Uzbekistan – Travel Advice

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  kresna prana 15 Jun 2019
at 17:47
.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

  • miningguy
    Participant

    My team and I will be heading to Uzbekistan in a few weeks time for a project. From what we have researched online, the country has only really opened up recently to the world, but it has a lot to offer in terms of its history and culture. We are planning on setting aside 2-3 days to do some exploration – a brief google search does seem to indicate there is a lot to see!

    I was wondering if any forum members have ever traveled there? If so, do they have any top tips?


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are extraordinary historic cities of the Silk Road, easily reached by train from Tashkent.

    Trains are surprisingly good – a/c high speed and absurdly cheap.

    But book in advance @ eticket.uzrailway.uz, or check out the ever reliable seat61.com.

    No visa needed for EU/UK passports.

    There are plenty of boutique hotels, but, as for trains, book in advance for popular spring and autumn seasons.

    Hot as the hinges of hell in summer, mind.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Jenni Reid
    Keymaster

    Business Traveller Asia-Pacific recently wrote a feature on Uzbekistan – it’s behind a paywall, but if you’re a subscriber it’s available here: https://www.businesstraveller.com/features/destination-uzbekistan-unbound/


    Diplomat_BSB
    Participant

    I was in Uzbekistan in 2008. Wonderful place. I second maxgeorge on Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. I especially liked Khiva (I’ve heard it is possible to do soome tours into Turkmenistan from Khiva now, which must be fascinating).

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    maxgeorge
    Participant

    A reliable and responsive source of info on Uzbekistan is advantur.com.

    Turkmenistan visas are a pain, especially for land border entry.

    koryogroup.com, the British run Beijing based agency that handles tours and visas for the DPRK (North Korea) run tours to Turkmenistan too.

    I’ve used them 3 times. Never a problem, very professional.


    SenatorGold
    Participant

    A reliable and responsive source of info on Uzbekistan is advantur.com.

    Turkmenistan visas are a pain, especially for land border entry.

    koryogroup.com, the British run Beijing based agency that handles tours and visas for the DPRK (North Korea) run tours to Turkmenistan too.

    I’ve used them 3 times. Never a problem, very professional.

    Koryo Tours are indeed very good


    LiquidMeister
    Participant

    You will enjoy Uzbekistan, I only heard marvellous things.

    A very good friend of mine is the General Manager at the Hyatt Regency in Tashkent, I am sure he would be more than happy to give you some real time information. Drop him an email on puneet.tandon@hyatt.com with your questions. It’s also a great hotel to stay if you haven’t made any bookings.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    kresna prana
    Participant

    I travelled to Uzbekistan late last year and I can second everyone that Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva, are all worth visiting. Our least favorite was actually Khiva because it felt very touristy. Perhaps because it was a lot smaller than the other two, but also because there were so many souvenir sellers in all corners of the Old Town. However, it was in Khiva that we had our favorite restaurant as well as our favorite lodging in that trip. Our favorite city otherwise was Samarkand, hands down.

    Travelling from Tashkent to Samarkand and Bukhara was easy and comfortable with a cheap, high speed train (book early, otherwise you will only get the older and slower train – though clean and bearable). But going to Khiva from Bukhara was a pain, with the only train service taking over half a day. If we’re going to do the same trip again, we’d definitely skip Khiva.

    Safe travels!


    alainboy56
    Participant

    Cannot say that I really agree with fellow corespondents here. I worked in the southern Kazakhstan desert area between 2006 and 2008 and many, many times used Tashkent as my transit point flying to/from Lahore, as I also was working on a project in south Punjab, Pakistan. Its the usual ex Soviet city with no heart or character. There was no High St as such, no central shopping area. It was lifeless, or perhaps that is the incorrect word to use, as the traffic I found was snarled up most of the time. If I remember correctly, it had a Renault factory, so there was a proliference of these cars on the roads. The airport is an ugly monolithic block of concrete and its only interesting aspect being what I would call a ‘soviet aircraft graveyard’. I used regularly the crossing between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan which is just some 20kms from the city and those experiences will be the kind one tells one’s great grandchildren, as people even today would not believe what one had to do (has it changed today? I somehow doubt it. It seems like a pedestrian border only. It does have or exists on a road, and has the usual grand soviet style arches over, but nothing ever moved – all day! To my eye it remained closed. I used to take a taxi one side, and then used this ‘pedestrian border’ (there is a 100m no man’s land between the 2 border posts, and take a taxi from the other side onwards to Chymkent. All rather thrilling and adventurous, with even a touch of James Bond escapism, but hardly enticing or worthy of such praise as shown by my fellow contributors.


    kresna prana
    Participant

    @alainboy56: I’m sure you’re not alone about Tashkent. I dreaded it myself, and used it only as arrival & departure points. But all the Silk Road cities mentioned above were surprisingly beautiful.


    alainboy56
    Participant

    @kresna prana – Thanks, I am glad somebody agrees with me – all this waxing lyrical about the Uzbekistan I knew, made me wonder if I had been passing through a parallel universe. I did not visit these ‘Silk Road’ town/places of interest in Uzbekistan, but I did live many many months on and off in a city called Turkistan, yes a city not another country, over the border in Kazakhstan and that, and it’s surrounding Islamic areas were, or could be of interest to some. As you say these areas are quite breathtaking, but its worth underlining that these places have a much more profound historical value and substance than anything else in these two countries. On a lighter note Mr Sasha Baron-Cohen was quite accurate (English readers will understand this point).


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    Tashkent is no more representative of Uzbekistan than Mumbai is of India. A pity, then, that you did not take the time to see Samarkand – magnificence to match İsfahan.

    But then if Borat is your template for Central Asia then perhaps that would not have helped!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    alainboy56
    Participant

    @maxgeorge – Point taken about Borat – was merely attempting a little humour – however in my further defence I was there to work and so sightseeing was not on my agenda. I didn’t like that area, and so was not enticed to be a tourist, not even for one day. However as I said, for some, it maybe extremely interesting.
    Mumbai is not representative of India?? No more than Cairo is of Egypt and Casablanca of Marocco?? Should I also mention Karachi of Pakistan?
    I don’t understand/agree with your point, but I have just made mine.


    kresna prana
    Participant

    @alainboy56: I did agree with you on your point about Tashkent being a city lacking of character, but then again, as maxgeorge has mentioned earlier, Tashkent is not an accurate representation of the country’s rich historical past.

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