It is also possible to do a short stop in Shymkent, the third-biggest city in Kazakhstan.
Here you will find information about the ticket prices of buses and trains between the two cities, their timetables, how to book online, how long it takes, and first-hand practical logistical details.
What about a flight?
If you book 3 weeks in advance, the ticket costs ~90$ and up to 180$ if only a week before.
Considering the flight is just 1 hour and Central Asia is one of the cheapest regions in the world, it’s a tad expensive. Especially since you can take the bus or train for much less. If you’re pressed for time though – flying is the best option.
You can check the tickets on Skyscanner.
Tashkent to Almaty by direct bus
Unfortunately, a bus ticket between Tashkent and Almaty cannot be bought online. I tried. Then I tried again, and again, and again. It was a lost cause. So I went to the Avtovokzal (bus station) in person.
The Avtovokzal in Tashkent you need to go to is the Main One at Olmazor Metro Station. There, go directly to cash desk #1 – it’s for the international services to Kazakhstan.
There are two daily buses between Tashkent and Almaty. When the service was renewed in May 2022, they announced 4 daily buses, but in 2023 there are still only 2: one bus at 16:00 and one at 18:00.
There are also services to Shymkent, Astana (Nur-Sultan), and Bishkek.
The direct bus between Tashkent and Almaty takes around 16 hours, including the border crossing.
The ticket costs 200000 UZS / 17.4$.
Read more about what to do in Almaty and around in this article.
Almaty to Tashkent by direct bus
The other way around is a similar ordeal. There are 3 daily buses from Almaty to Tashkent departing at 17:00, 18:00, and 19:00 from Sayran Bus Station. Tickets cost 5000 KZT / 11.2$. Don’t ask me why it’s cheaper, Central Asia is weird.
Tashkent to Almaty by direct train
Waaaay cheaper (2, even 3 times cheaper) prices are offered on the reseller website Tutu.travel. It’s a Russian reseller, so keep that in mind and exercise caution. I spoke to many travelers who had no problems with it.
There are three weekly direct trains between Tashkent and Almaty departing on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 12:39, taking 17 hours to get to Almaty that cost (prices from Tutu.travel):
- 2365 KZT / 5.3$ for just a seat
- 4980 KZT / 11.1$ for a 2nd class sleeping berth (4 in cabin)
- 8378 KZT / 18.6$ for a 1st class sleeping berth (2 in cabin)
There is also an international train from Tashkent to Novosibirsk (RU) once a week (not fixed days) that stops at Almaty after 23 hours and is more expensive, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Long story short, the train is cheaper but takes longer. However, you can sleep on a bed. I’d pick the train over the bus.
Tashkent to Almaty with a stop in Shymkent
Maybe the direct bus or the direct train are not a good fit for your needs, or maybe you want to have a short stop in Shymkent before you get to Almaty.
Either way, another popular way to travel from Tashkent to Almaty is to have a short stop in Shymkent (or Chimkent) on the way.
Bus to Shymkent, then train to Almaty
This has to be the most convenient option. You can take a bus to Shymkent from Tashkent Avtovokzal.
There used to be many daily buses before the Pandemic, but as of 2023, there is only 1 daily bus at 12:00. It takes 4-5 hours to reach Shymkent and costs 60000 UZS / 5.20$.
Tickets are not sold online – go in person to the bus station to buy. Bring your passport!
From Shymkent, there are many trains to Almaty taking between 11 and 14 hours depending on the train. They cost 3900 KZT / 8.7$ for just a seat and between 8200-13000 KZT / 18.2 – 28.9$ for a 2nd class berth.
The other way around is much the same – take a train from Almaty to Shymkent, then take a bus to Tashkent.
Bus to Shymkent, then bus to Almaty
While the first part of the journey remains the same, if you want to travel by bus from Shymkent to Almaty, you can. Simply go to Avtovokzal Shymkent and buy a ticket on the many daily buses.
A ticket costs 2600 KZT / 5.8$ and the bus takes ~12 hours.
Where to go after Almaty?
Almaty is a wonderful city and the region around is incredibly picturesque! I have a whole backpacking guide for the Almaty region.
If you’re traveling around Central Asia, it’s possible that your next stop is Bishkek. Learn how to take the bus from Almaty to Bishkek here.