Situated near the border of Uzbekistan, Shymkent buzzes with activity from vibrant markets, international eateries and family-friendly parks. It’s also steeped in history and culture on display at world-class museums and memorials.
Things to do in Shymkent
At the Regional Museum of Southern Kazakhstan, you’ll find tri-lingual geology exhibitions, Iron Age burial mounds and a 13th-century Sayran vase as well as ethnography sections with traditional musical instruments and Otrar silver jewellery. To understand past turmoil, visit the Museum of Political Victims of Oppression and the Alleya Slavy World War II memorial.
Spend an afternoon at Bazar Samal to pick up colourful textiles, trendy clothing and handmade craft items. This is also a good place to try Kazakhstan street food at dozens of stalls and small cafes. In the evening, stroll the Mega Center to enjoy live music or late-night karaoke.
As a major urban metropolis, Shymkent boasts cuisine from around the world. However, the best dining experiences are at local eateries, such as Kok-Sary, which serves Uzbek food that includes tashkentsky plov rice dishes and samsas. Head over to Karavan to try Russian bifstroganof or Uyghur burro-laghman while sitting on its outdoor pavilion.
Travelling with the family? Take the kids to Fantasy World park to see it illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights in the evening. You can go rollerblading, whiz along on old-fashioned rides, enjoy street performers and admire cascading fountains.
Getting around Shymkent
Shymkent Airport lies 10 kilometres north-west of the city centre, where you can rent a car or take a shuttle or minibus to your hotel. Taxis and buses provide transportation throughout the city.