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How much does it cost to live in Central Asian cities: Astana, Bishkek and Tashkent


How much does it cost to live in Central Asian cities: Astana, Bishkek and Tashkent

Akgul Abdali, hometown — Semey, psychotherapist, @akgul.abdali

Ekaterina Munataeva-Toropova, 40 years old, hometown — Bishkek, entrepreneur

Tatiana Zavodchinskaya, 28 years old, hometown — Tashkent, manager, @tatusik_sweet



Akgul. The real estate market, especially rent, is on the level. Many people prefer to rent rather than buy apartments. There are sites OLX and krisha.kz to search for apartments. If you are looking for an apartment for a couple of days, I will recommend the Airbnb platform.

The cost of the apartment depends on the shore. On the right the bank is cheaper than on the left: a one-bedroom apartment on the right bank can be rented for 70,000 — 80,000 ($184 — 210) tenge per month. While on the left the cost of rent from 100,000 ($263) tenge and above. Much depends on the area and condition of the apartment.

If you are planning to buy an apartment, there are many offers in shared construction. It is cheaper than buying already finished housing. One-bedroom apartments on the right bank cost from 10 million tenge ($26,311), on left bank almost twice as expensive — an average of 20 million tenge ($52,622).


There are many real estate agencies in Astana. Their commission for rent is about 10-20%, for sale 1-3%.

Utilities for a two-bedroom apartment in a month out about 25,000 tenge ($66).


Ekaterina. In Bishkek is easy to find an apartment. There are many sources: real estate firms, real estate agencies, social networks, Internet portals. For example, Lalafo, Diesel.kg, Doska.kg, Stroka.kg, Krysha.kg, Domik.kg, as well as the "Evening Bishkek" newspaper.

On average, renting a studio apartment costs about $200 per month. Purchase from $25,000.

Utilities depend on the quadrature and the number of registered people. For example utilities for a two-room standard apartment with one person in the summer $35, in winter $45.


Tatiana. Finding accommodation in Tashkent is easy.

Rent an apartment for a month in the city centre costs about $400. The average price of an apartment to buy also depends on the area. One room in the centre, near the subway, will cost $30,000 — 40,000, depending on the quadrature. One-room apartments in new buildings are $60,000 — 70 000 almost like in Moscow.

The broker's commission for renting an apartment is $50 — 100 and $500 — 600 if you buy. The cheapest apartments in Tashkent are in former hostels, they are $15,000 — 20,000.


Utilities for a one-room apartment I pay every six months about 500,000 Uzbek soum ($59). It includes payment for electricity, gas, water and more.



Akgul. Public transport costs 90 tenge ($0.25) if you pay with a special card or via SMS. In all other cases, the cost will be 180 tenge ($0.5).

I have a car and full tank for a week, it's about 10 000 tenge ($26).

A taxi ride for short distances will cost about 500 tenge ($1.32). I use Uber app because there is a possibility of non-cash payment and car selection. Although in a rush hour on weekdays you will wait for a taxi for a long time and it will cost much more expensive. Therefore, many residents prefer to catch a taxi on the road.


Ekaterina. Bus fare is 6 som ($0,09). The cost of a taxi depends on the distance. For example, from neighbourhoods to the centre of about 150 som ($2.14)


Car service per month may require a different amount, depending on the brand of the car and its condition. On average, 5,000 som ($70) for gasoline and $20 service.


Tatiana. People often go by taxi, and the cost is almost the same as on buses. There are two most popular services: My Taxi — more expensive one and Yandex.Taxi which is cheaper.

In rush hour 1 kilometer trip costs 8000 — 9000 som ($0,95 — 1,07), in normal time 3,000 — 4,000 som ($0,36 — 0,47). Bus and subway cost 1,200 sum ($0,14), minibus— 1500 ($0,18), 2,000 ($0,24), 2,500 ($0,3) depending on the distance.



Akgul. The biggest cost price among all the products is meat. The price of beef starts from 1,200 tenge ($3.16) per kilogram. A loaf of ordinary bread 80 — 100 tenge ($0,21 — 0,26), with nuts, seeds or whole-wheat flour is more expensive — come to 350 tenge ($0,92) for a small piece.

The average budget for food depends on the preferences of the family. Someone lacks 30,000 — 40,000 tenge (79 — 105 $) per month. But in fact, it is not enough. If the family adheres to some concept in the diet, for example, vegans, the price tag on the products is growing rapidly. In Astana is expensive to be vegan and vegetarian.


In second place are expensive dried fruits and nuts. Small handfuls of dried fruits and nuts go up to 15,000 — 20,000 tenge ($40 — 53).


Ekaterina. Bread costs 20 — 70 kgs ($0,28 — 1), ten eggs 70 kgs ($1), milk 55 kgs ($0,71), vegetables, for example, potatoes 25 kgs ($0,35), meat 350 kgs ($5) for a kilogram.

The most expensive is, of course, meat, cheese and sweets. Also imported products, especially vegetables. For example, in winter the bell pepper costs 350 som ($5) per kilogram.

Different families have different needs. For a family with a child for food per month takes a minimum of $250 — 300.


Tatiana. It is way cheaper to purchase at the bazaar than in the supermarket. Moreover, we are still bargaining at the bazaar.

Meat is the most expensive. 48,000 — 50,000 som ($5,68 — 5,92) per kilogram of beef fillet, chicken and pork are cheaper, beef and lamb more expensive. Pellet stands 1,500 ($0,18), 2000 ($0,24) and 2,500 som ($0.3). Potatoes per kilogram 3,000 — 3,500 ($0,36 — 0,41) Uzbek som.


A family of three people on average takes at least 3,000,00 som ($355) per month.



Akgul. Near Astana, a lot of good recreation areas such as "BalKaragay", "Golden Pheasant" or you can go to Borovoe. In winter, many spend time in shopping centres.

Recently, many restaurants with good playgrounds appeared. Often they are paid separately and cost from 400 ($1) to 800 tenge ($2) per child. Children's menu dishes average from 1,000 ($2.63) to 2,000 tenge ($5.26). The average check per adult ranges from 3000 ($8) to 6000 ($16) tenge depending on the restaurant.

Cinema is popular in Astana. Monday-Tuesday is student days and tickets are cheap. On ordinary days, a ticket for an evening session costs 1,000 — 1,500 tenge ($2.63 — 4) per adult.

The city hosts many concerts and theatrical performances. Tickets for the opera should be bought in advance, for the ballet tickets can be easily bought in a week or a few days before. Performance of the guest artist cost about 25 000 tenge ($66) for stalls and 10,000 — 15,000 tenge ($26 — 40) not stalls. Local performances are cheaper. Tickets for the ballet from 3,000 ($8) tenge and it will be cheaper to buy in advance.


Ekaterina. There are many ways to spend time in the city: bowling, karting, amusement parks in shopping centres, art studios, cooking studios, master classes, inbound tourism — trips to the mountains, paragliding, horse riding, rafting, trekking and much more.


The average check at the restaurant of Bishkek 1,500 kgs ($70). A movie ticket costs 300 som ($4,2) in theatre from 500 som ($7) - for local performances and 1,200 som (a 17.14 $) on the other.


Tatiana. There are many coffee shops in Tashkent. A cup of cappuccino costs from 13,000 to 20,000 sum ($1,54 — 2,37).

My daughter and sister love movies and we often go there together. An adult ticket costs 30,000 som ($3,55), children 18 000 som ($2,13), we also buy popcorn and juices. Going to the movies costs us 100,000 — 120,000 som ($11,83 — 14,2).

The restaurant prices depend on what you eat and what you drink. In our favourite restaurant for the company of four people, we pay 500,000 — 600,000 som ($59,17 — 71). Also sometimes for a company of three people, you pay 1 500 000 som ($177,5), it all depends on the restaurant.



Akgul. I go to the box. The cost of the group training in many gyms is almost the same — 20,000 - 25,000 tenge ($53 — 66) per month.



Ekaterina. Gym membership costs 2,000 som ($28.5) for 12 lessons per month.


Tatiana. There are different options for training gyms. The most expensive gym membership at a discount costs 3,000,000 per year ($355). You can find a subscription for 500,000 som ($59,17) per month. There are gyms near the house, and they are cheaper — 150,000 sum ($17,75) per month.

Additional cost


Akgul. My husband and I have twins. We take them to educational classes for a couple of hours a day, the average cost 30,000 — 35,000 ($79 — 92) tenge per month.

Baby food, diapers, clothes, toys are a mandatory and monthly purchase. One pack of diapers cost an average of 4000 — 5,000 tenge ($11 — 13), it is enough for a week. Baby food 1,500 — 2,000 tenge ($4 — 5) per food can. Mothers with lactation problems, as well as those who have twins with doctor's prescription can have baby food for free.

Also in autumn, I freeze berries and vegetables, and in winter I always have the opportunity to defrost and prepare home-made food for children with fresh ingredients. I'm not doing this to save money, but it makes me feel better.

Medical services in the polyclinic at the place of residence are free. There are private clinics if you are not satisfied with the public, reception costs an average of 3,000 — 5,000 tenge ($8 — 13).


Ekaterina. Private kindergarten costs 8000 — 10,000 som ($115 — 145) per month, public — 1500 som ($22) per month. The cost of attending a private school from $9,000 to $14,000 per year. Public school — 6,750 som ($96,4) per year or 750 ($10,7) per month.

In public clinics relatively inexpensive medical services — from $2, but the quality could be better. In private clinics reception from $8.6.


Tatiana. Public schools are free and private schools are expensive. My daughter goes to an ordinary school but in a commercial class. She studies there from eight in the morning to five in the evening. They have an enhanced program and also teach additional English and choreography. Such education costs 260 000 som ($31) per month. Food and other expenses per month turn out 500,000 — 600,000 som ($59,17 — 71).


Medical services are expensive. We go to the clinic, where the reception costs from 30,000 som ($3.55) and above. Clinics and hospitals are considered free, but tests and procedures are paid for all except certain groups of people.

On incomes


Akgul. Civil servants receive 70,000 — 80,000 tenge ($184 — 210) per month, in other areas the average salary 120,000 — 150,000 tenge ($316 — 395). In my opinion, to live comfortably in Astana, you need to get about 500,000 tenge ($1316).

Those who want to move to Astana, for the first time need to have the money to rent an apartment for a few months, this is the minimum 250,000 — 300,000 tenge ($658 — 789), for food and pocket expenses. I mean a family of three people should have a minimum of 600,000 tenge ($1,579).


Ekaterina. The average salary in Bishkek is 15,000 som ($215). I think, to live well you need to earn $1,500 — 2,000 per month For the first time after moving you need to have about $2,000.



Tatiana. The average salary is from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 som ($177,5 — 237). Of course, much depends on where and on what position the person works.

For comfortable life family of three people can earn 5,000,000 to 7,000,000 som in total ($592 — 828,4).

Those who plan to move to Tashkent need to have about $1,000 for a month.

About the economy


Akgul. It is cheaper to buy food at the bazaar than at the supermarket. You can choose a simple area for house rent. Now a lot of things are resold, and you can see, for example, high chairs, strollers, good quality furniture in the ads on OLX.

You can cook at home, and it will be cheaper than eating in restaurants. Some stores, such as METRO and Magnum have good discounts and sales.


Ekaterina. You can save money on food — exclude meat and become a vegetarian, buy products in the bazaar at discounted prices. Refuse to visit restaurants, cafes and entertainment events. Plant a vegetable garden and have domestic animals, if you live in a private house. Buy clothes at the time of seasonal sales.


Tatiana. You can save money if you do not go to cafes and restaurants, buy products in the market, not in Bazaar. On afisha.uz sites, you can watch the discounts at the cinema, concerts and performances.

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