need. Whether you’re searching for souvenirs, mobile phones or a new toaster, Tsum’s dozens of boutiques and small shops spread over three levels will have it. The first floor is the place for electronics, the second floor offers clothing, and footwear. And cosmetics are found on the third level. Tsum also features numerous souvenir shops where you can find traditional Kazakh swords, horse whips, felt hats and other kitsch for your friends back home.
Immediately beside the mall is a pedestrian-only section of Zhibek Zholy Street featuring small venders selling their wares and local artists selling their works. Tsum is one of Almaty’s oldest and best known malls.
Zelyony Bazar, also known as Green Bazaar
The Green Bazaar is one of the best places in Almaty to find traditional Kazakh food. You can watch butchers chopping up chunks of horse meat and experienced workers hand-stuffing spicy Kazakh sausages. Fruits, salads, cheeses, meats and traditional mixed dishes line the aisles of the large indoor section. And the best part is that sampling is encouraged. So feel free to taste before you buy. The large bazaar includes indoor and outdoor sections and features clothing, shoes, appliances and other everyday items in addition to its food offerings.
The vendors are friendly and the whole market has a welcoming vibe. It’s a great place to spend some time getting a real cultural taste of Kazakhstan.