I hope you enjoyed my Photos from Uzbekistan on Instagram. Here on my Blog I’ll be showing you some more photos and especially sharing more details about traveling in Uzbekistan in general and information’s on places we visited. I’m also posting this for myself, so I can remember these information’s if I want to go back some time, since I know most of you won’t be visiting Uzbekistan. It’s not exactly the typical travel destination although they have some stunning ancient city’s but more to those in another post. We started our journey in Tashkent the capital of Uzbekistan. I used to live here for 8 years so I have most of my memories from here, although I find the city it’s self isn’t that beautiful. You’ll mostly find big soviet buildings, wide streets with 3-4 lanes in every direction and huge parks that have to be watered all day since its very dry there. We went in August, which is surely not the best time to go, since it’s about 40 degrees and way too hot to be outside. I’d recommend going in Fall or Spring.
When traveling in Uzbekistan you need to be registered in a hotel during your entire stay. The hotels will give you those registrations. You’ll need to show that when you exit the country. This also means you can’t sleep in any private homes or camp outside unless you book you hotel room but don’t actually sleep there.
Money: The money situation is kind of difficult. ATMS don’t work or only give you little money at a time so it’s best to take all the money you’ll be spending with you in Dollars. There is an official change rate from Dollar to cym (Som) which you’ll get from the banks. The currenty one is:
1 Dollar = 2984 Cym
At the market you’ll get a way better exchange rate so don’t ever change your money at the bank or withdraw Cym from the ATM. During our stay the exchange rate we got in Tashkent was:
1 Dollar = 6300-6400 Cym (Som)
1 Dollar = 7000 Cym (Som)
You see you get double the amount of money if you change your dollars at the market. Don’t forget to count the money you get at the market. They’ll surely try to cheat you.
Language: People in Uzbekistan speak Uzbek which is similar to Turkish. Since it used to belong to the Soviet Union many speak Russian. Students have English at school, so the younger people will be able to say a few words but that’s about it.
People: People in Usbkeistan are very friendly and love tourist mostly because their still very rare. They love to talk to you and you’ll defiantly make their day if you even speak a few words of Usbek.
Hotel: we stayed at Shodlik Palace which was a good experience. Obviously Uzbek hotels aren’t designed like European ones but we had internet and air conditioning, so we were absolutely happy.
Mustakillik square Tashkent: This is the Independence Square of Usbekistan with a wonderful park behind it.
Zoo: This isn’t exactly a fancy place to go, but that’s what kind of makes it interesting.
Botanical garden is right next to the zoo. It’s basically a big park to walk or bike in. The plant’s them self aren’t very organized or interesting to look at.
Amir Timur is their big hero; you’ll find a statue and a museum about him in Tashkent.
Kukeldash Medressa: This is wear students learned to make theses artistic ornaments out of wood, metal or paint. You can watch them do their hand crafts and also buy the items. You’ll find more of this in Bukhara and Samarkand but Tashkent is less touristy.
Navoi Opera Theater: Defiantly worth watching a ballet.
Circus: Is right next to the Chorsu bazaar. Stop by in the beginning of the week to find out when they shows running (its’ closed during the summer)
Bookstore called “Kitob olami” is newly built and very modern. It’s combined with a nice coffee made by a real barista. This is defiantly the best coffee place in the whole city. In other hotels and restaurants you’re most likely to get instant coffee.
Chorsu Bazaar: Get the real market experience at Chorsu. This is the real Uzbek life, super authentic and the cheapest place to buy anything. Also cheapest place to get all the ornamented plates, cups, dresses, hats that they offer in the more touristy places like Bukhara and Samarkand. This is also where you can change your dollars to Cym (som) . It’s not common to pay in Dollars unless you’re buying something very expensive (50-100 Dollars). Also ask for the Cym and not Dollar price, you’re more likely to get a better price and don’t forget to bargain and ask different dealers to get a feel for the prices before you buy something.
Shopping Mal “Next”: This is like the first real shopping mall in Uzbekistan and is a big sensation for all Uzbek’s. This also includes a super market to buy food which is also very, very new. Uzbek’s normally shop at the market.
As always the best food is local food. You can get pizza but they don’t have mozzarella so it’s never going to taste like an Italian Pizza. You can get burger but it’s not going to taste like the ones we`re used to. The best place for pizza and burger is “Orzu Food Land” near walking street where you can also buy paintings. You’ll also find a shopping mall and a designer outlet here. Stores and restaurants come and go in Uzbekistan so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t exist in 2-3 years. That’s also what makes looking for restaurants on trip advisor hard. But in that case you’ll probably find some other restaurants around that place.
In Local restaurant’s you find:
Osh (Plov – in Russian): Is a rice dish with meat and Uzbekistan’s national dish. An absolut must!
Shaslik: Grilled meat on a stick (you’ll find quite some images on google)
Samsa: Triangle filled with meat.
Salad: The typical Uzbek salad is made of tomato, cucumber and onion. Most people eat that with Osh.
Lagman: Noodle soup with meat
Best way to get around is the metro. Current price is 1200 Cym (which is like 20 cent) Taxi is also a great way to travel. We payed something between 4000-8000 Cym for 10-20 min ride. That’s not even a dollar.