Uzbekistan is the jewel in the ancient Silk Road’s crown. Each of its major cities have been beautifully restored, offering gorgeous sights for visitors. Tashkent has interesting museums and great sightseeing tours, while Samarkand is best known for its cultural, religious and historic sites (particularly its gorgeous mosques) and food tours. Meanwhile, Bukhara’s bazaars and palaces are best explored by foot with a walking tour.
Central Asia is a fascinating and unique mix of ancient Silk Road culture, Soviet influence and striving to redefine nations post independence.
The much-photographed Registan in Samarkand is one of the true pinnacles of Islamic architecture.
Experience for yourself the legend that is Central Asian hospitality – there's really nothing like being welcomed into a local home or yurt for a meal, chatting with stall holders at bazaars or simply marvelling at the sights alongside locals.
“A varied and inspiring (but arduous) journey through Central Asia, from the magnificent mosques and mausoleums of Uzbekistan, to the bleak but beautiful mountain and steppe landscape of Kyrgyzstan, this trip delivered what it promised.”
“There's never a dull moment in this full-on, activity packed, classic road and rail journey. Squeezing three contrasting countries into just 15 days is something of a challenge and it requires stamina, energy, good humour and an open mind to get the most out of it. With just five in the group, this felt like a private trip and the intensity and space certainly benefitted an excellent itinerary. Uzbekistan has the monuments, China provides the counterpoint and nomadic Kyrgyzstan oozes impossibly beautiful mountain and lakeland vistas. Throw-in the Russian influences and the echoes of Ginghis Khan, Tamerlane, Alexander the Great and Marco Polo and you have an intriguing concoction.”
A trip to Uzbekistan will introduce you to the best treasures of the ancient trading Silk Road. The cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand were all popular sites for traders and have each been delicately restored.These stunning mosques and mosaics are complimented by classic Russian architecture, as the country equally pays homage to its many years under Soviet rule. With few foreign tourists, get ready for an intimate visit through Uzbekistan’s wonders.
Get a panoramic view of old Khiva from the minaret of the Islam Khodja mosque
See the colourful mosaics of the Registan plaza in Samarkand
Roam through the 114 rooms of Khan's Palace in Kokand
Explore the Ark of Bukhara, an incredible fortress built in the 5th century AD
Shop beneath the blue dome of the Chorsu Bazaar
Uzbekistan offers some great transportation links for anyone wanting to see all the country has to offer. Whether you prefer domestic flights, high-speed trains, or city metro-rides, Uzbekistan has it all.
While most of Uzbekistan's cuisine is quite flavourless (think boiled vegetables and grey meats), some dishes are worth seeking out. Try Lagman, a lamb soup with thick noodles and spices, and jiz, a stir-fry-like dish of beef, onion and eggplant.
Avoid border areas in Uzbekistan, particularly at its shared borders with Afghanistan. These areas are often riddled with landmines and have been known to incur cross-border gunfire.
Uzbekistan relies heavily on cash. Be sure to exchange your money before you visit, and carry the local currency (Uzbek Sum) rather than U.S. dollars or other foreign currencies.
Uzbekistan is a police state, so be prepared for heavy police presence across the country. Carry copies of your passport and other ID with you at all times, and think twice before taking photos (especially of important buildings). The main benefit of this is a relatively low crime rate.