Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 16
Accommodation: 3 to 4-star hotels
Transport: A/C minibus, domestic flight & train
Highlights: Tashkent, Old Urgench, Ichan-Qala fortress in Khiva, Bukhara, the incredible Registan Square in Samarkand
This 8-day tour is the perfect introduction to Uzbekistan. We start our journey in the ancient capital of Tashkent, a former Silk Route city which still retains its role as one of the most important cities in the region. From here we take a short flight to Urgench and on to nearby Khiva which is situated in the Khorzem Oasis. In Khiva we have a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site at the Ichan-Qala Fortress. Leaving Khiva behind we fly to Bukhara where we'll have a comprehensive full day walking tour and also watch the National Show at Nodir Devan Begi Madrasah. Our final city of interest is incredible Samarkand where amoungst many of places, we'll visit the spectacular Registan Square which has graced the covers of many famous travel guides of the years! Our final journey is onboard one of the high-speed trains back to Tashkent where this exciting week will come to an end.
Many flights into Uzbekistan will operate via Istanbul, Turkey - Why not combine your week in Uzbekistan with some time on one of our Turkey group tours.
If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.
Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Tashkent for the start of your trip.
Single Room Supplement (UZSGUH)
Our trip begins this morning with a tour of the capital city of Tashkent. We'll visit the old part of the city to see the Hast-Imam Complex and ChorSu Bazaar. Later, we'll continue on to the centre of Tashkent to see Independence Square, Amir Temur Square and the Applied Arts Museum. Later in the afternoon, we'll transfer to the Tashkent Domestic Airport where we'll take a short flight to Urgench. Upon arrival, we'll transfer directly to Khiva where we'll spend this evening.
We'll check out of our hotel in Khiva this morning before beginning our sightseeing. Our first stop of the day will be to the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site at the Ichan-Qala Fortress. Whilst at the fortress, we'll also visit the Kunya-Ark, Saveed Alauddin Mausoleum, Arab Mukhamadkhan Madrasah, Og-Masjid Mosque, Madrasah of Hodjan Berdi-biya, Shirgazikhan, Abdullakhan, Juma Mosque, Allakulikhan Madrasah, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, and finally the Minaret of Islom-Khoja. In the afternoon we'll have a little free time for further exploration before we transfer to Urgench airport for another short flight to Bukhara, where we'll spend the night.
Today we'll take a walking tour of Bukhara City. Our first stop will be at the Mausoleum of the Samani Dynasty. Today we'll also visit the Ark Fortress, Chashma-Ayub, Kalon Ensemble, Miri-Arab Madrasah, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan Madrasah, trade domes, Lyabi Khauz complex and the Chor-Minor Madrasah. This evening we'll head to the Nodir Devan Begi Madrasah for a dinner and show.
After breakfast today we'll continue our sightseeing with a drive out of the city to visit the Sitoraj Mokhi-Khosa, which was the summer residence of Bukhara's last Emir. We'll also visit the Mausoleum of Bakhoutdin Naqshbandi and the Chor Bakr necropolis. This afternoon we'll depart for Samarkand, which is around a 4 hour drive. Along the way we'll make a stop at the Rabat Malik Caravanserai, which dates back as far as the 11th century. Late in the afternoon we'll arrive in Samarkand where we'll spend the night.
This morning we'll start our sightseeing of Samarkand. We'll include a visit to the spectacular Registan Square, the remains of Bibi Khahum Mosque, Ulugbek Observatory, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, Gur Emir Mausoleum, central Samarkand Bazaar and the Shrine of Tamerlane.
Today is our final day in Samarkand before heading back to Tashkent. In our remaining time here we'll visit the Tomb of Saint Daniel and the Afrosivob Museum, before driving to Koni Ghil village to experience the traditional way of making Samarkand paper from Mulberry. At around 16:00, we'll transfer to the railway station for the high-speed train to Tashkent.
Your time is free in Tashkent today for some last minute sightseeing and shopping before we transfer you to the airport for departure.
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Shodlik Palace Hotel
A modern hotel located in the cultural heart of Tashkent. Within easy reach of Independance Square, Tashkent Gallery and Amir Timur Museum.
Located in the centre of Tashkent city, this hotel features a sauna and a fitness centre. It also offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and a TV. Pakhtakor Metro Station is just 250 yards from the hotel.
Each room at Shodlik Palace Hotel is elegantly decorated in warm tones and includes a work desk. A bidet and a hairdryer are provided in the bathrooms. Italian cuisine is served in Galereya and La Strada Restaurants. Cocktails and drinks are offered at Hemingway Bar.
Guests of Shodlik Palace can relax in the sauna or work out in the fitness centre. A massage service is also available. The State Uzbekistan Conservatory is 3 minutes’ drive from Shodlik Palace Hotel, and the 16th-century Kukeldash Madrasah is 5 minutes’ drive away. Tashkent Airport is 7.5 miles from the hotel.
Malika Kheivak Hotel
Hotel Malika Kheivak is a new hotel, built in 2008. The hotel is located in the center of Ichan Qala, the historical fortress of Khiva, next to the Islam Khoja Minaret.
Hotel Malika Kheivak puts you in the heart of Khiva, within steps of Islam Khodja Minaret and Mosque and Djuma Mosque.
Highlights at this hotel include a delicious breakfast and an on site restaurant. All 34 rooms feature satellite TV and hair dryers. Dining in is an option with 24-hour room service, and minibars provide refreshments.
A historic hotel within a 10-minute walk of Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah, Lyab-i-Hauz, and Maghaki-Attari Mosque.
Massages and free Wi-Fi are offered at this hotel in the Old City district of Bukhara, 350 yards from Lyabi Khauz Square. Amulet Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with traditional Uzbek design.
Woven carpet floors and wooden ceiling beams are featured in the individually furnished rooms of the Amulet Hotel Bukhara. They also have satellite TV, a refrigerator and a private bathroom.
A breakfast buffet is provided each morning in the home-style cafe; with its traditional wooden furniture. Uzbek dishes can be served here throughout the day on advance notice.
Restaurants, nightlife and a typical Uzbek bazaar can all be found within 12 minutes' walk of the Amulet.
This hotel is located in Samarkand, 1.2 miles from Guri Amir and 1.6 miles from the Registan Square. Free Wi-Fi is available in Platan Hotel.
This hotel is located in Samarkand, 1.2 miles from Guri Amir and 1.6 miles from the Registan. Free Wi-Fi is available in Platan Hotel.
Rooms here will provide you with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and cable channels. Featuring a shower, private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and a bathrobe. You can enjoy a garden view from all the rooms. Extras include a desk, a safety deposit box and a laptop safe. The on-site restaurant serves Uzbek cuisine, and a variety of drinks is offered at the bar.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
We use good quality hotels rated at the Uzbekistan 3 and 4-star level on this tour.
Accommodation is based on twin, triple or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller who would like to share, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up. If we don't have anyone to pair you up with when you book, we'll add this option on, but remove it or refund you when we can pair you up later. Check with us for guaranteed no single supplement offers on some tours and departures.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. In Uzbekistan we do not use any public tourist buses or overnight coach journeys as we know that people don't sleep on board and end up very tired for the following few days.
In addition to road transportation, this tour also features 2 short internal flights between Tashkent/Urgench and Urgench/Bukhara and we make use of the high-speed Afrosiyob Train between Samarkand and Tashkent.
Our Uzbekistan tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Tashkent airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. Our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Tashkent airport.
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, except on some Escorted Tours, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to book your flights for you. Our ATOL (UK flight sales license - No. 10467) protects all holidays booked together with a flight from the UK.
Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from. Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour whether you book your flights independently or through us. Our Uzbekistan tours start and finish in Tashkent airport (TAS).
We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our Uzbekistan group departures to have a maximum of 16 travellers.
In Uzbekistan we provide a fully trained, local English-speaking guide for all of the sightseeing tours. On departures where we have a minimum of 6 participants we'll also include a tour escort for the entire tour. Our local reps in some of the towns and cities en-route are also at your service. At Encounters Travel we try to use local guides and reps as much as possible. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit.
Camera Fees: Photography is restricted in various ways at different sites. Often flash photography is often forbidden to protect the exhibits and ancient pigments, and sometimes cameras are not allowed in at all. Please respect these rules as they are there partly for your benefit. Where camera fees are charged, these are not included in the tour price and must be paid locally.
Tipping isn't common practice in Uzbekistan, however a tip for good service is always very much appreciated.
Throughout your tour you will have various tour guides and drivers and if you feel you've had good service you may wish to give them a small tip at the end of the time they spend with you. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget and your satisfaction with the service provided. We are often asked to provide a guide however:
Restaurants and taxis: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. For more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour guide or tour leader. We suggest around GBP 1.50 / EUR 2.0 / USD 2 per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however GBP 1.50 / EUR 2 / USD 2 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Tour guide: As a guideline we suggest around GBP 20-35 / USD 35-50 / EUR 25-45 per person for the whole tour, but this is ultimately up to you.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.
You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for Uzbekistan are Hepatitis A and Tetanus.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Uzbekistan, however we will provide assistance with this. After confirming your reservation we'll ask you to complete a passenger manifest where you'll need to list various personal details. We'll then use this form to obtain a Visa Support Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent. This letter will then allow you to travel without first obtaining your visa and you'll be able to obtain a visa on arrival in Tashkent through payment of the appropriate fee (for most nationalities this is around $40, however this does vary dependning on your nationality - please contact us for more specific information).
The cost of the support letter is included in your tour price, however the cost of the actual visa on arrival is not.
Uzbekistan Time is GMT plus 5 hours. Daylight saving time is not observed in Uzbekistan.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The monetary unit in Uzbekistan is the Uzbekistani Som (UZS). 1 Som= 100 Tiyin.
Current Exchange rate UZS 1,000 (GBP 0.19) as at 11 July 2017 at 9:05pm. Bring enough cash for the duration of your stay. Travellers' cheques are not normally accepted. There are very few cash dispensers. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency. Only change money through official exchange booths. It is illegal to change money on the black market, and harsh penalties will be imposed on those caught doing so. Damaged or marked bank notes will not be accepted at official exchange locations. You will need to complete a foreign currency declaration form when you arrive, and keep a copy yourself. You cannot leave with more foreign currency than you arrive with.
Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Uzbekistan. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.
Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.
Clothing: Modesty rates highly in most of Uzbekistan, especially for women, so please ensure clothes are loose fitting and not too revealing. Loose shorts are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (your shoulders should remain covered). In local villages, and any mosques throughout the country, legs and arms should be covered.
Other items: We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.
We run regular small-group departures on this tour between March and November starting on a Friday. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 16. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.