Cost of Living in Kazakhstan

Expats are likely to find that the cost of living in Kazakhstan can vary greatly from city to city, not to mention the ever-fluctuating value of the tenge, which makes it extremely difficult to generalise about common costs.

Kazakhstan is the world's 17th largest oil producer, a fact that bodes well for the economy. However, a few years ago, the tenge took a massive dip against the dollar and prices soared. Recently, Kazakhstan seems to have recovered somewhat – Mercer's 2016 Cost of Living Survey ranked Almaty as 196th out of 209 cities. The situation remains unpredictable, though, so it's important for expats to make sure they're up to date with Kazakhstan's current financial situation.

Cost of accommodation in Kazakhstan

Some expats are lucky enough to have accommodation provided as part of their employment contract, in which case they need not worry about the expenses involved. Unfortunately, most expats will need to bear this expense themselves.

Generally, accommodation costs more the closer it is to the city centre. There are a few modern apartment complexes but most are old, Soviet-style apartments – naturally, these are cheaper, but might not be up to the standard of living that many expats are used to.

Utilities can be costly, especially in the areas of Kazakhstan that are subject to extreme heat in summer and extreme cold in winter.

Cost of eating out and entertainment in Kazakhstan

As is the case in many countries, eating out and having a drink or two is much more expensive in expat areas than it is in bars and restaurants frequented by locals.

Cost of transport in Kazakhstan

Most public transport is inexpensive, with a flat rate being charged for buses, trams and the metro. Taxis are generally expensive. It's costly to purchase a car, even second-hand, although petrol prices are usually reasonable.

Cost of food in Kazakhstan

The cost and quality of food varies according to season. In summer, local fruit and vegetables are inexpensive and of a good quality. In winter, however, fruit and vegetables are expensive and tend to be poor quality goods.

To keep costs down, expats should do the bulk of their shopping in local bazaars and markets.

Cost of living in Kazakhstan chart 

Prices may vary across Kazakhstan, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Kazakhstani tenge for Almaty in November 2016.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Furnished two-bedroom apartment

KZT 200,000

Furnished two-bedroom villa

KZT 250,000

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

KZT 300

Cheese (500g)

KZT 1,200

Eggs (12)

KZT 350

White bread 

KZT 110

Rice (1kg)

KZT 210

1 packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

KZT 320

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

KZT 80

Taxi rate per kilometre

KZT 120

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

KZT 1,400

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

KZT 120


KZT 600

Bottle of beer

KZT 300

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

KZT 6,000


Uncapped ADSL Internet (per month)

KZT 4,200

Electricity (average per month for standard household)

KZT 19,000