Uzbekistan Travel Guide – How to Plan the Perfect Trip


Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Last Updated on: May 13, 2024 

About the Blog: Traveling to Uzbekistan has been a long cherished wish. Finally we made it to the beautiful country so rich in history and culture. Read this blog to know the details about traveling to Uzbekistan. This comprehensive Uzbekistan Travel Guide will help you plan your trip to this Central Asian country.

Traveling to Uzbekistan feels like living history on the Silk Road. The country is undoubtedly a treasure trove for Islamic architecture. In fact, one of the first things that attracted me towards traveling to Uzbekistan are the pictures of the blue tiled domes and minarets. So, it was quite obvious that we started our Central Asian sojourn with Uzbekistan. That India and Uzbekistan have a long historical connection, also helped us to decide on visiting here first.

Uzbekistan was once a difficult country to travel to. Getting a visa was tough and we had heard of several other quirks of the country. However, of late, Uzbekistan has opened up to tourists to show the world its majestic culture, grand architecture and impressive shrines, mosques and old cities.

Minor Mosque in Tashkent - Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Also, Uzbekistan is one of the most tourist-friendly countries we have visited so far.

Planning a trip to Uzbekistan had been in our minds for a long time. Finally, the timing was right and Uzbekistan travel happened. And it happened in a grand way. And now we are happy to share our experiences and practical tips for traveling to Uzbekistan in this Uzbekistan travel guide.

This travel guide will provide you with helpful information and useful Uzbekistan travel tips that will help you plan your Uzbekistan trip. Read on.

Uzbekistan Tourism

Uzbekistan is the quintessential Silk Road country and is the heart of the ancient Silk Road. Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are the jewels of Uzbekistan and were the icons of the Silk Road. There are beautiful mosques, timeless minarets and mausoleums and impressive madrassah to discover in every city of Uzbekistan. This is the place where you can understand the power and enormity of the Timurid empire.

Night view of Khiva Uzbekistan

There are bustling and colorful bazaars where you can meet the friendly people of Uzbekistan. Walking down the old city will take you on a trip to the past. And then there are the local craftsmen creating wonderful and gorgeous works of art. Uzbekistan travel is a sensory overload of colors and smells.

Apart from the main tourist sites, you can also venture into the quaint villages and the charming mountains. Or you can meet the warm, friendly and welcoming locals and spend time with them. 

India and Uzbekistan

India and Uzbekistan have a deeply connected history. In Sanskrit and Pali texts, there are frequent references of Kamboja, which is a part of modern-day Uzbekistan. Ancient trade route known as Uttarpath passed through the country. Much later, Fergana, Samarkand and Bukhara were major towns of the Silk Road that connected India with Europe and China.

Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India was born in Andijan in Fergana Valley. Mirza Ghalib and Amir Khusro, who were renowned poets, were of Uzbek parentage.

Well, these are facts of the past. At present, Uzbeks love Bollywood. This is what I realized fully on visiting Uzbekistan. The taxi in which we traveled from Tashkent airport to our hostel played a Bollywood song.

Several people asked us about Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Mithun Chakraborty. They are quite popular in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan Railways play Bollywood songs on their display television.

Some Facts to know about Uzbekistan about the people and culture – Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Uzbekistan is an ex-Soviet Republic country who got their independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the USSR.

Majority of the population is Uzbeks. But like most of the Central Asian countries, you will also find people from the neighboring countries like Russians, Kazaks, Kyrgyz and Tajiks.

The people are Sunni Muslims and the Russian population is Christian orthodox. But religion is not a big deal here.

Is Uzbekistan Safe?

This is the first question I get whenever we travel to relatively unknown places. Even during our Uzbekistan trip we were asked whether Uzbekistan is safe, mostly because it shares a border with Afghanistan and its close proximity to Iran. There is always a skepticism about places about which people don’t know much about. In fact, after coming back from the country, a few of our friends kept asking whether Uzbekistan was safe and how were the people there.

At Tashkent

To answer the question of safety in Uzbekistan – the country is quite safe for tourists. The people are friendly and helpful. You will find tourist police at all the tourist attractions. The people are hospitable. The locals hardly care about religion and politics, which is usually a cause of trouble in local areas.

During our Uzbekistan travel, we never felt unsafe, even when we traveled to Fergana Valley (which is said to be the most radical area in Uzbekistan) as well as in the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

The people were friendly and welcoming. And they are quite fond of Bollywood songs and dances.

Just usual words of caution – do not venture to places you know nothing about. And keep abreast of the local situations.

Registan Square Samarkand - Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Traveling to Uzbekistan in 2024 : Entry Requirements – Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Once upon a time, getting a visa for Uzbekistan was difficult. However, since 2018, things have been much easier.

Uzbekistan Visa

Since mid-2018, Uzbekistan has introduced e-Visa for 51 countries. Starting from 2019, citizens of the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UAE and many other countries can travel to Uzbekistan visa free for a period of 30 days.

Citizens of 76 countries like the USA, China and India can get an e-Visa for Uzbekistan for a period of 30 days.

If your country of citizenship is not on any list, then you have to apply for a visa at the Uzbekistan embassy.

How to Apply for an Uzbek e-Visa?

Applying for an electronic visa for Uzbekistan is fairly easy and it takes about 2 to 3 working days to get it.

Head on to the Official Electronic Visa Portal of Uzbekistan and fill in your details. We found the form to be pretty simple and self-explanatory. You have to upload your photograph and scanned copy of your passport, the specifications and guidelines are found here.

A single-entry visa costs USD 20, but you can also get a multi-entry visa as well.

You get a visa for 30 days by default. The entry to the country is not date-specific. You can enter the country any day you want within a 90-day period.

We applied for e-visa online and received our electronic Visa within 3 days of application. Keep a printout of the visa so that you can show it on arrival.

Also, your passport has to be valid for 3 months from the date you arrive at Uzbekistan.

Once we arrived at Tashkent airport and showed our passports and e-visas to the immigration officer. The officer took a look at my passport and smiled at me while asking “India”? And then he gave back my documents while saying “Welcome to Uzbekistan”. It was the first miniscule hint that I got that the Uzbeks are fond of Indians.

Uzbekistan Visa via Embassy

In the unlikely case that none of the above methods work for you, then you will have to visit the Embassy. In this case, apply well in advance.

Can I extend my Uzbekistan Visa?

If you are travelling to Uzbekistan on a free tourist visa, you can enter and exit the country as many times as you want.

For those requiring an e-visa, you can apply for a multiple-entry visa.

I did not find any clear rules about how many days you can stay in Uzbekistan on a tourist visa. You can probably head towards the neighboring countries and easily renew your visa.

However, rules can change any time. So, keep a look out before you decide your travel plans.

What happens if I overstay my Uzbekistan Visa?

I had heard that if you overstay your visa for any extra time, it might lead to a hefty fine of USD 2000. The Uzbek authorities might also delay your exit from the country by another few days. This is something that I would not like to try and recommend you not to do so as well. But if by any chance, it happens to you, please let us know how you managed.

Are there any specific health precautions or vaccinations recommended?

There are no specific vaccinations required to travel to Uzbekistan. However, you can get vaccinated against DTI, Hepatitis A and typhoid if you are traveling to remote villages.

Travel Insurance for Uzbekistan

It is not mandatory to get travel insurance to visit Uzbekistan. However, we suggest you take one for the entirety of your trip. You never know when you might need one. Here are our recommendations.

Uzbekistan Travel Guide – How to Get to Uzbekistan?

Flying Into Uzbekistan

Well, Uzbekistan has two international airports – Tashkent and Samarkand. You can easily fly into Tashkent, which is the capital city. Uzbekistan Airways is the national airline and has flights to several major cities. There are flights from Turkish Airlines as well.

Flight from Delhi to Tashkent

Recently, Indigo also started their flights from New Delhi in India to Tashkent.

We had taken an Uzbekistan Airways flight from New Delhi to Tashkent. It took only 1.5 hours to reach Tashkent from New Delhi.

Fun fact is that, we had taken another flight from Kolkata in India to New Delhi in India and that flight took us more than 2 hours.

Tashkent International Airport is fairly small and easy to navigate. There is a currency exchange counter there from where you can exchange your US Dollars to the local Uzbek Soms.

We also found a couple of stalls selling domestic Sim cards. You can get a domestic SIM card from the airport itself. However, I think getting a SIM card from the local market might be cheaper.

How to get from Tashkent Airport to Tashkent City Centre (Or to your Hotel/ Hostel)?

Tashkent City center is about 30 minutes drive from Tashkent Airport. Once you come out of the airport, you will be flocked by taxi drivers willing to take you to your accommodation in Tashkent. And they will ask for an insane amount.

So, what do you do in this situation?

You have to bargain with the taxi drivers. Tell them half the price they quoted.

A taxi driver quoted us 1,00,000 Som for dropping us to our hostel. On negotiation, he decreased his price to 70,000 Som. But even that amount is quite high.

You can also arrange airport pick-up from your hotel, of course, with a charge.

Or you can download the Yandex Go App on your mobile and book a cab. Yandex is like the Uber app in Uzbekistan. However, you need to have a local number to use the Yandex app. Also, the drivers speak only the local Uzbek language and Russian. We had a hard time explaining our exact location to our driver in English.

We had downloaded the Yandex Go app and booked a cab to our hostel. It cost us 35,000 Som, which is half the negotiated price with the taxi driver.

Getting from Tashkent Airport to the City Centre on Bus

There are local buses running from 6 AM to 11 pm daily between the airport and the city center. As you exit the airport, you have to walk past the parking lot towards the left. You will see the buses there. Bus tickets will cost around 1200 to 1500 Som.

However, please note that there are different buses to different routes and it will be hard to figure out what bus to take if you are visiting for the first time. Also, if you are not conversant with the local language or Russian, it also poses a bit of a problem. So we suggest taking a cab for the first time you arrive at Tashkent. Maybe, you can try the buses later during your Uzbekistan trip.

Moynaq Museum

How to Travel to Uzbekistan by Road?

Uzbekistan shares its borders with

  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Afghanistan

The security at the overland borders used to be quite strict. In fact, before heading towards Uzbekistan, we had heard of some horror stories of border crossing. You had to fill a lot of paperwork and that your bag would be opened and searched. If by any chance any prohibited item was found, a heavy fine would be levied.

But those are stories of the past. Things are easier now. Nowadays, border crossing does not take so much time. The border guards will check your visa and passports. They will still scan your luggage and check your camera and ask if you are carrying a drone or not.

Traveling by train in Uzbekistan

Carrying a drone is strictly not allowed in Uzbekistan unless you have the proper permits. And the proper permit takes ages to obtain. So, it is better not to carry your drone there. I have heard that a drone was confiscated at the border and was not returned. I have no desire to confirm that with my own drone. So we did not carry our beloved drone on this Uzbekistan trip.

Overland border crossing is easier and faster these days. However, you should check online for correct information, as borders can close anytime without notice. Please adhere to all the rules and regulations while crossing the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border.

The most common and easiest routes for overland crossing to Uzbekistan are the following:

  • From Shymkent and Almaty (Kazakhstan) to Tashkent by train or bus
  • From Osh (Kyrgyzstan) to Tashkent by shared taxi
  • From Bishkek ((Kyrgyzstan) to Tashkent by bus
  • From Khujand (Tajikistan) to Tashkent by bus
  • From Penjikent (Tajikistan) to Samarkand by shared taxi

Getting Around Uzbekistan

For traveling across the cities, you have the option to take flights, trains, buses, shared and private taxis. Let me share a little about all of these.

Traveling around Uzbekistan by flight

Almost all the towns in Uzbekistan have a domestic airport. You will get flights from Tashkent to other Uzbek towns like Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench (Khiva) and Nukus.

Please note, there are two terminals in Tashkent. The international and domestic terminals are almost 15 minutes from each other. So if you have a flight to catch, please make sure of where you have to reach.

Traveling around Uzbekistan by Train

Trains are the best way to travel across Uzbekistan. They are the most convenient, comfortable and one of the cheapest ways to travel across the country.

We had traveled across Uzbekistan on trains and they were super comfortable.

Uzbekistan railways now connect most of the touristic destinations by trains. You will find trains to and from Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. There are trains to Nukus, Kokand (Fergana Valley) and Termez as well.

Flight from Delhi to Tashkent

There are 3 types of trains run by Uzbekistan Railways – the Afrosiyob (the high-speed train), the Sharq and the night train. We had traveled by all the three and you can read about them in our post on taking trains in Uzbekistan.

It is recommended to book your tickets in advance. The best way to book tickets is through their mobile app. and now you can book tickets using your VISA credit cards. The ticket window opens 45 days prior to the date of journey and the tickets get sold quite fast.

However, there is a nifty little fact I would like to share. Just a day or two before the date of journey, you might find tickets to your destination once more.

Sleeper Compartment at Uzbekistan Railways

For example, when we wanted to book our tickets from Khiva to Bukhara weeks ahead, the train was fully booked. We were fully prepared to make the journey by car. However, just a day before the journey, I found tickets for the same on the Uzbek rail app. I booked it as soon as possible and had a lovely train journey. It saved money as well as time and was comfortable too. The same happened when I tried to book tickets for Kokand in Fergana Valley). So chances are there that you might get your train tickets just before the journey. But keep this as the last resort. Try getting the train tickets well in advance.

Nowadays, you do not need a printout of the tickets. You can just show the ticket on the mobile app. Luggages are scanned as you enter the railway station. The process is quite easy and there are no chances of confusion. 

Traveling around Uzbekistan by Shared Taxis

Traveling by shared taxis is another cheap and common method to travel around Uzbekistan. They are even cheaper than trains.

As you have already gathered, you have to share the ride with other passengers. These taxis do not usually have a fixed time and only leave when the taxi is full. They also leave from a fixed location in the city. You can probably ask your hostel or hotel about where to find them.

Buses in Uzbekistan

Traveling around Uzbekistan by Bus

You can also travel around Uzbekistan by buses. You can get bus tickets online here.

You can also get tickets at the local bus stations. Carry your passport with you to get the tickets. Also, try to book the buses at least one day in advance.

Private Taxis

You can always hire a private taxi to get around locations. But they are pretty expensive, as expected. 

Traveling within the city – Local Transport

By Booking a Cab

We found the best way to travel within the city is by booking a cab from the Yandex Go app. the rates of the cab are reasonable and the drivers arrive at the given location and will also drop you at the location you have mentioned. The only problem we faced is that of language. They only speak Uzbek and Russian and very broken English. But they all seem to love Bollywood songs!

You can book a taxi from the Yandex Go app only if you have a local Uzbekistan number.

You can also get a private taxi from your hotel or the road. If you are getting a cab from the roadside, be prepared to bargain a lot.

By buses

We had seen local buses at Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. Once again, we did not try traveling by buses. A knowledge of basic Uzbek or Russian is needed as all the signs are in the local language and Russian.

What is the Best Time to visit? Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Ayaz Kala Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has an extreme continental weather. It can be witnessed in its difference in day and night temperature, as well as the summer and winter temperatures. The region is usually arid with less rainfall.

The best time to visit Uzbekistan is in the spring (April to June) and autumn (September – October). The temperature during this time remains pleasant and walking during the day is not much of a problem.

Also note that most of the festivals and events in Uzbekistan take place during the spring.

Here is a breakdown of the weather in Uzbekistan

April to June

This is the spring season with clear skies, mild weather and sunshine. This is one of the best times to visit Uzbekistan.

July and August

These two are the hottest months in Uzbekistan. Temperatures usually remain 35o C and can often go up to 40-45 degrees as well. Walking around the attractions can be quite uncomfortable during this time.

You might get concessions in price at hotels, but keep in mind the hot weather at this time.

September and October

This is the autumn or fall season and another good time to visit Uzbekistan. The peak summer has passed and the weather remains cool. There is sunshine and clear skies as well. However, after mid-October, there can be mild rain in different parts of Uzbekistan.

We visited during October. While there was mild rain on the first two days of our visit, the weather changed completely after that with a clear bright blue sky and a cool temperature. The mornings were pleasant and it was not hard to explore the place on foot. However, the evenings were quite cold and heavy jackets were needed.

November to February

These are the winter months with January being the coldest month in Uzbekistan. This is a lean season from a tourist point of view. So this is a great time to visit Uzbekistan if you want to avoid crowds. But be prepared for the cold.


March is neither very cold nor quite pleasant. Uzbekistan also starts getting rain from mid-March. This is also a low tourist season. Flights and hotels will be cheaper.

Best Places to visit in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is one of the core of the historical Silk Roads, a home to the three most important cities of the Silk Road – Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara. There are lots to see in Uzbekistan. Most of the tourists are concentrated in the 4 major towns of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. However, outside these major destinations, the tourist footfall is considerably less.

So here’s the list.


Amir Temur Square Tashkent - Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan. It is sleek and modern and looks quite beautiful. There are quite a few attractions in Tashkent – Amir Timur Square, Minor Mosque, Chorsu Bazaar, Hazrat Imam Complex and so on. The Tashkent Metro in itself is an attraction. You must have at least one metro ride at Tashkent.


Samarkand - Places to visit in Uzbekistan

Samarkand is one of the most famous attractions of Central Asia. It was a major city on the ancient Silk Road and is an UNESCO  World Heritage center. The most famous attraction here is the Registan Square along with so many other eye-catching monuments.


Bukhara in Uzbekistan

Another major city on the Silk Road, Bukhara is quaint and lovely. The Ark of Bukhara, the mosques and madrassas in Bukhara are quite eye-catching.


Khiva is often overlooked by tourists who have fewer days in hand. But Khiva is a real gem. It is also our favorite place in Uzbekistan. The best part of Khiva is that all the major attractions are concentrated in a small area and you can simply walk around. Itchan Kala is the place to be.

Off-the beaten Trails in Uzbekistan

Aral Sea

Aral Sea was once one of the largest saline water lakes in the world and a thriving ecosystem. Due to the callousness of man, the area is now a desert! Today we have only 10% of the entire Aral Sea left as compared to in the 1960s.

Visiting the Aral Sea shore and Moynaq Ship Graveyard is a humbling experience. However, if you are planning to visit here, set aside a chunk  of your budget, because Aral Sea trip costs a bomb.

Fergana Valley

Fergana Valley is the agricultural hub of Uzbekistan. Earlier this valley was part of the Silk Route between Samarkand and Kashgar (China). Fergana Valley has been producing silk for almost 1000 years. Fergana Valley has several towns, each having its own attractions. The main places of interest are Kokand, Rishtan (for ceramics), Margilan (for Silk), Fergana City and Andijan.

Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic of Uzbekistan

This is the desert region of Uzbekistan, dry and arid and steeped in history. There are several interesting ancient fortresses in this region. Culturally, this place is quite interesting as well.

Chimgan and Nuratau Mountains

Who said Uzbekistan is all about history and mosques and minarets? There are beautiful landscapes, rolling hills and mountain tops, lakes and quaint mountain villages. There’s a lot of greenery too. The region of Nuratau and Chimgan has a few hiking trails as well.


This ancient city is quite a significant part of the Silk Road. Shakhrisabz is also important as it is the birthplace of Amir Temur. The main attraction is the main historic center. If you are a major history buff and have time, you can visit this town near Samarkand. Otherwise, you can skip it. However, the journey to Shakhrisabz is a beautiful one through mountains and valleys.


Termez is another off the beaten track located in the southern part of Uzbekistan where Greek, Buddhist and islamic history has merged with each other. Located on the right bank of Amu Darya, Termez is one of the most ancient cities of the region. 

What is interesting about this place is that Termez was once an important center for Buddhist culture before the place was destroyed by Genghiz Khan in 1220. Several Buddhist sites have been unearthed in the area. 

Termez is definitely for the history buffs. To get an idea, here are the must visit attractions in Termez:

  • Alexandrian site: Kampyr Tepe
  • Buddhist sites: Fayaz Tepe & Zurmala Stupa
  • Early Islamic era: Old Termez, Mausoleum of Al Hakkim Termizi , Jarkurgan minaret, Kyrk Kyz Fortress
  • Post-Mongol: Sultan Saodat & Kokildor Khanaka

Where to Stay in Uzbekistan?

Hotel Uzbekistan at Tashkent

There is a wide range of hotels, hostels and guest houses available in all the major touristic spots of Uzbekistan. And these days, there are Airbnbs as well.

We recommend booking your stay in advance if you are visiting in the peak season.

And there is another very important thing to consider when you are traveling to Uzbekistan.


This is a funny thing that we came across in Uzbekistan. Foreigners staying in Uzbekistan as tourists are required to register their stays. If you are staying at a hotel, hostel or guest house, they will do this registration automatically for you and will give you a registration slip at the end of your stay.

This registration slip is usually checked while you are going out of the country. If you are traveling by train during any night, you have to keep the train ticket, which serves as a proof of your travel during the night.

We were advised to keep all the registration slips properly, which we did. But when we left Uzbekistan, the immigration officer did not ask for them. However, the registration slips were checked for a fellow traveler whom we had met at Khiva. So, it perhaps depends on the mood of the official who is checking your departure from Uzbekistan.

Registration Charge

A couple of hotels charged us extra over the booking amount for registration. We had booked all our hotels online for our Uzbekistan trips. While the hostels at Tashkent, Khiva and our guest house at Samarkand did not charge us any extra over the booking amount; our stay at Bukhara and Kokand charged an extra of $3 for registration.

While checking the hotel booking website, we did find a small disclaimer displayed under the room booking rate – “there may be additional charges such as taxes and fees.” So, if you are charged a few dollars extra for the stay, then that is for the registration fees.

Yurt Camps – unique lodging options

Hotel Uzbekistan at Tashkent

There are homestays in the village areas. Airbnb is found in the towns and cities. The desert areas of Karakalpakstan have Yurt camps for night stay. Yurt camps are the nomadic camps used by the shepherds as their temporary homes.

You will probably not get an authentic yurt experience in these yurt camps compared to neighboring Kyrgyzstan, but then it is an unique experience to stay at these camps.

There are some desert camps at Kyzyl Kum (near Nurata) and Aral Kum deserts (near the Aral Sea) and one near Ayaz Kala (near Urgench).

However, if you want to experience a night stay at yurt camp, keep a separate budget for it as they can be a bit expensive.

Food in Uzbekistan

Plov and Non bread - food in Uzbekistan

Like in most of Central Asia, food in Uzbekistan is centered around meat as the main dish. Beef, chicken and mutton are the staples around Uzbekistan. You will also find rice dishes and salads.

Traditional bread or Non is an integral part of Uzbek culture. You will be served bread with every meal you take. The bread is flat and round and is torn from the side and eaten. Uzbek bread is never thrown out.

Just like India, tea is also an integral part of Uzbek culture. However, they prefer green tea. The locals have green tea all through the day and is a common drink offered to the guests. The restaurants also offer green tea without any charge.

They also have a variety of green and black tea infused with various flavors. You can try them out.

What to eat at Uzbekistan

During the summer months, you will get a variety of seasonal and succulent fruits in the market. If you are a fruit lover like me, you will definitely have a good time.

Food in Uzbekistan is just amazing and as much as we loved traveling in Uzbekistan seeing its architectural brilliance, we also loved its food.

A few Uzbek dishes that you must try are Plov, Shashlik, Kabob (kebabs), manti (dumplings filled with meat and potatoes), Somsa, laghman (a variety of noodle soup) and the traditional Non bread.

Do you get vegetarian food in Uzbekistan?

If you are a vegetarian visiting Uzbekistan, finding a meat-free meal can be a bit tricky, but not impossible. Most of the touristy places have various vegetarian options. The dishes with meat fillings are also available in vegetable fillings. I tried a somsa with pumpkin filling at Bukhara.

And if you do not find the vegetarian version of the famous dishes, you can always go for the salads. Most of the restaurants provide a variety of salads.


You will love the fruits here. Apples, melons, grapes, pear – they are found in abundance. Do not miss the Samarkand melon.


Alcohol is widely available – beer, vodka and all that you want.

You can also try out the local wine. Uzbekistan is the largest producer of wine in Central Asia. And the taste is good.

Is it safe to drink tap water?

I found several different opinions on drinking tap water on the internet before traveling to Uzbekistan. This is what we found.

Packaged drinking water is available throughout. But we found it costlier than that in India. A 1.5 litre bottle of water cost 7,000 UZS ($0.50 or ₹47 approx).

On asking the hotels and hostels, they told us to get water from the tap in the kitchen. AT Khiva, they asked us to get water from the bathroom tap. The tap water at Tashkent and Kokand (Fergana Valley) was good. But I would recommend you to avoid tap water at Khiva and Samarkand.

You can however buy a Lifestraw

What languages are spoken in Uzbekistan?

The official language of Uzbekistan is Uzbek, belonging to the Turkic languages. It is spoken by almost 85% of the population. If you know the Turkish language it might help you understand the basic phrases.

The next widely spoken language is Russian. After Uzbek, most people understand and know Russian.

Outside of the tourism and hospitality sector, English is not widely spoken in Uzbekistan. So if you travel to Uzbekistan independently, you might have some problems while conversing with the locals.

Amir Temur Square at Tashkent

Most of the hotel managers had basic understanding and speaking knowledge of English and we had no problems. We did have some trouble conversing with the local taxi drivers. However, we used Google translate wherever we had some problems and it is an amazing tool to use there.

Nowadays, a lot of youngsters are learning English. At Samarkand, a few young boys and girls approached us and told us that they wanted to talk to us in English. They also asked me to correct them if they were wrong in grammar and diction!

What should I do if I encounter a language barrier?

Use the Google Translator. It works well there and solved a few of our problems.

Water Filter bottles that filter out the contaminants and improves the taste of water.

Money Matters : What currencies can be used in Uzbekistan?

The local currency of Uzbekistan is the Uzbekistani Som (UZS).  Majority of the establishments in Uzbekistan accept both Som and US Dollars as payment.

At the time of traveling to Uzbekistan, the exchange rate was:

1 USD = 12,300 UZS

1 INR = 147 UZS

You will get banknotes of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 and 100000 som in circulation. There are also coins of 50, 100, 200 and 500 Soms.

So be prepared to get a wad of notes when you exchange your dollars and euros.

Where can I exchange money in Uzbekistan?

Right after you arrive at Tashkent Airport, you will see a counter to exchange money. They usually give a good rate and you can exchange your money from there.

You can also exchange USD, Euros and Russian Rubles to the local currency by walking into most of the banks, which are found all over the cities. Once upon a time, the bank exchange rate was much lower than the black-market rate. But now, the banks give a good rate and also, they would give you bigger notes so that you do not have to have a separate backpack for the cash.

Some of the hotels will also exchange currency for you.

Which Credit Card is accepted in Uzbekistan?

Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. Maestro and Master Cards are also accepted at many places. However, Uzbekistan is still a cash economy and many places might not accept cards.

Also, Rupay Cards do not work in Uzbekistan.

ATMs in Uzbekistan

We found loads of ATMs in all the tourist cities in Uzbekistan and most of them accepted international cards. Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva and Kokand all had a number of ATMs from where you can withdraw Uzbek Soms. However, bear in mind that each bank has its own charge for usage of international cards.  Both VISA and Mastercard work fine in Uzbekistan.

When to use Dollar and when to use Som

Typically, dollars are used to pay your accommodation in Uzbekistan and transport like flights. Some high-end restaurants also accept dollars.

For retail buying, smaller eateries, local cabs, buses and buying train tickets from the railway station, Som is needed.

Many hotels, hostels and restaurants accept cards nowadays.

We had exchanged $100 on arrival at Tashkent airport and later another $100 at a local bank in Tashkent. We had also used the local ATMs for cash withdrawal (we got the money in SOM). For the rest we paid online by using our World Travel Card.

Cost of Traveling in Uzbekistan: Travel Budget

This is one of the most important questions while planning a trip – the budget. Well, the cost of traveling in Uzbekistan is fairly inexpensive. Uzbekistan is quite a budget friendly destination. Let me share with you a rough estimate of the cost of traveling in Uzbekistan, along with how much we spent.


As with most places, the cost of accommodation varies with the option you choose. Basic accommodation in Uzbekistan is not dirt cheap because of a very confusing tourist tax (remember, registration slips!). Here’s a basic cost:

Hostels: $10 to $20

Hotels and Guest Houses: $30 to $250


It would cost around $5 to $30 per meal, depending on what you eat.

We booked all our stays that provided breakfast. Some days, we would splurge on our meals while on other days, we would go frugal.

Metro Station at Tashkent


Transportation is quite cheap in Uzbekistan. A train ticket would cost around $10 to $20 depending on the distance. Yandex Cabs for moving within the city are also quite cheap. Buses and shared vans are also quite inexpensive.

Metro tickets in Tashkent were just UZS 2000 per person for a single journey.

Admissions and Entry Tickets

Most of the historical sites required an entry ticket. The average cost was around $2 to $5. At some places cameras were also charged. But that was also quite nominal.

Sim Card

A Sim card with data will cost around $3 to $4.


For a single-entry e-Visa, the cost is $20.

Tipping in Uzbekistan

Tipping to guides and drivers is not mandatory, but expected. If you like what you got, a 10% additional tip on top of the price is usually expected.

As for restaurants, most of them have a service fee added automatically to the bill. This is about 10-15% of the total bill. This amount is usually not seen in the menu and when you get the bill, it might seem to be more than what is mentioned in the menu. In this case, they have added a service charge and you are not expected to pay any tip.

Forts near Nukus

Some Practical Information

Sim Cards in Uzbekistan

There are a few mobile phone providers in Uzbekistan. We came across 3 of them. We got one SIM card for our time in Uzbekistan from UzMobile.

There is a counter to buy Sim cards on arrival at the Tashkent International Airport. We got our Sim card from there. It cost us 75,000 Som ($6) for 22 GB data for a month.

You can get Sim cards from markets as well. You will need to provide your passport and visa to get a sim card.

Internet in Uzbekistan

The Internet is decent in the cities. Once you are out of the city precincts, there is hardly any network. We did not get any network during the train journeys. Also, Aral Sea was a network free zone, which was quite great in my opinion.

The wi-fi provided in the hotels and hostels were decent as well. Most of them were slow in the rooms and you had to come to the common area to access the network.

Are there public Wi-Fi hotspots available?

We did not find any public Wi-Fi hotspots in Uzbekistan. So probably it isn’t there.

Taking Photos in Uzbekistan

It is strictly forbidden to take any pictures of government buildings and military areas in Uzbekistan. So, it is better to avoid those. We had earlier heard that laptops and cameras are checked while leaving the country. But we did not encounter any such incident during the trip. It might be a different case while crossing the border.

Otherwise, you can take photographs and videos of the monuments and the other attractions. The people are also very friendly and are very receptive if you want to take their picture.

In fact, they themselves come forward to take pictures with you, once they realize you are from India. A lot of people approached us wanting to take photographs with us. They have a special fondness for Indians and especially Bollywood.

Can I use drones for photography and videography?

Drones are strictly not allowed in Uzbekistan. You will be asked if you are carrying a drone and it will most probably be confiscated.

Are there any restrictions on taking photos at cultural sites?

There are as such no restrictions on taking photos at the cultural sites. We clicked quite a number of pictures wherever we went. There might be a photography fee for a few sites.

If you are taking photographs of the locals, ask for permission first. In our experience, the locals were quite happy to click pictures with us!

Electrical Outlets and Voltage

In Uzbekistan the power plugs and sockets are of Type C and Type F. The standard voltage is 220V. Carry a Universal Travel adaptor to solve your charging problems.

Sunrise at Aral Sea -Uzbekistan Travel Guide

What to Wear in Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan has four seasons. Pack appropriate clothes for the time you are visiting. If you are visiting during the summer months, pack light clothes as temperatures can get around 38°C/ 97°F.

During the winter months, carry proper winter wear as it gets very cold. Average Winter temperatures can be around -10°C/ 14°F and there can be a lot of snow.

Spring and Autumn are good times to visit without the harsh heat and cold. Even during this time, we recommend carrying a jacket. Some places get cold in the evening.

As for your sartorial choices, Uzbekistan is a modern country and they usually do not have any restrictions regarding clothing. However, the Uzbek people are conservative and do not usually show much skin. So keep this in mind while packing.

While visiting the religious sites and mosques, you might have to keep your shoulders and knees covered. Ladies might have to cover their heads while entering a few mosques.

Uzbekistan Travel Guide – Shopping

Uzbekistan is a shoppers’ paradise. There are so many things to get from here, starting from knick knacks to clothes, handicrafts, dry fruits and so many other things.

In all the major cities, there is a major market and several smaller markets. You will also find many shops selling souvenirs near the major tourist attractions.

You can buy ceramics, dolls, handicraft items, fridge magnets and other trinkets. Dresses, silk scarves and stoles are also sold in these markets. After all, Uzbekistan is the land of silks.

Shopping in Uzbekistan

If you want to buy dry fruits, visit the main market of the town, like Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent, Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand etc.

Even if you are not buying anything, just roam around these markets. The colors and flavors are sure to incense your senses.

As for us, we bought fridge magnets (because I love them), a local Uzbeki dress (I felt like a queen wearing it), a ceramic glass from Rustom Usmanov’s Ceramic Workshop in Fergana Valley (a souvenir from Uzbekistan) and dry fruits!

And now some cultural etiquettes to keep in mind

  • Bread is a part of the culture. Try not to leave chunks on the plate or drop it on the floor. Also, try not to throw the bread in dustbins.
  • Remove your shoes before entering inside a home, homestay or guest house. It is a sign of respect.
  • Don’t blow your nose at the table. It is considered disrespectful.
  • While visiting the religious sites, mosques and mausoleums, dress appropriately. Your shoulders and knees should be covered. Ladies might have to cover their heads while entering a few mosques.

Some Quick facts

Capital: Tashkent

Language: Uzbek, Russian

Time Zone: GMT + 5

Electrical Outlets : Type C & F

Useful Expressions to know before Uzbekistan Travel

  • Hello: ‘Assalomu alaykum:
  • Good afternoon: ‘Salom’
  • What is your name? : ‘Ismingiz nima?’
  • I am glad to meet you  : ‘Tanishganimdan hursandman’
  • Good bye! : Xayr!
  • How much it is?: Qancha turadi?
  • Toilet : hojatxona
  • Bill : hisob
  • Menu : Menyu

Recommended Read

  • Uzbekistan Bradt Travel Guide
  • Lonely Planet Central Asia
  • The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
  • Uzbekistan: the Road to Samarkand
  • The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

In Conclusion

Do you plan to travel to Uzbekistan sometime soon? What things to do in Uzbekistan are you most excited about?

Uzbekistan is a vibrant country with so much to offer. History, culture, food and friendly people. I hope this Uzbekistan travel guide will help you plan your Uzbekistan trip with ease. Wishing you a wonderful time in this colorful Central Asian country while marveling at its exquisite architecture.

Do you still have questions about your upcoming travel to Uzbekistan? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email!

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Agni Amrita Travel Blogger

Hey! we’re Agni & Amrita.

We have been travelling together since the last 15 years and writing independent and personal travel content since 2014. Travel is one of the best teachers and through this blog, we aim to share our experiences and travel tips. We encourage you to travel more and see the world through your eyes and not through filtered templates.

Find more about us.


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