Based on our past experience with foreign tourists visiting Almaty and Kazakhstan, and having traveled personally to various countries, the following can be stated by us about shopping in Almaty, the nation’s largest and the richest market by volume and quality. Present Kazakh economy’s GDP mainly consists of exporting natural resources and importing many goods from abroad. Very little manufacturing is present. In addition, the current government policy is to be open to world market. That way the country is importing many stuff from China, Turkey, EU, etc. Despite that, local business entities are doing their best to claim a share of the market. Therefore, one should expect to see many familiar international brands in modern shopping malls. Cheap copycats, mainly of Chinese production, are also available in bazaars. As of now, the market can be divided into two categories – the chaos looking local bazaars and large multifunctional malls, similar to those in Europe.
The bazaars are beloved shopping points of the locals because affordable prices are offered to customers and bargaining is welcome to make the process interesting. As a rule, the look of the facilities are not good enough and hygiene is not satisfactory. Moreover, sellers use shipping containers as shops. As for malls, they have a fancy look and up-to-date infrastructure. Besides boutiques, there are food courts with various restaurants and fast-food outlets, cinemas, children’s playground, amusement parks, etc. One spend a day there and not be able to visit all the boutiques. The malls are large and several stores high.
When it comes to local shopping items, one can purchase leather goods such as belts, wallets, shoes, jackets, etc. Next to world known brand stores one can see local Kazakh brands as well. Over there many good clothes and shoes are to be found. Other stores include Turkish and Russian brands that are truly affordable and of good quality. So please come and grab whatever fits you best.