How to Get to Big Almaty Lake by Taxi

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 06:41 pm

For anyone who’s ever glimpsed a picture of Big Almaty Lake on Instagram or the pages of Nat Geo, it’s nearly impossible to get the vibrant blue color out of your head.

While most visitors to Almaty will have a day trip out to the lake on their itinerary, getting there and back isn’t quite as straightforward as one might hope.

We found one of the easiest and most economical ways to get to the lake is to utilize the local taxis.

Here’s everything you need to know to get to Big Almaty Lake by taxi, including estimated costs and travel time.

Read:  Big Almaty Lake: 15 Pictures of Kazakhstan’s Stunning Turquoise Jewel

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2024

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

How to Visit Big Almaty Lake by Taxi
Big Almaty Lake

How to Get to Big Almaty Lake by Taxi

I like to utilize the taxi app Yandex whenever I’m in a former Soviet country. Having already used the service extensively to get around the Caucasus, I found that it’s one of my favorite taxi apps anywhere in the world for planning day trips, since it lets you plot up to four separate destination points.

See also
Visiting Nomad's Land: The Abandoned Movie Set in the Kazakhstan Steppe

To use Yandex to book a taxi out to Big Almaty Lake, follow these steps:

  1. Put your first destination as Big Almaty Lake. This will have them pick you up from your location in Almaty and take you to the car park above the lake.
  2. Do not order the taxi yet.
  3. Hit the + symbol to add a second destination.
  4. Mark your second destination as whatever point in Almaty you’d like to be dropped back off at.
Our receipt for our taxi from Almaty to Big Almaty Lake
Our receipt for our taxi from Almaty to Big Almaty Lake

With both destinations entered, you’ll get a fare estimate.

Note that this estimate includes the distance, but not the wait time, so your final total will be hire depending on how long you spent out at the lake.

For our trip, the original fare estimation was about 6000 tenge, or about $17 USD. This included pick-up and drop-off at Dostyk Plaza.

We spent about one hour at the lake. Our final total with wait time was about 7000 tenge, or about $20.

There was also a cost of about 500 tenge per person (about $1.50 USD) to get into the park. Since my friend and I split the cost of the taxi, the entire trip ended up being about 4000 tenge, or less than $12 USD each.

Note: if you don’t have a Kazakhstan sim card, have the driver show you the total at the end of the trip after it updates to calculate in the wait time. 

Data was super cheap in Almaty (though not as cheap as getting a data card in Kyrgyzstan). I would highly recommend getting a data package when in Kazakhstan.

Hanging out at Big Almaty Lake
Hanging out at Big Almaty Lake

Breakdown of Costs to go from Almaty to Big Almaty Lake by Taxi

Taxi Distance:  about 6000 tenge

Wait time (per hour): about 1000 tenge

Park Entrance Per Person: about 500 tenge

Keep in mind that the taxi fare cost can change slightly depending on traffic, and you will spend more if you stay longer.

See also
Big Almaty Lake: 15 Pictures of Kazakhstan's Stunning Turquoise Jewel

To keep costs down, travel with 3-4 people instead of going solo or with one other person. You can also choose to hitchhike, which is a very popular option.

The main drawback to hitchhiking for me personally is you’re not in control of your own time as much as in a taxi.

However, my friend Megan has traveled extensively in the region and has hitchhiked out there before and recommends it as an option.

If you want to know more about planning a trip out to Big Almaty Lake, check out her thorough guide to visiting the lake.

Our taxi out to Big Almaty Lake
Our taxi out to Big Almaty Lake

Estimated Times for Visting Big Almaty Lake

The drive from central Almaty to Big Almaty Lake is about fifty minutes each way, depending on traffic.

We spent an hour at the lake, but you could easily spend more time if you decide to picnic or go on the hike to the waterfall.

Therefore, leave a minimum of two and a half hours for your trip, but know you can spend more time there if you choose.

We also had our driver stop on the way back down to take pictures of some of the mountains.

5 Things to Pack for Big Almaty Lake in Kazakhstan

  • Lonely Planet Central Asia which is available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition.
  • Your Passport since you might be required to show it to a guard. The area around the lake is part of the border with Kyrgyzstan, so you need to have it with you at all times.
  • Your Cell Phone and Camera to get that Insta Pic you know you’re dying to come back with.
  • Trekking Poles for anyone planning to do the hikes nearby or while in Kazakhstan, especially if you have knee issues.
  • Travel Insurance Policy information, because things happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any hiking or trekking while in Kazakhstan.

    I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them.  It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any adventure sports like horseback trekking, hiking, or traveling off-road. Even in Almaty, you’ll be happy when you’re able to replace your stuff if it’s lost or stolen.

The parking lot where our driver waited for us during our visit.
The parking lot where our driver waited for us during our visit.

More about Traveling in Central Asia

See also
10 Mind-blowing Facts About Kazakhstan to Inspire Your Next Adventure

Have you visited Big Almaty Lake by Taxi? Share your tips for how to get to Big Almaty Lake or any questions about upcoming trips below!


Pin this For Your Trip to Kazakhstan

How to Get to Big Almaty Lake by Taxi

4 thoughts on “How to Get to Big Almaty Lake by Taxi”

  1. Hello,
    I just went to the lake by Yandex. The problem is there was a traffic stop like 10-15 minutes after the gate where you buy the ticket. There was an a**hole dressed in military, who was probably just a park ranger at best. He told my driver that it is not possible to enter by taxi. You can either go by your own car, or on foot, or guess what? With this guy, in his banged up car, for 20.000 tenge. As my driver was not willing to go further, i had no choice but to go with this guy (or turn back). I was pressed for time, and didn’t want to come back again. They probably do this only to the first tourist of the day, as after he dropped me off at presidents park, he was on his way. 20.000 tenge is not bad as a daily income… Anyway, the lake is beutiful, and if you speak good enough russian, you can probably flip them off, but I tought it worth mentioning.

  2. Hello! I found your blog when I searched about how to go to Big Almaty Lake. I want to ask, is it possible for the yandex driver to wait for us for like 1-2hours while we spend our time at the lake? And I didn’t know that we can enter both routes (go & back) in the application until i read ur blog! 😀


Leave a Comment