Uzbekistan travel guide, including map of Uzbekistan, top Uzbekistan travel experiences, tips for travel in Uzbekistan, plus how to visit the finest Silk Road s
Land-locked and Stan-locked, Uzbekistan was once one of the most vital hubs on the world’s most important trade route – the Silk Road.
There are few more evocative place names than Samarkand, a city of caravanserais, dazzling mosques and monuments – not least the legendary Registan – but it’s far from alone in Uzbekistan. Bukhara and Khiva also gleam with the architectural bounty of the country’s medieval wealth: palaces, minarets, mausoleums and medressas (Islamic schools), all intricately decorated with blue-toned tiles, grace the squares.
There are plenty of other historical relics of past glories, too – roam the ancient Khorezm region around Urgench to explore the remains of two-milliennia-old qalas (fortresses). But don’t miss the wood for the trees: the Uzbeks themselves, friendly and hospitable.
Read up on your rugs before heading to Bukhara, where a pure wool carpet might cost £200 and up – cheaper carpets on cotton bases should be about half that price, while silk options could be ten times as much. Another souvenir option is ikat: brightly coloured cloth. Allow plenty of time for visa applications before departing.
The best times to visit are the shoulder months of spring (mid-March to end May), which is mild and rainy and autumn (September to start of November), which has light frost and rain. Summer is hot and dry with an average temperature of 32ºC and winter temperatures get below zero with snow.
Tashkent International Airport (TAS), 6km south of the city.
Most major towns and tourist attractions are serviced by domestic flights. Book tickets at least three days in advance. Driving is possible but there are no car–rental agencies. The old state bus service is starting to give way to private buses: newer and more comfortable, but generally slower and less punctual. Trains are the most comfortable and safest mode of transport, though not very fast. The fastest option is the ‘high speed’ commuter train operating between Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara.
Uzbekistan has an increasing number of Western-influenced top-end and mid-range hotels, more comfortable alternatives to the state-run hotels. There are a growing number of B&Bs, especially in Bukhara.
The national dish is plov (pilaf): rice and fried vegetables. Shashlyk – skewered meat roasted over hot coals – is also popular, as is manty, small dumplings of chopped mutton and onion topped with sour cream. Another favourite is dulma: stuffed cabbage or vine leaves. Fresh fruit can be found in the markets, along with varieties of non bread. Vegetarians beware: Central Asia isn’t the ideal destination for you – you’ll struggle to find strictly meat-free meals.
Travelling in Uzbekistan is relatively safe; one problem long encountered by travellers (though now subsiding) is the handing out of ‘fines’ by police. Avoid border areas which are heavily patrolled and usually off-limits. Health care is basic at best and any serious problems will require evacuation; buy comprehensive travel insurance. The main health risks are stomach upsets – don’t drink the tap water.
Picking one single country to visit can be a challenge – so why not cross a few borders while you’re away? These trips pack in a glut of different cultures, food and experiences... More
With epic scenery and a history to match, Central Asia’s vast ancient trading trail has re-captured travellers interests. Here are the best ways to take in its treasures... More
Our Wanderlust experts have selected the cream of the upcoming 2019/2020 solo travel-friendly tours, that avoid you having to stump up the dreaded single supplement… More
We reveal the best destinations to travel to in May, for ideal weather, natural wonders, cultural highlights, primetime wildlife watching experiences and longer-term trips... More
From seeking out orangutans in Borneo to peeping at polar bears in Norway, these are the top trips from your winning tour operators, as voted for by you in Wanderlust’s 2019 Reader Travel Awards… More
Magical Silk Road cities, epic wide open spaces and a quirky Soviet past; Uzbekistan has it all. No surprise then that you voted it your favourite emerging destination in the Wanderlust reader awards. More
The destinations you love, the tour operators you trust, and the guidebooks you won’t leave home without: meet the Travel Awards winners, crowned by the best-journeyed bunch of all – Wanderlust readers... More
Swing with chimps in the Ugandan jungle, spot tiger from the water in India, and sleep under the stars in Cambodia. Discover the newest ways to encounter the most amazing creatures on our planet… More
We take a look at some of the most endangered animals in the world, and recommend where you can see them in their natural habitat. More
From ancient walled cities to vast steppes dotted with yurts, the 'Stans of Central Asia offer authentic, immersive experiences you'll never forget. Follow the Silk Road to these incredible adventures now More
Sail the coast of Portugal, drive on ancient Silk Road trade routes, or take an overland adventure through Africa. These new trips will take you to uncharted territory - and beyond More
Designed to raise awareness and spur people into action, these posters highlight the most endangered UNESCO sites around the world – from the rainforest of Sumatra to Bethlehem and beyond More
From the architectural splendour of Isfahan to the arid high Pamir plateau, journeys along the Silk Road are steeped in history, with breathtaking views to match. Following its routes is one of the great t More
Make 2017 the year you go on a truly epic journey that covers lots of ground, history and legendary sights for an experience you’ll never forget, including holidays in Iran, Bali and Peru More
Uzbekistan has fantastic architecture and Silk Road history to discover, but Rebecca Collins discovers the best way to get to know the country is by cooking up a traditional feast More
Go on an African safari, visit Machu Picchu or trek to Everest Base Camp – without breaking the bank. Here’s how to get a surprisingly big adventure for less than you'd expect More
Across the centuries, walled defences have protected cities the world over, making them a common feature from Colombia to France to China... These nine incredible walled cities are among the best of the best More
In need of some inspiration for your summer holiday? Here are 7 incredible late availability trips for an adventure you'll never forget. More
The Silk Road can be a massive undertaking or a great focus for a fortnight’s trip to Central Asia. Get out the map and start scheming! More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
From: £2080.00More …
From: £1138.00More …
Cox & Kings Travel
From: £1845.0000More …
From: £5195.00More …
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!