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Yikes. Just been to the train station here in Almaty. There are no trains going to Astana or Novosibirsk (I want Novosibirsk but tried Astana as well) for today, tomorrow or the next day - well the trains are running, but are all full(!).

Any suggestions for alternate routes to Novosibirsk that isn't too expensive? I'm not sure I could handle the whole way in a mashrutka, but if it's the only option....

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It called maRshrutka, from marshrut = route. And I suggest you NOT to take it - it's very hard. Generally this buses are not in good condition. Also, can you fly or not? –  VMAtm Jul 28 '11 at 8:22
    
woops :) Yeah I've taken them occasionally (eg yesterday Bishkek to Almaty) and would rather not do it long distance ;) –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 8:25
    
only available flight I can find is with s7 and literally leaves in 1 minute. Still investigating. –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 8:25
    
From Almaty to Novosibirsk - 1800km! This is unreally hard :) –  VMAtm Jul 28 '11 at 8:31
    
yes, very, haha. Although my friend who I'm chasing just did it on a Honda Cub 85cc scooter in 5 days straight ;) –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 8:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I really advice you not to take the bus - there are very hard roads in Kazakhstan, and buses not in good condition.
If you want, try the Hitchhiking - Novosibirsk, Barnaul, Rubtsovsk, Veselojarsk -Aul (border point here), Semipalatinsk (Semey), Georgievka, Ayagoz, Taldykorgan, Almaty. This will be not very quick, but more comfortable.

Also I found a flight not by S7: Investavia opens new flight from Almaty to Novosibirsk, and it will be tomorrow, Friday, at 13-45:

  • Almaty to Novosibirsk: #TL1025, departure at 13-45, arrival at 16.55, each Friday, from Jully, 08, 2011 to September, 02, 2011, model Fokker 100
  • Almaty to Novosibirsk: #TL1025, departure at 13-05, arrival at 16.10, each Monday, from Jully, 11, 2011 to August, 29, 2011, model Fokker 100

Price is from 30000 for one person, time in air: 2 hours 10 minutes Number of places: 8 - business class, 90 - economy class. Phones for help: +7-727-2798686, 2790952, 2790637, 2731313

Update: InvestAvia is banned in EU because of safety :-(

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Do you have a link for the flight details? –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 9:03
    
Did you see the link I've provided? Price is from 30000 for one person, time in air: 2 hours 10 minutes Number of places: 8 - business class, 90 - economy class –  VMAtm Jul 28 '11 at 9:11
    
Yep, found it now, Fokker 100s are different :) That's pretty great, I'll investigate that, definitely looking like either a flight to Novosirbirsk or Yekaterineburg now. You really do have all the great Russian links! –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 9:29
    
Any chance those phone numbers will speak English? ;) –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 9:32
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Was tempted, as with Ural Airlines to Yekaterineburg, but their website refused to let me choose the one I wanted. Finally found Air Astana - I have 17 hours in Astana as stopover, but oh well :) Thanks for all your help! –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 11:13

As I write, Real Russia is still offering train 326Н departing 2011-07-29 at 15:36 and train 385Щ departing 2011-07-29 at 16:27 , for a 37 to 39-hour journey via Semipalatinsk (Semey) and Altayskaya. (Poezda finds these trains too: 326, 385.) Of course maybe the train is full and I'd only know if I tried to book.

If you're thinking of combining trains with buses or hitch-hiking, you can follow a schematic map of railway routes in Kazakhstan and one (less readable) of the whole former Soviet Union (Almaty, Novosibirsk). There are two rail routes: east of Lake Balkhash via Semey towards the Lokot/Rubtsovsk border crossing, or west of Lake Balkhash, via Karaganda, Sorokovaya (near Astana), Pavlodar and the Koryakovka/Kulunda border crossing.

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Thanks Gilles - yeah I actually went to the station today - they're showing the trains, but yes, definitely full in ALL classes - I'd be happy with any. Thanks for those maps - the Soviet Union one is great! –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 9:34

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