Uzbekistan Travel Guide
Formal name: The Republic of Uzbekistan
Population: 29 million (January, 2011)
Language Official language - Uzbek, widely used: Russian, Tajik, Kara kalpak, also English, which is getting popular among youth generation.
National currency: Sum. 1 sum=100 tiyin.
Structure: Sovereign Republic of Karakalpakistan, 12 provinces, 226 cities and districts.
Religion: Islam - 88%, Christian - 9% (more about Religions in Uzbekistan >>>)
Time: GMT + 05:00
Electric power: 220 V AC, 50 amp; Standard two-pin plug socket
International dialing code: +998
The climate of Uzbekistan is extremely continental with a great number of sunny days. The average monthly temperature in January ranges from -100C to +30C. Summer is hot and dry. The average monthly temperature in July varies from +350C to +450C. Autumn is relatively warm and is the season when delicious fruits and vegetables are in abundance in the numerous bazaars (markets). The average annual temperature is 130C.
There are over one thousand dishes in Uzbek cuisine. Fruits and vegetables grown under the tender oriental sun are taste fantastic. There are about 100 varieties of Uzbek plov, prepared in a different way in every region. The caloric content and ecological cleanliness of local ingredients is unique. Uzbek cuisine can not be described, it has to be tasted.
All payments must be made in "Sum", the national currency of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Currency exchange offices are available in every city of Uzbekistan. All foreign currencies may be converted in main offices of banks. Preferred currencies - US dollars and Euros.
Very light and loose clothing (preferably cotton or natural fibers) is recommended for daytime use, with a light jumper and/or casual jacket for the cooler evenings. Because of the large amount of sightseeing on foot in dry, dusty and sometimes rough areas (i.e. dirt, cobblestones, etc.), comfortable, solid walking shoes with strong soles and support are essential. You may be required to remove your shoes upon entry to some religious sites. There are no special clothing requirements for visiting Islamic religious sites, except that you should take care to cover most parts of your body including your arms and legs.
Above all travelers are encouraged to dress for comfort rather than fashion. Valuable jewelry and any clothing requiring special attention should be left at home.
Due to the very high danger of sunburn, your clothing should offer as much protection as possible.
A hat with good shade protection and sunglasses are essential.
In some areas the average visitor may appear extremely wealthy to local people. A lavish display of jewelry, bulging handbags and wallets, and a neck full of cameras will make you stand out in a crowd. Be discreet and respectful of the local culture and traditions and carry a minimum of valuables.
A shoulder bag with a strong strap or a small rucksack is the most practical way of carrying cameras and personal belongings during your stay. Your entire luggage should be secured with a padlock. Always make sure that all cases and bags are clearly labeled. The label should carry your name and destination details but not your home address. It is a good idea to label your luggage on the inside. This will enable airport authorities to identify your luggage should it become lost, or the labels removed. Never leave your luggage unattended at airports or train stations.
Your free airline luggage allowance is 20 kg per person, plus one additional piece of 'carry-on' hand luggage on domestic flights within Central Asia, except to Turkmenistan, where the maximum baggage allowance is 10 kg. Because you will be traveling in some areas where travel conditions are rather basic, travelers are strongly urged to restrict their luggage to one main suitcase or backpack and one carry-on overnight bag.
As recommended under CURRENCY and SECURITY, an important part of your luggage will also be your money wallet for safely carrying your travel documents.
You will be traveling in areas which are largely free of major infectious diseases, so there are no official vaccination requirements for foreign visitors. However, we strongly advise you to consult your physician or Vaccination Centre for current health warnings and recommended vaccinations.
As it is practically inevitable in areas where water is high in mineral and metallic salts (as is the case with Central Asia) one should be prepared for minor gastric conditions. Consult your physician or pharmacist for recommended remedies.
Throughout the areas you will be travelling, one of the main health warnings is dehydration. At all times maintain a steady intake of non-alcoholic liquids.
Sunburn is another major problem. Bring adequate suntan lotion and a wide brimmed hat. If desired, you may also bring a supply of vitamins, throat lozenges, throat gargle to prevent basic infections, cold/flu tablets, aspirins, Band-Aids, antiseptics and antibacterial cream. Please advise us if you have any allergies or particular medical aliments which may require special attention during the trip, and if your doctor has prescribed any medication, make sure that you have sufficient supplies to last the duration of your holiday.
Important: Please, ensure that you carry in your hand luggage any medicine you may require in case your suitcase is separated from you.
Since this type of service in Uzbekistan is still developing, it is recommended to carry insurance from company of you home country.
Individual safety boxes are not always available in Uzbekistan hotels. An essential part of your luggage is a comfortable money wallet, which may be worn under your clothing. At all times you should carry your main documents (i.e. currency, traveler's checks, air tickets, passports, visas etc.) While it is highly unlikely you will encounter any physical danger, minor thefts in crowded pubic places may occur and every precaution should be taken to avoid losing anything of value.
In accordance with local laws, you will be required to hand in your passport to the hotel reception on arrival to allow registration of your passport details by the hotel. Your passport will normally be available again after a few hours. Do not forget to collect it before departure.
Photography in Uzbekistan
No obstacles are presented to visitors who wish to photograph places of historical interest. Photography inside some religious monuments and in airports, railway stations or near military installations may not be allowed. If in doubt ask your local guide. Please also note that there is a fee for photography in most sightseeing places (not included in your tour price).
Film and batteries are available in major cities, but we recommend you purchase your supply before arrival, particularly if you have the latest model or a sophisticated type of camera that requires a specific type of film and/or batteries.
Local mineral water contains a higher level of minerals than western spring or bottled water and the taste can be rather "salty" (these mineral waters are considered healthier than European spring or mineral waters).
Imported spirits and wines are available, however in some places the provenance of some spirits and wines is questionable and the prices inflated. Accordingly, you are advised to purchase your favorite alcohol duty free prior to arrival.
Travelers in Uzbekistan will be pleasantly surprised by the interesting jewelry, clothing and local handicrafts. Books, postcards and maps are other popular souvenirs. There are restrictions on exporting carpets from the country, ask your Tour Guide for detailed up-to-date information on this matter, before purchasing one.
Psychology of bargain
In the East haggling is turned into art. While haggling, you may speak loudly and don't give a sign that you are hesitating in your triumph. No doubt, sellers never lower their price to the level of your offer, however, in most cases, you can lower the price up to 20% if you negotiate.
You will be responsible for covering the cost of your hotel incidentals such as phone calls, room service, mini-bar in your room and laundry. Before departing from all hotels on the tour, please ensure that you have checked with the front desk for any personal charges that the hotel may have made to your room.
Travelers may wish to express their appreciation - a reward for extra service - to the porters, waiters, drivers and guides. The degree of appreciation may vary, and our policy is to leave this to your discretion. This is usually given individually in an envelope at the end of the tour/service.