Ultimate Uzbekistan Travel Guide – Travel Tips and Important Information

Travel to Uzbekistan

How to Travel to Uzbekistan Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide

Uzbekistan is a land of contrasts, where ancient history and modern culture coexist in harmony. This country in Central Asia was once a part of the legendary Silk Road, the trade route that connected Europe and Asia for centuries. Today, you can explore its rich heritage of Islamic art and architecture, marvel at its natural beauty and diversity, and enjoy its delicious cuisine and hospitality. Whether you are looking for adventure, culture, or relaxation, Uzbekistan has something for everyone.

If you are planning a trip to Uzbekistan or somewhere you want to visit, you’ve come to the right place to find everything you need to visit this amazing country.

The basics – a travel guide to Uzbekistan

Here, you will find the basic things to know before you embark on your Uzbekistan travel adventure! I will take you through safety, timings, money, how to travel around, what apps you might need, and the major cities to add to your itinerary.

Is it safe to travel to Uzbekistan right now?

Absolutely. Uzbekistan is safe to travel to and within. However, like any destination, it’s essential to exercise caution and stay informed about current events and any travel advisories that may be in place. Taking standard safety precautions such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and keeping your belongings secure is also recommended. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations. Before travelling, I advise checking the latest travel advisories from your government or consulting with a reputable travel agency or tour operator for any specific safety concerns related to your itinerary.

Solo female travel in Uzbekistan

As a solo female traveller, I never doubted my safety in Uzbekistan for a second. The Uzbek people are incredibly welcoming and helpful. Uzbekistan offered me a unique and enriching travel experience, and I highly recommend it to other solo travellers looking for a safe and welcoming destination.

Solo female travel in Uzbekistan

Do You Need a Visa to Visit Uzbekistan?

For initial visa information, I always check the Passport Index website. At the moment, Uzbekistan is impressively ranked 29th for welcoming visitors from around the world, either visa-free or with an e-visa application. That equates to 93 countries that can enter Uzbekistan visa-free! Travelling on an Australian passport, I didn’t need a visa for Uzbekistan. At passport control, I simply received my stamp to enter the country, and that was it. 

When is the Best time to visit Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan has a continental climate, which means it has hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit Uzbekistan is in spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November), when the weather is mild and pleasant, and the landscape is colourful and vibrant. Spring and autumn are also the peak seasons for cultural events, such as festivals, concerts, and exhibitions. You can enjoy the beauty and diversity of Uzbekistan’s nature, history, and culture, without suffering from the extreme heat or cold.

Did I take this advice? No. I travelled to Uzbekistan in August. Did I regret it? Also no. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was super hot, especially in Khiva and Bukhara (most days were over 35°C). But I adjusted the way I travelled to make my experience more comfortable. My strategy was to leave my hotel in the morning and go sightseeing, then return around lunchtime for a nap and to cool down. I would venture back out again in the afternoon when it had cooled off. For me, this was a new way to travel. I usually go hard all day, so having to slow down a bit was surprisingly enjoyable!

Money and currency in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s official currency is the Uzbekistani som (UZS). The som is divided into 100 tiyin, but coins are rarely used. I didn’t even see any coins while on my trip. The som’s exchange rate fluctuates, but as of February 2024, one US dollar is worth about 12,475 som. Cash is the most common and preferred way of payment in Uzbekistan, as credit cards are not widely accepted. Cash was the preferred method of payment for the hotels in Uzbekistan which I stayed in. Admittedly, they were more on the budget side.

When withdrawing from an ATM, ensure it accepts international cards. Not all ATMs were able to accept my card. If you’re flying in, grab some cash before leaving the terminal. I stayed at Hotel Uzbekistan in Tashkent, and they had international ATMs just behind the lobby. Cash money in Uzbekistan will be required throughout your trip.

Do you tip in Uzbekistan?

Tipping, while always appreciated, is not expected. 

However, if you need a public restroom, you will need to pay 1000-2000 Som to use the toilet. This is usually paid to an attendant who looks after the facility. The toilet situation in Uzbekistan surprised me, as so many public toilets are available! Great work, Uzbekistan!

Religion in Uzbekistan

The majority of people in Uzbekistan follow the Islamic faith. Islam has a long history in Uzbekistan, dating back to the 8th century when Arab invaders brought the religion to the region. Islam influenced the culture of Uzbekistan, as well as the architecture and literature, for centuries until the Soviet era, when it faced repression and restriction. After Uzbekistan gained its independence in 1991, Islam experienced a revival and many mosques and Islamic schools were reopened or built.

So, if you’re wondering what to wear in Uzbekistan, I would say to dress respectfully, ensuring knees and shoulders are covered. If you intend to visit any of the mosques, you will need to dress accordingly. For women, that means covering all the way to the wrists and ankles and covering your hair. 

Uzbekistan travel tips – how to get there and get around

What is the best way to get to Uzbekistan?

Arriving in Uzbekistan will be determined by your starting location. You can arrive by air, land, or train.

For me, I took an Abu Dhabi to Samarkand flight on the budget carrier, Wizz Air. There are many international airports, so it depends on what cities of Uzbekistan you are planning on visiting, which will depend on where you choose to fly into.

There are 11 airports in Uzbekistan. Six of them are international airports, and they are:

  • Tashkent Airport
  • Samarkand Airport
  • Bukhara Airport
  • Urgench Airport
  • Termez Airport
  • Navoi Airport

Uzbekistan also has other airports, such as Nukus Airport, Fergana International Airport, Karshi Airport, and Sary Asiya Airport. The national airline is Uzbekistan Airways. I flew with them from Samarkand to Tashkent and then from Tashkent to Urgench.

If you are coming from a nearby country, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan, land options will be available by car or bus. Alternatively, you can also use an international rail network from these neighbouring countries.

Getting around Uzbekistan

Your itinerary may mean you need to travel around the country. Don’t worry; it’s actually really easy to travel around Uzbekistan. I took two domestic flights, three long-distance trains, and the metro in Tashkent, and I used plenty of taxis and Grabs.

The domestic flights I took were Samarkand to Tashkent and Tashkent to Urgench. The Samarkand to Tashkent flight was a very quick 40-minute flight. It was so quick that the seatbelt sign was never removed. I booked a business-class flight for only $50 one day before the flight. I will probably never book another business-class flight again, so I figured I’d splurge!

Long-distance train travel was my preferred option for returning from Khiva to Samarkand. Working in the rail industry, I have a soft spot for trains. If your style of travel is also by trains, you will love trying out the different types of trains in Uzbekistan. Try and get a seat on the high-speed Afrosiyob trains! 

Things you need to know about booking the train

Tickets go on sale 45 days in advance of the day of operation. Make sure you set a reminder to log on and book your tickets. The seats sell out fast! I missed out on one day altogether (that’s why I flew from Samarkand to Tashkent), and on another day, I could only get a non-airconditioned sleeper berth (for a 6-hour train journey on a day it was almost 40°C!) So when I say to set a reminder, I mean it!! 

Silk road cities of Uzbekistan

Useful travel apps for Uzbekistan

Yandex Go

The equivalent of Uber in Uzbekistan is Yandex Go. If there’s one app you need, it is this one. The fares are super reasonable, tending towards too cheap at times! While in the major cities in Uzbekistan, you will have access to Yandex Go. On my trip, I visited the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, then went to Khiva, Bukhara and finished in Samarkand. During my trip, Khiva was the only place with no cars linked to the app. Although, I am sure that will change in time. I was super glad for the convenience the Yandex Go cars provided me.


I am all about convenience and connectivity these days, so I organised my eSim before stepping on the plane. Sure, I could have bought a cheaper tourist SIM when I arrived, but I didn’t want to find myself without internet in Uzbekistan. I had great coverage in every city. The only place I didn’t was on the train trips, which is to be expected when travelling such great distances across isolated landscapes.

Google Translate

Basic English is spoken, but it is not widespread. This doesn’t bother me at all, as I don’t expect anyone to be able to speak English in countries where English isn’t the mother tongue. That’s where an app like Google Translate comes in handy! If you need to ask anything, you can run it through the translation for ease of communication. 

Tourism in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is definitely a touristic place. When somewhere is so beautiful, it would be hard to imagine it otherwise. One of the things I was most surprised to learn about is that the majority of travellers in Uzbekistan are locals!

You will find so many amazing souvenirs in Uzbekistan. I picked up the most awesome book stand for my son, a traditional handmade scarf for my eldest daughter, and a traditionally embroidered pillow for my youngest daughter. I love buying traditional handmade gifts, and Uzbekistan has preserved a lot of their artisans and crafts, which makes for excellent souvenir shopping!

Planning a trip to Uzbekistan

Silk Road Cities of Uzbekistan

I know you’re thinking that the above travel resources are great, but you probably just want to know the best places to visit in Uzbekistan are! Like, hurry up and get to the point, Beth! Ok, ok. If you are planning to visit Uzbekistan, the following would be the first places to make your itinerary. I would suggest you visit all these cities even if you only had a week in Uzbekistan. If you have longer, it would make for a more comfortable and less stressful trip.


Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, and a fascinating destination for travelers who want to explore the rich history and culture of this Central Asian gem. Tashkent offers a variety of attractions, from ancient mosques and madrasas to modern museums and parks. Some highlights include the Khast Imam complex, which houses the world’s oldest Qur’an, the Chorsu Bazaar, where you can shop for local crafts and spices, and the Navoi Theatre, where you can watch opera and ballet performances. Tashkent is also a great base for day trips to the nearby Chimgan Canyon, a scenic natural wonder with hiking and skiing opportunities. Tashkent is a city that will surprise and delight you with its diversity and charm.


Home of the Registan, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Uzbekistan. If you only had one day in Uzbekistan, I recommend spending it here. Samarkand is one of the most ancient and splendid cities in the world, and a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Silk Road. Samarkand boasts some of the most impressive monuments of Islamic architecture, including the Registan, the Gur-e-Amir, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, and the Shah-i-Zinda. 


According to local legend, Genghis Khan arrived in Bukhara around 100 years after the construction of the Kalan Minaret. When he arrived at the minaret, he looked up at it, and when he put his head back, his hat fell off. It is said that he never bowed to anything, but the minaret made him bow to it. He was so amazed by its height and beauty that he ordered it to be spared from the destruction that his army inflicted on the rest of the city. No visit to Uzbekistan is complete without seeing the minaret that Genghis Khan spared.


Be sure to visit the beautiful Khiva. This ancient walled city has been preserved beautifully. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (as are many others mentioned in this guide!) However, given it is one of the cities most furthest away from Tashkent, there are fewer tourists here than at other locations. This ancient city feels more relaxed and calmer. If you have time in Uzbekistan, it is worth making the trip to see Khiva.

Best time to visit Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan food

Food in Uzbekistan is diverse and delicious and reflects the country’s history and culture. Uzbekistan was a key part of the Silk Road, a trade route network connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa. As a result, Uzbek food has been influenced by various cuisines, such as Turkish, Persian, Chinese, Indian, and Russian. Some of the most common ingredients in Uzbek food are meat, rice, noodles, bread, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and spices.

The most famous and popular dish in Uzbekistan is plov, a rice pilaf cooked with meat, carrots, onions, garlic, and raisins. Plov is considered the national dish of Uzbekistan and is often served on special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. Another popular dish is shashlik, skewered meat grilled over charcoal. Shashlik can be made with lamb, beef, chicken, or fish and is usually served with bread, salad, and sauce. Other typical dishes in Uzbekistan include Lagman, a noodle soup with meat and vegetables; manti, steamed dumplings filled with meat and onions; samsa, baked pastries with various fillings; and shurpa, a meat and vegetable broth.

Accommodation in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a country that offers a wide range of accommodation options for travellers, from luxury hotels to budget hostels, from heritage B&Bs to rural homestays. Depending on your preferences, budget, and itinerary, you can choose the best place to stay in Uzbekistan and enjoy its history, culture, and nature. One of the highlights for me was staying in Hotel Uzbekistan. I’d seen it in so many YouTube videos, so I made sure to book a night there! Otherwise, I stayed in pretty basic accommodation on the lower end of the price scale to ensure I got good value for money. Everywhere I stayed was beautifully clean and well looked after, even at the cheaper price. I booked my accommodation through booking sites such as Agoda and Booking.com unless there was a direct website for the hotel I picked.

Final thoughts

I hope this complete travel guide has been useful and tells you everything you need to know when planning to travel to Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is a great country that will surprise and delight you with its diversity and hospitality. Whether interested in history, culture, nature, or adventure, you will find something to suit your taste and budget in this amazing destination. From the stunning architecture of the Silk Road cities to the colourful bazaars and crafts of the rural villages, from the modern metropolis of Tashkent to the desert yurt camps and the Aral Sea, Uzbekistan has something for everyone. With visa-free travel, high-speed trains, and friendly locals, Uzbekistan is easier and more enjoyable to explore than ever before. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful countries. Book your trip to Uzbekistan today and get ready for an unforgettable experience.

More to come

If you want a detailed itinerary of where to go in Uzbekistan, I am in the process of writing it up! Check back soon!

Otherwise, check out my videos on YouTube.

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