Lying at the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is the cradle of civilisation for the region. Timur ran his vast empire from here in the 14th century and architecture buffs will be in heaven when confronted by the epic scale of his legacy. The medieval cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are the jewels in the crown of Uzbekistan. Blue tiled mosques, towering minarets, and grand palaces leave the visitor awed and humbled. A trip through Uzbekistan is a trip through the land of the Silk Road, passing Bactrian camels, lonely forts and windswept desert landscapes. Uzbekistan is not just a Timurid museum. Modern-day Uzbekistan is a balancing act between its traditional Islamic past and its post-Soviet future. Atmospheric markets selling prayer mats and Baltika beer, endless cotton fields and the sobering sight of the now nearly dry Aral Sea stand testament to the impact of those years. Yet they are the experiences that make a visit to Uzbekistan so memorable.

KYZYL KUM DESERT

Kyzylkum Desert UzbekistanMeaning Red Sands in Turkic language, this is one of the great deserts of Central Asia and essentially sits wedged between the major rivers of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. Whilst its sands do creep into Kazakhstan and a small portion of Turkmenistan (where it merges with the Kara Kum Desert or “Black Sands”), the majority of this desert lies in Uzbekistan. Venturing into the depths of the Kyzyl Kum is a place where few people go and the truest way to do so is by camel. If you’re lucky you can see desert tortoises, wild saiga antelope, and even giant monitor lizards. Also worth visiting is Aydar Lake, a 4000 square kilometer body of water sitting in the desert and an unintentional byproduct of the Soviet’s damming of the Syr Darya in the 60s.

TASHKENT

Tashkent UzbekistanUzbekistan’s capital city was the administrative centre for Russian central Asian and grew to become the fourth largest city in the old USSR. It dwarves any other city in the country. At first glance the wide boulevards, orderly monuments and gaudy metro system suggest that any remnants of traditional Central Asian life has long gone. However, there are still areas pockets of traditional life in some of the bazaars and madrassas.

FERGANA VALLEY

Fergana Valley UzbekistanAlthough this ethnically diverse valley has been the scene of various conflicts, today the Fergana region is safe and is not only a stunning place to trek and explore, but also an ideal place to learn about the various Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz cultures which converge in this valley.

VISAS

E-visa to be obtained in advance.

WEATHER

It can get cold in Central Asia, especially at night. Temperatures at night can drop below freezing.

MONEY

For up to date exchange rates please have a look at www.xe.com

ELECTRICITY

Two prong European style systems (types C and F).

WIFI

Poor internet connection/speed.

FOOD

Noodles are a staple. Served in broths and with stews alongside vegetables and meat, particularly mutton. Bread is also a staple.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is permitted and is widely available.

LANGUAGE

Uzbek. Russian commonly spoken.

RELIGION

Islam.

DRESS CODE

No special dress code.

SAFTEY & SECURITY

The FCO considers Uzbekistan to be a low risk region to travel.

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Baumer – The History of Central Asia (tetralogy)

Trips in Central Asia

Afghan Ski Challenge

    Afghan Ski Challenge

    Skiing

    This package offers travel and entrance to the 10th annual Afghan Ski Challenge. A ski touring event in the Koh e Baba Mountains north of Bamian, Afghanistan.

    from US$2,500
    Turkmenistan

      Trekking Turkmenistan

      Trekking

      Often referred to as the ‘North Korea of Central Asia’ and being at the crossroads of various civilisations for centuries, Turkmenistan has a multitude of historical, cultural and natural sites to discover. Our 14-day trek in Turkmenistan takes you to…

      from US$3,675
      Afghanistan in Spring

        Afghanistan in Summer

        Cultural

        A 7-day trip through the best bits of Afghanistan. The blossom is out and the country is at its greenest. We start by exploring the capital, Kabul, before flying to Mazar e Sharif to see the blue-tiled shrine of Hazrat…

        from US$1,975
        Kyrgyzstan

          Unseen Kyrgyzstan

          Cultural, Trekking

          Kyrgyzstan, an offbeat destination renowned for its trekking and horse riding, is an ideal place to discover nomadic culture at a grassroots level. There are plenty of rarely-visited locales to explore throughout this centuries-old Central Asian nation, and our two-part…

          from US$2,600
          Trekking Tajikistan: Pamir Mountain Lakes

            Trekking Tajikistan: Pamir Mountain Lakes

            Trekking

            We will be traversing through the heart of the mountain range. Along the way, we will stay in the homes of the Pamiri natives, camp near centuries old caravanserais and explore the shores of shimmering blue Alpine lakes.

            from US$2,550

              Trek The Wakhan

              Trekking

              A 22-day journey to visit the land of one of the world’s last and least visited nomadic cultures: the Kyrgyz of the Afghan Pamir. We will begin and end in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe before travelling along the dramatic Pamir Highway…

              from US$4,300
              Man with bird cages Kabul Afghanistan

                Melons & Grapes Grand Afghan Tour

                Cultural

                Each autumn we run a trip to Afghanistan and we think it's the perfect time to visit, and all because of the fruit. How can land that appears to be made entirely of bare rock produce melons as large as…

                from US$4,450
                Buzkashi in the shadow of the Buddha niches

                  Afghan Winter Tour + Buzkashi

                  Cultural

                  We start in Kabul before taking a short flight across the Hindu Kush to Herat, the most architecturally complete city in Afghanistan. Then we will move on to Bamian where we spend three days exploring the valleys, the Buddha niches…

                  from US$4,450

                  Interested in a trip to Uzbekistan?

                  We can provide a customised trip according to your requirements, get in touch to find out more.