This post will be all about Uzbekistan travel tips and all the cool facts about Uzbekistan and things to know before visiting Uzbekistan. From first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Uzbekistan and what awaits you from amazing hikes, mountains, cities, to delicious food to try in Uzbekistan.
Central Asia is a cradle of culture for all the countries in the region Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, it’s Uzbekistan that has the very best offerings in terms of architecture and ancient cities. The Ancient Silk Road wound it’s way through Uzbekistan and has left a fascinating trail of historic sites to visit. Uzbekistan got its independence in 1991 from Soviet Union! Starting from 2019 Uzbekistan is being opening his borders with free visas.
Uzbekistan Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Uzbekistan
1. IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO UZBEKISTAN?
Is it safe to travel to Uzbekistan? Traveling in Uzbekistan felt very safe and certainly no different to any other countries. Uzbekistan can be one of the safest countries. The only thing to watch out for is not getting ripped off at the airports with taxis and money changers, but no worries just use common sense.
2. FREE VISA FOR UZBEKISTAN
Since 2019 visa is easy in and free in Uzbekistan. There is 30 days free visa on arrival for many nationalities like European countries and not for United States. A few countries will have to apply for a e-Visa online and paying $20 USD for 30 days. It will take only 2-3 days to get your visa to Uzbekistan really easy.
3. CASH IS THE KING CURRENCY AND ATMS IN UZBEKISTAN
Cash is the king in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan’s official currency is Uzbekistani Sums (UZS). 1 USD = 10500 UZS. There are many money changers or currency exchange in the airports, train stations, and streets of Uzbekistan. There are ATMs in the cities everywhere even small ones. Click here to know the real time exchange rate.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT UZBEKISTAN
I would say summer is the best time to visit Uzbekistan. The weather is warm and it’s perfect for outdoor activities. Summer lasts from the end of May until mid-September. If you want to experience the winter in Uzbekistan, visit here in November until the end of April. But we are warning you of the strong cold air that can be up to -20 °C!
You can also visit during spring (from mid-April to end of May) and autumn which is also a short season in Uzbekistan (from end of September to beginning of November).
Click here to get real time weather updates in Uzbekistan.
5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Things to know before visiting Uzbekistan we recommend always to bring a travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease.
Just make sure you are ready since it can be really expensive if you get a big surgery or problem in Uzbekistan. You can check ours in this link where you can get covered starting from $40 USD per month.
FACTS ABOUT UZBEKISTAN
6. UZBEKISTAN IS SO CHEAP
Facts about Uzbekistan if you are thinking of Asia and Central Asia is cheap for traveling you are right. Uzbekistan is as cheap as a few countries in Southeast Asia. You will have to pay around $3-4 USD for a local restaurant. We will tell you below accommodation, food budget and general entrance fees and tour prices in Uzbekistan.
7. ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN UZBEKISTAN
You can find accommodation in Uzbekistan hostels starting from $15 USD. You can always look for better but more expensive options if you prefer starting from $30-50 USD you will find a decent room.
AirBnB is also available in Uzbekistan and you can get a place to stay for $25. You can click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB.
8. FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN UZBEKISTAN
Traveling in Uzbekistan is easy and you can manage to get through the day with less than $10 USD per day for basic local food, water and tea since it is so popular in Uzbekistan.
9. WI-FI AND INTERNET CONNECTION IN UZBEKISTAN
Internet in Uzbekistan works weak in general better in the bigger cities of course but if you have to work online you will have hard time. You can access free WiFi at hostels and hotels and there are lots of restaurant that are offering free WiFi. We advise that you get a sim card in Uzbekistan if you need to catch up with some work online.
10. ADAPTER IN UZBEKISTAN
In our Uzbekistan travel tips you should know they use the European adapter. A few places make it possible to fit your American adapter in the plug. If you are coming from American countries, we recommend you to bring an European adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
11. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN UZBEKISTAN
SHARED TAXI IN UZBEKISTAN
The most convenient way of getting around Uzbekistan is by shared taxi, the quickest and most effective way. You can get shared taxis from any major town just ask the hotel or guest house owner to direct you to the taxi. For example the taxi from Tashkent to Jizzakh was 25,000 Som.
BY TRAIN IN UZBEKISTAN
I was surprised to discover that Uzbekistan has a high-speed train line that links Tashkent to Samarkand. The train is called The ‘Afrosiyob’ and can cover the distance between Tashkent and Samarkand in 2.5 hours.
There are 3 classes: The economy class costs 46,000 Soms. Business class – 65,000 Soms and VIP – 80,000 Soms.
There are also two standard express trains, ‘Sharq’ covering the 600 kilometers from Tashkent to Bukhara with a stop in Samarkand in 7.5 hours. The other is the ‘Registon’ going directly to Samarkand in just 4 hours.
Overnight trains also run from Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (3 times weekly) and to Nukus – Kungrad (2 times weekly), so it’s also possible to travel to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or to the Aral sea (Moynaq, 70 km from Kungrad) by train.
BY BUS IN UZBEKISTAN
There are also buses in Uzbekistan going to the most touristic destinations for a cheaper price than a shared taxi and the train. But it will take longer time.
The metro in Uzbekistan only exists in Tashkent and I suggest you take a look at the amazing Soviet-era architecture and styling of the stations. The single journey fare for the Tashkent subway is 1000 Som around half of dollar. There are also local buses to move around the city.
12. ACCOMMODATION AND REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN
You need to register at the hotel or guesthouse where you are staying and keep the registration slip as a means of verification of where you stayed . You maybe will have to show them when leaving the country. Couchsurfing is illegal in Uzbekistan although you can stay with people you meet on your travels (I did this without any problems at all).
13. EXCHANGE MONEY IN OFFICIAL STABLISHMENT
There are now ATM’s in most parts of Uzbekistan and especially in the cities so you shouldn’t have any problems getting cash if you need it. I recommend withdrawing money from the ATM and not changing money anymore in the black market. You can also exchange dollars if you are bringing cash in the bank or in exchange office.
14. Learn Russian And Cyrillic
If you have been traveling around Russia or Kazakhstan and you learned a few basic about language and alphabet. It will be so useful Russian language and Cyrillic alphabet when traveling around Uzbekistan. Since most of the people don’t speak English can be so useful to communicate with locals.
15. RELIGION IN UZBEKISTAN
The religion in Uzbekistan is Muslim. Around 80-90% of the population in Uzbekistan are Muslim and around 10% can be Russian Orthodox. Alcohol is allowed to drink beer and vodka are popular. Women aren’t wearing dress code for Muslims as other countries only in a few areas women are more strict with the dress code.
16. HOSPITABLE PEOPLE IN UZBEKISTAN
The people are so hospitable in Uzbekistan. If you are lucky theywill give you a guided tour of their hometown and let you stay with them and you will feel like a member of the family. Just genuinely friendly people who want to help and find out about your home country.
17. BORDER CROSSINGS UZBEKISTAN
In theory, the borders crossings in Uzbekistan are opened with surrounding countries and you should be able to enter or leave but this may change due to political situations. Just if you have your e-visa or you don’t need visa you can enter overland in Uzbekistan. These are the borders in Uzbekistan: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
18. COTTON IN UZBEKISTAN
Cotton in Uzbekistan is the main business for the economy. Cotton has been great until 2006 but it’s dropping down lately the exportation. You will be able to see cotton fields when traveling in Uzbekistan.
19. PUBLIC BATHROOMS AREN’T FREE IN UZBEKISTAN
Public bathrooms aren’t free in Uzbekistan. It’s common in Southeast Asia and Central Asia. There is a fee 1000 Soms to use the toilet and they will provide you toilet paper. Most of the toilets are squat!
FACTS ABOUT UZBEKISTAN FOOD
There are about 5 main dishes in Uzbekistan: Shashlik: Kebab on a skewer, Osh/Plov: Rice with carrot and mutton, Manti: Parcels of dough with mutton inside. Samsa: Similar to a mutton pie and Lagman: Noodles with mutton.
Plov is the most popular dish Uzbekistan. Plov is a rice dish cooked with lamb, onions and carrot. Plov is also popular in Central Asia. Plov is heavy and delicious dish to try in Uzbekistan. Prices are around $3 USD in local restaurants.
Manti is a delicious snack in Uzbekistan. Manti is a kind of dumplings made of meat mixed with onion and steam cooked. Obviously you can make only with vegetables or adding potato and a few more things.
22. SHASHLIK OR KEBAB
Shashlik or Kebab is a very famous dish in Middle East and from other parts of the world. Shashlik is skewed meat (mostly lamb/beef) with vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. Shashlik is served in Uzbekistan and you can have beer or vodka while eating.
Samsa is a pastry filled with lamb, beef or chicken or with vegetarian options like cheese, potato and pumpkin. Samsa is baked in a traditional oven and it looks like a samosa in India.
Lagman is one of the most popular dishes in Uzbekistan a soup with noodles. Lagman is made of meat with vegetables and spices like onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes cooked in a soup
More Uzbekistan Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Uzbekistan
Places To Visit in Uzbekistan
Samarkand is the gem in the crown of Uzbek tourism. You will find huge monuments to Timur, the famous Registan and a buzzing bazaar are all woven into the cities rich history. Modern Samarkand is built around the ancient parts of the city and two exist almost effortlessly.
You can visit most of Samarkand tourist attractions in two or three days: the Registan, Gur-e-Amir, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-i-Zinda.
Tashkent has a few places to visit Amirs statue in the main square, the Chorsu Bazaar where you can try local food. The metro stations in Tashkent is a must to visit with sthe architecture of soviet times like Russia. Each station is unique and the architectural and artistic decoration of each station reflects its name. There are a few bars and restaurants to go out for a beer at night in Tashkent.
The Jizzakh Region is one of the most environmentally unique in Uzbekistan and is well worth a few days of your time to explore, especially if you like off the beaten path. The Nuratau mountains, lake of Aydarkul and The Kyzylkum Desert to the West and a barren steppe to the East.
Shakhrisabz you can visit around Amir Timur Palace has basically been knocked down and they are making it tourist and pedestrian friendly, similar to how Samarkand is now. The palace remains are worth seeing and there are old mosques around the area where you can spend a few hours exploring.
Bukhara is an ancient town to walk around and like everywhere else in Uzbekistan. It only takes a few quiet moments and the slightest use of your imagination to transport yourself back in time to the age of the Silk Road. Bukhara has a few places to visit: Great Minaret of the Kalon, Ismail Samanid Mausoleum, Chor-Minor, Mir-i Arab Madrasah, Trading Domes, Arc Citadel and Poi Kalyan Mosque
Khiva is so well preserved like a museum town. You can walk around through the old city walls and seeing the famous minaret gleam in the bright sunshine is like stepping into another era. Walking around alleys you will find many mosques, silk workshops and traditional courtyard homes.
Termez is located at the Southern most tip of Uzbekistan, on the banks of the Amu Darya River, the river acts as the border between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan named Friendship Bridge spans. Termez has a rich and fascinating history to stay off the beaten path in Uzbekistan.
There are a lot of ruins to visit in Termez and sites: The Zurmala Stupa, At-Termizi Mausoleum, Fayaz Tepe Buddhist Monastery Complex, Kampyr-Tepe Citadel, Jarkurgan Minaret, Sultan Saodat and the Kirk Kiz (“forty girls”) Fortress.
Karakalpakstan is the Stan the world forgot and this is home to Nukus and Moynaq. Karakalpakstan region is mostly desert and you can explore by 4×4. Karakalpakstan is a very remote place in Uzbekistan.
Nukus is a city in the middle of nowhere and you can find the Savitsky Museum and the baazar is a really nice place to visit around. You can walk and taste some bread, snacks and local food. The Savitsky Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Soviet Era Soviet cultural policies an interesting place to visit if you love history.
34. MOYNAQ (ARAL SEA)
Moynaq is a fishing town. The Aral Sea has now all but dried up from the Soviet Irrigation schemes used to produce cotton and has decimated the once thriving fishing industry. People now come to see the ship graveyard where the ships on the former seashore have been disregarded.
35. FERGANA VALLEY
The Fergana Valley is a lush and fertile (for Uzbekistan at least) region in a corner of Uzbekistan bordering Southern Kyrgyzstan and Northern Tajikistan. The landscape at Fergana Valley is some of the most impressive in Uzbekistan!
WHERE TO STAY IN UZBEQUISTAN
You can find accommodation in hostels starting from $15 USD. You can always look for better but more expensive options if you prefer starting from $30-50 USD you will find a decent room.
AirBnB is also available in Uzbekistan and you can get a place to stay for $25. You can click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB.
Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.
Hope you liked our Uzbekistan travel tips. Let us know if we missed things to know before visiting Uzbekistan and facts about Uzbekistan in the comments below.
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