Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Almaty

Issyk Lake & Turgen Gorge
Hiking or biking amongst waterfalls cliffs and fir trees is the order of the day at Turgen Gorge a place of outstanding natural beauty.
Astra Hotel
The best-located business hotel in Almaty, with great extras.
Ile River
Perfect for a lazy boat ride gazing at the steppes at they unroll to the horizon.
Lake Kapchagai
Legendary for it's outdoor parties, Lake Kapchagai rules the summers.
Alma Hotel
Sweet, simple and subtle, with delicious rooftop views.
Ile River Delta
A trip to the immense Ile River Delta might not be quick or cheap but it's certainly an unforgettable experience. Certainly it'll make you fall in love with the country hook line and sinker.
Advantour
Krem Brûlée
Renowned for its delicious lunchtime baguettes, Krem also offers a scrumptious selection of mini pastries.
Entrecôte
Unsurprisingly, steak is the speciality here, and it's excellent, as shown by the dozens of locals dining each day.
Cream Café
With it's shaded terrace and Italian scooters, Cream Café's a tribute to the Med.
Kok Tobe
Phenomenal views await if you can make it up the holl to this playground wonderland.
Almaty Guide
Almaty guru Karlygash Makatova knows and translates everything cool about Almaty.
Lermontov Drama Theatre
This Russian theatre translates some Kazakh and English pieces, but focuses on Chekov et al.
Kasteev Art Museum
Art museum with a broad collection of Kazakh and Soviet art from the 1930s onwards.
Tau Dastarkhan
Well-situated hotel with some fantastic amenities.
Charyn Canyon
Kazakhstan's Grand Canyon, the red rocks of Charyn are a little smaller, but no less spectacular.
Asia Discovery
Want to go trekking, hunt with eagles, discover Kazakhstan's flora and fauna? These guys.
Mukhtar Auezov House
A cultural hour or two at this famous playwright's preserved house.
Central Mosque
A true post-Soviet landmark, visit the mosque to see Kazakhstan at it's international best.
Track Tourism
Mountain climbing specialists, with an extensive photographic collection of Almaty.
Tamgaly
These rock carvings are a World Heritage Site, and a humbling experience for all culture vultures.
Medeu Skating Rink
Skating has such romantic connotations - crisp skies, frosted breath and red cheeks - all come to life at Almaty's Medeo ice stadium.
Kolsai Lakes
Ever wanted to sleep in a yurt, wake up to views of a sparkling shimmering lake and spend the day riding to your heart's content? Here you are then.
Extremal
Mountain advernture shops - cycling equipment in the summer, ski and snowboard in the winter. These guys are the real experts.
Gorky Park Tennis
Twelve courts covering all surfaces are available, alongside English-speaking teachers.
Ecotourism Info Centre
Community-based tourism.
Eurasia Int’l Film Festival
If you're a film buff, check out Central Asia's offerings.
Big Almaty Lake
A great spot for being at one with nature - and huge amounts of water.
Arial Golf Club
A decent club for beginner or junior players, with reasonable prices to match.
Arasan Public Banya
A real man's spa - flagellate with birch twigs.
Altyn Emel
Burial mounds and sand dunes that hum in the wind are amongst many of this park's varied offerings.
Almaty Hippodrome
If you prefer to watch horses rather than ride them then in Almaty the HippodRome is the place to be.
Aksai Gorge
Liberate your soul from material worries and visit the monks in this monastery.
Akademkniga
For the best maps of hiking in Kazakhstan.
TsUM
There are some great textiles being produced and imported in Almaty the best of which can be found on the top floor of the Tsum department store.
Tumar
A good selection of handmade felts mean there's no need to trawl craft fairs.
Rakhat
Delicious Kazakhstan chocolates, one of the few brands authentically produced in the country.
Ramstor Trade Centre
The introduction of the mall was met with a great deal of excitement in Almaty with consumers of the boom economy eager to spend.
Green Bazaar
Even if you're not buying, the Green provides a wonderful insight into the day-to-day life in Almaty. People-watching opportunities await!
Barakholka Market
There's so much going on at Baraholka market it can be hard to know where to look first; it's brimming with goods for both the souvenir-seeking tourist and seasoned local.

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