How to get from Shymkent to Turkestan by public transport

Turkestan is a must-visit destination in Kazakhstan, and an easy day trip from Shymkent. Here’s how to get from Shymkent to Turkestan by public transport.


Turkestan is home to one of the most amazing man-made structures in Kazakhstan: the Yasaui Mausoleum. You can spend a night in Turkestan if you want, but it’s an easy day trip from Shykment, so unless you’re traveling westwards, there’s no real reason to spend a night there.

How to get from Shymkent to Turkestan by public transport

Getting to Turkestan

To get from Skymkent to Turkestan by public transport, first go to “Бекжан автовокзал” in Shymkent. Write it down if you don’t know Russian or Kazakh! There are several local buses going here, so ask your hotel or the screamers at a bus stop. The bus fare is 70 tenge. The station is next to a huge white mosque, so you can’t miss it.

Looking for Kazakhstan inspiration? Check out our two-week Kazakhstan itinerary!

Marshrutkas to go from Shymkent to Turkestan by public transport

At the station, you’ll find several marshrutky going to Turkestan. Just ask around. They cost 600/800 (non-AC/AC) tenge per person. It takes about two hours to get to Turkestan, and they leave when full. If you speak some Russian or Kazakh, the driver will be happy to drop you off near the mausoleum. If not, a taxi to the mausoleum costs around 400 tenge from the bus station in Turkestan.

The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

Entrance to the mausoleum is 500 tenge per person for foreigners. This includes entrance to the sights surrounding the mausoleum, such as the underground mosque. You don’t have to pay to enter the grounds, just to enter the sights themselves, so you can roam around for free if you’re really strapped for cash. The sights double as small museums, curated in Russian and Kazakh.

The mausoleum and surrounding sights are of a religious nature, so you should dress somewhat conservatively. No shorts for men and no bare shoulders or shorts/short skirts for women. Headscarves are handed out at the entrance of the mausoleum, free of charge.

Getting back to Shymkent

Ask for the merey (pronounced “mer-ee”) for marshrutkas back to Shymkent. The station is in a small courtyard across from a station for larger buses. Again, marshurtkas will leave when full. Marshrutkas back to Shymkent stop running around 19:00.

Where to stay in Shymkent

Getting to Turkestan from Shymkent cheaply is easy, and makes for a great day trip. In Shymkent, we advise you to stay at ShymCity Hostel. This is the only hostel in town, run by a friendly Canadian lady. It’s quite relaxed, and the owner can help you plan onwards travel as well.


Yay transparency! The hostel link in this info post is an affiliate link. If you book a stay there via our 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!

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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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12 thoughts on “How to get from Shymkent to Turkestan by public transport

    Elizabeth reid says:

    You have two prices for the trip to Turkestan, both of which sound too low. Currently there are about 310 tenge to the dollar or 330 to the euro. The bus to Turkestan from Shymkent must be more than 70 tenge, and likely is more than 600/800 ($2-$2.65) for a 2-3 hour trip.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Think you need to read more carefully. The 70 tenge is for a short hop from the city center to the bus station in Shymkent. And the 600/800 price is correct. Kazakhstan is just a cheap country.

    Chloe says:

    Hello, i’m going to kz this June. i want to visit Otrar complex, the mausoleum of the Bab Arystan and Khoja Ahmed Yassaui. i know these 3 sites are not far from each other. But i only have one day in Turkestan, so the trip must be in a hurry. i want to know is there any local travel agency for such tour or can i call a taxi for a whole day? i’m afraid the bus or the marshrutkas might take me too long. Thanks!

    Sebastiaan says:

    You can probably book a taxi through ShymCity hostel, mentioned in the post. It might be a bit pricey, but they can arrange everything for you. You could also approach a driver on the street, but knowing a bit of Russian would help if you opt for this.

    Kaelyn Korte says:

    Hello! I enjoyed reading your article. What I love most about living and playing professional sports in Kazakhstan is how cheap public transportation is. I would love it if you took a look at my blog and let me know what you think 🙂

    Tim says:

    You might want to fix sonething. Автосалон Вираж is a car repair place in the dead middle of nowhere on the opposite side of the city from Бекжан автовокзал, which is the correct location for getting a marshrutka to Turkistan. I found this out the hard way just now.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Sorry for that. Changed it!

    Jimmy says:

    Great stuff
    I am planning to do taraz chimkent and turkestan in straight 3 days (with travels at night) as I have to take train to aktobe from turkstan it won’t make sense for me to return to chimkent
    Thanks for insightful article

    Dan says:

    The cost from Shymkent to Turkestan by Marshrutka is now 1400 tenge one-way

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