UZBEKISTAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation and a former Soviet republic. It's known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Uzbekistan straddles the east and the west of Asia, set as it is bang in the centre of the Great Silk Route. Architectural wonders built in ancient times juxtaposed against bustling market places that are abuzz with activity.
Samarkand, a major city on the route, contains a landmark of Islamic architecture: the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, mosaic-covered religious schools dating to the 15th and 17th centuries.
UZBEKISTAN QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Tashkent
- Currency: Uzbek Som (UZS)
- Area: 447,400 km2
- Population: 32,96 million (2018)
- Language: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
- Religion:Muslim 88% (mostly Sunnis), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%
- Electricity: 220V 50Hz
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UZBEKISTAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 8 March , Women’s Day
- 21 March, Navruz
- 9 May, Day of Memory and Honor (Victory Day)
- 1 September, Independence Day
- 1 October, Day of Teachers and Mentors
- 8 December, Constitution Day
Also, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
FESTIVALS IN UZBEKISTAN
BEST TIME TO VISIT UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan has four seasons:
- Winter (November-February) which are cold and dry with occasional snowfall.
- Spring (March-May) which is mild and sunny with occasional rain.
- Summer (June-August) which is hot and dry, with temperatures often reaching above 40C.
- Fall (September-October) which is mild and sunny with occasional rain. It is worth noting that the temperature can vary greatly depending on the region of the country, with the east and the west having different climates, and the mountain regions being cooler than the lowlands.
The best time to visit Uzbekistan generally depends on your preference for weather and what you want to see and do during your visit. Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) offer comfortable temperatures and clear skies, making them ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Summer (June-August) can be hot and dry, but it's also the best time to see the country's beautiful cotton fields in bloom. Winter (November-March) can be cold, but it's also the best time to experience the country's rich cultural heritage, including its historic architecture and traditional festivals.
UZBEKISTAN WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Uzbekistan has an arid, continental climate characterised by cold winters, hot summers and limited precipitation across most of the country. The primary climactic features are aridness, abundance of heat and sunlight, and sharp day-night and winter-summer temperature variations. Summer in Uzbekistan is long, dry and hot, spring is humid and winter is irregular. Rainfall is highly varied depending upon area of the country and seasonal variation patterns. Increases in rainfall are expected to continue in the country’s piedmont zone, while decreases are expected in the country’s highland areas.
UZBEKISTAN TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan's winter sports industry dates back to the Soviet period. The Amirsoy Mountain Resort is the biggest ski resort in Uzbekistan with a total slope length of 14.8 km. The snow season is usually from December to March.
HIKING & CYCLING IN UZBEKISTAN
The best time to enjoy outdoor activities in Uzbekistan is from March to November. The winter months can be extremely cold and in contrast, July and August are boiling hot, but are preferred if you are planning to cross passes over 3000m altitude. Tulips blooming in the middle of April, which is beautiful.
BEACH OPTIONS IN UZBEKISTAN
SURFING IN UZBEKISTAN
KITESURF IN UZBEKISTAN
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN UZBEKISTAN
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
UZBEKISTAN TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Uzbekistan can vary depending on your travel style and the time of year you visit. However, overall, Uzbekistan is considered a budget-friendly destination.
- Accommodation: You can find a budget hotel for around $20-30 per night, and a mid-range hotel for around $50-70 per night.
- Transportation: Local transport such as trains and buses are relatively cheap, with a train ride between major cities costing around $5-10. Taxis are also affordable, with a ride within a city typically costing around $5-10.
- Food: Local cuisine is inexpensive, with a meal at a local restaurant costing around $5-10.
- Sights and activities: Many historical sites and museums in Uzbekistan have low entrance fees, usually around $1-5, while a guided tour can cost around $15-20. Visiting a bazaar or a market is also an affordable way to experience local culture.
You should also take into account the cost of your flights, travel insurance, and visa if required. Overall, it is possible to travel to Uzbekistan on a budget of around $30-50 per day, but it's always good to have some extra budget to cover unexpected costs or to experience something more.
It's always worth checking the current exchange rate for Uzbekistan Som (UZS) and the prices for different services, as it can fluctuate.
UZBEKISTAN TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for visiting Uzbekistan:
- Visa: Make sure to check if you need a visa to enter Uzbekistan and apply for one well in advance of your trip.
- Currency: The local currency is the Uzbek som (UZS). It can be difficult to find places to exchange foreign currency, so it's best to bring US dollars or Euros and exchange them once you arrive.
- Safety: Uzbekistan is generally a safe country to visit, but it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and to exercise caution when exploring.
- Cultural etiquette: Uzbekistan is a Muslim country, and it's important to dress modestly and to be respectful of local customs and traditions.
- Transportation: Train travel is a great way to get around Uzbekistan, but you can also take buses or taxis. Be sure to negotiate the price of the taxi before getting in, as the rates can vary widely.
- Language: Russian and Uzbek are the official languages of Uzbekistan, although many people also speak English. It's a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in Russian or Uzbek to help you get around.
- Accommodation: There are a variety of accommodation options available, including budget hotels, guesthouses, and more upscale options. It is also possible to stay in traditional homestay accommodation, a great way to experience local culture and hospitality.
- Food: Uzbekistan is known for its delicious food, including plov (pilaf), shashlik (kebab), and somsa (samosa). Be sure to try some of the local dishes while you're there.
- Respect the culture: Uzbekistan has a rich cultural heritage, so be respectful when visiting historical sites and monuments. Also, it's a good idea to remove your shoes when entering a mosque or madrasa (Islamic school).
- Water: The tap water is not safe to drink, so be sure to bring a water bottle and fill it with purified water.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan is divided into 12 regions, each with its own unique culture and history. Here are some of the main regions and their highlights:
- Tashkent: The capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, Tashkent is a modern metropolis with a rich history. Highlights include the Independence Square, the Tashkent Tower, and the Chorsu Bazaar.
- Samarkand: Known as the "pearl of the East," Samarkand is one of the most ancient and historically significant cities in Uzbekistan. Highlights include the Registan, a complex of medieval buildings, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, and the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum.
- Bukhara: Another ancient city, Bukhara is known for its well-preserved architecture and historical sites. Highlights include the Poi-Kalyan Complex, the Chor-Minor Madrasah and the Ark Fortress, which served as the city's royal palace for centuries.
- Khiva: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khiva is a well-preserved medieval city with a rich history. Highlights include the Kalta Minor Minaret, the Tash-Hauli Palace and the Juma Mosque.
- Fergana: Known for its fertile valley, Fergana is home to several traditional Uzbek cities, including Margilan, Kokand, and Rishtan. Highlights include the Rishtan Ceramic School and the Kokand Palace.
- Andijan: Known as the "city of lights," Andijan is home to several historical monuments, including the Andijan Fortress and the Timur-Malik Mausoleum.
- Navoi: The birthplace of the famous Uzbek poet and philosopher Alisher Navoi, Navoi is home to several historical sites, including the Navoi Theater, the Navoi Museum, and the Navoi Park.
- Kashkadarya: Known for its beautiful landscapes, Kashkadarya is home to several ancient cities and historical sites, including the Karshi Khanate and the Karshi-Khan's Palace.
- Surkhandarya: Known as the "land of the sun," Surkhandarya is home to several ancient cities, including Termez and Shakhristan, as well as the famous Buddhist complex of Fayaz-Tepa.
- Namangan: Known for its beautiful landscapes, Namangan is home to several historical sites, including the Namangan Fortress and the Namangan Regional Museum.
- Jizzakh: Known for its rich history and beautiful landscapes, Jizzakh is home to several historical sites, including the Jizzakh Fortress and the Jizzakh Regional Museum.
- Qashqadaryo: Known for its beautiful landscapes and rich history, Qashqadaryo is home to several historical sites, including the Qashqadaryo Regional Museum and the Qarshi Khanate.
Uzbekistan is a country with a rich cultural heritage and history, and there are many things to see and do when visiting. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Uzbekistan:
- Explore the ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva: These three cities are known for their well-preserved medieval architecture and are considered some of the most important historical sites in Central Asia.
- Visit the Registan in Samarkand: This complex of medieval buildings is considered one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture in the world.
- Visit the Mausoleum of the Prophet Daniel in Bukhara: This mausoleum is an important religious site for Muslims and is known for its intricate tilework and ornate decoration.
- Visit the Tashkent Tower: The Tashkent Tower is the tallest structure in Central Asia and offers a panoramic view of the city.
- Visit the Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent: This is the largest bazaar in Tashkent and a great place to experience local culture and buy traditional goods.
- Take a trip to Fergana Valley: Known for its beautiful landscapes and traditional Uzbek cities, Fergana Valley is a great place to experience local culture and explore the countryside.
- Visit the Kalta Minor Minaret in Khiva: The Kalta Minor Minaret is one of the most iconic symbols of Khiva and is a great place to take in the views of the city.
- Take a trip to the Nuratau Mountains: The Nuratau Mountains are a great place to go hiking and explore the natural beauty of Uzbekistan.
- Visit the Navoi Theater in Tashkent: The Navoi Theater is one of the most important cultural institutions in Uzbekistan and a great place to experience traditional Uzbek music and dance.
- Take a trip to the Aral Sea: The Aral Sea is a unique place where you can see the effects of human impact on the environment and learn about the history of the region.
WHAT TO EAT IN UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan is known for its delicious and hearty cuisine. Here are some traditional dishes you should try when visiting Uzbekistan:
- Plov (pilaf): Plov is a rice dish cooked with meat, vegetables, and spices. It is considered the national dish of Uzbekistan and is commonly served at festivals and special occasions.
- Shashlik (kebab): Shashlik is skewered meat, typically beef or lamb, that is grilled over an open flame and served with vegetables and bread.
- Lagman: Lagman is a thick noodle soup made with meat, vegetables, and spices. It is a popular dish in Uzbekistan, and there are different variations of it, some of them spicy.
- Somsa (samosa): Somsa is a pastry filled with meat or vegetables and is a popular snack in Uzbekistan. It's typically served with tomato sauce and sour cream.
- Manti: Manti is a steamed dumpling filled with meat or vegetables and is a popular dish in Uzbekistan.
- Shurpa: Shurpa is a hearty soup made with meat and vegetables, often served with a side of fresh herbs, such as cilantro, dill and parsley.
- Dimlama: A traditional Uzbek stew that is made with meat, potatoes and vegetables, often served with a side of fresh herbs.
- Chuchvara: Chuchvara is small dumplings filled with meat and is a popular dish in Uzbekistan, it's often served in a broth.
- Ashlyanfu: Ashlyanfu is a dish made from noodles, meat and vegetables, that is often served cold, it is typically considered a summer dish.
- Tashkent-style palov: A variation of the traditional plov, it's made with a more delicate seasoning and more ingredients such as raisins, peppers, and sometimes even chestnuts.
It's worth noting that some of these dishes may have variations depending on the region of the country, and there are many other local specialties to discover.
LGBTQ IN UZBEKISTAN
WHERE TO STAY IN UZBEKISTAN
When visiting Uzbekistan for the first time, it's a good idea to stay in the main cities of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. These cities offer a great base for exploring the country's rich cultural heritage and history.
- Tashkent: Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, and it's a great place to start your trip. It offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hotels to more upscale options. Tashkent also has a good transport infrastructure, making it easy to travel to other parts of the country.
- Samarkand: Known as the "pearl of the East," Samarkand is one of the most ancient and historically significant cities in Uzbekistan. There are a variety of accommodation options available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to more upscale hotels.
- Bukhara: Another ancient city, Bukhara is known for its well-preserved architecture and historical sites. There are a variety of accommodation options available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to more upscale hotels.
- Khiva: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khiva is a well-preserved medieval city with a rich history. There are a variety of accommodation options available, from budget-friendly guesthouses to more upscale hotels.
It's worth noting that these cities are quite touristic, so it's a good idea to book your accommodation in advance, particularly during peak season. Also, it's good to keep in mind that these cities are quite spread out and the transportation infrastructure is not well developed, so if you plan to visit multiple cities, it's good to have your own transportation or to use local trains.
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