Shymkent: bustling city along the Silk Road | Kazakhstan

A traveler’s dilemma: After Astana , we wanted to continue traveling to southern Kazakhstan. But do we go to Almaty first or Skymkent first. The route ended up being from Shymkent via Taraz to Almaty. Ok, then what? How do we get there? By night train that takes almost 20 hours or flying?

After much deliberation, we decided to fly to Skymkent after all. Through an unknown site (to us then) Tripista, we booked a return flight for 110 euros per person (single was 70 euros) because the one-way tickets were suddenly fully booked. So a one-way ticket was no longer bookable. So tip when you want a one-way ticket and it’s out of bookings. We booked in the morning and flew to Shymkent in the afternoon. A city where the bazaars are still lively and fun day trips can be organized.

Our tips for Shymkent

  1. The central/upper Bazaar

Big market (that means Bazaar) with all kinds of things. From Chinese trinkets to the tastiest freshly baked Nan breads. Lots of fruits and vegetables as well as the latest (Taiwan made) fashions are available.
Fun to wander around!

Shymkent old bazar

Shymkent old bazaar

Shymkent Friends

  1. Museum of the victims of political repression

Kind of boring park, but at the end it’s waiting for you. A fighter jet and a monument to those killed during the Soviet period and during World War II. More than 140,000 Kazakhstanis died during World War II. You can find the memorial and many names of the victims it in the Alleya Slavy. Across this street is the museum. When you have time, take a look.

Shymkent memorial 1

  1. Kiyal Alemi – kind of amusement park in the middle of Shymkent, but different

An amusement park in the middle of a city? In Kazakhstan, this appears to be quite normal, as we also noticed in Astana . We were like two little kids in a -yes- amusement park! Of course, the rides were not of the same technical level, but a roller coaster (with loops) and other funny carnival rides could be found in this park. A veritable paradise for children and great fun for adults to walk through. And secretly hoped you were still a child. Entrance is free and you pay per attraction. Even at 11:30 in the evening, the place was still crowded with children and their parents, as well as young people who wanted a fun evening.

Shymkent- familiy park

  1. Tauelsizik Sayabay – Independence monument

Kazakhstan celebrated its 20 years of independence from Russia in 2011. In its honor, the government is placing a large monument. Nice to combine with visit to the Upper Bazaar.

Shymkent - independence



We stayed in Shymkent at Orbita Boutique Hotel. Nice quiet hotel a 30/40 minute walk from the center of Shymkent or 500 tenge (1.5 euros) by cab.