Uzbekistan

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

Tashkent to Ashgabat

15 days from
USD $2,130
CAD $2,308
AUD $2,284
EUR €1,560
GBP £1,294
NZD $2,525
ZAR R22,994
CHF FR1,915

Travel Central Asia’s famous silk route and visit Turkmenistan’s desert landscapes, Uzbekistan’s futuristic capital...

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Ashgabat to Tashkent

15 days from
USD $2,130
CAD $2,308
AUD $2,284
EUR €1,560
GBP £1,294
NZD $2,525
ZAR R22,639
CHF FR1,885

Travel Central Asia’s famous silk route and visit Turkmenistan’s desert landscapes, Uzbekistan’s futuristic Ashgabat,...

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Ashgabat to Bishkek

30 days from
USD $3,415
CAD $3,655
AUD $3,499
EUR €2,592
GBP £2,261
NZD $4,364
ZAR R34,895
CHF FR3,181

Follow the Silk Road through Central Asia and travel to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. See Kyrgyz Mountains and travel to...

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Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan Explorer

16 days from
USD $3,455
CAD $3,565
AUD $3,495
EUR €2,395
GBP £1,995
NZD $3,890
ZAR R34,985
CHF FR2,895

Travel through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Discover ancient petroglyphs, stretch out on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul...

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Classic Uzbekistan

12 days from
USD $2,270
CAD $2,340
AUD $2,295
EUR €1,580
GBP £1,325
NZD $2,555
ZAR R22,970
CHF FR1,910

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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

Tashkent to Ashgabat, October 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.

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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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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...

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About Uzbekistan

At a glance

Trips Available: 7
Capital city: Tashkent
Population: 28.2 million
Language: Uzbek, Russian
Currency: UZS
Time zone: (GMT+05:00) Tashkent
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)
Dialing code: +998

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.

Tashkent weather chart

Geography and environment

Desert camels taking a breather in Uzbekistan
Located in Central Asia and sharing borders with Turkmenistan, Kazakstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan, Uzbekistan is a landlocked country with a variety of different terrain. Visitors can expect to see deserts, mountains, valleys, with little water to speak of, mainly due to most areas receiving very little rainfall throughout the year. As a result of this, much of Uzbekistan's countryside is dusty, sandy and dry, with pockets of fertile, green land interspersed throughout the rocky landscapes.

Top Picks

Blue tiled temples in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

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 colored, 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

UZBEKISTAN:

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent. If you are travelling on more than one trip, either with us or another operator, your LOI application will need to go through one local operator. Please send all required documentation to your booking agent, and they will be able to assist you with this process.

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 travel. If applying for a visa outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required. We recommend that all documents be submitted no later than 3 months before your tour is scheduled to depart to allow for the time consuming visa process. In order for Intrepid to apply for the LOI on your behalf through our partners in Uzbekistan you will need to email the following information and documents to your booking agent immediately after booking.

• A completed visa/LOI application form which can be filled out online at the following website:
http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/
• You only need to fill in the sections marked with an asterix (HOWEVER you must enter your middle name) . See below for specific information to help you fill in the form. Please send a copy to your booking agent and print a copy for yourself which you can use when you apply for your visa. Please double check all spelling is correct on your Application form.
• Clear, colour scanned copy of your passport
• Letter of Employment or Study. This must be a letter from your employer or place of study on a business letterhead that states clearly that you are travelling for tourism purposes only. If you are retired or self-employed, please indicate this on booking.
• Exact dates of entry & exit from Uzbekistan (including 2nd entry if applicable)
• Where you will apply for your visa (for Visa on Arrival – Tashkent International Airport)
• Copy of your international flight tickets in and out of Tashkent (if applicable)

Submitting this information for your LOI is the responsibility of the traveller.
Please be aware that LOIs take an average of 15 days to be processed but this can be longer so you will need to allow a minimum of 20 days. This does not include the time it will take to apply for and receive your Uzbekistan Visa which will vary depending on place of application. Both LOI and Visa processing times are out of our control and can be unpredictable.
You must allow enough time to receive the LOI and apply for your visa if you are planning to get it in advance. You must indicate where you will apply for your visa and any changes in this information will result in your LOI being delayed so please plan carefully.

Once the LOI has been processed a copy will be sent to you or your tour leader. You can then begin the process of applying for your visa if you are getting it in advance. LOIs are valid for a 3 months period so you must apply for your visa within 3 months of the LOI being issued.

Remember that LOIs are NOT the actual visa. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller and separate from the trip price. Costs will vary depending on your nationality and place of application. How and where you apply for your Uzbekistan visa will depend on how you enter the country – please see the trip specific advice below.

APPLYING FOR YOUR VISA/APPLYING FOR YOUR LOI
Some information you may need to fill out your visa application/LOI Application
• Inviting Party: Nuron Savdo /Asia Adventures, +998 71 150 62 80 (These are our local partners in Uzbekistan)
• Purpose of Visit: Tourism
• Occupation: This must match the occupation listed on your supporting Employment letter. Indicate here if you are a student or retired.
• Place of Application: This must be the same as what you requested for your LOI.
• Entry & Exit dates: Unless booking pre or post tour accommodation through us, or providing proof of other accommodation or tour bookings to us with your LOI application, dates of entry & exit must coincide with your Intrepid tour dates.

ADDRESS IN UZBEKISTAN
Please use the details of our Tashkent hotel:
Hotel Uzbekistan
45 Мusakhanov Street
Amir Timur Square
Tashkent 700047
UZBEKISTAN
Phone: +998 (71) 113 1111

VISA AT AN EMBASSY (CBSR, CPKU)
As these trips begin in Uzbekistan travellers may choose to get their visas in advance by applying directly to an embassy. Australian & New Zealand citizens wishing to apply for their Uzbekistan visa in advance can do so by post at the consulate in Singapore or Bangkok.

VISA ON ARRIVAL – AIR (CBSR, CPKU):
Travellers on these trips may apply for an LOI indicating Tashkent International Airport as place of visa application in order to get a Visa on Arrival. 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 include this information on your LOI application. 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. You will also need a printed copy of your Visa Application Form.

VISA EN-ROUTE – (CBSK, CBSKC):
On these trips there is the option to apply for our UZB visa en-route in Bishkek, an LOI is required for all nationalities to do so. Please nominate Bishkek as the place where you will apply for your visa on your LOI application. Your leader will hold a copy of the LOI and assist with your visa application on the trip.

VISA EXTENSIONS
Visa extensions are near to impossible to obtain. Please do not rely on extending your visa in country as we may not be able to assist.

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.

LAWS & HEALTH:
Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. You should declare all prescription medications and other restricted items on arrival in Uzbekistan, and carry a copy of the prescription with you.
Tipping isn't generally expected in Uzbekistan but is considered polite, particularly when considering the low wages earned by service workers. Leaving 5% extra for guides, porters, restaurants workers and taxi drivers is a good idea, but not mandatory.
Travellers should be able to use the internet in the cyber cafes and large hotels of Uzbekistan's big cities. Rural areas will have little to no access so be prepared to disconnect from the net when travelling in remote areas.
Depending on where you are from and what handset you're using, your phone may or may not work while in Uzbekistan. Coverage is generally good in the cities, but is less reliable in remote and mountainous areas. Ensure that global roaming is activated before leaving home but be aware that you may not be able to access texts and calls when in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has a mix of Western and squat toilets, with Western-style toilets usually found in city hotels, cafes and tourists areas, and more basic toilets found in rural areas. Be prepared by carrying your own toilet paper, hand sanitizer and/or soap as these aren't always provided.
Bottle of beer = 1000 UZS
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
Drinking water from the tap isn't recommended in Uzbekistan. Tea is served with most meals and we recommended you ask your leader were filtered water can be found instead of relying on bottled water.
Foreign credit cards aren't widely accepted so be sure to carry other modes of payment when travelling in Uzbekistan.
Relying on ATM access isn't wise when travelling in Uzbekistan. Be sure to carry enough cash for the trip, as operational ATMs that accept foreign cards are hard to come by. Refer to your trip notes for more information on money.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 1 New Year's Day
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 Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

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.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Shards of WarMichael G Kesler
Shadow of the Silk RoadColin Thubron
A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk RoadChristopher Aslan Alexander
Taxi to Tashkent: Two Years with the Peace Corps in UzbekistanTom Fleming
The Opportunists: A NovelYohann de Silva