Almaty has 2 bus stations: the long-distance bus station Sairan, located in the west of town at the crossroads of Tole bi and Otegen Batyr streets, and the shorter-distance station Sayakhat, near the big mosque at the crossing of Rayimbek and Suyunbai avenue (map).
Sairan, located to the northwest of Almaty, is the well-organised long-distance bus station. You can get something to eat or drink inside, and the doors are open 24/7. Many buses are leaving constantly from here. Destinations include Bishkek, Urumqi, Taraz, Shymkent, Ust-Kamenogorsk , Karaganda, Astana and Balkhash.
Sayakhat is a jumble of buses and marshrutkas with attached bazaar near the train station on the northeast of Almaty. It operates all buses going east of the city to smaller, nearby destinations. From here, marshrutkas connect to towns east and north of Almaty: Talgar, Esik, Kegen, Narynkol, Kapchagai and Taldykorgan among others. Prices range between 100 – 300 tenge, payment is on the bus rather than at the ticket office.