Classic Uzbekistan Trip Notes

Classic Uzbekistan

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2014
Classic Uzbekistan
Trip code: CPKU
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Strategically positioned along the Silk Route, the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva were famed trading centres for the caravans that passed this way in ancient times. On this trip we follow in their footsteps, discovering magnificent architecture and bustling bazaars that have changed little since the rule of Tamerlane. This is a spectacular journey to the heart of Central Asia.
From 1st January 2015 this trip will start on Wednesdays (was Tue & Thu) in order for it to be able to connect better with other trips in Central Asia.
The trip is now also 1 day shorter (was 13 days) as we now take the express train from Samarkand to Tashkent instead of spending an additional day and travelling by road.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency contact
MapGroup sizeEmergency funds
ItineraryYour fellow travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersIssues on your trip
We also recommendAccommodationWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionHealth
Culture shock rating MealsSafety
Physical ratingTransportTravel insurance
Included activitiesGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyFinish point Carbon offset
TippingFinish point instructionsFeedback
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!

Days 1-2 Tashkent
Xush kelibsiz! Welcome to Uzbekistan.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
On arrival in Tashkent you will be met by one of our representatives once you’ve passed through immigration, and you will be transferred to your hotel.
Tashkent was once the fourth largest city in the Soviet Union. Whilst the historic cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva still retain much of the atmosphere of the ancient Khanates, Tashkent is very definitely a Soviet city, because old Tashkent was largely destroyed by a series of earthquakes and Soviet planners. Having said that, it is still a great place to visit. The city has a clean, modern feel and there is some unusual contemporary architecture here, which makes it an interesting contrast to many other places along the Silk Road. The city markets (especially the Chorsu Bazaar) are well worth strolling around, you can get some excellent souvenirs here as there is a huge amount of Soviet ephemera on sale, ranging from entire Soviet stamp collections, old paintings of Lenin, through to military uniforms. You should also try to plan a journey that involves a trip on the metro, so you can take in the impressive architecture and decoration of the Tashkent underground.
On day 2 spend a full day exploring charming Tashkent on a city tour.
A highlight of a trip to Tashkent is exploring the Chorsu Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets in central Asia. Wandering through the giant market is a fantastic way to see locals going about their daily lives. Uzbeks are some of the friendliest people in the world and you will find yourself chatting to many locals who are keen to get to know you. Be sure to try some of the fresh produce on offer, it’s a great place to find some quirky Uzbek souvenirs.
After wandering through the bazaar, you will start to explore some of the rich cultural history of Uzbekistan, including the 16th century Kulkedash Medressa – an Islamic school that sits beside the 15th century Juma (Friday) Mosque. The History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan will offer you a great introduction to the country and the region in general, from the Silk Road era to Soviet times. Amir Timur Square is the main square in town and used to contain a statue of Karl Marx, but a statue of Uzbekistan’s 14th century national hero, Timur, on horseback, has replaced him. A tour of Tashkent’s metro system reveals to us some strikingly beautiful stations, but please note that you are not permitted to take photos in the subway. The Bara-Khon Medressa is the headquarters of the Sunni Muslim religion in the region and has interesting mosaics and Arabic calligraphy that dates back to the late 16th century.
After a full day of sightseeing and getting to know the people of Uzbekistan, you can relax at one of the cities many cosmopolitan restaurants and nightclubs.
Included Activities
  • Tashkent - Chorsu Bazaar
  • Tashkent - Kukeldash & Barak Khan Madressas
Optional Activities
  • Amir Timur Museum - UZS3000
  • Art Gallery of Uzbekistan - UZS400
  • Museum of Applied Arts - UZS1200
Hotel Uzbekistan or similar (2 nts)
Day 3 Khiva
This morning will be a very early start, as you will be leaving the hotel before dawn to be transferred to the airport, where you’ll catch a flight to Urgench. A box breakfast will be provided.
Once you land, you will be picked up by a private vehicle and driven to the fabled city of Khiva.
A settlement was established here by the 8th century AD and began to flourish in the early 16th century. A colourful procession of conquering khans, Silk Road traders, Great Game spies and Russian invaders has long captured the imagination of writers and poets.
It is also a photographer's delight, particularly in the evenings when the sun begins to set. This beautifully preserved town is perfect for exploring on foot, with impressive walls that mark the boundaries of the old city.
Upon entering through its gates you will be greeted by towering minarets and numerous medressas. Your guide takes you through many of these monuments including the Kalta Minor Minaret and Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa, the 17th century Juma Mosque, the Islom-Hoja Minaret and Medressa (built in 1908 and the highest structure in Khiva), the Kuhna Ark, which was the main fortress, the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum complex (the Persian-style resting place of Khiva’s patron saint) and Toza Bog Palace, which between 1893-1913 was the summer palace of Mohammed Rakhim Khan II.
Included Activities
  • Khiva - Guided tour of UNESCO World Heritage sites
Guesthouse or similar (1 nt)
Day 4 Ayaz Qala
Khiva is enchanting at dawn, with its empty streets and the weight of thousands of years of history omnipresent. An early-morning stroll is well worthwhile, so we highly recommend you make the effort to see sunrise while you’re here.
You will enjoy a free morning to further explore Khiva before embarking on an 80 kilometre journey to Ayaz Qala (Ayaz Kala), northeast of Khiva on the fringes of the Kyzyl-Kum Desert.
Ayaz Qala and its sister ruins of Toprak Qala are relics of the Khorezm towns that existed here in the Amu-Darya Delta some 2000 years ago. You will spend the day exploring the area, seeing sights like the impressive Toprak Qala, settled in 1st century BC and the capital by the 3rd century.
Your desert adventure continues this evening as you stay in traditional Central Asian yurts and swap tales under the stars.
Yurt stay (1 nt)
Days 5-7 Bukhara
You will leave very early today and drive 450 kilometers to Bukhara. Along the way you’ll travel through the Kyzyl-Kum (Red Sands Desert), the largest desert area in central Asia and inhabited by various nomadic people.
You will also meet the Amu Darya River, which was once known as the Oxus. This river bubbles up far to the south-east in the Pamirs and then runs west through the area now bordering modern Afghanistan - once famous throughout the ancient world for its lapis-lazuli mines.
With the impressive sights of Bukhara and Samarkand ahead of you, this long journey is an ideal opportunity to catch up on some reading, or simply sit back and imagine you are a trader - relieved to have made it safely through the desert!
You will arrive in the holy city of Bukhara and enjoy a free afternoon to absorb its ambience.Trading domes near here still offer an intriguing and colourful array of goods including embroideries, jewellery, spices, handicrafts and all manner of Silk Road treasures.This is the place to test your haggling skills, as well as share a joke or two with friendly local merchants. This is truly a magical place and it is sure to cast its spell on you too.
A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, Bukhara is widely regarded as Central Asia’s holiest city. With more than one hundred officially preserved monuments, there is a lot to see and you have an extensive sightseeing program here spread over two days to make the most of your time.
With many monuments dating from the 8th to the 18th century AD, there is a vast span of history and architecture to uncover and the meticulous restoration of many of the mosaic and majolica decorations give you a true sense of how these buildings looked in their original glory. You will start by visiting the ruins of the Ark Fortress. Dating back to the 5th century AD, it is the ancient heart of the city and the scene of several gruesome events. Today you will also endeavor to visit Bolo-Khauz Mosque, which dates back to 1718 and was the emirs’ official place of worship, the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, resting place of the founder of the Saminid Dynasty, the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, the imposing Poikalon complex (comprising the Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Mir-i-Arab Medressa), and Ulugbek and Abdul Aziz Khan Medressa.
The twilight hours lend themselves to wandering the areas around the Lyabi-Hauz Pool, a central gathering place where you can enjoy a traditional ‘chaikhana’ (tea-house) style dinner (optional).
You will start the second full day of sightseeing in Bukhara on a different note, visiting the Tim Abdulla Khan. Built in 1577, this is one of the most elegant medressas.
All manner of things can be found on sale in the covered bazaars. There are three of these trading domes left and you will wander through in search of bargains and experiencing the spirit of trade, which has driven this region since the halcyon days of the Silk Road era. In the midst of these bazaars is the Maghoki-Attar, reputed to be the oldest mosque in central Asia. Sitorai Mohi Hosa means star and garnet garden, and was the summer palace of the last emir. Its opulence is also reflected in the combination of local and European influences in its designs and furnishings. The halls are richly decorated with carpets and paintings.
The evening is again free to explore Bukhara’s nightlife.
Included Activities
  • Bukhara - Guided city tour
  • Bukhara - Kalon Minaret & Mosque
  • Bukhara - Ismail Samani Mausoleum
  • Bukhara - Ark Fortress
Aist Hotel or similar (3 nts)
Day 8 Nuratau Mountains
With regret, you will leave captivating Bukhara and continue east towards Samarkand.Your next destination is Nurata, formerly known as Nur and founded in the 3rd century BC by Alexander the Great.
This ancient town was once regarded as the frontier between the cultivated lands and the steppes, and the ruins of Alexander’s hilltop citadel stand testament to its ancient history. The city was also an important Muslim place of pilgrimage, reaching its peak in the 10th century AD as devotees flocked to its many significant graves and memorials. You will visit the Chashma, a complex of religious constructions that serves as the central point for such pilgrimages.
After lunching in a local teahouse you will continue onto the Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biosphere Reserve just south of Aiderkul Lake. You will change to smaller vehicles here to navigate the narrow local roads as you climb into the mountains to reach one of the tiny villages.
You will be staying in either Sentab, Forish, Asraf or Uhum village. Here, as part of a UN Development Program project, local families have established small private guesthouses and welcome visitors to their homes. As our hosts are ethnic Tajiks, this is a unique opportunity to hear another regional language, eat delicious home-cooked local specialities, and see the day-to-day life of the village.
Accommodation is in the traditional style - the group will sleep on mattresses in communal rooms (usually divided by gender), a similar experience to staying in a yurt. The bathroom facilities are also basic, but manageable - with very simple shower and toilet arrangements.
Such things are minor inconveniences though, as you lounge on ‘tapchan’ (day beds) under the walnut trees, with the sound of the stream running nearby, and an once-in-a-lifetime cultural exchange unfolds.This is the perfect place to relax, or for those wanting to stretch their legs there are numerous local walking trails nearby which your hosts will be happy to show you.
You have more time to relax the following morning. After lunch you will depart on the drive to Samarkand.
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 9-11 Samarkand
You will enjoy two days of sightseeing and exploration in Samarkand, a city that evokes the romance of the Silk Road perhaps more than any other.
From its foundation in the 5th century BC, Samarkand has been a centre of artisans and traders as well as the prize for many a conquering army. From Alexander the Great who stormed its walls in 329 BC, to the Soviet occupiers who declared it the original capital of the Uzbek SSR in 1924, Samarkand’s history is as rich as it is complex.
Today you will visit the Gur Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of the mighty Timur and his sons and grandsons. For a man of his stature, it is quite a simple tomb.
A highlight of the trip is standing on the iconic Registan Square with the three medressas (Ulugbek, Sher Dor and Tilla-Kari) towering over you.
You will complete your tour for the day with a visit to a handicraft centre before enjoying a free afternoon to wander around and make your own discoveries in this special place.
After breakfast on Day 11 you will embark on another half-day sightseeing tour.
Close to the Registan is the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, built by Timur. It is often compared to the Taj Mahal as it was built as a grand and timeless symbol of a man's love for his wife. This mosque overlooks the busy and colourful Siob Bazaar, where photographers will delight in taking photos of the many bustling stalls and the huge array of produce, as well as encountering friendly greetings from the local traders.
Your next stop is the Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum complex. Also known as the ‘Town of the Dead’ this is a row of more than 20 mausoleums, some of them with stunningly colourful tile work.
Ulugbek was an emir in the early 15th century, but he was also a renowned astronomer. The discovery of the ruins of his observatory tells of an amazing story from a bygone era.
This afternoon is left free for you to enjoy just a little more time in Samarkand. You might like to visit to the local bazaar where you can sample delicious fresh produce, or you may prefer to return to the many stalls nestled in the Registan Ensemble to find that perfect souvenir.
Included Activities
  • Samarkand - Registan
  • Samarkand - Ulug Beg Observatory
  • Samarkand - Guided city tour
  • Samarkand - Shakh-I-Zinda Mausoleum Complex
Caravan Saray Hotel or similar (3 nts)
Days 12-13 Tashkent
Your adventure in Uzbekistan is almost complete as you leave Samarkand and drive five hours to return to the capital for your final night.
You will enjoy a free afternoon in Tashkent and tonight you can choose to gather for an optional farewell dinner to mark the end of your travels together, and to reflect on all you have seen.
The trip will come to an end in Tashkent after breakfast on the morning of Day 13.
Hotel Uzbekistan or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • CKPU Uzbekistan - Single Supplement (CPKU)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan (CBSR)
  • Silk Road - China & Kyrgyzstan (CBSK)
  • Silk Road - Beijing to Moscow (CBSKC)
  • Ashgabat to Tashkent (KDOH)
  • Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia (CPKC)
  • Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan (CBSR)
  • Silk Road - Beijing to Kashgar (CBSA)
  • Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan Explorer (KFBR)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website:
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Money Exchange
It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!
For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, a sensible mix of cash, travellers cheques and ATM cards is best. However, most of our past passengers have said they wished they had been told to bring more cash. Apart from the convenience of being able to change money in many more places, you will sometimes get a much better exchange rate for cash. Note that for trips in Central Asia it's virtually impossible to use traveller's cheques or find ATMs. We therefore recommend that you bring cash in US$.
You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and money-changers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2003 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Cash machines are available in some areas but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges.
Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities. Please bring a mixture of small and large denominations as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over $50.
The official currency in Uzbekistan is the Uzbekistan Som (UZS).
This can only be obtained in Uzbekistan. Conversion of UZS back into other foreign currencies may prove difficult.
Banks are rarely able to exchange foreign currency so you should ask the advice of your hotel or leader for where to change money. There are also many private money changers in Uzbekistan but if you choose to use them you must be sure to check the rate and your change carefully.
Major credit cards are rarely accepted in shops and restaurants even in bigger cities. Some banks in Tashkent will allow cash advances against a credit card but cash withdrawals are subject to a 5% or more service charge.
In Tashkent you may be able to find ATMs that accept international cards and use them to withdraw local currency; however these should not be relied on as your sole financial source. Some souvenir sellers and tourist restaurants may accept USD or EUR as payment but all other purchases in Uzbekistan must be made in local currency.
Please note that you must declare ALL currency (including travellers cheques) on entry to and exit Uzbekistan. Failure to do so accurately, or exiting the country with more currency than when you entered may result in delays, fines or the additional sums being confiscated.
The official currency of Turkmenistan is the manat (M). It’s set at a fixed government exchange rate, but traded for far less on the black market. As ATM's are virtually non-existent, you're best to exchange foreign currency once inside the country. Don't bother with travellers cheques - they're not accepted anywhere. The black market is easy and accessible to foreigners, and the only place you’ll get a realistic exchange rate.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants/cafes with table service: We suggest 5% to 10% of your bill, however check if a service charge has already been added.
Local guides: Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest 50-100 RUB per person per activity day for local guides with the amount adjusted accordingly for guides who are with you for a for a full day.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey, while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however a base of 50-100 RUB per person, per day is generally appropriate, with the amount adjusted accordingly for drivers who are with you for less than a full day.
Please do not tip with coins, notes of and less than 10 RUB or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US3-5, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used.
Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Hotel Uzbekistan or similar (3 nts), Aist Hotel or similar (3 nts), Caravan Saray Hotel or similar (3 nts), Yurt stay (1 nt), Homestay (1 nt), Guesthouse or similar (1 nt)
Please note that at our homestays you might be required to share a room with people of the opposite sex, or with your leader. Because we stay at real people's homes, beds might be pull-out couches or mattresses on the floor, or even a yurt in their backyard. Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses, yurts and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only or no bathroom facilities.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we are arriving prior to normal check in time. However this is not always possible which means we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. If you have purchased pre or post trip accommodation, you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
12 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
USD 260.00
Minibus, Plane
Roads can be very rough which makes for long, slow travel days. It's all worth it however for the spectacular scenery and novelty of truck travel.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Hotel Uzbekistan
45 Мusakhanov street
Amir Timur Square
Phone: +998 (71) 113 1111
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Hotel Uzbekistan
45 Мusakhanov street
Amir Timur Square
Phone: +998 (71) 113 1111
Finish point instructions

Emergency contact
Silk Tours - Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local ground representative Silk Tours can be contacted on Tel: +998 90 1852547 and +998 91 5206833
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Melbourne Office can be reached on Tel: +61 3 9473 2650. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
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.
UZBEKISTAN - Intrepid Travel - The Visa Machine
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.
Intrepid Travel have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.
By logging onto The Visa Machine website via the links below you will be able to access checklists of what information and documents you will need to prepare as well as apply for the visa support documents you will need. More specific information is provided below for your trip, however for all countries we advise that you start your visa support application with The Visa Machine no later than 3 months before your trip is scheduled to enter each country in order to allow for the lengthy process, and where applicable, to apply for your visa in advance.
If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend submitting a single application to The Visa Machine which contains all the information necessary for visiting each country. This will allow The Visa Machine to provide you with the most efficient customer service.
Please remember that applying for the necessary supporting documents as well as the visas is the responsibility of the traveller. Once you have submitted your application to The Visa Machine you will be contacted by their customer service team along with any further instructions.
The following country specific visa information was current at the time of writing. Please check with your local Embassy/Consulate for the most up to date information and requirements before applying for your visas.
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 start your application. If applying for a visa outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required.
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 working 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. 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.
Instructions and Information:
Please check with the Embassy for up to date information and requirements.
If you do require a LOI to enter Uzbekistan, please follow the below link to get the process started in obtaining your supporting documents with the Visa Machine.
Firstly please look at the Central Asia ‘CHECK LIST’ and make sure you have everything you need with you so you can start the process. The system doesn’t let you save your progress for later, so you must finish the entire application at the one time. If you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, the same information and documents may be required for different visas. Please make sure you carefully read the check list in order to eliminate any double up.
The Visa Machine will apply for the letter of invitation on your behalf. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for you visa support, click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.
If you have any trouble with the online form please contact The Visa Machine on or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.
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.
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.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 615.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.