The company leases some apartment buildings and housing complexes in various locations in town. There is no compound.
Families and expatriates are currently living in the following (click here to view apartments and houses in our gallery):
Chagala hotel (apartments): 1 bed room apartments
(New) River Club: 3 bedroom apartments
Zhety Kazyna (Isker) : 2,3 bedroom apartments
River Club: 3 bedroom houses.
Ural houses: 3 and 4 bedroom houses
The largest international school is the QSI International School of Atyrau run by Quality Schools International. It is based on an American system, the language of instruction is English. There are also Italian, Dutch, Russian and Kazakh classes. This school has at least 1 class per year group. The school offers tuition for 3 to 17 years old children. It is housed in a new building since August 2014.
QSI Website: www.qsi.org/atr_home/atr_home.htm
QSI in Atyrau : www.atyrau.qsischool.org
In addition to QSI, there is the TCO school and is located in Dostyk village, the compound of TCO (Tengis Chevron Oil). The school provides classes for students in grades pre-school (age 4) – year 8. Enrolment is limited to space available and proficiency in English.
There is a playgroup (1x per week) for children ages 0-4 years old at the Caspian Club and this is run by expatriate spouse/mothers
Local language education
One of the most important things to do before you come to Kazakhstan is to learn the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet. The majority of road signs, food labels, advertising and road maps are written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Some words do transliterate into the same word with the same meaning as the Latin word. Russian or Kazakh lessons may be available through your company.
Primary healthcare for expatriates and their families is available at the International SOS clinic in Atyrau. The ISOS clinic usually has at least one expatriate doctor on staff. It has a small in-house pharmacy. Not all western medicines are allowed to be sold in Kazakhstan and therefore it is important that you check with the ISOS Clinic whether your specific prescription medicines and favourite over-the-counter medications are available. If not, make sure you are allowed to take them with you from your home country and in which quantities.
Depending on your medical provider/insurer you may have to pay for your treatment and recover the costs or they might be directly billed to your company.
There is a dentist attached to the ISOS clinic for emergency work. It is advisable to complete (and continue) your dental check-ups in your base country. However some people have had satisfying experiences with local dentists.
Atyrau has a large choice of pharmacies, “Aпteka” (Apteka in Russian), which sell a good choice of medicines for low prices, including many herbal remedies. There is a very limited choice of western products. It is generally better to bring in your own choice of non-prescription medications.
There is a pharmacy at the ISOS clinic where you can get prescription medication. If you already have specific prescription medication it is better to bring that from you home country as there is no guarantee that the ISOS clinic pharmacy can provide it.
There are several chains of supermarkets spread throughout the city, offering a wide variety of products, like bread, cheese, meat, wine, beer, canned food, juices, dairy products, detergent, etc. Not everything is available to everyone’s standard, Western or Asian. There is a limited variety of cheese: you can get some French, Italian (Parmesan), and Dutch cheese (Maasdam). There are some Asian spices, but not all. There is a French bakery with a coffee shop in town.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are available on the markets (open and covered). There is a wide variety of nuts and dried fruit, some fresh and smoked fish, fresh meat and other food items are available, but also you can get fabrics, tools, building materials, clothes. etc.
There are 3 markets : ‘Rahat’, ‘Koktyem’ and a big market further out of the town centre which is called ‘Dina’ market.
There are no department stores or factory outlets in Atyrau. Abdi is a store selling stationery items including wrapping paper and office supplies.
There are several stores in Atyrau which sell computers and other electronic equipment but these can be expensive. Mobile phones, cameras, small kitchen appliances such as blenders, food mixers and coffee machines are available but some of the brand names may be unfamiliar.
A few shops in Atyrau sell expensive treadmills and exercise bikes as well as other sporting equipment. (Gyms and the use of swimming pools are available for use by employees and their families in most company supplied accommodation).
There is a good choice of hairdressers and beauticians in Atyrau. There is a large variation in quality however. The best way of finding a good hairdresser or beauty salon is to ask around, although some of the expatriate recommended salons are extremely expensive.
Company buses are driving on a fixed schedule to and from the offices, housing locations and school.
A pool of cars and drivers is provided by the company for transport for spouses in Atyrau.
Public sporting facilities in Atyrau are generally in poorly maintained buildings.
The city has :
The Renaissance Hotel has a health complex with gym, swimming pool, sauna and fitness room where classes are run, such as aerobics and Pilates. Private membership can be purchased at a discount for staff and spouses.
The Ardager and Zhety Kazyna apartments have own gym and swimming pool facilities. These facilities are for residents of both complexes to use. Also private membership can be purchased.
There is an outdoor tennis court and a small gym at River Club Houses.
The international expatriate community organises several activities and there are several groups
More information can be found on the blog of the International Ladies Atyrau and www.atyrauoutdoors.com
The Shell owned club is conveniently located close to the offices (within walking distance) and in a central part of town. It provides social and recreational facilites for all Shell employees, their families and expatriates and their families working for NCOC JV.
Atyrau has a wide choice of restaurants including Kazakh, Russian, Italian, Turkish and Japanese, ranging in price and quality.
In general the looks and condition of the outside of a restaurant gives no clues regarding quality or price nor does the price say anything about the quality.
In summer nothing beats sitting outside and enjoying the view: however the presence of many mosquitoes can be off-putting.
There are several bars and nightclubs which stay open until late.
There are three theatres in Atyrau which show mostly Russian/Kazakh productions and host music entertainment. One cinema shows some foreign language films, American and English, in the original language with Russian and/or Kazakh subtitles. But most foreign language films are dubbed into Russian and/or Kazakh.