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Planning Your Trip

At the threshold of East and West, Kazakhstan often surprises visitors with its diverse geography, which includes deserts, steppes, mountains, lakes and the sea. Almaty, the vibrant former capital, brims with just as much natural beauty — as well as sophisticated dining, rich cultural attractions and buzzing nightlife.


Business Travel

A business trip to Almaty is a wonderful opportunity to mix some sightseeing and cultural adventure into the workday. Pack to maximize your luggage allowance and your valuable time.


  • In Almaty, summers are hot and winters are cold, but spring and fall can be unpredictable. Bring lightweight, compact layers to prepare for any weather.
  • Pack versatile pieces that can go from office to dinner with ease — a blue suit, white shirt and brown or black shoes for men; a blazer, a couple of dresses and comfortable shoes for women. Pack sneakers and activewear to work out and to explore the outdoors.
  • Kazakhstan uses plug types C and F. Travelers from many countries, including much of the Americas, should bring a travel adapter to power their devices.   


A pair of ski boots and skis

Winter Vacation

Winter in Almaty is cold, no doubt about it. But it’s also the premier time to enjoy Central Asia’s best skiing, at Shymbulak, the ice-skating at Medeu rink and the invigorating Alpine air.



  • You’ll want skiing or snowboarding equipment to explore Shymbulak Ski Resort, the area’s premier ski destination, in the breathtaking Tian Shan mountain range. If you don’t have your own, the hotel’s Ski Butler can customize and arrange rentals, recommend the best spots and even join you on the slopes.
  • Dress very warmly for winter mountain sports — it’s even colder in the mountains than in Almaty, and you’ll be closer to the sun, so don’t forget to bring sunscreen and polarized sunglasses.
  • Even if you’ll be relaxing indoors for most of your trip, be sure to take along warm clothes. Your warmest coat, boots, hat and gloves will keep you toasty and ready for a magical winter experience.  

Outdoor Adventure

Aside from its thrilling winter sports, the best of Almaty’s outdoor attractions come alive in spring, summer and fall. Here’s what to bring with you.



  • Pack comfortable, active-appropriate layers ready to wear on long strolls as you admire the architectural highlights and green spaces of the “city of gardens” — and its sometimes unpredictable weather.
  • Bring a trusted pair of hiking boots to explore the mountains in any season.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and plenty of sunscreen to visit the famous “singing barkhans” — sand dunes that emit an organ-like sound in dry weather — and colorful mountains at Altyn-Emel National Park.


Save room in your suitcase for a local memento or special gift. Oner, Almaty’s only art gallery shop and conveniently on Shevchenko Street in central Almaty, is a fine place to discover an only-in-Kazakhstan treasure. Its staff selects the work of local artists who combine tradition with a modern perspective, for a unique assortment of paintings, drawings, sculptures and decorative arts, as well as traditional Kazakh souvenirs made from felt, leather and ceramics. English-speaking associates are available.

Kazakhstan is more than twice the size of the other Central Asian states combined. Its lively former capital, Almaty, is the ideal entry point to a Silk Road adventure. From dining and culture to ecotourism, here’s what not to miss.  

Ski Lessons

World-class skiing brings many travelers to Almaty. The season runs from December through March, and abundant sunshine makes for delightful days on the slopes. There are many small ski resorts in the area, but Shymbulak is the largest and most modern, with instructors and slopes for all skill levels. Experienced skiers might choose to reserve a guide instructor to explore the uncharted, yet safe, backcountry routes. For the ultimate adventure, heli-skiers can reserve a helicopter ride from Shymbulak to Pik Talgar, the highest point of the Tian Shan, to experience untouched routes.

Outdoor Excursions

Cosmopolitan Almaty also brims with natural beauty. Kazakhstan’s diverse geography lends itself to unique nature-based activities like bird-watching, skiing, hiking, watersports and swimming. Nearby natural wonders include Charyn Canyon, called the Grand Canyon’s younger brother, the singing sand dunes in the steppes of Altyn-Emel National Park; and stunning mountain lakes and plateaus. In winter, do not miss ice-skating at the legendary Medeu Sports Complex, home to the world’s highest open-air ice rink, cradled in the majestic Tian Shan mountains. Your concierge can arrange a day trip to any one of these signature landmarks.

Afternoon Tea/Tea Ceremonies

In Kazakh culture, no meal is complete without tea. It is also a central component of the country’s renowned hospitality. Anytime you visit a Kazakh house, even for a moment, expect to be presented with a fragrant cup of tea and assorted sweets. The traditional Kazakh tea ceremony is accompanied by local desserts such as baursak and zhent, and irimzhik cheese. Immerse yourself in Nomadic culture by reserving a traditional afternoon tea ceremony at Sky Lounge and Bar, overlooking the buzzing city and majestic mountains, at The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty.  

Spa Appointments

The ideal Almaty stay includes a luxurious taste of Central Asia’s esteemed beauty traditions. Six Senses Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty is the highest spa in the city, offering breathtaking views of Almaty and the Tian Shan mountains as you enjoy personalized treatments and a one-of-a-kind escape. Unwind after a long-haul flight or a day on the slopes with a signature hammam massage, a soothing spell in the sauna or an array of face and body treatments designed to tone, firm, lift and beautify. Reserve an appointment with our expert therapists, who can customize the ideal spa experience for you.


The Perfect Weekend

Almaty offers the quaint alongside the cosmopolitan. In just a few footsteps, visitors can transport themselves from elaborate tsarist-era churches to behemoth Soviet-era palaces and glittering ultramodern skyscrapers. With the this itinerary you can experience it all.


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24 Hours In …

A single day in Almaty, the nation’s largest city, can introduce visitors to the area’s Cambrian-era beginnings, its more recent Silk Road and Soviet-era past, and its promising present and future as one of Central Asia’s major economic powers.


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