Uzbekistan offers adventurous travellers the chance to step away from the mainstream and dive in deep. With rugged landscapes, futuristic cities, cultural triumphs and a history that spans epochs, Uzbekistan is a place where you can sleep in a desert-bound yurt, marvel at modern architecture and shop for covetable, bespoke handicrafts. For something totally different, why not discover the remote romance, rich history and irrepressible charm of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan Tours & Travel
All our Uzbekistan trips
Uzbekistan trip reviews
Our Uzbekistan trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.
Ashgabat to Tashkent, July 2013
Most interesting insights into largely unknown countries, cities and cultures
Review submitted 03 Feb 2014
Tashkent to Ashgabat, October 2013
What an experience to see these countries which are not on the more usual tourist trails - three countyries side by side, yet so vastly different, both in scenery and culturally. Kyrgyzstan has the most incredible scenery - mountains, rivers, canyons and valleys - and this trip enabled us to see so much of it. Camping next to a gently flowing river in a pleasant valley with mountains surrounding us - it doesn't get much better than that! The 'Uzbek government doesn't allow camping, because tourists need proof of where they slept each night, and bush camping certainly doesn't encompass that possibility, so we enjoyed the change of comfortable hotels while in Uzbekistan. In every town, our local guide took us on a walk to many of the places of interest - mosques, medressas, monuments, etc. He was so knowledgable and imparted so much interesting information. The history and architecture was impressive. The beautifully tiled buildings gave us many wonderful photo opportunities. Our stay in Turkmenistan was a short one - two nights camping in the desert and two nights in the capital, Ashgabat. The second night in the desert we were in the Darvaza area and were fortunate to be able to visit the blazing gas crater at night - a truly awesome sight and one can see why it is called the "Gates of Hell". Ashgabat was an eye opener with its ostentatious marble palaces and buildings, with gold trimmings and set in beautifully manicured gardens with statues and fountains. We likened it to being on a movie set - it felt not quite real.
Review submitted 27 Nov 2013
Articles on Uzbekistan
Seven things you didn’t know about Uzbekistan
Posted on Fri, 25 Jul 2014 by Steve Davey
The extraordinary history and remarkable culture of Uzbekistan can easily catch you by surprise when you travel though Central Asia.Read more
11 things to wear on your head in Central Asia
Posted on Sun, 8 Jun 2014 by Tara Kennaway
If I was to give you one tip about travelling in Central Asia, it would be expect the unexpected. Everything about the region is surprising; the extraordinary landscapes, fascinating history, [...]Read more
A photo journey through Central Asia
Posted on Wed, 14 May 2014 by Sue Elliot
The Silk Road originally extended over 6,000 km through ancient China, India, Persia, Europe and Arabia, linking the mighty civilisations of the East and the West. It’s an intrepid traveller’s [...]Read more
The barber of Bukhara
Posted on Thu, 12 Jul 2012 by Sue Elliot
When the shaggy hair and holiday beard becomes too much, Intrepid's Boris Golodets knows a local character who you'll love to meet...Read more
At a glance
|Time zone:||(GMT+05:00) Tashkent|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)|
Best time to visit Uzbekistan
Autumn and spring are considered the best times to visit as the weather is mild and generally pleasant. The desert is in bloom briefly during spring (April) and markets are full of fresh produce in autumn because it's harvest time. Summer can get very hot everywhere other than in the mountains, with temperatures sometimes hitting beyond 40C. Winter can be bitterly cold, with snow and temperatures down to -5C.
Geography and environment
Top 5 Must-See Monuments of Uzbekistan
1. Ark Fortress
Bukhara's massive fortress is a most impressive architectural wonder. Masked in legend, tourists flock to this grand structure to both admire its existence and gain some understanding of local history. If the walls could talk they would speak of royal dynasties, Mongol conquerors and Bolshevik sieges, all taking place over hundreds of years of history.
2. Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum
This ancient, sprawling complex features mausoleums and other buildings used for rituals and worship. With intricately carved mosaics, elaborate tile work and arched doors, a visit here reveals architectural gems and fascinating moments in Central Asia's history.
3. Ak-Saray Palace
Shakhrisabz is home to many monumental buildings but one of the most spectacular is the ruins of the awesome Ak-Saray Palace. With coloured, glazed bricks that shimmer in the sun, elegant mosaics and splendid calligraphy, this monument is a standout of Uzbekistan.
4. Bibi Khanum Mosque
This huge, holy site located in Samarkand was built all the way back in the 14th century. Suffering damage due to earthquakes and the ravages of time, it has now been partially restored and stands as a magnificent example of Central Asian Islamic architecture.
5. The Registan
Hailed as one of Central Asia's most recognisable monuments, the Registan's towering minarets, blue domes and beautiful, tiled exteriors are decadently dazzling. The interiors are as exceptional as the facade, so don't miss a visit here while travelling through Samarkand.
FAQs on Uzbekistan
LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI):
All visitors to Uzbekistan require a visa. Most nationalities will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) in order to apply for your visa. Citizens of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK & USA do not currently need a LOI to apply for a tourist visa if applying within their home country, however this information is subject to change at short notice so we recommend checking with the embassy before you apply. If applying outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required.
How and where you apply for your Uzbekistan visa will depend on how you enter the country.
Dragoman will apply for the letter of invitation on your behalf. In order to do this we need you to complete the Visa support form found here http://dragoman.thevisamachine.com/visa-support. Once you have completed this form we will need you to email the supporting documents to email@example.com with your name in the subject of the email followed by 'Dragoman LOI'.
Please complete the Visa Support form as soon as possible after booking. Any delays in returning this form, along with
the associated documents, will have a knock on effect to the amount of time you have in applying for the actual visa. Once a letter of support / Letter of Invitation has been authorised a copy will be sent to you. You can then begin the
process of applying for your visa.
*If you decide to obtain your visa in a different location, a new letter of invitation will be required
which will delay you obtaining your visa therefore it is vital that you are clear on where you will obtain your visa.
*From time to time some visa applications are rejected by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan or incorrect dates given for travel. If this happens, Dragoman will contact you as soon as it is known and we will help you arrange alternative travel plans. Unfortunately Dragoman Overseas Travel cannot be held responsible if your visa application is refused.
For those travelling to Uzbekistan overland on a WESTBOUND itinerary (ie. coming from China or Kyrgyzstan) it may be possible to apply for your visa in Beijing or Bishkek. Please ensure you have enough time to apply for the visa in these destinations and check the embassy opening days and hours. The following website may have useful information and traveller reports about applying for visas at these and other embassies: www.caravanistan.com.
VISA ON ARRIVAL – AIR:
Travellers arriving into Tashkent International Airport can obtain their visa on arrival at the airport ONLY if there is no Uzbekistan embassy in the country where your flight is arriving from (not your country of residence). You will require a printed copy of your LOI that includes your exact flight details in order to board your flight so please ensure you supply this information to The Visa Machine. Costs will depend on your nationality (currently approx US$100) and payment must be in cash. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival at any land border.
* Supporting flight documents are required at time of booking for Visa on Arrival for Uzbekistan
In all other circumstances you must obtain your visa from an embassy before you travel and must indicate specifically where you will apply on the The Visa Machine LOI form. Uzbekistan visas are date specific, so please check carefully which dates you will enter and exit the country. Normally you are unable to apply for your visa more than 3 months before entry. Uzbekistan embassies where you may be able to apply for your visa include: Beijing, London, Istanbul, Bangkok, Brussels, Washington, Berlin, Jakarta, Amsterdam, Singapore, Paris. Some embassies may have an online visa application form. The following website may have useful information and traveller reports about applying for visas at these and other embassies: www.caravanistan.com
INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
You will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa.
Address in Uzbekistan:
Grand Orzu Hotel
27 Makhmud Tarobi Street
+998 71 120 8877
Grand Orzu Hotel
27 Makhmud Tarobi Street
+998 71 120 8883
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Letter of Invitation (LOI) – depending on nationality and place of application
* Photocopy of ALL pages of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4)
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements
WARNING – REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN:
All visitors to Uzbekistan must register with the local department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within 3 working days after arrival. When staying at a hotel, you will be registered automatically. Please ensure you keep any registration documents issued by the hotel until you exit the country.
1 hour in an internet café = 1000 USZ
Lunch or market snack = 1000 USZ
Simple lunch at a cafe = 4000-5000 UZS
Dinner at a restaurant = 7000-10,000 UZS
For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Feb 4 Prophet's Birthday
Mar 8 International Women's Day
Mar 21 Navruz (Persian New Year)
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Day of Memory and Respect
Aug 19 Hait (End of Ramadan)
Sep 1 Independence Day
Oct 26 Qurban-Hait (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Dec 8 Constitution Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Uzbekistan/public-holidays
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Uzbekistan Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Uzbekistan
1. Be considerate of Uzbekistan’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
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