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Uzbekistan

Money & costs

Money

Few currencies burn a hole in your pocket like the Uzbek sum. The highest Uzbek note (1000S) is worth only about US$0.80. One US$100 bill turns into a satchel full of ragged bills, usually tied together with a rubber band.

Reform policies have brought the black market and bank rates to similar levels, so there is no longer any desperate need to change on the black market, although this may be the quickest (or only) way of getting sum for US dollars, especially in the provinces. You can usually find black-market money swappers working the bazaars. If you have to go this route, be wary of corrupt police, who may demand ‘fines’.

Credit cards are accepted at an increasing number of midrange and top-end hotels. A select few ATMs can be found in Tashkent.

In the provinces, MasterCard users should look for Asaka Bank for cash advances, while Visa and Amex holders will usually (but not always) be able to get cash advanced at National Bank of Uzbekistan (NBU; full branch list at eng.nbu.com/branches). The NBU is also usually the best bet for cashing travellers cheques. Be sure to list your travellers cheques on your customs declaration form or you won’t be able to cash them.

The US dollar is king in Uzbekistan; bring plenty. Euros and pounds warrant poorer rates and are more difficult to exchange outside of Tashkent. At the time of research, the exchange rates were as follows:

CountryUnitSum

Afghanistan1Afg=24.76

AustraliaA$1=967

euro zone€1=1629

Kazakhstan1T=9.67

Kyrgyzstan1som=31.93

Tajikistan1TJS=360.93

Turkmenistan100M=28.81

UKUK£1=2412

USAUS$1=1238

Hotels, guides and other businesses catering to tourists often list prices in US dollars, but (in theory) it is illegal to pay for goods and services in anything besides Uzbek sum.