Once a hermetic country with very strict visa policies for foreigners, Uzbekistan is slowly opening its borders to show the world the majesty of what used to be the core and center of the ancient Silk Road, a country filled with impressive shrines, mosques and perfectly shaped old cities.
Uzbekistan is the ultimate destination for architecture and history lovers, but also for travelers who want to visit a real off the beaten track destination, as outside of the three main touristic cities, there is very little Western exposure and the people are extremely hospitable.
For all the practical information, including bureaucracy rules, transportation tips, accommodation, cultural facts and many other things, read my 75 Tips for traveling to Uzbekistan
Capital – Tashkent
Population – 32 million (41st)
Language – Uzbek (a Turkic language) but Russian is widely spoken.
Visa for Uzbekistan – Since February 2019, most nationalities can apply for a free visa on arrival, and that includes all EU countries and most Western countries except for the USA. The rest of the countries can apply for an e-visa. For more information, read: How to get a visa for Uzbekistan
When to visit Uzbekistan – Uzbekistan is a year-round destination. However, bear in mind that summers are utterly hot and winters extremely cold. Spring and autumn would be the ideal months.
Travel insurance for Uzbekistan – I definitely recommend World Nomads:
- The only company that offers unlimited medical coverage
- You can hire it while on the road
- It covers the largest amount of adventure activities
5 Top Things to do in Uzbekistan – These are my favorites:
- Check out the mind-blowing mosques and madrassas – It’s absolutely stunning and the main reason to come here.
- Travel back to the Silk Road times – Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva were some of the 3 most important cities on the Silk Road.
- Visit the Aral Sea – The planet’s worst environmental disaster. Read: A guide to Moynaq and the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan
- Visiting the Fergana Valley – A real off the beaten track region. Read: A guide to the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan
- Walking among Soviet buildings in Tashkent – The capital of Uzbekistan is an old Soviet-planned city. Read: Places to visit in Tashkent
For more information, don’t forget to check my 3-week Uzbekistan itinerary
Prices in Uzbekistan – It is quite cheap but more expensive than Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan
Budget accommodation – 8 to 12USD
Mid-range hotels – 30 to 40USD
Meals – 5USD in touristic places and 2-3USD in local eateries
Taxis – 2USD for a short ride inside the city
Train – 5 to 15USD
Some bureaucracy rules – Some quick tips:
- Bring cash – Except in luxury hotels, credit cards are a bit useless in Uzbekistan.
- Hotels payslip – You need to register at each hotel and show the payslip as proof when you exit the country.
- Border control – At the border, they may check your camera, phone, and luggage. Don’t bring porn, medicines containing codeine and sensitive photos.
Accommodation – There is good accommodation everywhere for all types of travelers and budgets, including budget hostels and guesthouses.