Some useful information before you travel
Visa and other entry requirements
Citizens of 86 countries can visit Uzbekistan without a visa. A valid passport is required for entry into Uzbekistan. Immigration officials may want to see a return ticket, though it is highly unlikely.
Please check this link to see if you qualify. https://mfa.uz/en/pages/visa-republic-uzb
All other countries not on the list can apply for a simplified e-visa at this link
Uzbekistan dropped all Covid19 related entry requirements.
Currency, cash, and credit cards.
Som/Sum/Soum is the Uzbek currency 10,000 Sum is about $.80USD +/- (current exchange rate)
USD is the favored foreign currency for exchange, and the rates are regulated by the government.
Please note that many places will only accept USD notes that are clean, new, and not crumpled or folded.
You can change USD to Sum at the hotel, Foreign Currency ATMs, and banks.
Many restaurants now accept Visa/Master cards for payments, but mostly Visa.
Traditional local restaurants do not.
Uzbek ATM machines require 4-digit pins.
It is very safe to carry stacks of cash.
Electricity and power plugs.
Uzbekistan uses 2 round-pin Europe plugs. The voltage is 220V.
Dress code and what clothes to bring.
You can wear anything, as long as you are wearing something.
Do dress modestly when entering places of worship, shrines, and necropoleis.
Climate change has made predicting the temperature challenging, so layer up.
Weather and Climate
Uzbekistan has a continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.
Spring and autumn offer milder and more pleasant weather for exploring the country.
Temperatures usually range from day 15 to 28 Deg C during the day, 5 to 10 deg C at night.
Summer temperatures can reach over 35°C, while winters can be freezing, especially in the north and mountains.
However, we have experienced brief cold snaps, and heat waves in the middle of Spring and Autumn before.
Arriving at Islom Karimov Tashkent International Airport.
Immigration officers are usually thrilled to see tourists, and won't ask anything more
than the standard questions.
You no longer have to declare cash unless it is $ 10,000 USD or equivalent.
After you clear immigration, proceed to baggage claim to pick up your bags.
Your bags may be randomly x-rayed before exiting the terminal building.
(Drones are not allowed to be imported in Uzbekistan. And Customs officers may proactively ask if you are bringing a drone.)
After exiting the terminal building, use the ramps and walk towards the gate, and exit.
Your driver and/or guide will welcome you at the waiting area, holding a sign with Go Anywhere Tour’s logo and your names.
There may be plenty of people gathered at the gates waiting for loved ones, and selling their taxi services.
It is 100% safe.
Ignore taxi drivers offering rides.
Data SIM cards and Wifi
A 4G Data Sim card with 5GB is included in your tour package.
You can top-up if needed.
4G coverage is decent in Uzbekestian, but like everywhere else in the world,
some Telcos work better in some places than others.
All hotels have wifi. Most cafes and restaurants also have wifi for use.
Hotel Check-in, tourist registration, and passport.
Hotel front desk staff may retain your passport for at least overnight.
This is because hotels are required to register foreign guests with the immigration authorities upon arrival.
Hotel staff will complete the registration paperwork and return your passport to you.
On the day of your check-out, the hotel may issue a registration stub, please keep all your stubs and take a picture of them as a backup.
Your next hotel may want to see your last registered date. (it is the responsibility of hotels to make sure all dates add up)
Immigration authorities may also want to see your stubs when you leave the country, though this is highly unlikely.
Keep a copy of your night train ticket as well, this serves as your registration for that night.
Personal safety and petty crime.
Petty crime is rare in Uzbekistan. You do not have to worry about theft, pick-pockets, and tourist scams.
Street beggars are also rare, but you may see them around.
Locals may approach you out of curiosity, or to practice their English speaking skills.
Don’t be surprised if locals ask you for a selfie, they are interested in travelers, and the outside world. Some will even invite you for tea.
They love visitors and will be generous and hospitable.
Planes, trains and automobiles.
Uzbekistan’s Afrosiyob hi-speed train system is a convenient and fast mode of transport between Tashkent - Samarkand -Bukhara.
The trains are made by Spain’s Talgo. They are fast, safe, modern, and comfortable.
Luggage can be stored on the racks located near the cabin doors. We suggest you wait near where your cabin door will be, and be among the first to board to secure luggage space on the racks. You can also store luggage on the overhead racks above your seat.
A snack bag with pastry and 3-in-1 instant coffee is distributed complimentary on the Tashkent to Samarkand leg while attendants go around with hot water. You can also order other coffee beverages from attendants, they cost between 20,000 to 30,000 UZS.
Bukhara-Khiva/Khiva-Bukhara Traditional Train
The traditional train runs between Bukhara and Khiva, or Khiva and Bukhara.
Enjoy the experience, this train is a throwback to the USSR days and retro Eurail train carriages of the 80s and 90s. Some may be more worn out than others, but they are clean and comfortable.
You are booked in a sleeper cabin (kupe) with 4 berths. The train conductor may offer to keep the fourth bed empty for a small “bribe” of 50,000 Sum. It is up to you. Though in our experience they do not approach foreigners.
There should be enough luggage storage space overhead (above the door) and under the bed, inside the cabin.
Fresh clean sheets, pillowcases, and face towels are provided in sealed plastic bags on the bed. You will have to make your own bed, and we encourage you to put the sheets and pillowcases on the bedding for hygiene purposes. Do note that an hour before arrival, train conductors will come around and collect the used bedding.
You can lock the cabin doors. Most local travelers do not close their doors or leave them half open.
Boiling hot drinking water is available from a boiler at the front of each train car, and you can ask the conductor for a clean mug.
Vendors come around occasionally for drinks and snacks. But we advise you to bring your own water and food for the overnight journey if you need to munch.
There are 2 toilets in every train carriage, bring your own tissue to be sure.
There are no power outlets in the sleeper cabins.
Uzbekistan Airways, Centrum Air, Silkavia and Qanot Sharq operate a modern fleet and is reliable and safe.
You need to be at the airport at least one hour before your flight. Food may not be available at the domestic terminal.
Tipping culture is starting to catch up among those in the tourism industry.
However, tipping is not mandatory.
Restaurants: Almost all restaurants add a service charge ranging from 10% to as high as 25% in upmarket dining venues. It is not necessary to leave a tip. But if your server is extra nice, you may want to give them 10,000 Soum. It is appreciated if you leave a 10% tip if there is no service charge.
Guides: It is not mandatory to tip your guides, but it is appreciated if you do, while some veteran guides expect a gratuity.
We recommend a tip of $12 to $20 per person, per day for every full day with your guide, depending on how satisfied you are with them, and the time they spent with you. And you can prorate that for half-day tours.
If your guide and driver are the same people, you can tip closer to the mid or higher end of the range. But it all depends on how satisfied you are with their knowledge, style, or their company.
Drivers: 20,000 to 25,000 soum per person, per day, is enough for city tours. 25,000 to 30,000 soum for drivers who take you to and from the airport and train station.
If your driver and guide are the same person, it is not necessary to tip them any extra when they pick you up and drop you off at the airport or train station. Unless you want to.
Long-distance drivers: You can give $5 to $10 for the duration of the entire journey.
Hotels: It is not necessary to tip, but you can tip staff who help you carry your luggage. 10,000 Soum per bag is usually enough.
It is not necessary to tip housekeeping and breakfast staff.
Restaurant meals range from 50,000 to 200,000 soum per person depending on what you consume.
Typical Uzbek meals begin with a pot of black or green tea (much like Chinese restaurants), or the must-drink limon choy, a pot of sweetened black or green tea with a lot of Uzbek lemon.
Most restaurants do not refill teapots with extra hot water. You will need to order another fresh pot of tea. Don’t worry, in most restaurants a pot of tea does not cost more than 10,000 Sum unless it is at fine dining or tourist restaurants.
Locals usually share their food, family-style and a typical meal will have grilled, stewed or fried meat dishes, a selection of fresh vegetable and herb salads, as well as pickled kimchi-style vegetables of all kinds. In traditional restaurants, a tray of these side dishes will be brought to your table, where you can choose what you want.
Shashlik is the typical grilled meat and minced meat on skewers, eaten with a a generous helping of white onion slices.
The Uzbek Plov is another must-have dish. It is rice cooked with meat and all its flavors in a large Uzbek Kazan (wok).
Steamed and boiled meat or vegetable dumplings are staples, as well as baked savory pastries.
Bone-broth-style soups are also good to start your meal with.
All meals come with the region’s local bread. Bread is life in Uzbekistan.
Tashkent has a wide selection of international cuisine of all price ranges, as well as a lot of fast food, and cafes.
Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva have good quality international-standard restaurants, as well as local tea houses that serve traditional meals. However, it may be harder to find international food other than hamburgers, pizza and hotdogs.
Desserts are usually fruit plates, in season Uzbek fruits are mostly organic, sweet, and fresh from the farm. Pomegranate is the national fruit. Uzbek melons, grapes, apples, oranges, and quince are also a source of pride.
Western-style cakes are also common desserts.
Instant cup noodles are widely available.
Water is filtered and clean in most establishments. We do recommend boiling tap water before drinking or buying bottled water.
You may encounter yellowish hotel bathroom taps and showers. In this case, let the water run for a few seconds until they run clear.
Though Uzbeks are predominantly Muslim, alcohol is widely available and consumed in restaurants and bars.
Liquor stores are also plenty in major cities.
The bazaar/bozor is still the place to buy and experience real Uzbek daily life.
You can bargain when buying at the bazaars. You can also ask your local guide what the usual prices are, for anything you need.
Local Uzbek goods are reasonable.
Arts and crafts are plenty. In most cases, the artisans themselves are running the store and selling their own hand-made products.
Shopping malls and hypermarkets are plenty in Tashkent, but not so much in the other cities.
There are supermarket chains like Carrefour, Makro, and the local Korzinka.uz where you can get all your necessities.
There are also plenty of small mom-and-pop groceries in every neighborhood.
Some candies, chocolates, cookies, nuts, and cakes are sold by weight.