Best of Uzbekistan Tour

Highlights of Uzbekistan

Take a guided tour to explore Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, the gems of the ancient Silk Road.

Days

8

Price

€1540

Briefing

Comfort level:

Physical rating:

Group size: Max 12 persons

Countries: Uzbekistan

Route:

  • Tashkent
  • Khiva
  • Bukhara
  • Samarkand
  • Tashkent

Themes: Cultural Tours

Experience the best of the Silk Road cities during Kalpak Travel’s classic Uzbekistan tour. Now protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these ancient settlements were formed by nomads and conquerors, and the flourishing of Islam and the great Timurid Empire left a permanent architectural legacy. Mosques, madrassas, fortresses, and unforgettable landscapes await, with views ranging from fertile valleys to open steppe and never-ending deserts…

highlights

  • Tour modern Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital and the largest city in Central Asia
  • Explore the remarkably well-preserved city of Khiva, an open-air museum surrounded by mud-brick walls
  • Visit the charming Old City of Bukhara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover ancient Khorezm, including the ruined fortresses of Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala
  • Be wowed by the spectacular Registan and the other architectural wonders of Samarkand
  • Experience the hustle and bustle of Uzbekistan’s bazaars
  • Learn about traditional crafts such as making paper from mulberry in Samarkand.

 

ITINERARY & MAP

Tashkent Amir Timur statue on the main square

Welcome to Uzbekistan! Transfer to the hotel and early check-in at the hotel. You can have a rest after your long flight, take a shower, and have breakfast before meeting your group and guide in the late morning in the hotel lobby. Today, you will begin an authentic journey deep into the remarkable history of Uzbekistan.

Please note: If you arrive a day early, we can book an extra night for you at the hotel.

Where better to start than a tour of Tashkent? The largest city in Central Asia exhibits a curious blend of Islamic and Soviet influences. We will visit the Old City to find the Khast Imom complex, which houses the historic holy Quran of Caliph Osman. At Chor-Su Bazaar, you will mingle with the bustling crowds of traders. You will visit Amir Timur Square to view the statue of the great conqueror and, nearby, grand Independence Square.

Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar

Silk Road city Khiva in Uzbekistan

Today we will need to get up very early to catch the domestic flight to Urgench, which departs from Tashkent at 7:15 AM. Arriving at Urgench Airport at 8:55 AM, we will then transfer to Khiva (c. 40 min). We will have breakfast in Khiva before starting our walking tour of the city. Khiva is bursting with historical sites, and today you will get a chance to see them all. We will visit the walled inner-city called the Ichan-Kala. There are more than 50 historic monuments, plus hundreds of old houses dating back centuries. The entire citadel is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk through the enormous city gates, you will be confronted by a glistening beacon of Islam, the Kalta Minor, a dazzlingly tiled minaret. This tour will enable you to delve deep into the past and discover all the city sites, including a bird’s eye view from the top of the Islam Khodja Minaret (the highest minaret in Khiva) and a panorama of the Ichan-Kala from atop the Kunya-Ark citadel.

Hotel Zarafshan 3* or similar

Uzbekistan Ayaz Kala fortress

Today you are free to spend a day on your own in Khiva, or to join the half-day trip to the Ayaz Kala and Toprak Kala ruins in the Kyzylkum Desert. If you choose this option, it will require some steep ascents on foot. First, we will drive two hours to Toprak Kala, which was the capital of Khorezm around the 2nd century AD. From there, it is another shaky one-hour drive to Ayaz Kala. According to archeological excavations, the oldest parts of the Ayaz Kala fortress date from the 2nd century BC. It was one of a chain of border fortresses which stretched from east to west and defended the Khiva oasis from attack. Return to Khiva where we will have lunch and free time in the afternoon. Late check-out from the hotel. After dinner, we take the flight to Bukhara, departing at 9:00 PM. Upon arrival at 10:00 PM at Bukhara airport, transfer to the hotel.

Hotel Safiya 3* or similar

Bukhara domes seen on Uzbekistan tour

Bukhara is the second of our UNESCO World Heritage Site stops. The city’s very name -Bukhara – conjures up images of the exotic Orient. For centuries, it was an important trading post and center of scholarship. The Old City has been well preserved and is crammed full of minarets, mosques, and madrassas. Its once-notorious canals and pools, the source of many an epidemic, have now been drained, but the most famous, Lyabi-Hauz, is still there. Today it’s an oasis shaded by mulberry trees in the heart of the city. Your guide will show you the Bukhara’s unmissable sights, and you can soak up the atmosphere wandering through the labyrinthine alleyways. Highlights of today’s walking tour in Bukhara include the Poi Kalon complex, the Ark Fortress, Bolo Hauz Mosque, the Ayub Mausoleum and spring, the bazaars inside Bukhara’s unique trading domes, and the Samanid Mausoleum. The guided tour will end in the early afternoon and you will then have some free time before dinner, which will be in the city.

Hotel Safiya 3* or similar

Chor minor building with four towers in Bukhara

Today morning you can choose to spend some free time in the city or to visit a couple more sights near Bukhara. First, you may visit the Mausoleum of Naqshbandi, 15 km outside the city center. There are many orders in Sufism, all of which have been represented at different times in what is now Uzbekistan. The Naqshbandiyya order has a great and long-lasting influence, and his memorial place is still a popular place of pilgrimage for Sufis. From here, we will visit the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara. In Persian it is called Sitorai Mokhi Hossa, “the place where the moon meets the stars”. Return to Bukhara for lunch.

In the afternoon, on the way to the train station, we will stop to see the Chor Minor Madrassa. The style of the madrassa and its four minarets (chor means “four”) is reminiscent of the Char Minar in Hyderabad, India. Our high-speed train departs from Bukhara at 3:50 PM and we arrive in Samarkand at 5:20 PM. Transfer to the hotel for check-in and dinner.

Hotel Rabat 3* or similar

Uzbekistan tour

Sublime Samarkand evokes an almost mythical past full of romance and intrigue. This was the domain of Emperor Timur, one of history’s greatest (and most ruthless) conquerors. His vast empire rivaled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe. He ruled his kingdom with an iron fist, whilst at the same time patronizing the arts and literature. Much of Samarkand’s Timurid-era architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have been at the peak of Timur’s power. We will start the day with a visit to the Gur-e-Amir, the mausoleum where Timur is buried. Our guide will tell stories from Timur’s life and how and why he began to build in Samarkand. We will then go to the Registan, Samarkand’s central square, which is undeniably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark. This focal point of medieval Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools): Ulugbek, Sherdor, and Tillya Kori. Next, we will stroll through the spacious courtyard of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, an impressively tiled structure that is said to have been gifted to Timur by one of his wives. After lunch, we will have time to explore Siyob Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown in the rich soils of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colorful market. You may explore the city on your own during your free time this evening.

Hotel Rabat 3* or similar

Shahizinda mausoleum photographed by tourists in Samarkand

After breakfast we will check-out from the hotel and continue to explore the fairytale city of Samarkand. We go first to the Shah-i Zinda, a magnificent tiled necropolis; and then visit Ulgubek’s Observatory, which was once the biggest research center in Central Asia. Ulugbek was decades ahead of the West with his observations of the solar system and the Earth, and we will learn more about his story in this prestigious setting. Our next stop will be the Konigil Paper Mill. Here you will see the process of making paper from mulberry tree bark, just as it was done in 8th century Samarkand.  We will enjoy lunch together, after which those who wish to do so can visit Afrasiyab Museum to learn about the ancient city of Samarkand – then known as Afrasiyab – which was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. Alternatively, you may choose to skip the museum and have some extra free time.

We will catch our train to Tashkent late in the afternoon. The train arrives in Tashkent at 7:40 PM, and we will be in time to enjoy dinner in a local restaurant before checking in at the hotel.

Hotel Wyndham 4* or similar

departure passport with stamps

Check-out at the hotel is any time before noon. You will have free time until your transfer to Tashkent International Airport for your flight home.

Inclusions

Transport
Minibus, Train, Airplane
Meals
8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights)
Included Activities
  • Tashkent – city tour
  • Khiva – walking tour
  • Khiva folklore show
  • Bukhara – walking tour
  • Samarkand – city tour
Download PDF

dates & price

You can choose to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or book a private tour on the date of your choice
*
*
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Total trip price

€1540

Euro

8

Days

Single supplement available for €350

Deposit: €500

Departing
Finishing
Status
Booking
3 Oct 2021
10 Oct 2021
+ Available
17 Oct 2021
24 Oct 2021
+ Available
7 Nov 2021
14 Nov 2021
+ Available
26 Dec 2021
2 Jan 2022
+ Available
20 Mar 2022
27 Mar 2022
+ Available
3 Apr 2022
10 Apr 2022
+ Available
10 Apr 2022
17 Apr 2022
+ Available
24 Apr 2022
1 May 2022
+ Available
8 May 2022
15 May 2022
+ Available
5 Jun 2022
12 Jun 2022
+ Available
17 Jul 2022
24 Jul 2022
+ Available
7 Aug 2022
14 Aug 2022
+ Available
4 Sep 2022
11 Sep 2022
+ Available
11 Sep 2022
18 Sep 2022
+ Available
18 Sep 2022
25 Sep 2022
+ Available
25 Sep 2022
2 Oct 2022
+ Available
2 Oct 2022
9 Oct 2022
+ Available
16 Oct 2022
23 Oct 2022
+ Available
6 Nov 2022
13 Nov 2022
+ Available
25 Dec 2022
1 Jan 2023
+ Available
Price includes
  • All transfers by minibus according to the itinerary, as well as your airport, pick up and drop off
  • Accommodation based on double room sharing, incl. early check-in on Day 1
  • English-speaking local tour guide accompanying the group
  • All entrance tickets as per the itinerary
  • Business-class train tickets from Bukhara to Samarkand and from Samarkand to Tashkent
  • Economy class plane tickets for the flights from Tashkent to Urgench and from Urgench to Bukhara
  • Full board (breakfasts, lunches, dinners)
Price does not include
  • International airfares
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, e.g. souvenirs
  • Tips for guides and drivers

Important notes

  • Travel insurance is required for this tour. You are free to choose any insurance company.
  • All listed departures are guaranteed
  • Maximum group size is 12 people
  • A €500 per person deposit is required at the time of booking, and the balance is due 15 days prior to departure. Terms & Conditions: https://kalpak-travel.com/terms-and-conditions/
  • One local English speaking tour leader will accompany the group for the whole trip
  • You can opt to book the whole itinerary as a private tour. We can also arrange extra nights before or after the trip, and suggest private tour extensions in Uzbekistan or neighboring countries.
  • Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan (US citizens do need an electronic visa, though). If you do need an electronic visa, we will get it for you. The official fee is 20 USD: there is no extra charge from our side. We will send the visa to you as a PDF; you just need to print it out and take it with you.
  • We are happy to suggest flights to get to Tashkent and back home: please contact us
  • Read more about food in Uzbekistan
  • Read more about the best time to travel to Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN TRAVEL INFORMATION

MONEY & COSTS:

The Uzbek currency is called the Som (UZS). There are few ATMs in Uzbekistan and even then, most do not accept any card other than Visa. Stores and restaurants typically do not accept credit cards. We recommend you bring all money in cash, preferably carrying new USD bank notes of different denominations. They will be easy to exchange – for the best rates ask your guide – and you will be able to pay directly with USD for some souvenirs. An emergency fund of around 500 USD in cash is always good to have during trips to Central Asia.

SAFETY:

Uzbekistan is a safe country and most trips are trouble-free. There is a visible police presence and most citizens are law-abiding. That said, you are advised to wear a money belt, watch your belongings, steer clear of dark streets at night and avoid taking rides in unofficial taxis alone. Your safety is our first priority at Kalpak Travel; we know and regularly assess all our Uzbek partners and we closely monitor political events.

ENTRY & EXIT:

Citizens of most countries do no longer need a visa to visit Uzbekistan for a period of up to 30 days. A notable exception is the United States - US citizens need to apply for an electronic visa to visit Uzbekistan. You can get the visa yourself through the official government website for 20 USD per person: https://e-visa.gov.uz/. If you book a trip to Uzbekistan with us we will get the visa for you.

BEST TIME TO GO:

The climate of Uzbekistan is continental and dry. The best season to visit is during spring and autumn, from mid-March until early June and then again from September until early November. Autumn is drier than spring, but even in spring chances are high you can enjoy the bluest sky you have ever seen. Autumn is also the time when the country goes to harvest, meaning markets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you don’t mind the dry heat of 40°+ Celsius, summer is the best time to go. There are few tourists and the sky is blue every single day. If you consider visiting Uzbekistan in winter, having the country all to yourself, we recommend going in December, when day temperature is still around 10° Celsius and the chill wind that characterizes January & February has not yet reared its ugly head.

HEALTH:

Do not drink water, unless it is bottled, filtered or boiled. Do not use it for brushing teeth or making ice either. Do not eat ice cream. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. If you follow these basic rules, you are likely to avoid any health issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Tetanus are recommended vaccinations for travelers to Uzbekistan. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. Medical services in Uzbekistan are basic at best.
As soon as we receive your deposit, we will confirm your booking and send you additional pre-departure information.

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