Your Ultimate Travel Guide to UZBEKISTAN

Are you ready for an adventure like no other? Get ready to step back in time and explore the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan, a land steeped in rich history and culture. From Bukhara’s bustling bazaars to Samarkand’s majestic architecture, Uzbekistan will transport you to a world straight out of “Arabian Nights”. Indulge in delicious traditional dishes, shop for unique handicrafts, and immerse yourself in the local customs. This Uzbekistan travel guide will provide you with the inside scoop on how to make the most out of your trip. So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and let’s hit the Silk Road!

Prefer to watch a video instead? I’ve got you covered!

Visa Requirements to Uzbekistan

According to, as of May 2022, Uzbekistan has implemented a visa-free regime for citizens of 86 countries, and e-visas for citizens of 57 countries, making it easier for travelers to visit the country.

If you are an Indian citizen, you need to apply for an e-visa which is a simple and straightforward process from the embassy website.

Costs for Uzbekistan E-Visa

Single Entry: $20 (Rs. 1600)
Double Entry: $35 (Rs. 2800)
Multiple Entry: $50 (Rs. 4000)

Once your e-visa application is submitted, it takes 2-3 working days to receive the e-visa at your email address.


Flights to Uzbekistan are quite affordable from India, with one-way flights from Delhi to Tashkent starting at around $200 (Rs. 16,000).

These are the 2 major Airlines that ferry passengers between Delhi and Tashkent:

  • Uzbekistan Airways – Official Airlines of Uzbekistan. (Direct flight: Less Than 3 Hours)
  • Air Astana – Official Airlines of Kazakhstan. (Layover in Almaty)

If you are flying from other parts of the world, then there are good connections from Dubai and Istanbul that are worth checking.

Tashkent would most likely be your first point of contact with Uzbekistan.

aerial view of tashkent showing a statue of Amir Timur


Uzbekistan offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets.

Average price per night for stay:

  • Hostels: $10
  • Guest Houses: $20
  • Hotels: $30


High-Speed Trains

Uzbekistan has an excellent transportation infrastructure, including high-speed trains called Afrosiyob that connect Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. These trains are comfortable, mostly on time, and are a great way to explore the country. Trains are the primary mode of transportation between cities in Uzbekistan.

afrosiyob train in uzbekistan

To book railway tickets, you can use the UZ railway app. Download & Install from Google Playstore or Apple Store.

Make sure you book train tickets at least a month in advance, especially during season time as the seats get filled quickly. The cost of a train ticket is around $10.

Also, reach the railway station at least 30 minutes in advance as there are security procedures that might take some time.

Within cities, you can use taxis, marshrutkas, or metros (if it’s available).


Yandex is a cab-hailing app similar to Uber which is widely used in Uzbekistan. I’ve used Yandex in Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. This is really useful as you don’t have to haggle with the taxi drivers regarding the fares and generally less confusion regarding the destination.

In Tashkent, you can add your card details on the app and pay through card which is really useful when you don’t have change with you. Also, I found taxis in Tashkent to be cheaper than other cities – generally around $1-$2 for 5kms.

Local Taxis

I have used the local taxi option quite often in Samarkand. Especially when I was staying outside the town, and wanted to visit the most popular tourist places like Registan or Shah-i-Zinda. This is a shared-taxi option and I was charged 5000 som (50 cents) per seat for about 4-5kms. The only problem is that it might be hard to figure out if there’s a local taxi passing by. Just keep waving your hand by the side of the road and taxis will stop.


This is the most budget-friendly option to go around the city. You’ll see mostly locals using this option. Make sure to check with your local host on where the stops are and which marshrutka to board as language could be a problem.

Places to Visit in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is home to many beautiful and historic places that are worth visiting. Some of the must-see places include Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Aral Sea, and Fergana Valley.

I’d suggest saving at least 7-10 days for a trip to Uzbekistan. 10 days would be ideal as it would give you some leisure time while visiting places. This would make your trip more enjoyable, in my opinion.

Uzbekistan Travel Guide: 10-day Itinerary

Day 1 in Tashkent

alisher navoi metro station tashkent

Day 1: Arrive in Tashkent and take a rest from the flight journey. If you have a few hours to spare, visit the metro stations in Tashkent. Trust me, it’s an attraction in itself. and explore the city. Explore the bustling markets of Chorsu Bazaar, and go to the Central Asian Plov Center and sample the local Plov. Overnight in Tashkent.

Day 2 – 4 in Samarkand (3 Days)

registan square lit up during the night - Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Day 2: Travel to Samarkand by train (preferably Afrosiyob). Upon arrival, visit Registan Square, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, and the Ulugh Beg Observatory. Overnight in Samarkand.

Day 3: Continue exploring Samarkand. Visit the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, the Afrosiab Museum, and the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum. In the evening, attend a traditional music and dance performance. Overnight in Samarkand.

Day 4: Visit the local workshops like Samarkand-Bukhara Silk Carpet Factory, Paper Making Factory, and Pottery Making Workshops and learn more about the craft-making culture in Samarkand.

Day 5-6 in Bukhara (2 Days)

bukhara old town

Day 5: Visit the city of Bukhara by train from Samarkand (preferably Afrosiyob). Upon arrival, visit the Poi-Kalyan Complex, the Kalyan Minaret, and the Mir-i-Arab Madrasah. Overnight in Bukhara.

Day 6: Continue exploring Bukhara. Visit the Ark Fortress, the Bolo-Khauz Complex, and the Chor-Minor Madrasah. Take a stroll through the city’s bazaars. And then pack your bags and take the overnight train from Bukhara to Khiva which takes about 7 hours.

Day 7-9 in Khiva (3 Days)

Day 7: Spend an entire day in Khiva. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Itchan Kala, including the Kalta-Minor Minaret and the Tash Khouvli Palace. Overnight in Khiva.

Day 8: Day Trip to the Aral Sea. It is one of the biggest manmade disasters in the world and it can be a sobering and haunting experience to visit here. One can see the remnants of the once-thriving fishing industry, including rusting ships stranded in the desert, and abandoned fishing villages. Return to Khiva and spend the night there.

Day 9: Continue exploring Khiva. Visit the Muhammad Amin Khan Madrasah, the Pakhlavan Mahmoud Complex, and the Juma Mosque. Take a stroll through the city’s bazaars. Overnight in Khiva.
Take a flight from Khiva to Tashkent.

Day 10 in Tashkent

Day 10: Flight back from Tashkent.

Note: This is a suggested itinerary and you can customize it according to your preferences and interests. It’s also better to check for the operational hours of the places you are visiting before you go.

Uzbekistan Food Guide

When it comes to food in Uzbekistan, it’s a culinary adventure that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. Uzbek cuisine has a rich history, blending elements of Central Asian, Russian, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Uzbekistan is a highly-meat-eating country and most of the traditional dishes here are made with meat. However, it’s possible to try the vegetarian versions of popular dishes in Uzbekistan, especially in tourist areas.


One of the most popular dishes in Uzbekistan is Plov, a traditional dish made of long-grain rice, onions, carrots, and chunks of lamb. Served with bread and salad, it’s similar to Pulao in India.

Staple of Uzbek cuisine, Plov is a hearty rice dish that is cooked with meat, usually lamb or beef, and a variety of vegetables such as carrots, onions, and sometimes raisins. The ingredients are cooked together in a large, deep pan called a “kazan” and are flavored with a combination of spices such as cumin, coriander, and black pepper. Plov is considered the national dish of Uzbekistan, and it is often served at special occasions such as weddings, celebrations, and festivals.


samsa - a traditional Uzbek street food

Samsa is a traditional Uzbek dish that is a type of savory pastry. It is typically made with thin, flaky dough and filled with a variety of savory fillings such as meat, onions, and potatoes. Samsa has often shaped a triangular or oval shape and can be either baked or fried. It is a popular street food in Uzbekistan and can be found at most local markets and street vendors. The meat filling is usually made of lamb or beef, but sometimes it can be made of chicken or even pumpkin.


Another traditional Uzbek dish consisting of small, steamed dumplings filled with meat (usually lamb or beef) and onions. The dumplings are often served with a yogurt-based sauce, and may also be garnished with herbs such as dill or cilantro. Manti can also be made in a large, round shape, called “Laghman Manti”, it is more similar to Chinese Jiaozi and Italian ravioli.


Shashlik is a popular street food in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries and is also commonly served in restaurants and at home.

This dish is made of skewered and grilled meat, typically lamb or beef. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices and herbs before being skewered and cooked over an open flame. Take a stroll around the a city in Uzbekistan, you will chance upon someone grilling shashlik by the roadside.

Samarkand Bread

Samarkand bread, also known as noni or patyr, is a traditional type of bread from the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan. It is made from wheat flour, water, and yeast, and is typically round in shape with a diameter of about 40 centimeters. The dough is rolled out thin and then placed on the walls of a tandoor oven, where it is baked to a crispy crust. Samarkand bread is often served with traditional Uzbek dishes such as plov and shurpa.


Ayran is a traditional fermented dairy drink from Uzbekistan, as well as other Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is made by mixing yogurt with water and salt and is often served as a refreshing beverage during meals or as an accompaniment to traditional dishes. Ayran is also considered a healthy drink as it is rich in probiotics, calcium, and other essential nutrients.


Uzbekistan is home to a diverse array of fruits that are both delicious and nutritious. Some of the most popular fruits grown in the country include apricots, peaches, pears, apples, and melons. Many of the fruits in Uzbekistan are also used in traditional dishes and in making jams, jellies, and other preserves.

Must Try: The melons here are so juicy, so don’t miss it when you are here!

breakfast spread at samani bukhara hotel
Breakfast spread with a plate full of melons at Samani Bukhara Hotel in Bukhara

Uzbek Tea

Every meal in Uzbekistan starts and ends with tea. Uzbek tea, also known as Chay, is a traditional drink that is deeply ingrained in the culture of Uzbekistan. It is typically made from black tea leaves, which are grown in the mountains of the country. The tea leaves are hand-picked and then processed using traditional methods passed down through generations. The resulting tea is rich in flavor and aroma, and is often served with sugar or honey. It is considered a symbol of hospitality and is often served to guests as a sign of welcome.

Tourism Infrastructure in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s tourism infrastructure has undergone significant improvements in recent years. The country has invested in building new hotels, resorts, and guesthouses to accommodate the growing number of visitors. Additionally, the government has also focused on developing the country’s transportation infrastructure, which includes the construction of new airports, train stations, and highways to make it easier for tourists to travel within the country.

Furthermore, Uzbekistan has put the effort into preserving its rich cultural heritage by restoring historical sites such as the Registan in Samarkand, the Khiva old city, and the Bukhara old town, which has become popular tourist destinations.

bird's eye view of Khiva Old Town
Bird’s Eye View of Khiva Old Town


Many of these sites have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and are now well-maintained and easily accessible to visitors. The country also has a vast network of tour guides who speak multiple languages and can provide detailed information about the country’s history and culture. All these initiatives have greatly improved the overall tourism experience in Uzbekistan, making it a the most-accessible travel destination in Central Asia.

What is The Best Time to Visit Uzbekistan?

The best time to visit Uzbekistan is during the spring and fall seasons, specifically April through June and September through October. These months offer mild temperatures and comfortable weather, making it ideal for exploring the country’s many historic sites and cultural attractions. Additionally, the spring season brings a vibrant display of colorful flowers and the fall season brings a beautiful display of fall foliage.

Avoiding the summer months can also help you avoid the high temperatures that can make sightseeing more difficult.

What to Pack for Uzbekistan?

When planning a trip to Uzbekistan, it’s important to consider the cultural customs and climate of the country. As it is a relatively conservative country, it is best to dress modestly, particularly when visiting religious sites such as mosques or mausoleums.

Usually, when you are visiting religious sites, you need to cover your arms and legs (not required to cover your head). I usually carry a shawl with me so that I can cover myself up if needed. Outside of the religious sites, sleeveless tops or knee-length dresses are mostly fine. I have seen only a handful of people wearing shorts here — it’s not too common outside of Tashkent.

bolo hauz mosque

In terms of climate, summers can be quite hot, so it’s essential to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Pack light and airy clothing that can help you to stay cool during the daytime. And, pack a light sweater or a jacket to keep yourself warm during the evening. It is also a good idea to pack a reusable water bottle preferably with water filter to keep yourself hydrated.

Other items to consider packing include a universal adapter as the electrical outlets in Uzbekistan are different from India, and a small first aid kit. It is also a good idea to bring a guidebook or a translation app like Google Translate to help you navigate and communicate with locals.


Uzbekistan is a multilingual country, with the official language being Uzbek, which belongs to the Turkic language family. It is spoken by the majority of the population and is used in official government and educational settings. However, Russian is also widely spoken and understood, particularly in urban areas. It is considered the language of business and is often used as a second language in schools. Therefore, if you plan to visit Uzbekistan, it would be beneficial to learn a few key phrases in both Uzbek and Russian to navigate through the country more easily.

Key Phrases in Uzbekistan

  • Salom (sa-lom) – Hello
  • Rahmat (rah-mat) – Thank you
  • Mening ismim (me-ning is-mim) – My name is
  • Men yerga borishni istayman (men yer-ga bo-rish-ni is-tay-man) – I want to go there
  • Qancha? (kancha) – How much?
  • Yaxshi (yah-shi) – Good
  • Men sizga kuting (men siz-ga ku-ting) – I love you
  • Men sizga xush kelibsiz (men siz-ga kush kel-ib-siz) – Nice to meet you.
  • “Xayr” (hayr) – Goodbye

Key Phrases in Russian

  • Privyet (pree-vyet) – Hello
  • Spasibo (spa-see-ba) – Thank you
  • Menya zovut (men-ya zovut) – My name is
  • Ya khachu tuda (ya khachu too-da) – I want to go there
  • Skol’ko stoit? (skol-ko sto-it) – How much?
  • Xorosho (kharasho) – Good
  • Ya vas lyublyu (ya vas lyub-lyu) – I love you
  • Ochen’ priyatno poznakomit’sya (o-chen’ pri-ya-tna poz-na-ko-mitsya) – Nice to meet you.
  • Do svidaniya (das-vee-da-ni-ya) – Goodbye

If you are a vegetarian, use the phrase “bes myasa” which means “without meat” in Russian. This would help you find vegetarian food in Uzbekistan and in general, Central Asia.

Download These Apps Before Traveling to Uzbekistan

Travel Budget in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a budget-friendly destination for travelers, with a daily average travel budget of around $50 per day. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. However, this budget can vary depending on your style of travel and the type of accommodation you choose.

For example, if you opt for budget-friendly accommodations such as homestays or guesthouses, you can expect to spend less than $30 per day. On the other hand, if you prefer more luxurious accommodations, you can expect to spend more, around $70 per day.

Additionally, food costs in Uzbekistan are relatively low, with a meal at a local restaurant costing around $3-$10. Transportation costs are also reasonable, with public transportation and local taxis being affordable options. To budget for a 10-day trip to Uzbekistan, on an average, you would need around $500, excluding flights and e-visa costs.

shah-i-zinda complex in Samarkand

Border Crossings

If you plan to do an overland trip through the stans, it is quite possible. Most of the border crossings involving Uzbekistan are simple and straightforward. Make sure to carry a copy of the visa wherever required. And check the Caravanistan forum for the latest updates.

Due to the unique geography of Uzbekistan, there are 17 border crossing options between Uzbekistan and its neighboring countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. (Note that this is exclusive of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan).

Samarkand – Panjakent

I ended up crossing the border both ways. First when I went from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan. And then my plan was to cross to Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan. But due to border tensions, this route was closed in 2022. So, I had to take a longer route from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan (through Panjakent – Samarkand border crossing), and then cross over to Kyrgyzstan from Uzbekistan. Some border crossings might be more difficult or impossible to cross than others. So, it’s best to do research beforehand if you are planning to do an overland border crossing.

First, take a shared taxi to go to the Uzbekistan border from Samarkand. It takes about 1 hour to reach the border. The border crossing is straightforward and hassle-free. Expect to take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour at the border. In another 30 minutes, you’d be at Panjakent – the closest town to the border. If you are planning to go all the way to Dushanbe, then start the day early from Samarkand.

Tashkent – Bishkek

I booked an overnight bus from Tashkent to Bishkek. It’s about a 12-hour journey along with the border crossings. My only concern with this crossing is that this route also passes through Kazakhstan, so it’s double the security procedures. And crossing the borders here isn’t as easy or simple as crossing borders in Europe.

Here’s how it works:

  • Exit Uzbekistan
  • Enter Kazakhstan
  • Exit Kazakhstan
  • Enter Kyrgyzstan

You need to de-board the bus, take off your luggage, pass it through security, submit the documents at immigration, put the luggage back on the bus, and board the bus at every checkpoint. Doing this four times isn’t easy. And navigating questions from border officials in the middle of the night can be rough.

Taraz – Tashkent

Booked a ride from Taraz to Shymkent through InDriver, a ride-sharing app. From Shymkent, I found local taxis to go to the border.

At the checkpoint, it took about 30 minutes to finish the security and immigration procedures.

Once on the Uzbekistan side, I took a taxi from the border to Tashkent.

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling to Uzbekistan

Is Uzbekistan Good For Tourists?

Uzbekistan is a great destination for tourists for many reasons. First, it is easy to enter the country with a visa-free or e-visa process available for 143 countries, including India. This makes it easy for travelers to plan their trip and obtain the necessary documents.

Uzbekistan is also rich in historical monuments and iconic architecture, making it a great destination for culture and history enthusiasts. The country’s Silk Road connection is evident in the stunning historical monuments in Bukhara and Khiva which are considered open-air museums.

trading domes bukhara

Finally, Uzbekistan is a budget-friendly destination, with the cost of travel being relatively low. With a daily average travel budget of around $50 per day, travelers can enjoy all that the country has to offer without breaking the bank. All of these factors combined make Uzbekistan an excellent destination for tourists.

Is Uzbekistan Safe?

Uzbekistan is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. The country has a low crime rate and incidents of violence against tourists are rare. The government has also implemented measures to ensure the safety of tourists, such as the presence of tourist police. Tourist police can be found near major tourist attractions and are there to assist and protect tourists. They speak English and are trained to handle any issues that may arise, such as lost or stolen passports, and they can provide general information and assistance.

It’s worth noting that as in any other place, tourists should always be aware of their surroundings, and keep an eye on their personal belongings, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation. Avoid carrying a lot of cash, and keep copies of your passport and other important documents in a safe place. It is also recommended to avoid walking alone in isolated or poorly lit areas at night.

Overall, Uzbekistan is a relatively safe destination for tourists, and by following basic safety precautions, travelers can have an enjoyable and memorable experience exploring the country’s rich culture and history.

How Many Days Do You Need In Uzbekistan?

When planning a trip to Uzbekistan, it’s important to consider how much time you have available and what you want to see and do. A typical itinerary for a first-time visitor would recommend 7-10 days in Uzbekistan, allowing you to see the main highlights of the country.

islam karimov monument in samarkand

Do You Need A Guide In Uzbekistan?

While a local Uzbek or Russian-speaking guide might come in quite handy here, it isn’t necessary to hire a private tour guide for your journey in Uzbekistan. Most of the major tourist cities have English signage in the tourist areas. Also, you can hire English-speaking tour guides at the major tourist attractions to learn more about the history of the monuments. I traveled solo in Uzbekistan and got by very easily.

Is It Cheap To Travel To Uzbekistan?

I’d say yes. Owing to the currency conversions (10,000 Uzbekistan Som ~ 1 USD ~ 80 INR) and lower cost of living, it’s more budget-friendly to travel to Uzbekistan. If you opt for budget-friendly accommodations such as homestays or guesthouses, you can expect to spend less than $30 per day.

But is it really the “Cheapest Country In The World” like the internet claims?

According to the World Wide Cost of Living Report 2022 by the Economist, Tashkent is the 5th Cheapest city in the world out of 172 cities that were considered in this report.

Regarding the cost of living reports of countries, I couldn’t find a reliable source to substantiate the claim. The reports that I found on the internet were inconsistent when it came to rankings. The only consistent thing in the reports is that Uzbekistan is in the top 20 cheapest countries in the world.

So let’s leave it at that.

What Should You Avoid In Uzbekistan?

It is advisable to avoid drinking water from the tap, even in hotels or hostels. Some hotels or hostels may provide boiled water as an alternative for guests, however, it’s always a good idea to double-check with the staff.

Another option is to bring a water filtration device such as a Lifestraw or Be Free. These devices can help to remove harmful bacteria and impurities from water, making it safe to drink. It’s a convenient and eco-friendly way to ensure access to safe drinking water while traveling, especially when you’re on the go!

Can You Drink Beer In Uzbekistan?

While Uzbekistan is a conservative Muslim country, it is not strict with alcohol as other countries in the Middle East or the Maldives. Alcohol consumption is part of daily life for many people in Uzbekistan, and it is widely available for purchase in stores. The Soviet Union introduced vodka and other alcoholic drinks to the country, and it has since become a part of the culture. However, it’s worth noting that strict Muslims refrain from drinking alcohol.

As a female traveler, you may wonder if it’s okay to drink beer in Uzbekistan, and it’s totally fine. You can easily find good restaurants, cafes, and clubs in Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara where you can drink beer, wine, vodka, and other alcoholic drinks. Additionally, you can buy alcohol in the store, usually, you will find it in the section where the signs of “вино”, “водка”, and “алкоголь” in Russian are written.

It’s worth noting that even though alcohol is widely available and part of daily life, it’s important to be aware of the cultural norms and customs and to always drink responsibly.

Is A Covid Test Needed to Enter Uzbekistan?

As of 13th Jan 2023, you don’t need a Covid test. But it’s always better to check the embassy website in your country to get the latest information.

Do You Need Registration Slips in Uzbekistan?

registan square in samarkand

Before 2018, it was mandatory for tourists to have registration slips for every day in Uzbekistan accounted for, and failure to do so could result in arrest and deportation. However, in 2018, when Uzbekistan finally opened to tourists with a relaxed visa policy, the government announced that the registration system would be phased out, and as of July 1, 2020, the registration slips are not required anymore.

However, in 2022, it seems that the registration system is still in place. A few travelers that I crossed paths with told me that they were asked to show the slips at the border or the airport, while others have not been asked. I haven’t been asked to show registration slips, although I made sure that I had all the registration slips in place in case they did.

Given the confusing and inconsistent information, it’s best to be prepared and ask your hotel or hostel to provide a registration slip free of charge and keep it with you during your trip, as you may be asked for it at the border or airport. This can help you avoid any potential issues.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Uzbekistan is an excellent destination for travelers who are looking for a unique blend of culture, history, and adventure. Also, the country is budget-friendly and easy to navigate, with well-developed transportation infrastructure, making it easy to get around between cities. Additionally, Uzbekistan is considered a safe destination and has implemented measures to ensure the safety of tourists.

Anything else you’d like to know about traveling to Uzbekistan? Anything you’d like to add to this ultimate Uzbekistan travel guide? Let me know in the comments below. If this blog post helped you in planning a trip to this wonderful country, then feel free to tag me on Instagram @therovingheart. I’d be happy to hear from you!

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