Transport in Karaganda
Karaganda’s airport (www.karaganda-airport.com) 24km southeast of the centre. Air Astana operates a daily flight to Almaty, using either a Boeing 737 or smaller Fokker 50 aircraft. The flight time is an hour and ten minutes in the Boeing, double that in the Fokker. There is also one Air Astana flight a week to Frankfurt, and one to Hanover, both stopping en route at Kostanai, a testament to the large ethnic German minorities of Karaganda and Kostanai. Transaero operates couple of flights a week to Moscow.
The railway station is quite centrally located, on the city-centre side of the bridge taking the main Bukhar Zhirau Avenue across the railway tracks. Karaganda is a stop on routes passing north from Almaty to Astana, Petropavl, Kostanai and Pavlodar, as well as the daily train from Kyzylorda to Petropavl. A daily train from Almaty also terminates here. There is a daily connection to Balkhash, and a train on even-numbered dates to Zhezkazgan. There is a train from Karaganda to Moscow, running every two days, and options to other Russian cities, including Omsk, Novokuznetsk and Sverdlovsk. It’s best to try to book ahead as Karaganda is a midroute station.
The bus station sits next door, a less distinguished building with overpowering tiled murals on its interior walls: patriotic scenes collide with geometric designs. Destinations from the bus station (www.avokzal.kz) include Almaty (20 hours, three daily), Astana (4,5 hours, every half-hour or hour, 6.30am to 8.30pm), Pavlodar (10 hours, eight daily), Semey (15 hours, one daily) and Shymkent (20 to 27 hours, two daily).
Drivers operating private minibuses and taxis congregate in the open space in front of the railway and bus stations, calling out their destination: Astana' predominates. They depart when full or when the driver gets bored of waiting. Daily buses head as far as Petropavlovsk, Bishkek and Novosibirsk.