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Uzbekistan travel guide
Uzbekistan is a sunny, picturesque country in the heart of Central Asia. Home to the ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz and Termez, it has countless historical and architectural monuments dating back thousands of years. Uzbekistan nature is equally captivating: the Tien Shan Mountains, Kyzyl Kum desert, Ustyurt plateau and the remnants of the Aral Sea are truly awe-inspiring.
But the true heart and experience of Uzbekistan is found within the well-preserved culture of this little landlocked country: centuries-old traditions, zoroastrian and muslim rituals, original art, and Uzbek hospitality and cuisine will be a delightful discovery for any traveler.
Browse our Uzbekistan Travel Guide to learn more information about Uzbekistan and to find the answers to your most pressing questions!
General information about Uzbekistan
Area: 447,400 square meters. km
Population: 33 million people.
Languages: Uzbek (state language), Russian (international, in large cities), Tajik (in Samarkand and Bukhara)
Religion: Islam - 88%, Christianity - 9%, other religions - 3%
Electricity: 220V AC, 50 A; standard double plug socket.
Time zone: + 5 hours
Internet zone: .uz
International dialing code: +998
Monetary unit: sum
What is the best time to visit Uzbekistan?
You can visit Uzbekistan at any time of year, but the optimal time to travel is spring and autumn. In spring, flowers and trees are in bloom, the mountains are blanketed with green meadows and sporadic rains refresh the air. In early autumn the climate is mild, with cool mornings and evenings, and markets filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Winter is often cold and snowy, and summer is very hot, with temperatures rising above + 40⁰С (104F). On the plus side, if you choose to visit during the off season, you will avoid the tourist crowds and can often get discounted prices at hotels and other venues. Summer and early autumn are also the optimal times to enjoy Uzbekistan’s fresh melons, berries and other fruits.
Our travel guides to Uzbekistan can help you plan your trip to overlap with an interesting local holiday or festival. For example, the spring holiday of Navruz is celebrated on March 21, the “Silk and Spices” festival in Bukhara takes place the last weekend of May, and the music festival “Sharq Taronalari” is held every two years at the end of August in Samarkand.
What airlines fly into Uzbekistan?
Unless you’re already in a neighboring country, the easiest way to reach Uzbekistan is definitely by plane. There are direct flights to the capital, Tashkent, from many large cities in Europe and Asia, including Moscow, New York City, Istanbul and Bangkok. There are regular flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg into other Uzbekistan cities, including Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench.
Uzbekistan Airways, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, Korean Air, Air Astana, Korean Air or S7 Airlines and China Southern Airlines and Fly Dubai all offer direct flights to and from Uzbekistan.
Can I enter Uzbekistan by land?
Yes! There are several ways to enter by land. You can enter Uzbekistan by car, foot or bus across most land borders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Afghanistan. If you choose to take a private vehicle or bus, please note that you will be required to exit the vehicle at the border and pass through customs on foot.
You can also enter Uzbekistan by train from Kazakhstan. This is cheaper than flying and a bit more expensive than crossing on foot, but it’s generally comfortable and you won’t have to drag your luggage across the border. Just be prepared for a 2-3 hour stop at the border while the train passes through customs.
Do you need a visa to travel to Uzbekistan?
Citizens of more than 60 countries can now enter Uzbekistan visa-free for up to 30 days, while citizens of more than 70 countries can use a convenient, online portal to apply for an inexpensive e-visa. In rare cases, a visa can be obtained at the airport of Tashkent on arrival.
Please visit ourUzbekistan Visa page for more information.
Do I need to register in Uzbekistan? How do I register?
All foreign citizens staying in Uzbekistan will need registration at your place of residence (hotel, hostel, guest house or private ownership). Registration is counted from the day of arrival and must be made within 72 hours of arrival in the country. Hotels and hostels will automatically register you, and now most guest houses and private residences can easily register you, as well.
There is now also a state portal at www.emehmon.uz, where you can get electronic registration. It can be filled out by either the guest or the inviting party (guest house, relatives, private individual), but currently the registration can only be completed by paying with a local Uzbekistan debit card.
What do they speak in Uzbekistan?
Uzbek, a Turkic language closely related to Uyghur, is the official language of Uzbekistan. Russian, while not an official language, is widely used in business and governmental communication, and is spoken by most people in the capital and larger cities. Tajik is spoken alongside Uzbek in Samarkand and Bukhara.In the semi-autonomous western region of Karakalpakistan, Karakalpak and Uzbek are spoken side-by-side.
Is English spoken in Uzbekistan?
English is not an official language of Uzbekistan, although those in the tourism industries and many young adults in the capital, Tashkent, know at least some English. Many major signposts are written in English, Russian and Uzbek, and the number of English speakers has been gradually increasing over the past few years. As long as you’re in the larger cities or tourist areas, you should have little problem finding someone who speaks some English.
Is Uzbekistan in the European Union?
Uzbekistan is located in the heart of Central Asia and is not a part of the European Union. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a coalition of independent, former Soviet Union countries.
Is Uzbekistan safe for tourists?
Violent crime in Uzbekistan is rare, and the country has been politically stable for many years. The most likely annoyance that you will face is merchants and taxi drivers who will try to overcharge you for their goods and services. Police officers who had gained a reputation in the past for doing more harm than good, are now much more helpful and unobtrusive towards tourists.
As with any place you travel, we recommend that you keep your passport and valuables in a safe place and be particularly cautious for pickpockets in crowded areas, such as bazaars and public transport. That being said, most Uzbeks are very welcoming and willing to help you in whatever way they can.
There are no vaccination requirements for Uzbekistan travel and no outbreaks of infectious diseases. Basic medications and health care is available, and there is an International Clinic in Tashkent.
The most common causes of illness among travelers to Uzbekistan usually stem from drinking tap water, eating unwashed or improperly prepared produce and meats, and sunburn or heat exhaustion during the hot summer months. By drinking bottled water, washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and planning your summer excursions to avoid being out in the heat of the day, most issues can be minimized or avoided.