Uzbekistan can be easily called the crown jewel of Central Asia. A treat for the eyes and massage for the senses, Uzbekistan lives up to its reputation of being an exotic, enticing land.
Fast gaining popularity as a tourist destination, this Central Asian paradise is popular for its rich (albeit notorious) history and warm hospitality. Uzbeks are going the distance to make you feel welcome. It’s now easy to find English-speaking drivers, tour guides and bell-hops; you can even ask for English breakfast if you don’t fancy the Polv or Laghman!
Uzbekistan has a lot to offer if you give it a chance; fascinating architecture, adventure sports and strikingly colorful bazaars. Its exciting ski slopes are revered by many and its natural attractions make you forget the claustrophobia of being in a double land locked country.
The largely untouched archeological treasures of the country and the mystic of swirling dervishes will leave you enchanted. A visit to Uzbekistan is packed with the promises of awe-worthy natural beauty and surreal experiences. The best souvenir you will take back will be treasured memories!
How to Reach and Get Around
Air: Tashkent is the biggest airport of Uzbekistan. It has a number of international flights that operate daily across big cities around the world. Do remember that the Tashkent airport can get quite chaotic and disorganized during peak hours. It is better to book through a travel agent who will be able to help you with your transfers and formalities once you land.
Taxi: Taxis are the most feasible option for conveyance in Uzbekistan. You might have to negotiate prices before you get in as meters are quite rare. You can share a taxi for travel to another city; it turns out to be a cheap and convenient way to travel.
Public Transport: Buses and Trams (Mashrutkas) are quite common on Uzbekistan roads. Although well connected; it is worth noting that these are very slow and disorganized. One can also use the Metro till about midnight. Post that, it’s better to call a taxi service to pick you up.
Best time to visit:
Even though Uzbekistan can boast of a better weather than its neighbors, the climate in this country can be quite unforgiving. With extreme temperatures ranging from an average o 40 – 45 degree Celsius in summer to -20 Degree Celsius in winter, Uzbekistan turns into an uncompanionably host.
The best time to visit is during spring (March to June) or autumn (September to November). Summers are relatively dry making them an ideal time for trekking or rock-climbing.
What to see and do:
Tashkent: This capital city is more than just that. A cultural pot pourri and a mixed bag of surprises, this city is a good way to begin your discovery of Uzbekistan. Head over to the Alisher Navoi Opera & Ballet for an authentic classical western opera or experience the city at its best at the Chorsu Bazaar. The History Museum of people of Uzbekistan is worth a visit because of its beautiful Buddhist and Zoroastrian artifacts. Tashkent is a city in metamorphosis desperately holding on to its glorious past. You’d be sorry if you just pass through this one!
Samarkhand: Samarkhand spells a magic on its travelers. Where else will you find a city that is steeped in mythical history and multicolored bazaars, hypnotizing minarets and larger than life monuments? Reminiscent of the silk route, Samarkhand has been restored and remade. Some would argue that this takes away from its authentic history, but the truth is; it is a real pleasure to the eyes. Don’t miss the impressive Registan, the expanse of which holds on to your imagination more than your eyes. The Samarkhand bazaar is a technicolored paradise selling local bread and trinkets. Also worth visiting is the Bibi-Khanym Mosque and the Shah-i-Zinda.
Bukhara: Bukhara is a city stuck in its past glories. And it is those that give it a unique, rustic and ancient look. Known for its architectural preserves, Bukhara will confuse and overwhelm the visitor with its many passionately protected wonders. The Kalon minaret, once the tallest building in Asia is an impressive construction that has never needed any aesthetic repairs in its 850 years. Head to the plaza built around a pool, Lyabi Hauz for a soothing sight and the pleasant aura surrounding that place..
Khiva: Khiva has now become a museum town in an effort to preserve its rich history. You are sure to be intoxicated with the medrassas, mosques and palaces that are the inherent heritage in Khiva. You can easily do a day trip to this fascinating town that is only 35 km from Urgench.
There are a number of outdoorsy activities that can be done in Uzbekistan. One can choose to walk through the fabled desserts or stare at the beauty of the Pamir Fann mountains while trekking through alpine lakes that are part of the magnificent view. One can also enjoy skiing in Beldersay with its beautiful snow slopes and warm sunshine. The most popular adventure sports in Uzbekistan are: