Visit Uzbekistan – Guide to must see places and culture

Uzbekistan is a fascinating country with a rich culture and history. If you are visiting Uzbekistan, you may wonder what the best places to visit are. Therefore, in this article, you will learn about the best places to visit in Uzbekistan.

From its unusual name, an unusual sense of art and culture, the bustling city of Tashkent, the state capital, and the ancient Silk road town of Bukhara city, it’s not all bluff. 

However, it’s good you are here to read and find out for yourself all the necessary information you will need before visiting Uzbekistan.

And there are still the best places worth visiting in Uzbekistan, places that hold reverence, cultures, and histories of Uzbekistan. Let’s find out!

Travel restrictions based on Covid 19 guidelines, now lifted

Uzbekistan has lifted all Covid19-related restrictions, so travelers can now explore the country without the need to obtain a negative PCR testing certificate. Still, we recommend you bring your Covid9 vaccine certification if the authorities ask.

So, what do you need to know before visiting Uzbekistan,  

Before visiting Uzbekistan: What you should know

When planning a visit to Uzbekistan, it would be more helpful to learn some basic facts about the country. 

Here are a few things you should keep in mind before visiting Uzbekistan:

Uzbek is the official language, while Russia is also widely spoken

Foreigners visiting Uzbekistan need to know that Uzbek is the state language. As such, communication may be a burden to some extent.

Besides, Uzbek is the language of instruction in schools. 

Meanwhile, in practice, you can still find locals who speak Russian and English.

Uzbekistan has a diverse culture and history

Uzbek culture is unique because of its ability to blend old and new traditions. Uzbekistan’s culture has been able to preserve its traditional heritage while incorporating modern influences. As a result, a unique blend of old and new can be seen in everything from architecture to music. 

While visiting Uzbekistan, you will see that the people of Uzbek are very proud of their culture with a blend of Russian, Turkish, Persian, and Mongolian influences.

For instance, while many women choose to veil themselves, they can also decide not to wear a veil. This shows that Uzbek culture is open to change and willing to adapt to the needs of its people.

Uzbekistan’s signature dishes (Plov, flatbread, lots of meat)

Uzbek food combines Russian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese influences. So even if you are a vegetarian or a meat-eater, you will find plenty of delicious food to eat in Uzbekistan.

Although, Uzbek food is not exactly well-known around the world. Uzbeks accord significance to the uniqueness of their food, delicacies, cruises, and ingredients used to prepare them.  

Plov, Uzbekistansignature dish is rice pilaf made with meat, vegetables, and spices. How can we forget that Uzbek bread is always soft and flat with printed designs? 

Similarly, Bukharan Plov is prepared with beef or lamb, carrots, onions, and garlic and garnished with dried fruits and nuts. 

The Uzbek locals believe Plov brings good luck to those who eat it. For example, nursing mothers often give their children Plov because they believe it brings fortunes and blessings to them.

Furthermore, some food that Uzbekistan is known for include; Plov, Shashi, Lagman, Fried Lagman, Sherpa, Dimlama, Chuchvara, Manti, Fried Chuchvara, Dolmas, Guzlama, Tukhum Barak, Shivit Oshi, Tea, Bread, Suzma, Chalop, and Samosa, etc.

Uzbekistan food is not vegan friendly (Plov, flatbread, lots of meat)

 Uzbek food may not be the most friendly cuisine for you if you are a vegan. This is because meat is a central component of Uzbekistan dishes, such as Plov and flatbread. In addition, finding chicken that isn’t swimming in a sea of beef broth can be difficult.

Uzbek most popular dish is called Plov, and it’s a rice dish with lots of meat and vegetables. Another popular dish is flatbread, which is often served with meat or vegetables. So if you are a vegan, you may need to get creative with your Uzbek food options.

Islam is the dominant Religion in Uzbekistan

The fact is that the most dominant religion in Uzbekistan is Islamism. This implies that Uzbekistan is more than 80 percent Muslim. Sunni Muslims, who primarily identify as Hannafi Sunnites, make up most of the population. 

While Uzbekistan’s Muslims, there is a significant Christian minority and a smaller number of other faiths such as Judaism and Buddhism.

Uzbekistan women dress conservatively  

One noticeable aspect of Uzbek culture is the way their women dress. Many Uzbek women wear veils and dress conservatively. However, this is more for cultural reasons than religious ones.

In most parts of the country, women can go about their day without veils if they choose to. The Fergana Valley is one of the few exceptions, where veiling is still practiced for religious reasons.

Which is mainly for cultural reasons rather than religious ones. Except in some parts of the Fergana Valley, women can go as they please without veiling themselves.

Uzbekistan has strict laws concerning medication and drugs

Possession of even small amounts of illegal drugs can result in lengthy prison sentences. Likewise, you will be subject to arrest and imprisonment if caught carrying illegal drugs.

Get travel Insurance in case something goes wrong.

While most health insurance policies will cover you if you get sick while traveling. Most travel insurance policies will cover you in case of medical emergencies, lost baggage, trip cancellations, and more. Some even provide coverage for missed connections and delays.

So, get a travel insurance policy that fits your needs before you book your next trip.  

Get Uzbekistan visa

 All foreigners visiting Uzbekistan require a visa, depending on their nationality. And there are different visas to Uzbekistan depending on the purpose of your visit. As such, it would be best if you consider the Uzbekistan visa requirements for your country of citizenship before traveling to Uzbekistan.

As much as you intend to visit Uzbekistan for tourism or move permanently, you may need to obtain a visa through evisa for Uzbekistan or contact the Embassy of Uzbekistan to obtain a visa.

However, nationals of 68 countries have visa-free entry to Uzbekistan for tourism or any other short stay reasons that are not more than 30 to 90 days.

In addition, some nationals can also get an Uzbekistan visa on arrival for tourism by presenting their passport point of entry at the immigration desk.

Read also: Uzbekistan Visa – Types, Cost, Application, And Requirements.

Learn some basic phrases in Uzbek before your trip

 Tourists visiting Uzbekistan may find it challenging to communicate with the locals of Uberkisan due to the language barrier since Uzbek is Uzbekistan’s official language.

Fortunately, you can find locals in tourist areas of Bukhara city and Tashkent who speak English. However, Russian is also widely spoken in Uzbekistan.

While a few people in Uzbekistan do speak English, there are still many in the rural areas of Uzbek who do not.

Hence, it is always helpful to learn the basics of greeting in Uzbek; it will make getting around a lot easier. 

Even if you can not hold a whole conversation, being able to say please (song), thank you (Rahmat), and I am sorry (kechirasiz) will go a long way. 

That way, you can at least communicate with people even if you cannot have an entire conversation.

Visit the Best Places in Uzbekistan (Cultures and histories of Uzbekistan)

Uzbekistan is a culturally rich and historically significant country in Central Asia. Though it is landlocked, it is home to the ancient city of Bukhara and the stunning Lake Aydarkul. In addition, Uzbekistan is home to many must-see places and cities, including Samarkand, Namangan, Andijan, Bukhara, Nukus, and Khiva.  

So, let us walk you through the cities and best places to visit in Uzbekistan and see what we can find.

Khiva buildings and Samarkand architecture are unlike anything else in the world

One of the most memorable things about Uzbekistan is its stunning architecture. The mosques and madrassas of Bukhara and Samarkand made history regarding the best architecture in the world. But do not miss out on smaller towns like Khiva, which has its share of beautiful buildings.

Khiva is one of the country’s best-preserved towns and is home to many beautiful buildings. The town’s history dates back to the early centuries of the Silk Road, and it was an essential stop for traders traveling between China and the Mediterranean. Khiva’sAs a result, architecture is a mix of styles from different periods and cultures.

In addition, visitors to Khiva can see many impressive buildings, including the Mausoleum of Khoja Islam, the Minaret of Kalta Minor, and the Juma Mosque. And for those who seek a taste of Uzbek culture, Khiva is the best place to visit in Uzbekistan.

Museum of Amir Timur, Tashkent

The most popular tourist destination in Uzbekistan is the Museum of Amir Timur at the matter.  

At the time, Uzbekistan gained its independence from the Soviet Union. That same year, the Museum of Amir Timur was founded in the country’s capital Tashkent. The museum is home to over 5,000 artifacts from the reign of Timur, also known as Tamerlane, and the Timurid Dynasty that followed him.

And as one of the best places to visit in Uzbekistan, it provides visitors with a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture. The artifacts on display range from ancient coins and jewelry to weapons and armor.

Chor Minor, Bukhara

Chor Minor, which means “Four Minarets” in Uzbek, is a mosque located in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The mosque was constructed by wealthy trader Khalif Niyazkul in the 18th century and is one of Uzbekistan’s best places to visit. And today, the Chor Minor is known for its four blue-tiled minarets, each with a different design. 

And very much notable for its beautiful arches and intricate tile work. Visitors who visit Chor Minor admire the mosque’s architecture and learn about its history from the on-site museum.

The Khiva Walled City

For over two thousand years, the land now Uzbekistan has been home to a succession of civilizations. The Khiva Walled City is one of the most well-preserved examples of these civilizations. Itchan Kala, the walled inner city, was the first Uzbek property to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Today, Khiva Walled City is one of the best places to visit in Uzbekistan. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and alleyways, marvel at the ornate architecture, and learn about the rich history of this fantastic place.

Muynak, Aral Sea

The Aral Sea was a sizable body of water between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. And the Aral Sea was a major source of fish for the people of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. As a result, many fishing communities, including Muynak, grew along its shores.

However, over the years, the Aral Sea has shrunk to less than 10% of its original size due to regional irrigation projects.  

Although the Aral Sea was one of Uzbekistan’s best places to visit. Today, foreigners who visit Uzbekistan find Muynak town, ghosted and abandoned boats and buildings slowly covered by sand. And dry sea bed littered with the rusting hulls of boats and fish skeletons. Despite its current state, Muynak is still worth visiting for its unique history and beautiful scenery.

When is the best time to visit Uzbekistan?

The best time to visit Uzbekistan depends on what you want to see and do. For example, if you want to experience the desert, the best time to visit Uzbekistan would be in the summer, when it is hottest.

During spring, the days are longer, and the temperatures rise, making it an excellent time to explore the country’s many outdoor attractions. Autumn is another ideal time to visit Uzbekistan, as the weather is pleasant and the leaves on the trees change color, creating a beautiful setting for photos.

In addition, the best time or period to visit Uzbekistan is in the spring, which is between April/May and September to early November. This is because, during spring, April/May times, the weather is usually warm and dry. And the climate is also favorable for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, and camping. The temperature of Uzbekistan in springtime ranges from 21 to 30 degrees, and autumn time lows of 14 to 30 degrees.

Travel tips before visiting Uzbekistan

Here is a list of things you should know, coupled with other helpful travel kits you cannot afford to forget before visiting Uzbekistan:

Keep your travel documents and ID handy

Secure your passport and other essential documents in a secure, such as a hotel safe or locked drawer. Easily accessible place. A travel wallet or passport holder is a great way to do this. Make copies of all essential documents, including your passport and driver’s license. In addition, carry your identification documents with you at all times. For example, a photocopy of your passport or driver’s license will suffice if you lose your originals.

Carry some Cash before visiting Uzbekistan

The national currency is the Uzbekistani Som, and US dollars are also widely accepted. ATMs are available in major cities but may not work with international cards. Credit cards are only accepted at a few large hotels and restaurants. So it is taking some cash with you when you travel is essential.

Keep some cash handy because you may need cash to pay for taxis, meals, and souvenirs. While carrying your credit card is always a good idea, you should set aside some money in an emergency. In addition, separate your emergency fund from your main supply of cash. Finally, avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you due to theft.

Prepare your Medications

Common ailments like Headaches, stomachaches, diarrhea, fever, and the flu can be treated with medication. However, certain medications may be illegal in Uzbekistan. Therefore, it is always best to consult a doctor or pharmacist before traveling. Pack any drugs in their original containers and bring a copy of your prescription. And if you do experience any medical problems while in Uzbekistan, seek qualified medical help immediately. There are many hospitals and clinics located throughout the country that can provide quality care.

Get proper documents for your Medications

While many over-the-counter medications are available without a prescription, some require a doctor’s note or prescription. Therefore, checking with your local pharmacist or doctor before traveling is always best to ensure you have the proper documentation.

Book your Flight/Train tickets and Accommodation in Advance

The accommodation options in Uzbekistan vary depending on the city you are visiting. Tashkent, for example, offers a variety of hotels ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious. However, if you are looking for an authentic experience, it is worth considering staying in a yurt camp or homestay outside the city center.

Best routes to visit Uzbekistan

You can travel to Uzbekistan by plane, train, international buses, and fans of extreme travel – by car, motorcycle, and even hitchhiking. 

Your best route depends on the country you are traveling from. For example, countries like Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan do not need to book flight tickets to Uzbekistan since they both share boundaries.

Also, depending on your budget and travel preferences, here are the most common transportation system to Uzbekistan are as follows:

Get to Uzbekistan by Plane.

The country’s main airport is Tashkent International Airport, located 14 kilometers from the center of Tashkent. There are direct flights to Uzbekistan from Russia, Turkey, UAE, and other countries.

Take the train

Another popular method of transportation within Uzbekistan is by train. This is a good option if you come from a neighboring country, such as Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan. The country’s high-speed rail lines connect Tashkent, the capital, with Samarkand and Bukhara, two of the most popular tourist destinations. Traveling to Uzbekistan by train is convenient and relatively inexpensive, making it a great option for the budget-minded traveler.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Uzbekistan now open for Tourism?

To curtail the spread of the Covid 19, most countries shut down their border and all activities related to tourism. And of which Uzbekistan is no exception. Uzbekistan previously closed its border, including; tourism and another form of commercial exportation and importation in the country.

Not until early this year(2022) did Uzbekistan decide to open its border for tourism again

In addition, the government of Uzbekistan even made it easier for foreigners who wish to visit Uzbekistan to obtain a visa for Uzbekistan without any restrictions. And there are the Uzbekistan airways and tour operators, offering affordably safe trips to Uzbekistan without breaking the bank.

Can I visit Uzbekistan without a visa?

Foreigners from European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and other countries eligible for visa-free entry to Uzbekistancan visit Uzbekistan without a visa. In addition, these nationals can stay up to 30 to 90 days in Uzbekistan for tourism or other short-stay purposes. 

However, you may require a visa to visit Uzbekistan if your country is not on the list. Also, visa-free countries may need a visa if they visit Uzbekistan for long-term purposes.

Is Uzbekistan cheap to travel to?

Uzbekistan may not be as cheap as traveling to Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan. However, that does not mean Uzbekistan is not affordable to visit. 

And perhaps, you may find ways to save money and have a great time while visiting Uzbekistan.

For instance, a meal at a restaurant in Uzbekistan will cost you around 5 USD. At the same time, the same meal would only cost you $2-3USD in local eateries. 

Similarly, a hotel room in Uzbekistan will typically cost around $30- 40 per night. So, overall, travel costs in Uzbekistan are not prohibitively expensive for most people.

Can I get an Uzbekistan visa on arrival?

Foreigners whose countries are not among the visa-free entry countries list may become eligible for an Uzbekistan visa on arrival.

In addition, the Uzbekistan visa on arrival is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allows you to stay in Uzbekistan for up to 30 days.

And to obtain a visa on arrival, you need a passport valid for at least six months from your planned arrival in Uzbekistan. You also need two passport photos, and the fee for the visa is USD 20. And since you are to visit Uzbekistan for tourism, you need a visa.

Conclusion

Uzbekistan has often been left off the beaten path when it comes to travel. But for those who make an effort to include it on their journey, they are richly rewarded with a land that is steeped in history and culture. So, if you find yourself in Uzbekistan, visit the best places like Bukhara, Samarkand, and Tashkent city.

Thanks for reading!

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