New York Times Features Almaty in 2024 Top Travel Destinations List

ASTANA – The New York Times published on Jan. 9 its annual list of 52 travel destinations in 2024, featuring Kazakhstan’s Almaty on the 25th spot. 

Almaty. Photo credit: shutterstock/Sergey Varygin. Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

From the Portal Eclipse Festival in Mazatlán in April to Yamaguchi city in Japan to Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia, the list highlights 52 destinations around the world that are recommended for travel in the upcoming year. 

The selections are made by travel writers and experts, and they include a diverse range of locations, from popular tourist spots to off-the-beaten-path destinations.

With a population of two million, Kazakhstan’s largest city “has the feel of a peaceful but active rural town,” writes author and photographer Craig Mod for The New York Times. 

“The underground metro gleams with intricate tile work. The Arasan baths are the apotheosis of bathing pleasures: massages atop marble slabs, cold plunges, and unbearably hot saunas. Walk the leafy streets in an attentive mood and you’ll find endless delights – like a mustachioed man playing the accordion in front of the kaleidoscopic Ascension Cathedral,” he wrote.

Mod noted that Almaty’s status as a cultural hub is underscored by its diverse food scene. The “neo-nomad” cuisine, focused on flour, water, and meat, takes center stage in hyper-contemporary establishments such as Auyl and Tör.

“Cuisine from northwest China is on offer at Lanzhou Noodle and great coffee at Sensilyo Coffee or JumpinGoat. Gaze upon the patchwork quilt of fruits and nuts splayed out at the Green Bazaar – and then try PlatformA, a large food hall that recently opened inside a Soviet Modernist building,” he added.

Kazakh Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports Yerzhan Yerkinbayev said that Kazakhstan has increasingly been included in global rankings in recent years.

“Being included in The New York Times’ list indicates the growing interest of tourists in our country,” he said.

Almaty is the only representative from Central Asia in this ranking. In 2017, Kazakhstan was included in this list on the eve of the EXPO 2017.

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