Buying a souvenir can be a stressful affair. Where do you even begin looking for a good keepsake? Fret not, we’ve got you covered. Here are five places to buy the perfect memento in Kazakhstan –– from traditional handmade items to luxury goods.
Tsentralny Univermag Mall (TsUM)
Built in 1961, TsUM used to sell mainly household items. But since its refurbishment in the 1990s to early 2000s, the mall has begun offering a wider variety of products. Today, the third floor is dedicated to uniquely Kazakh souvenirs such as traditional felt items, ceramics and even furs. Located in the heart of Almaty, TsUM is a convenient place for those who wish to take a special piece of Kazakhstan home with them.
Sometimes, the best souvenirs are the ones you can savour. Zelenyy Bazaar, a bustling farmer’s market in Almaty, offers conventional mementos such as traditional clothes and fridge magnets. But the bazaar is better known for its eye-popping spread of special Kazakh snacks like dried fruit cheese, sweet breads, herbal tea and even caviar. Your Kazakh holiday might be over but that doesn’t mean the feasting stops!
In Russian, “Baraholka” means flea market. And just like any other flea market, the sprawling Baraholka Market in Almaty is where you can put your haggling skills to the test. Thanks to Kazakhstan’s central location in the region, its flea markets are treasure troves of unique goods from various countries like Uzbekistan, China, Russia and even Turkey. From plastic wares and fine china decorations to elaborate replicas of Kazakh wildlife, you can find your perfect living room showpiece here.
With a wide range of international brands, Esentai Mall is a favourite haunt of locals and tourists alike, offering discounts of up to 70 per cent for luxury brands such as Burberry and Michael Kors. Not only that, with Kazakhstan’s special tax rebate programme, prices of goods from the mall are also much lower than those of Dubai’s malls. So if your ideal souvenirs are luxury goods at lower prices, Esentai Mall is a must on your itinerary.
Like Esentai Mall, Dostyk Plaza is spacious and modern. However, besides international luxury brands, there are a good number of shops owned by local designers too. For those who want to shop for unique designer products in comfort, this is the sweet spot.