Here’s exactly how much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan

A detailed budget report about how much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan. Perfect for those taking advantage of Kazakhstan’s 30-day visa-free program. Includes a city-by-city breakdown, average costs for common expenses, and recommendations for budget accommodations.

Financial planning is boring and annoying. To save the world of a few unnecessary headaches, we tracked our expenses over 14 days, so you can see exactly how much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan.

How much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan - Lost With Purpose

The lakes of Kolsai were definitely the highlight of our two weeks in Kazakhstan.

Exchange rate used for this trip: €1 = 382 Tenge

Here’s how much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan

Total cost of backpacking for 14 days

  • For two people: 213,956 Tenge / €560 / $594
  • Per person: 106,978 Tenge / €280 / $297

Average cost per person

  • Total per day: 7,641 Tenge / €20 / $21.20
  • Food and drinks per day: 2,000 – 5,000 Tenge / €5.25 – 13.10 / $5.65 – 13.90
  • Accommodation per day: 2,000 – 3,500 Tenge / €5.25 – 9.16 / $5.65 – 9.70

Note: travelers are most likely to stay in hostels or yurts. Prices mentioned are for one dorm bed, or one mat in a yurt.

Yurt near Kolsai lake, Kazakhstan

Yurts are the perfect place to unwind after a long day of hiking.

  • Long distance bus: 2,000 – 3,000 Tenge / €5.25 – 7.85 / $5.65 – 8.30
  • Long distance sleeper train: 2,000 – 3,000 Tenge / €5.25 – 7.85 / $5.65 – 8.30
  • Taxi around town: 400 – 800 Tenge / €1.05 – 2.10 / $1.10 – 2.25
  • Historical sights and national parks: 500 – 1,000 Tenge / €1.30 – 2.60 / $1.40 – 2.75


The Almaty skyline as seen from Kok Tobe at sunset - Lost With Purpose

Make sure your trip to Kazakhstan includes a ride up to Kok Tobe to watch the sun set over Almaty.

Average amount spent per day in each city, for one person. Includes transport to the city.

We’ve excluded our transit day to Almaty because there are many ways to travel to Almaty and all have a different cost structure.

  • Almaty: 9,412 Tenge / €24.65 / $26.15
    • We recommend Amigo Hostel – 3,200 Tenge for a double room with shared bathroom – Book Amigo Hotel now
  • Shymkent: 7,785 Tenge / €20.40 / $21.65
  • Turkestan/transit: 7,710 Tenge / €18.60 / $19.70
    • We took a night bus back to Almaty
  • Saty/Kolsai: 4,835 Tenge / €12.65 / $13.40
    • We camped in Saty, and slept in a yurt at Kolsai

Hitchhiking in Kazakhstan - Lost With Purpose

A couple of things to consider:

  • We only included costs we think are relevant to the average traveler. We doubt you care about the clothes we bought.
  • Because of some planning mishaps, we stayed in Almaty for six days. Traveling more usually means spending a bit more money.
  • Kazakhstan is difficult for travelers using public transport. If you want to see more than we did, expect to pay for shared taxis or tours. Unless you have a car, of course.
  • Tours in Kazakhstan are expensive. If you want to go on tours, expect to pay more than we did.
  • Traveling outside the area we call the “Almaty region” (southern Kazakhstan) might be more costly due to the lack of infrastructure, and the long transportation times between places.

Context/how we roll

We’re your typical wanderin’ backpacker duo:

  • Always walk or take public transport… unless there is none. (Or we’re reeeally lost…)
  • Usually eat cheap meals and fast food for at least 2 meals a day.
  • Sleep in the cheapest accommodation we can find that isn’t crawling with bedbugs or covered with old vomit. Usually opt for a private double rather than dorms.
  • We don’t like museums.



Considering a trip to Kazakhstan? Here's our budget report from two weeks of backpacking so you know exactly how much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan. Perfect for those interested in taking advantage of Kazakhstan's two week visa-free travel program. Includes average costs of things like accommodation, food, and transport, as well as a city-by-city breakdown of costs.

Yay transparency! Some links in info post are affiliate links. That means if you book a night or two via the link, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These kinds of links are how we make up for the maintenance costs of running the blog–and we’ll love you forever if you use them! Never fear, we actually stayed there, and would never recommend a place we wouldn’t stay ourselves.

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Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

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7 thoughts on “Here’s exactly how much it costs to backpack in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan

    sjoerd says:

    Hi Sebastiaan, thanks for your blog.
    I will be visiting Kolsai lakes next month, did you find it easy to book some accommodation over there? I see you stayed in Saty. On the internet that place is even hard to find..


    Sebastiaan says:

    Hi Sjoerd, glad you like the blog.
    There are plenty of homestays in Saty, and you can stay in a yurt at the first lake, or camp if you have the equipment. You can probably book Saty homestays through your accommodation in Almaty, but in our experience you can just show up and find a homestay on the spot. Even if *official* homestays are full, there will always be enterprising families who can set you up.

    Dani Nurick says:

    This was so helpful! Do you have a more detailed itinerary? And what time of year were you there? Thanks!

    Alex says:

    Hey Dani! Yes, you can find a two-week Kazakhstan itinerary here: I was there during summertime, which was quite pleasant overall, if sometimes chilly in the mountains.

    Lance Kerwin says:

    Hei Sebaastian. Thank you for this information. I am actually travelling to Almaty next week. I had to think twice before booking an organized trip there. They are ridiculously expensive.

    Shane Walsh says:

    How much is it to exit the country

    Like is there a sleep Train you could get to India or China ect…

    And how much would that cost ?

    Thank you ????

    Would really appreciate it if youd be able to reply over email.

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