Two weeks in Uzbekistan - itinerary brainstorming and a few questions
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Dec 1, 2012 12:51 PM Last Post By: TravelinBri
Aug 16, 2012 9:43 AM
Two weeks in Uzbekistan - itinerary brainstorming and a few questionsHi!
My husband and I have booked tickets to Uzbekistan for mid-late March 2013. I'm tremendously excited, having long dreamed of visiting, and I'm probably going overboard on researching already. I'm trying to square all the things I want to do with what we'll be able to do, realistically. I do wish we could be there longer, but as an American, I am subject to my country's curiously limited vacation allotments. I was wondering if anyone could help me brainstorm a bit on our itinerary - nothing concrete at this point, just playing around.
The musts are, of course, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. And Tashkent, as we fly in and out of there. We will have about 16 full days on the ground, the last of which we'll need to be in Tashkent, like so:
*Arrive TAS at 9 p.m.
14. Thursday :
16. Saturday: Tashkent
*Depart TAS Sunday 4:30 a.m.
I would really like to go to the Ferghana valley, as I'm seeking out textiles and possibly pottery (so Margilon and Rishtan) and we love markets/bazaars.
Other areas of major interest would be Ayaz Qala (I know it's touristy, but the yurt thing has an appeal to me, as do the history and the desert); Nurata area (the homestays and nature really look great - we like to hike, fish, go birding and ride horses); and Nukus (interested in the Savitsky collection and Karakalpakstan). I feel like one of these will have to be cut out - your thoughts? Or if you have alternative thoughts for destinations or day trips, I'd welcome those too! The only thing we've cut out for certain is Moynaq.
Since we get in on a Thursday, I was thinking of heading from Tashkent to the Ferghana Valley right away on Friday. Do you think that'd be possible? Anyone know the logistics of getting from Margilon/Ferghana/wherever in the FV to Samarkand - route, time commitment, etc.? I'm not finding much information on that particular trajectory.
I'm also wondering which of the big three (Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva) is best for backstreet neighborhood wandering away from the main sights, which is something we like to do. Any advice or experiences? We are very interested in the main sights in terms of history and architecture, but weren't sure if one of these cities is better for lingering a bit longer.
At some point I feel compelled to see the Amu Darya close up - spend a few moments on the bank, maybe stick a hand in - any thoughts on the best place to swing that?
We'd like to keep costs in the budget range; for us that means overnight stays to $20-40, eating at modest local places, etc. When it comes to traveling between places, we're open to all forms of transport and would like to sample a variety. If we need to buy a flight or two, that should be OK.
Sorry this is so informal and all over the place - I know TT is often used for more concrete planning. I'm just bursting with excitement.
Aug 18, 2012 3:47 AM
You will surely see a lot in Uzbekistan if you stay there for two weeks.
From Tashkent to Fergana you can get by plane or by car. There are no planes to Samarkand from Fergana, so anyway you will have to come back to Tashkent before you go to Samarkand.
You can spend three days each both in Samarkand and in Bukhara. There is a lot to see there, especially if you are interested in backstreet neibourhood wandering))
I also recommend you to visit the city of Urgut (40 km south from Samarkand). There is a big bazaar of traditional embroydery there and you can also go up into the city (it is on the footsteps of mountains) to visit local families and see ceramic workshops.
There are several yurt camps nearby the city of Nurata, so you can spend some time in the desert of Kyzyl-kum by the lake of Aydarkul.
And you will see river Amudarya just on your way from Bukhara to Khiva.
For Nukus, there is a brilliant collection of russian avangard in the museum of Savitsky, but there is not so much to see there more.
Have good time in Uzbekistan and thank you for showing interest to our country!
Aug 19, 2012 6:38 AM
Aug 20, 2012 6:46 AM
3I traveled between cities almost exclusively with trains and I believe they are the most confy and cheap options,
both stations and trains are clean and well organized.
Admittedly is not easy to book trains if you don't speak any russian but guesthouses are usually able to help.
The only other transport option as turists are shared taxis meaning you'll have to wait for
the car to fill up and you'll be asked twice as much as uzbeks (and the roads are not in very good conditions...).
Aug 20, 2012 11:52 PM
4I have booked trains for my forthcoming UzB. trip via STAN TOURS. They helped me with the LOI and visa stuff and with a domestic flight, booking somewhere to stay in Bukhara and the trains.
Of course they charge a fee but whatever, It makes life easier.
Aug 23, 2012 1:28 AM
5Hi, you can see all around Uzbekistan for 16 days. You'd better start from fergana valley, drive to Ferghana on Friday , it is about 400 km, visit Kokand on the way to ferghana city, visit margilan silk factory and on the way back Rishtan or Andijan. 1-2 nights would be enough to see all around Ferghana valley. But you should return to Tashkent to reach Samarkand, by train or private car and driver.
2-3 nights in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva will be sufficient to see al historical sites and wander about. Guest houses range between 35-45 USD per night , though you can find cheaper ones as well.
Between Samarkand and Bukhara you can either drive to Shahrisabs or Nurata, you can overnight in Nurata or Sentyab village in guest houses or in Yurt camp.
After Bukhara you can drive to Khiva, but it is a long drive now due to reconstruction works on the main road, it may take about 9 hrs to drive to Khiva. You can stay for one night in Yurt at Ayazkala and as the last point you can see Savitskiy musuem in Nukus and evening fly back to tashkent.
There is very good train between Tashkent-Samarkand, Samarkand-Bukhara , Afrosiab train, rides only 2,5 hrs 300 km. It starts at 0800 and arrive at 1030 in Samarkand. You can take train from Bukhara to Urgench (30 km from Khiva), but the train is not so comfortable as Afrosiab. It is old soviet type train without aircondition. I would recommend to hire a car and driver it is about USD120-140 for one way.
Flight from Nukus to Tashkent is around USD80 pp.
If you like easy travel, you 'd better hire a driver and car, it can be around USD90 per day and hotels in each city between USD35-45 per night.
Enjoy your travel.
Aug 23, 2012 1:45 AM
Aug 28, 2012 11:59 AM
7Hi! We just got back from Uzbekistan and it was an amazing trip.
What you could do is fly to Andijan early on the Friday and then take a shared taxi back to Tashkent (or get out in Khokand on the way, nice sights there too. You can probably overnight there).
(the flight schedules change so good to check back regularly).
To get from Tashkent to Khiva, you can actually fly to Urgench which is 30 km away. We did this to save time. It's a one hour flight. Then you could make your way across to Bukhara and Samarkand via train and taxi. You could also do the same in reverse as flights go regularly from Urgench back to Tashkent.
As for the night trains, they are old and Soviet but a fun experience if you're feeling adventurous and can sleep anywhere. They're comfortable if you get the cabin with only 4 beds (platskartny or kuperny, can't remember which), but they stop regularly. It's nice to think that you're both saving a bit on a hotel room and travelling. The thing is, you arrive at your destination in the wee hours feeling very tired and then try to do sightseeing which is tough.
I recommend booking Uzbekistan airways tickets in advance. You can call the airline directly; there are English speaking staff. We tried to turn up at the airport the day before we wanted to fly and were told the flights were full for 4 days. We then went the next day (the day we wanted to fly) and waited in the hope that there would be some no-shows. Luckily there were and we got seats! We probably paid a bit over the normal price but so glad it worked out.
Enjoy, it's an amazing place!!
Dec 1, 2012 12:51 PM
8Hi, I am looking at doing about the same (actually closer to 3 1/2 weeks if a visa will allow, I am also American) and even at the same time, so I would love to hear how your planning is coming, as it sounds like we have similar interests!
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