Cost of living in Kazakhstan

Hi everybody,

It would be very useful to talk about the cost of living in Kazakhstan.

Don't forget to mention where in Kazakhstan you are living.

How much does it cost to live in Kazakhstan?

> accommodation prices

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)

> energy prices (oil, electricity)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

> prices of a beer and or a coffee in a regular pub

> price of the cinema

Do not hesitate to add items to this list!

Thanks in advance for your participation!!

Okay here is some idea of costs as of Feb. 2009:

Where in Kazakhstan you are living?  I live in Almaty

How much does it cost to live in Kazakhstan?

accommodation prices:  I have a two bedroom flat one bath and kitchen and pay $850 USD.  You can find cheaper but expect to pay at least $800 for two bedrooms or more, and $500 for one bedrooms can be found as well.  A lot will depend on where you choose to live in the city.  The closer you are to the center of town the more you will pay.

public transportation fares: As of now all buses, trams and trolley are 50 tenge, the cheapest cab fare will run you 200 tenge with an average being around 350 tenge.

food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)I tend to spend more than a single person would spend but that's because I entertain alot.  I spend around $100 USD per week.  If I'm not entertaining I spend only $50, and I rarely eat out.

health prices (for those who need medical insurance)I just had a broken arm so I can tell you that for an X-ray I spent 1500 tenge, and the total cost for 4 doctors visits, two x-rays and two casts came to just under $200.

eduction prices (if you need to pay) I teach at a college and the typical student at my school is paying around $6,000 USD per year to attend for an undergraduate degree.  You can however get an ExMBA here for around $20,000 (2 year program)

energy prices (oil, electricity) petrol for your car is running around 80 tenge per liter.  My utilities average per month around $74 USD, and I have no idea what all that includes as the bill is in Russian.

common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
Internet is a flat fee of 4300 tenge, cable TV for 6 months was 15,170 tenge over 100 channels, telephone average for 6 months 1000 tenge, cell phone I buy minutes and it runs me about 5,000 tenge every 2 to 3 months.  I'm not sure just how much it is per minute but I also don't make alot of phone calls mostly use it to sms.

prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant: Expect to spend around $60 to $80 dollars for two people to have dinner in a nice restaurant which includes an entree, salad, drink and desert.

prices of a beer and or a coffee in a regular pub: Beer is around 400 to 500 tenge for 1/2 liter, I don't drink coffee so I can't say.

price of the cinema:  have no idea since there aren't any that have English movies, or even subtitles in English.

Okay all USD prices are at at 120 to 1 rate.  However the rate has gone up just this week that is why I have a mix of tenge and USD.  Rate went up by 18% so you can use that to factor in the expected increase to costs.


Planning to move to Almaty soon.
Any idea about monthly rental fees for a unfurnished villa, 4 bed rooms, close to MIRAS international school?
Is this district ok to leave?
Many thanks

It really depends which market you are house hunting in.  If you are looking at high quality corporate "ex-pat" places, then expect to pay over $3000 per month (good quality 2 bedroom apartments towards the centre of Almaty are still asking $2500 per month - or at least were when I viewed a couple last week).
Although the property market has crashed, rents are taking a while to come down - however, landlords are now far more willing to negotiate.
Good luck

Thanks mickytom,
Indeed still expensive. Let's hope for a further drop in prices.

Thanks for the detailed information! I'm planning to move to Almaty in late August and am curious about the internet services. I saw the mention of the flat fee  but are there different rates for higher speeds? And, on a related note, is the internet connection generally fast?

ADSL is generally available in Almaty but is not very fast (by Western European standards).  In my apartment I pay 3900 Tenge per month - and generally it is in the 3000 to 4000 per month ballpark (from what I hear).  The pipes connecting Kazakhstan to the outside world are quite narrow, so even in the office with highest available speed internet connection, speeds to European/US sites are noticeably slow compared to Europe.

Well, that is not ideal but I am happy about the availability of some kind of connectivity. I am currently in Peru and the speeds here are nothing to rave about.

Thanks for the additional information!

EDIT: I checked the stats on and it looks like there are some very good speeds compared to what I am used to here in Lima. Assuming the information is correct - I am looking forward to the improvement in speeds in Almaty!

One-room flat for rent. One living room, fully equipped kitchen, washing machine and  bath room. The flat is centrally located near a shopping center, sport stadium and the republic square. 1st floor in a safety, closed area Satpayev - Masanchi streets . There are TV, large sofa converted to a bed, wi-fi internet and wardrobe. Rent is available for single person for 6 months from 15th April 09. The price is $500 including bills per month. Phone:+77015948088;  jabayev[at]

Great information!  My family and I live in Canada and we are preparing for a move this summer (09) to Atyrau.  We have 3 children (14,11,8) and are keen on obtaining any information we can on what life is like. 

Can anyone provide details on:
Ease of travel to other areas
International schooling
Driving / Drivers?

We are excited about this new adventure!  Thanks for your comments..

Hi Mamerberg3
I'm in Almaty, a 3 hour flight from Atyrau so am certainly not expert on the place - I have visited.
Shopping - there are supermarkets and basic shops - and probably designer clothes.  Generally the quality of retailing in Kazakhstan (including Almaty - biggest city) is quite poor - but no problems finding good quality food,drink and basics
Activities - many bars and restaurants in Atyrau, including several ex-pat places (eg TGIFridays).  You can eat and drink quite well in the town.  Not sure what else is available in the town - I know there are a few nightclubs.  There is plenty of nature, wildlife etc in the River Ural Delta and on the Caspian if you are interested in that.
Ease of Travel - plenty of flights to Almaty, Astana, Aktau, Uralsk, Moscow and further afield.  Trains too (but very long distances and very slow).  Internal flights in Kazakhstan are reasonably priced and Air Astana is fine as long as the weather holds.
Schools - no info
Driving - many ex-pats have drivers or never drive.  I do drive and find it quite entertaining.  The quality of driving is variable and you must keep your wits about you and stay alert.  The biggest pain is the traffic police, who infest the roads in almost oppressive numbers, fining and/or soliciting bribes from motorists on any pretext.  Going rate for regular speeding offence is around 2000 Tenge cash.
Hockey - no idea if they have this in Atyrau.  Hockey is moderately popular here and there are Kazakh players in major leagues - mostly Russia as far as I know.
Good luck!

Can anyone update the cost for 2013??

If you are coming from Sydney to Almaty or Astana, there will be some prices that will be less than you are used to (some standard foods, basic clothing items, petrol/diesel is roughly half the price of Sydney, utilities including 'phone and internet), however, should you want something not made in China, you will pay dearly (be it clothing, furniture and the like).

Better quality imported foods will also be quite expensive.

Public transport is cheap in comparison to Sydney as well (60 tenge for buses, 55 tenge for trams for any distance), taxi prices are cheap too with the fare negotiated in advance, although if you are not with a local, you will pay more, considerably more if you are not careful.

Housing prices in the major cities will tend to be around 2/3rds the price in Sydney for roughly equivalent quality, although do not expect large houses and apartments at the 2/3rds rate.

Astana will generally tend be more expensive than Almaty. The smaller cities for basic items will tend to be cheaper, but if you are thinking that life here will be much cheaper than Sydney and you are living in one of the major cities, you will be disappointed (and perhaps a little shocked).

Try to buy some items at the various bazaars or from the babushkas at random places along most streets and at bus stops, the fresh produce is far cheaper (60 tenge for a whole watermelon for instance) than from the little shops (magazines) that are in most apartment blocks.

Get used to milk in bags (whoever thought that this was a great idea ...?) and the quality of meat is not the same as you would find in Sydney (although around half the price). Coffee can be around the price in Sydney, but you should know, that ordering a cappuccino here, will not deliver you something that resembles a cappuccino in most good cafes in Sydney.

Astana is quite sterile in comparison to Almaty although understandable considering it has really only been "open for business since 1998". Think Canberra 20 years ago, but without the lake, nature and access to the ocean ... Almaty however, is very European in feel and general vibe with a quickness similar to most Western cities, although there are still hangovers of the Soviet era with regard to service.

Be warned, the bureaucracy and love of stamps on incomprehensible bits of paper is mind-boggling (this is also why there may appear to the untrained eye, an over-supply of law firms) and there is no way that you will escape without dealing with the bureaucracy ...

In addition, any document that has to be translated that includes your name, make sure that the translation is actually correct so that when back translated, your name in English is correct. Translation of an Australian passport (they generally want the entire passport translated) will be around 10 000 tenge and can be done in a few hours.

Love of stamps! So true!

Hello! I am local and the price of life here depends on "what quality of life you get used to"? I am living in the Almaty. Actually I rent one-room flat in the center of the city for 65000 tenge, approx. 435 US dollars. and live for 1000 US dollars per month (including rent price).

The are some rules. Try to buy products on the local "bazars", say "Sary-Arka" bazar on Pravdy-Domostroitelnaya streets, or "Arystan "bazar" on Momyshuly-Domostroitelnaya streets, you will always pay cheaper for your products. You can be lied with weight of the products. And the quality of these products is not worse but even better, than in the supermarkets.

Paying for brands for clothes in also more expensive, than, say, in the Europe, but it is common here to buy Chinese and Turkish clothes and shoes on the "baraholka". This is the place that should be visited by every foreigner ))). In my humble opinion, this is our peculiar sightseeing. Kilometers of bazars, where you can find everything to buy. Starting from pins and ending by furniture and furs. )) Most Almaty population buy all goods for home and clothes here. But be prepared for crowd and big traffic jams closer to barakholka. At least you will see what means "Eastern bazaar". All prices are low here. Be careful, people can lie you and tell you that some things are natural (say, furs, or leather), while they are not. Huh, actually they don't speak English )) But keep in mind that most of our people in Almaty are kind to foreigners and hospitable, try to help them. Taxi now is about 500 tenge (rate of US dollar to tenge is about 1 US dollar to 150 Kazakh tenge). But never take taxis near to hotels. Local taxists consider you as stranger and ask you to pay sometimes 5 to 10 prices. You can easily take any local car as taxi. Just stay on the side of road and raise your hand. It is relatively safe, especially in the day-time. Don't propose more than 1000 tenge. This price is usually to the airport. Actually 500-600 tenge is normal price. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask them.:) Buses and trams, trolley-buses became more expensive, than it is mentioned in previous topics, now they are 80 tenge. Living in other cities of Kazakhstan is usually cheaper, but living in the Atyrau and Aktau is more expensive, about 30% more.

Thanks so much for giving us a great update on costs.  It's been so many years now since I lived in Almaty or even came to visit.  My heart is still there and I hope one day to return.  For now I'm stuck in China longing to see the Tien Shan Mountains of my adopted city Almaty.  Thanks again for your great update on the cost of living there.

Location = Aktobe
Accommodation and utilities =1 Bed Flat, rental, water, gas, electricity, TV, land line phone and broadband (paid for)
Bus fare = 45 KZT or 55 KZT
Taxi = 300 KZT to 500 KZT depend how far and if you want to negotiate
General food and items = roughly 5,000 KZT 2 weeks
Lunch at work/school = 2,500 KZT/week at most
Dinner and night out = 2,000 KZT to 5,000 KZT week

Hi everybody,

Thank you for your contribution. :)

Priscilla team

i am planning to join a school in kazhakstan. i have 3 kids. i want to know what the school fees and expences would be . i am getting 4000usd as education expenses for my kids. will it be sufficient

It depends where you are moving to. Not all cities have international schools

i just want to find out coz i am joining an international school and my kids will get admission in the same school , i am paid 400usd towards my children's education and since i got 3 kids i want to know approximately how much will the schools fees at an international school cost

Which City are you coming to.


any one of these

There is a QSI in Atyrau, however I don't believe there are international schools in Pavlodar or Kyzl Orda. Given the educational expenses and the cities you mention, I don't think you are talking about an international school but a Kazakh public school that employs international teachers. There is a difference. As far as I know, this school does not admit foreign students except at a certain location in Astana.

the school am talking abt is NIS, so unless i know what exactly the school fee is i do not want to commit to the job coz i intend to bring my kids too


It appears that the school has the IB and a Kazakh curriculum to follow, so perhaps if you would like them to follow the IB, then the NIS would be suitable.

If you are a teacher and have the firm offer, I guess you could just call the NIS administration in Astana 8 (7172) 70-57-29, or the Atyrau school  8 775 645 8095 and discuss whether your children would be accepted to the school (and if so, the cost). You might need to wait until they have an English speaker available though, unless, of course, you speak Russian or Kazakh.

At least calling the Atyrau school, you stand a good chance of speaking with a teacher in English ...

The NIS in my city (Ust-Kamenogorsk), originally just took the best and brightest, but now, apparently, they are taking those prepared to pay to get in ...

NIS, may not be following IGCSE or IB. You will have to check with the recruiter/HR Dept.
As where I work they do CIP (Cambridge Integrated Programme) a sort AS/A2 and GCSE, but UK universities may not recognized them. What are your kids' age range/KS?

They list themselves as IB

But hey, I'm only a medical scientist ... and perhaps not the sharpest knife in the block ...

You may well be right there. I work for one (in Aktobe) and they are not doing IB at the moment just CIP/CIE. It may be easier to find an international school than trying to get in a local school of any kind. They like their paperwork and stamps here.

The only IB approved NIS is in Astana. Other NIS campuses use a fit for purpose Cambridge program created jointly with CIE and NIS. NIS schools are only for ROK citizens with the exception of an international school in Astana. To get the offer you had to interview with someone from HR and the schools. If you have follow up questions about something as important as educating your family then I suggest you contact them. If you don't have contact info, message me on here and I will get you in touch with the right person.

In the place where u work , do you have an idea of the cost of school fees....... at least an approximate rate coz if i bring all of my 3 kids i would want to have an idea as to what to expect and how i would be able to manage with the salary i would get ,if i set aside for my kids education coz the HR with whom i am in contact with does not know the cost of the fees!

In the school whr u work could you tell me what is the fees of a child aged 13?

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