Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Welcome to Kazakhstan... Country #65 for us!

We were up at 6:00am Thursday morning. I had read that the bus to Almaty left at 8:00am, and every two hours after that. So the plan was to arrive at the bus station around 7:00, and hope to able to get on the 8:00am bus. And if not, we would have to hang around the bus station for the 10:00am bus.

We ordered a Yandex taxi at 6:30am. It was pouring rain outside.

Hardly any traffic, and we made it to Bishkek's Western Bus Station at 7:00am. It was an easy process to buy the tickets... there was only one cash window open, and the woman spoke enough English to understand what I was looking for. The price was 600 KGS ($9.25 CAD, $6.75 USD) for the five hour trip.

The bus station was a bit of a dump. And because it was pouring rain outside, some of the benches were taken up with apparently homeless men. Glad we didn't have to wait for the 10:00am bus.

We went out to platform number 11 at 7:45am and sure enough our bus was loading. It was a full size bus, but it looked like it had a gazillion miles on it... which it probably did!

The engine wheezed to life, but it sure did make some funny noises as we were pulling away!

We arrived at the border a half an hour later. I had read that this border gets quite busy, so you're better off arriving early, which we did. The driver dropped everybody off and we got our bags out of the bottom. He motioned that he would meet us on the other side.

We were quickly checked out of Kyrgyzstan, and had only a short lineup getting stamped into Kazakhstan. I've never had anyone examine my passport so thoroughly... he was scratching at things and checking it under a light, probably to make sure it wasn't a fake! It's always a relief when you hear that stamp being placed in. Welcome to Kazakhstan... country #65 for us!

On the other side, we found our bus, but we were directed to a different bus. This one also had a gazillion miles on it... and a leaky roof! Fortunately it wasn't above our seats, but a couple of people had to move. The glass in our window was hazed over...didn't take any photos.

At the half way point, we pulled in for a bathroom break.

Our bus at the bathroom break.

We spent the last hour of the trip making our way through bumper to bumper city traffic in Almaty. If we didn't have our bags with us, we would have walked the 6 kms (3.7 miles) to our Airbnb. As it was, we didn't have any local cash, so we had to find an ATM before we could pay for a taxi anyhow. We walked about two kms in the right direction before we found a foreign exchange place where I could trade in our left over Kyrgyzstan money for some Kazakhstan tenge.

Yesterday's bus ride from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Once again, the Yandex taxi app works great here in Almaty. Arrived at our Airbnb at about 2:15pm.

We splurged a little and rented an apartment. We're going to be here a full week, and it's Ruth's birthday in a few days so she deserves a treat. It's located in an old Soviet building, but the apartment itself is quite fine, and gets great reviews.

Living room.

Yes, the tv is an old boat anchor, but we never watch the tv in our accommodation anyhow. If we want to watch something, we just use my laptop.

Bedroom.

Decently equipped kitchen, with our own washing machine!

More than we would normally pay, at $50 CAD, ($36.50 USD) per night. Our host is really helpful though. He had sent explicit instructions on how to find the place. He made sure we could connect to the WiFi, answered any questions, explained how the keys worked and made us try them ourselves while he was there. Then pointed us in the right direction for some food. Also has a manual made up listing things to see in the area and other restaurant choices. Yes, a good host!

We went to a restaurant and had some food, then a grocery store for some supplies and beer and wine.

Chilly here... overcast, spitting with rain, and a high of 4C (39F). Yikes!

But that was yesterday... today is forecast to be much better, and in fact for the next week it's supposed to be sunny with highs of between 12C to 16C (54F to 61F). So, not bad considering Almaty is at 2,600' altitude and we're a little further north.

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2 comments:

  1. That was an adventure! The apartment looks comfortable for a longer stay. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the delayed response, I wasn't able to get into Blogger when we were in Almaty for some strange reason. The apartment was great, totally comfortable and quiet and the price wasn't too bad either.

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