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How to get from Russia to Kazakhstan traveling the Trans-Siberian

Updated: April 16, 2013
By: Ian Yacobucci

 

Astana Kazakhstan

Downtown Astana, Kazakhstan with Bayterek Tower in the background

If you’re traveling on the Trans-Siberian, the easiest way to get from Russia to Kazakhstan is to take the bus from Omsk to Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city.

It was easy to figure out the next leg of my Trans-Siberian journey after arriving in Irkutsk, Russia from Mongolia. Attendants working at the train station in Irkutsk know a little English and are familiar with the popular train routes that commuters take across Russia. But more travel in Russia was not what I was after; I wanted to go to Kazakhstan.

The problem was that the ticket attendants didn’t have any idea of how to get to Kazakhstan from where I was in Irkutsk. From the information I gathered, writing on a little piece of paper and passing it back and forth to the train station attendant, there were two options to get to Astana.

If you’re wondering how to get from Russia to Kazakhstan while traveling on the Trans-Siberian, the first option is by train via Omsk. The train leaves leaves every four days so you’ll need to plan ahead.  The other option is to get there via Novosibirsk where trains leave periodically every few days (although, it’s a bit out of the way if you’re on the Trans-Siberian heading to Moscow).

Palace Astana Kazakhstan

Presidential Palace – Astana, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan was just within reach but with a rushed timeline, a result of my 30 day Russian visa, waiting days for a train wasn’t a possibility. That’s when my friends and I decided to wing it and hoped that taking the bus from Omsk, our next destination was a possibility.

When we arrived at the train station in Omsk, a journey that took another couple nights from Irkutsk, no one spoke English and our options for taking a bus to Kazakhstan started to dwindle. Luckily, we met a cab driver that offered to take us to the bus station for 400 rubles ($12 USD), an expensive ride but a good alternative to what others were offering.

Bus Omsk to Astana

Arriving in Astana, Kazakhstan on an overnight bus from Omsk, Russia

Thankfully, when we arrived at the bus station we were happy to discover that were several direct buses to Astana, Kazakhstan and we purchased a ticket for the 21:20 night bus. To kill time we spent the day at a chicken restaurant in a mall next door to the bus station, and enjoyed some catch up time online (they had free WiFi) until our departure.

Taking the bus from Russia to Kazakhstan was easy. The easiest and most consistent route is to take the bus from Omsk, Russia to Astana, Kazakhstan. Bus ticket costs 967 rubles ($30 USD) and 193 rubles ($6 USD) per bag and the ride takes about 15 hours with a stop for boarder control and another quick one in Kazakhstan.

Happy Travels,

Yak

 

Bus time Omsk to Astana

Bus times from Omsk, Russia to Astana, Kazakhstan

Tips:

1. Get your Kazakhstan visa ahead of time: I purchased my visa a month in advance.

2. Bring food – There aren’t many options for stops other than the boarder and a short early morning drop of in a small town. If you want something to eat you can go to the supermarket in the mall next to the bus station and stock up.

3. Buses leave from Omsk to Astana throughout the day. For us only the 21:20 was available.

Tally (Prices as of April 2012):

Bus ticket from Omsk, Russia to Astana, Kazakhstan: 967 Rubles – $30 USD

Bag fee (per bag): 193 Rubles – $6 USD

Snacks: 200 Rubles – $6 USD

 

Ian Yacobucci

Traveling the Trans-Siberian, mountaineering the Himalayas, or teaching in Tokyo I'm always trying something new. As a someone who's worked, studied, and traveled to 40+ countries around the world I'm here to share my experiences so you can do the same!

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13 thoughts on “How to get from Russia to Kazakhstan traveling the Trans-Siberian

  1. Arianwen

    Always a good idea to take food on long journeys. When I crossed the border between Bolivia and Chile, I had no local currency and a 6-hour journey to face. Having said that, I might have been arrested on that occasion or smuggling food over the border. Sometimes you can’t win!

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Wow, arrested! I’d love to hear more about that experience. But yeah, food is definitely a necessity because you never know if that 6-hour journey will turn into 12 or more.

      Reply
  2. Agness

    I’ve got a question. What was your daily budget for Trans-Siberian journey? I’m wanna do the same think but I’m afraid I wouldn’t afford it with my $25 budget per day.

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Hi Carmen,

      It’s an amazing country and I wish I could have spent more time exploring. Hopefully this article will help you to get there one day too!!

      Reply
  3. Ayafor Elvis

    I am planning on travelling to Astana by July this year, I have a 1 year visa stay in Russia, Siberia as a student, and I am a Cameroonian, I don`t know the procedure of either getting a visa to go there, or just going there with the invitation letter from my friend in Astana, please just help advice me if you can. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Hi Ayafor,

      That’s wonderful news. Astana is a fantastic city. Your best plan would be to go to the Kazakhstan embassy. You’ll be able to get your visa there first. You will need a letter to get it I’m sure.

      Good luck!

      Ian

      Reply
  4. George Cheng

    Hi Ian, I am planning to travel from Omsk to Astana and I found your article. I want to ask if you can recall the location of the bus stop for this route in Omsk? And do people in Omsk really could not speak English? Or are they helpful even though they might not be familiar with English? Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Hi George!

      Great to hear from you. I don’t actually recall the bus stop. When we arrived at the train station in Omsk we had a taxi drive us to the bus station. From there we bought tickets then killed a couple hours in a fried chicken shop next to it, while we waited for the bus. When we were there there wasn’t much English but I’m sure you’ll find someone, worst comes to worse you can alway just mime your idea or find the word for bus station in Russian ;D

      Happy Travels!

      Ian

      Reply
      1. George Cheng

        Thank you Ian!! One more thing to ask, I wanna know if the train from Omsk to Astana also departs from the Omsk’s Trans-Siberian train station? Or there is any other station for this train? I can’t find any useful information on English on the Internet.
        Thank you very much!

        Reply
  5. Alicia

    Heyya,

    May i know which bus station did you to from omsk to astana as i understand there are several bus stations in omsk.

    Appreciate if you can let me know so i can head there on the 14th sept.

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Hi Alicia,

      I don’t remember the exact name. When we arrived at the train station we asked the taxi driver who new which one to go to. Have a great trip. If you find out the name of the station feel free to post it so other people can use it too :D

      Happy Travels!

      Reply