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Basic Kazakh Phrases For Travel in 2024

Looking to learn some basic Kazakh phrases? You’ve come to the right place!

Kazakhstan, a land of vast steppes, rugged mountains, and ancient cities, is a country where tradition and modernity blend seamlessly. And Kazakhstan’s landscapes are as diverse as the people that inhabit them.

Learning a few simple words and phrases of Kazakh will hugely enhance your experience in this cross-continental country. It will unlock a more authentic glimpse into the local way of life and a deeper connection with the people.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Almaty or the endless Central Asian steppe, a few words in Kazakh can go a long way. Kazakh hospitality is legendary, and these words and phrases will help you experience it even more.

Why Learning Kazakh Will Enhance Your Trip

Learning a language is like taking a deep dive into the heart of a nation. It gives you a unique perspective on a culture that most tourists simply can’t get.

Nowhere is this more true than Kazakhstan.

Firstly, in my experience, English is not particularly widely spoken in Kazakhstan. Learning a bit of basic Kazakh will come in handy in most scenarios.

Secondly, being able to communicate in Kazakh opens doors to more authentic experiences, personal connections, and genuine cultural insight.

A simple Sälem (“Hi”) often transforms a quick passing interaction into a more meaningful conversation.

Learning a bit of the language also helps you understand local customs, traditions, and the Kazakh way of life. You don’t need to master the language, it’s more than enough just to make the effort and try.

I promise, it will definitely be worth it!

Basic Words in Kazakh

Begin your Kazakh journey with these basic words. They’re your first step towards meaningful interactions in Kazakhstan.

  • СәлемSälem – Hi
  • Сәлеметсіз беSälemetsiz be – Hello (more formal)
  • Сау болыңызSau bolıñız – Goodbye
  • РахметRahmet – Thank you
  • Қош келдіңізQosh keldiñiz – You’re welcome
  • ӨтінемінÖtinemin – Please
  • Иә – Yes
  • ЖоқJok – No
  • Қайырлы таңQayırlı tañ – Good morning
  • Қайырлы кешQayırlı kesh – Good evening
  • Қайырлы күнQayırlı kün – Good afternoon
  • ТамақTamaq – Food
  • СуSu – Water
  • ДәретханаDärethana – Bathroom
Shymbulak-bars-and-piste-in-summer

Common Kazakh Phrases

These common Kazakh phrases are vital for everyday conversations. Perfect for immersing yourself in local life, they’ll add a genuine touch to your exchanges.

  • Қалайсыз?Qalaysız? – How are you?
  • Жақсы, рахметJaqsy, rahmet – I’m good thanks
  • Танысқаныма қуаныштымынTanysqanıma quanıştımın – Nice to meet you
  • Менің атым…Meniñ atım… – My name is…
  • Кешірім сұраймынKeshirim suraymın – I’m sorry
  • КешіріңізKeshiriñiz – Excuse me
  • Маған көмектесе аласыз ба?Mağan kömektese alasız ba? – Can you help me?
  • Қандай сұлу!Qanday sulu! – How beautiful!
  • КөріскеншеKöriskenshe – See you
  • Кейінірек көріскеншеKeyinirek köriskenshe – See you later
  • Сәттілік!Sättılık! – Good luck!

Basic Kazakh Phrases for Travellers

Here are some more phrases that will be useful for anyone exploring Kazakhstan. They’ll enhance your journey, enriching every experience from the steppe to the city.

  • Менің броньым барMeniñ bronım bar – I have a reservation
  • Әжетхана қайда, өтінемін?Äjetxana qayda, ötinemin? – Where are the bathrooms, please?
  • ___ қалай баруға болады?___ qalay baruğa boladı? – How do I get to ___?
  • Бұның бағасы қанша?Bunıñ bağası qansha? – How much is this?
  • Ағылшынша сөйлей аласыз ба?Ağılshınsha söyley alasız ba? – Do you speak English?
  • Ең жақын қонақ үй қайда?Eñ jaqın qonaq üy qayda? – Where is the nearest hotel?
  • Адасып кеттім. Көмектесе аласыз ба?Adasyp kettim. Kömektese alasız ba? – I’m lost. Can you help me?
  • Бұл аймақ қауіпсіз бе?Bul aymaq qauipsiz be? – Is this area safe?
  • Бұл аймақ түнде қауіпсіз бе?Bul aymaq tünde qauipsiz be? – Is this area safe at night?
  • Қонақжайлылығыңыз үшін рахметQonaqjaylılığıñız üshin rahmet – Thank you for your hospitality
Kazakh-Tenge

Useful Kazakh Phrases for Information

When seeking information, these Kazakh phrases can be your go-to. They’ll help you get the answers you need.

  • Менің сұрағым барMeniñ surağım bar – I have a question
  • Бұл нәрсені қазақша қалай айтады?Bul närseni qazaqsha qalay aytady? – What is this called in Kazakh?
  • Көбірек баяу сөйлей аласыз ба?Köbirek bayau söyley alasız ba? – Can you speak slower, please?
  • Мен қазақша жақсы сөйлей алмаймынMen qazaqsha jaqsy söyley almaımin – I do not speak Kazakh very well
  • ТүсінбедімTüsinbemedim – I do not understand
  • Қайталап айта аласыз ба?Qaytalap ayta alasız ba? – Can you repeat that please?
  • Маған ақпарат қажетMağan aqparat qajet – I need information
  • Ақпарат кеңсесі қайда?Aqparat keñsesi qayda? – Where is the information office?
  • Бұл не деген сөз?Bul ne degen söz? – What does this mean?
  • Қазір қанша сағат?Qazir qansha sağat? – What time is it?
  • Сіздің электронды поштаңыз қандай?Sizdiñ elektrondı poshtańız qanday? – What’s your email address?
  • ____-ді қазақша қалай айтады?____-di qazaqsha qalay aytady? – How do you say ____ in Kazakh?
  • Бұл/Сол не?Bul/Sol ne? – What is this/that?
  • Мен сіздің телефоныңызды пайдалана аламын ба?Men sizdiñ telefonyñızdy paydalana alamın ba? – Can I use your phone?
Mountain-lodges-from-cable-car-to-shymbulak-kazakhstan

Useful Phrases for Directions in Kazakhstan

Navigate Kazakhstan’s diverse landscapes with these direction-specific phrases. Whether in bustling Almaty or the tranquil mountains, you’ll always find your way.

  • …қайда?…qayda? – Where is the…?
  • …қалай баруға болады?…qalay baruğa boladı? – How do I get to…?
  • Сіз маған картада көрсете аласыз ба?Siz mağan kartada körsete alasız ba? – Can you show me on the map?
  • Тікелей алға жүріңізTikeley alğa jüriñiz – Go straight ahead
  • Оңға/Солға бұрылыңызOñğa/Solğa burılıñız – Turn right/left
  • Бұл жақын/алысBul jaqın/alıs – It’s near/far
  • Бұл бұрыштың ар жағындаBul burıştıñ ar jağında – It’s around the corner
  • Бұл бұрышBul burış – This is the corner
  • …қа жету жолы қай жақта?…qa jetu joly qay jaqta? – Which way is it to…?
  • Мен ол жерге жаяу бара аламын ба немесе такси қажет пе?Men ol jerge jayau bara alamın ba nemese taksi qajet pe? – Can I walk there or do I need a taxi?

Basic Kazakh Phrases for Transportation

Travel smoothly across Kazakhstan with these transportation phrases. From buses and trains to taxis, and even the metro, they make getting around straightforward and stress-free.

  • Такси қайдан табамын?Taksi qaydan tabamın? – Where can I get a taxi?
  • …ға бару қанша тұрады?…ğa baru qansha turadı? – How much does it cost to go to…?
  • Мен … барғым келедіMen … barğım keledi – I want to go to…
  • Автобус аялдамасы қайда?Avtobus ayaldamasy qayda? – Where is the bus stop?
  • Автобус станциясы қайда?Avtobus stanciyasy qayda? – Where is the bus station?
  • Келесі пойыз қашан шығады?Kelesi poyız qashan şığadı? – What time does the next train leave?
  • …ға жету қанша уақыт алады?…ğa jetu qansha waqıt aladı? – How long does it take to get to…?
  • Әуежайға қалай барамын?Äwejaığa qalay baramın? – How do I get to the airport?
  • Бұл автобус …ға барады ма?Bul avtobus …ğa baradı ma? – Does this bus go to…?
  • Маған айналма билет қажетMağan aýnalma bilet qajet – I need a round trip ticket
  • Билетті қайдан аламын?Biletti qaydan alamın? – Where do I buy tickets?
Horse-steak-chalet-restaurant-shymbulak

Key Phrases for Dining and Food in Kazakh

Kazakh cuisine revolves largely around meat and dairy products. The following dining phrases will help you navigate menus, order dishes, and talk about any dietary requirements, letting you enjoy the local cuisine to its fullest.

Savour the flavours of Kazakhstan with these phrases.

  • Екі адамға үстел бола ма?Eki adamğa üstel bola ma? – Can I get a table for two?
  • Маған мәзірді көрсете аласыз ба?Mağan mäzirdi körsete alasız ba? – Can you please show me the menu?
  • Күннің тағамы қандай?Künniñ tağamı qanday? – What is the dish of the day?
  • Мен … алғым келедіMen … alğım keledi – I would like…
  • Маған қандай тағам ұсынар едіңіз?Mağan qanday tağam usınar ediñiz? – Could you suggest something for me?
  • Қандай тағамды ұсынар едіңіз?Qanday tağamdı usınar ediñiz? – What do you recommend to eat?
  • Мен …-ге аллергиям барMen …-ge allergiyam bar – I’m allergic to…
  • Бұл тағамда … бар ма?Bul tağamda … bar ma? – Does this dish contain…?
  • Сізде вегетариандық/веган опциялары бар ма?Sizde vegetariandıq/vegan optsiyalary bar ma? – Do you have vegetarian/vegan options?
  • Мен ет/балық/сүт өнімдерін жемеймінMen et/balyq/süt önimderin jemeymin – I don’t eat meat/fish/dairy
  • Бұл вегетариандарға лайық па?Bul vegetariandarğa layıq pa? – Is this suitable for vegetarians?
  • Бұл не?Bul ne? – What is this?
  • Маған бұл ұнайдыMağan bul unaıdy – I like it
  • Есеп-шотты ала аламын ба?Esep-shottı ala alamın ba? – Can I have the bill, please?
  • Өте дәмді болды! РахметÖte dämdi boldy! Rahmet – It was delicious! Thank you
  • Қай үй қимызын артыңыз келе ме? – Qay üy qymyzyn artıñyz kele me? – Would you like another round of kumis?
paraglider-in-the-mountains-above-almaty-kazakhstan

Useful Kazakh Phrases for Shopping and Bargaining

Shopping and bargaining in Kazakhzstan can be both exciting and daunting.

Whether you’re wandering in the vibrant Green Market of Almaty or shopping for handcrafted souvenirs in Shymkent, knowing these phrases will help a lot.

By engaging with the locals in their language, not only will you leave a positive impression but you might also end up getting better deals too.

  • Мен … іздеп жүрмінMen … izdep jürmin – I’m looking for…
  • Бұның бағасы қанша?Bunıñ bağası qansha? – How much does it cost?
  • Жеңілдік бар ма?Jeñildik bar ma? – Is there any discount?
  • Жеңілдіктің мөлшері қанша?Jeñildiktiñ mölşeri qansha? – How much is the discount?
  • Бұл тым қымбатBul tym qymbat – That’s too expensive
  • Бағасын төмендете аласыз ба?Bağasın tömendete alasız ba? – Can you lower the price?
  • Кредит картасымен төлей аламын ба?Kredit kartasımen töley alamın ba? – Can I pay with a credit card?
  • Тек қолма-қол ақшаменTek qolma-qol aqşamen – Cash only
  • Мұның үлкен өлшемі бар ма?Munıñ ülken ölşemi bar ma? – Do you have this in a larger size?
  • Басқа түсте бар ма?Basqa tüstе bar ma? – Do you have this in another colour?
  • Мен бұны қайтарғым келедіMen bunı qaytarğım keledi – I want to return this
  • Қайда киім сынау бөлмелері бар?Qayda kіim sınaу bölmeleri bar? – Where are the fitting rooms?
  • Кешіріңіз, супермаркет қайда?Keshiriñiz, supermarkеt qayda? – Excuse me, where’s the supermarket?
  • Киім дүкені қайда?Kіim dükeni qayda? – Where’s the clothing store?
  • Маған сөмке керекMağan sömke kerek – I need a bag
  • Жергілікті өнімдерді қайдан табамын?Jergilikti önіmderdi qaydan tabamın? – Where can I find local products?
mountains-of-shymbulak-kazakhstan

Essential Kazakh Phrases for Accommodation

Ensure you have a comfortable stay in Kazakhstan with these accommodation phrases. They’ll help you to communicate your needs effectively for a hassle-free experience.

  • Бос бөлмелеріңіз бар ма?Bos bölmeleriñiz bar ma? – Do you have any rooms available?
  • Түніне қанша тұрады?Tünine qansha turadı? – How much does it cost per night?
  • Бағаға таңғы ас кіреді ме?Bağağa tañğı as kiredi me? – Is breakfast included in the price?
  • Маған екі орындық бөлме қажетMağan eki oryndıq bölmе qajet – I need a double room
  • Екі жатын орынды бөлме бар ма?Eki jatın oryndı bölmе bar ma? – Is there a room with two beds?
  • Тегін Wi-Fi бар ма?Tegin Wi-Fi bar ma? – Is there free Wi-Fi?
  • Бөлмеде кондиционер бар ма?Bölmеde kondicioner bar ma? – Is there air conditioning?
  • Лифт қайда?Lift qayda? – Where is the elevator?
  • Спорт залы қайда?Sport zaly qayda? – Where is the gym?
  • Мен бөлме брондағым келедіMen bölmе brondağım keledi – I would like to book a room
  • Бөлмеге қызмет көрсету бар ма?Bölmegе qyzmеt körsetu bar ma? – Is there room service?
  • Бөлме ласBölmе las – The room is dirty
  • Бұл қонақ үйде өзімді қауіпсіз сезінемінBul qonaq üyde özimdi qauipsiz sezіnemіn – I feel safe in this hotel
  • Сізде вилка адаптері бар ма?Sizdе vilka adapteri bar ma? – Do you have a plug adaptor?
  • Жақсы көрінісі бар бөлме қалаймынJaqsy körińisi bar bölmе qalaymyn – I want a room with a nice view
  • Бөлмеде қауіпсіз сейф бар ма?Bölmеde qauipsiz seyf bar ma? – Is there a safe in the room?
  • Мені таңғы (жетіде) оятасыз ба?Meni tañğı (jetide) oyatasız ba? – Can you wake me up at (Seven) a.m.?
  • Сәби үшін бесік керекSäbi üshin besik kerek – I need a crib for the baby
  • Шығу уақыты қашан?Şıǵu waqıtı qashan? – What’s the check-out time?

Learning Kazakh Phrases for Emergency Situations

It’s sensible to familiarise yourself with a few key phrases related to emergencies, wherever you’re travelling.

Whether you need help, are stuck in an unpredictable situation, or have a medical emergency, the following phrases could make all the difference.

  • Көмек керек – Kömek kerek – I need help
  • Мен дайынсызмын – Men daıynsızmin – I am unwell
  • Жедел апат – Jedel apat – It’s an emergency
  • Полицейді шақыру – Polıceĭdi şaqıru – Call the police
  • Аптек қайда – Aptek qayda – Where is the pharmacy?
  • Өкінішке орай, пожар – Ökinishke oraı, pojara – Fire, fire!
  • Ауданың қорғауышысын шақыру – Audanıñ qorğauışısın şaqıru – Call an ambulance
  • Мен жаза қабылдадым – Men jaza qabıldadım – I had an accident
  • Мен жатамын – Men jatamın – I am lost
  • Маған аурухана керек – Mağan auruhana kerek – I need a hospital
  • Дәрігер шақыру – Däriger şaqıru – Call a doctor
  • Көмек ет, қаңғы – Кömek et, qañğı – Help, thief!
Things-to-do-in-Almaty-sculpture

Kazakh Question Words

Unlock deeper conversations with these Kazakh question words. Ideal for engaging with locals, they’ll help you delve into the culture and history of Kazakhstan.

  • Не?Ne? – What?
  • Қайда?Qayda? – Where?
  • Қашан?Qashan? – When?
  • Кім?Kim? – Who?
  • Неге?Nege? – Why?
  • Қалай?Qalay? – How?
  • Қайсы?Qaysy? – Which?
  • Қанша?Qansha? – How much?
  • Неше?Neshe? – How many?
  • Кімнікі?Kimniki? – Whose?
  • Қанша/Неше?Qansha/Neshe? – How much/How many?
  • Бұл…ма?Bul…ma? – Is it…?
  • …істей ала ма?…istey ala ma? – Can
  • …бола ма?…bola ma? – Will
  • Бұл не?Bul ne? – What is this?
  • Бұл кім?Bul kim? – Who is that?
  • Бұл қалай?Bul qalay? – How is it?
  • Бұл неге?Bul nege? – Why is it?
  • Бұл неге?Bul nege? – Why this?
  • …ішінде не бар?…ishinde ne bar? – What is in …?
  • … қайда?… qayda? – Where is …?
  • … бар ма?… bar ma? – Is there a …?

Understanding the Cyrillic Alphabet

Kazakh uses the Cyrillic alphabet, just like Kyrgyz and Russian. In recent years Kazakhstan has started making moves towards officially adopting the Latin alphabet instead.

However, for now, Cyrillic is the main form of writing used throughout the country. So, it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with this alphabet to help you read signs, bus destinations, menus and more.

Here’s a guide to the Cyrillic alphabet with translations for each letter, presented in both capital and lowercase forms.

  • А а – A a
  • Б б – B b
  • В в – V v
  • Г г – G g
  • Д д – D d
  • Е е – Ye ye
  • Ё ё – Yo yo (Note: Rarely used in Kazakh and Kyrgyz)
  • Ж ж – Zh zh
  • З з – Z z
  • И и – I i
  • Й й – Y y (Short i)
  • К к – K k
  • Л л – L l
  • М м – M m
  • Н н – N n
  • О о – O o
  • П п – P p
  • Р р – R r
  • С с – S s
  • Т т – T t
  • У у – U u
  • Ф ф – F f
  • Х х – Kh kh
  • Ц ц – Ts ts
  • Ч ч – Ch ch
  • Ш ш – Sh sh
  • Щ щ – Shch shch
  • Ъ ъ – Hard Sign (Not commonly used in modern Kazakh or Kyrgyz)
  • Ы ы – Y y (Specific to Kazakh and Kyrgyz)
  • Ь ь – Soft Sign
  • Э э – E e
  • Ю ю – Yu yu
  • Я я – Ya ya
Chalet-restaurant-shymbulak

Practice Makes Perfect: Tips for Remembering Kazakh Phrases

Learning Kazakh, like any language, doesn’t happen overnight. It requires patience, practice, and repetition.

Personally, I find flashcards can be really helpful for this. I jot down Kazakh phrases on one side and their English translations on the other. This encourages active recall, which helps strengthen your neural pathways and makes learning more effective.

Moreover, associating phrases with particular circumstances or visual hints can speed up the learning process considerably.

Take, for example, a phrase regarding eating out. Try visualizing the scenario in your head, interact with it, and you’ll find that the phrase comes to you more naturally over time.

Additionally, try and use these phrases in your daily routine. It will make learning more practical and interactive.

Numbers in Kazakh

Understanding the Kazakh numbering system is useful in a wide range of scenarios, especially when it comes to transactions, discussing times, and navigating transportation.

Below is a list of simple numbers along with some larger ones:

  • Нөл – Nöl – 0
  • Бір – Bir – 1
  • Екі – Eki – 2
  • Үш – Üş – 3
  • Төрт – Tört – 4
  • Бес – Bes – 5
  • Алты – Alty – 6
  • Жеті – Jeti – 7
  • Сегіз – Segiz – 8
  • Тоғыз – Toğız – 9
  • Он – On – 10
  • Он бір – On bir – 11
  • Он екі – On eki – 12
  • Он үш – On üş – 13
  • Он төрт – On tört – 14
  • Он бес – On bes – 15
  • Он алты – On alty – 16
  • Он жеті – On jeti – 17
  • Он сегіз – On segiz – 18
  • Он тоғыз – On toğız – 19
  • Жиырма – Jiyrma – 20
  • Отыз – Otyz – 30
  • Қырық – Qyryq – 40
  • Елу – Elu – 50
  • Алпыс – Alpys – 60
  • Жетпіс – Jetpis – 70
  • Сексен – Seksen – 80
  • Тоқсан – Toqsan – 90
  • Жүз – Jüz – 100
  • Мың – Myñ – 1,000
  • Он мың – On myñ – 10,000
  • Жүз мың – Jüz myñ – 100,000
  • Бір миллион – Bir million – 1,000,000

To form numbers in between these, you combine the tens and units. For example:

  • “Twenty-one” is Жиырма бір (Jiyrma bir) (20 + 1)
  • “Thirty-two” is Отыз екі (Otyz eki) (30 + 2)

For numbers in the hundreds, thousands, and beyond, combine the larger number with the smaller. For instance:

  • “One hundred and twenty-three” is Жүз жиырма үш (Jüz jiyrma üş)
  • “Two thousand and nineteen” is Екі мың он тоғыз (Eki myñ on toğız)

See Also

Check out some of my other posts on learning Turkic languages for travel:

Final Thoughts: Basic Kazakh Phrases For Travel

With these Kazakh words and phrases in your toolkit, you’re ready to explore the rich culture and stunning landscapes of Kazakhstan.

Kazakh is a wonderful language that can open doors and provide a great foundation for adventurous travel. Knowing some basic words and phrases will help make the experience easier and even more meaningful.

Finally, if you want to take your Kazakh learning to the next level, check out the Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI) website.

IMPORTANT: Never travel without travel insurance!

Here are three companies that I’ve used, and thoroughly recommend:

  • HeyMondo – the best value travel insurance provider on the market. They cover virtually every country in the world, they have an easy-to-use app, and their policies are straightforward and upfront, with minimal (often no) deductibles and excesses.
  • SafetyWing – if you’re a digital nomad like me, it’s essential that you have suitable insurance. It’s super flexible and affordable, you can sign up for as little or as long as you want, and can activate and deactivate it whenever you need to.
  • World Nomads – for adventurous travellers, covers 200+ activities that many other insurers won’t, such as skydiving, heli-skiing, rock climbing, rafting, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and kiteboarding (not available for residents of every country – check here).

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  • I’m Alex Tiffany.  Former corporate city robot; lifelong travel addict.

 

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