Transport in Ust-Kamenogorsk
Ust-Kamenogorsk airport sits at the northwest edge of the city, off Bazhov Street, some 12km from the centre. Buses 2, 12 and 39 all take you there from the centre. Air Astana offers a daily flight from both Almaty and Astana. SCAT flies to Semey three times weekly, to Karaganda, Katon-Karagay and Kyzylorda twice a week, and to Bayan-Olgii (Mongolia;) and Novosibirsk (Russia) on Wednesday. Scat also has two flights a week to Bayan Ulgey (Mongolia). The Russian airline S7 flies twice weekly to Moscow Domodedovo.
As regards travel within Kazakhstan, the railway service to Ust-Kamenogorsk is not particularly helpful. The town is located on a branch line, with departures eastwards to Ridder and to Zyryanovsk, and westwards into Russia. Ust-Kamenogorsk’s main train station is Zashchita, off Nezavisimosti 7km northwest of the centre. One daily train heads south to Almaty (24 hours). Other trains from Zashchita, including one every two days to Semey, head north into Russia to meet the Semey–Novosibirsk line: foreigners are not allowed to take these trains (although they can cross the same border, north of Shemonaykha, by bus!). For other trains heading south, get a bus (three hours) or a taxi (2,5 hours) from Ust-Kamenogorsk bus station to Zhangyztobe, 150km southwest. From here there are three or four trains a day to Almaty (17 to 19 hours). Tickets from Zhangyztobe are only available on the day of departure.
Buses 2 and 39 run to the airport from Auezova in the centre. From the bus station (Abaya) buses run five times daily to Semey (four hours), and two or three times to Almaty (22 hours), Astana (17 hours), Barnaul (12 hours), Katon-Karagay (9 hours), Pavlodar (11 hours) and Novosibirsk (17 hours). Shared taxis to Semey leave in the morning. Buses to China also go from the bus station. Departures are on Wednesday and Sunday, at 6pm to Altay (20 hours) via the border at Maykapshagay, and at 6.15pm to Urumqi (30 hours) via Bakhty.
The urban transport network is efficient. The four tram routes link the town centre with the northern and western parts of the city. From their central terminus on Mizi Street, all four pass the central bazaar and Zhambyl Park, before crossing I he Ulba River and heading north along Abai Avenue. Trams 2 and 3 then head west along Voroshilov Street. Trams 1 and 4 continue further north along Abai. There are numerous bus routes.