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Highlights of Uzbekistan
8 days
Uzbekistan - Trip code UH

Highlights of Uzbekistan

This short and fast paced adventure showcases Uzbekistan's legendary Silk Road cities. We meander through a maze of twisted alleyways, discovering hidden medieval mosques and madrassahs within the walled city of Khiva. Following the old caravan route south through an expanse of desert we drive to Bokhara, where we can barter for handmade silk carpets or beautifully decorated ceramics in ancient trading domes. Finally in Samarkand we find ourselves in awe of the outstanding Islamic monuments dominating Registan Square.

Trip highlights

  • Tashkent - Explore the flamboyantly decorated stations of the Metro
  • Khiva - Step back in time in this medieval walled town
  • Bokhara - Barter for a bargain in the ancient Trading Domes
  • Samarkand - Marvel at the epic monuments in Registan Square
  • Silk Road - Learn about the colourful history of Uzbekistan
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Full on
Full on paced trips are for travellers who like their holidays packed with activities and experiences, moving on quickly from place to place with lots of early starts and long, busy days. Some may find them tiring, but others get a buzz from packing their precious holiday-time as chock-a-block full of new experiences as possible!
Group Size:
12 - 18
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Tashkent

Join the trip in Tashkent. Today has been left free with no planned activities, as most international flights arrive into the city late this evening or early the following morning.

Accommodation: Hotel Uzbekistan(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Free morning, afternoon city sightseeing

This morning has been left free to relax. Our tour starts this afternoon in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Although, the city had an ancient past on the Silk Road, much of its architectural heritage was destroyed in the earthquake of 1966. The city, then under Soviet rule, was rebuilt with grand building, spacious avenues and urban parks, and became the fourth largest city of the former USSR. After settling into our hotel, we head out with a local guide. Our sightseeing tour includes various points of interest around the city, such as Independence Square, Navoi Theatre, Abu Khasim madrassah and the Earthquake Monument. We also have the opportunity to take a ride for 2-3 stops on the Tashkent Metro, which boasts some flamboyantly decorated stations, reminiscent of those in Moscow.

Accommodation: Hotel Uzbekistan(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Fly to Urgench and drive to Khiva; explore medieval walled city

This morning, we fly to Urgench in western Uzbekistan. A further 40-minute bus journey takes us to the remarkable ancient walled city of Khiva. By the time the Arabs arrived in the 8th century, Khiva was one of three important cities which dominated the region. Its strategic position on the Volga branch of the Silk Road made it a much sought-after imperial asset, with the British and Russians vying for sovereignty throughout the 19th century as part of the 'Great Game'. In 1873, it fell to the Russians as both Samarkand and Bokhara had already done. A 1970s Soviet conservation programme restored much of the city, turning it into what is effectively an open air museum. We begin our exploration in the afternoon on foot and discover winding alleyways, hidden mosques, tombs and palaces. It is worth climbing the steps of the Dzhuma Minaret for a panoramic view of the maze of streets below. This evening, you may choose to explore a bit more of the city after dark, when magical moonlit silhouettes make it even more spectacular giving a feel of being in the 'Arabian Nights'.

Accommodation: Orient Star Khiva (Formerly Madrassah Khiva)(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Drive through vast desert plains to Bokhara

We recommend exploring the Khiva a little further before breakfast, while the city sleeps and before the souvenir stalls are set up, giving a wonderful feeling of stepping back in time. After breakfast we drive though the expansive desert plains to Bokhara. Passing old caravanserais we make a stop at a tea house for a barbeque lunch for those who would like to eat there. We reach Bokhara by the late afternoon. As home to the famous Islamic poets, Firdausa and Rudaki, Bokhara is considered by some to be the 'Bastion of Islam'. The town retains much of its Uzbek character and has more than 140 unique monuments. We have the chance to stretch our legs this evening as we head out on foot to explore the charming Lyabi-i-Haus area where we find a city pond, which once supplied the city's water supply, and a selection of restaurants, where you may wish to tray 'pilov' the national dish of rice and mutton.

Accommodation: Hotel Mosque Baland(or similar)

Simple Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - In Bokhara, discover architectural sights; free afternoon to explore

During this morning's sightseeing we see the striking blue-tiled Abdul Khan madrassah and the 9th century Mghoki Arrar Mosque. We will also visit the Kalyan minaret, which, as the tallest monument in town, is known as the 'Tower of Death' from which prisoners were once hurled to their doom. In addition, we will visit the trading domes that are the most famous symbol of Bokharan architecture. Located on a busy crossroads of the ancient Silk Road, this cluster of domed buildings was the centre for all manner of commerce. Today four remaining domes serve as the location of the city's bazaar. The afternoon has been left free with an option to visit the Emir's Summer Palace, known as the 'Palace of Moon-like Stars'. Here, we will see the famous White Hall, which took 30 architects two years to construct. Alternatively, you may wish to visit a local hammam for an invigorating massage; barter for a bargain in the ancient trading domes or simply wander the backstreets of the old town maybe stopping off at a 'chaikhana', a local tea house, for a refreshing 'ziloni chai' green tea!

Accommodation: Hotel Mosque Baland(or similar)

Simple Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Drive to Samarkand; city sightseeing including Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum

We spend the morning driving to Samarkand. Stormed by Alexander the Great and reduced to ashes by Genghis Khan, Samarkand was nevertheless transformed into the most glittering city in Transoxiana by Tamerlane, who made it his capital in the 14th century. Even today, the monumental scale of the buildings overwhelms visitors, and the city's cosmopolitan feel can be a surprise. This afternoon's sightseeing takes us to Ulug-Beg Observatory, considered to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic World. It was here that Ulug-Beg, the great medieval astronomer, built his gigantic sextant which enabled him to calculate the length of a year to within just 10 seconds. We also visit the wonderful Shah-i-Zinda - a beautifully-tiled necropolis of tombs, mosques and mausoleums belonging to Tamerlane's family, friends and the prophet Mohammad's cousin.

Accommodation: Zarina Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - In Samarkand, visit Registan Square; free afternoon to explore

This morning we continue exploring Samarkand. We see the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once the largest in Central Asia; it was built by Tamerlane with loot from Indian campaigns and named after his favourite Mongolian wife. We will also visit Gur Emir, the gold-ceilinged tomb of Tamerlane himself. And marvel at Registan, a majestic square framed on three sides by huge blue tiled madrassahs. The afternoon has been left free to explore further at your own pace. You may wish to visit a traditional paper-making factory and a hand-made silk carpet factory, a short drive out of the city, where you can witness these ancient crafts first hand.

Accommodation: Zarina Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Drive to Tashkent airport where the tour ends

We spend the morning driving north to Tashkent airport where our tour ends.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Why book this trip

This tour has been designed for those on little time who want to see the highlight Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bokhara and Samarkand. The tour hits the ground running and you will cram in the highlights as you travel through the country. A couple of free afternoons have been factored in for time to discover more at your own pace. Uzbekistan has been named as one of the top emerging destinations of 2015.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 7
Transport
  • Bus
  • Flight
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
  • Local Guide(s)
Accommodation
  • 5 nights standard hotel
  • 2 nights simple hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
Read more
FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

Uzbekistan Trips

Climate

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit, when the temperatures are mild and there is the chance of occasional rains. April can bring colourful blooms to the normally barren desert landscapes, whilst summer days in the cities and desert can be very hot, when the temperatures can reach as high as 50°.

Time difference to GMT

+5

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Islam, predominantly Sunni, Eastern Orthodox

Language

Uzbek, Russian, Tajik

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Bokhara - Hammam: US$20 pp (40 mins) / Use of swimming pool at Hotel Asia US$10 pp / Excursion to Emir's Palace 5US$ pp Samarkand - Excursion to Silk Carpet Factory and Paper Making Factory 3US$ pp

Clothing

Light-weight natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are most suitable for the hot summers of Central Asia, it is best to avoid synthetic fabrics as temperatures can get very hot in the summer months. During spring and autumn temperatures are cooler, so warmer layers are recommended. The region is traditionally Muslim so brief shorts and skirts, or clothes that are revealing or tight offend local sensibilities. Women should bring a headscarf as this may necessary for some mosque visits. Please pack a swimming costume.

Footwear

Good quality, comfortable shoes/trainers and sandals.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and a daysac.

Equipment

Bring sunscreen, a sunhat and a water bottle . An umbrella is recommended for shade.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly please allow approximately £15 for tips. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.
Country Information

Uzbekistan Trips

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£6.00 - 10.00
Beer price
£1.4
Water price
£0.7
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Sum
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Take your spending money in US$ cash, as many bars and shops only accept hard currency (and often lack the facility to change travellers cheques). We recommend you take new (post 1990), good condition dollar bills in small denominations.
Where To Exchange
Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
Very limited, do not rely upon this.
Credit Card Acceptance
Limited usually to larger outlets and restaurants.
Travellers Cheques
Not recommended.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Flight

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

Uzbekistan: Visas are required for all nationalities. Visas can be obtained through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK; Visaswift, at http://www.visaswift.com/explore.aspx. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. We strongly recommend that you obtain a visa that expires a day after the tour finishes to allow for flight delays. Some nationalities (not UK citizens) may be required to provide authorisation documents from the Uzbekistan authorities to support their visa application. Please contact your nearest embassy to check the requirements. If you require an authorisation letter please contact Explore as soon as possible after confirming your holiday. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure and check that your visa dates match your dates of travel.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Uzbekistan Trips

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on the need for and different prophylaxis available against malaria. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option

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