Best time to visit Uzbekistan

Best time to visit Uzbekistan


Temperature & rainfall

In high summer, the land is parched, so there isn’t much to see in the countryside, and temps soar well over 30°C. This is not the best time to visit Uzbekistan as it is unpleasant when you’re walking around and you won’t want to take your time admiring the monuments. On the flipside, winter can dip to freezing. For optimum comfort temperature-wise and a visual feast of wildflowers, gold, and dark green across the lush Uzbek landscape, plan your trip for April and May, or autumn, which is when you’ll experience the best of all it has to offer.

Things to do in Uzbekistan


WHAT TO DO IN UZBEKISTAN & WHAT NOT TO

Things to do...


The history of the Silk Road is a fascinating and multi-faceted tale which, as you begin to unravel it, will explain the mystery of the myth-laden road, and inspire yet more questions. Uzbekistan’s artistic influences, architecture, and the stories of the cultures that put those there will grip history buffs and enchant those that never even knew they had an interest.
A crucial bridge connecting diverse artistic traditions, nothing can prepare you for the sheer scale and extravagance of the Uzbekistan’s buildings. Samarkand was the capital of Timur, a great conqueror who flourished during the 14th century and transported craftsman all over Uzbekistan to construct grand buildings. Today’s visitors will encounter the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis here, a mind-blowing structure that showcases some of the most complex, three-dimensional, glazed tiling in the whole of Central Asia.
Between the 9th and 16th centuries it was common for even the smaller cities along the Silk Road route to house over 200 mosques – Uzbekistan’s skylines are peppered with dozens of bright azure, onion-shaped domes. Prepare to be dazzled by some of the best-preserved examples of ancient Muslim architecture in the world.
Boysun Bahori is one of the most culturally significant annual events in Uzbekistan’s calendar – a spring festival held in mountainous Boysun in the Surkhandarya Province. Dating back to pre-Islamic times, it is a colourful celebration of costumes, songs, dance and stories that have stood the test of time.

Things not to do...


Spend your cash on cashmere or cotton. It may be luxurious, but many cashmere farms are tailored more to short-term profit than long-term sustainability, with goats being treated badly in unsuitable conditions. If you simply must buy it, find a responsible source that benefits the locals directly. Likewise, poor agricultural practices in the cotton industry teamed with massive over-production of a material that drinks water by the bucketload is really out of place in Central Asia’s arid climate; this has led to land degradation and salination on a vast scale. Better options: find more sustainable, local souvenirs.
Fill your face with delicious food. The food here is, sadly, pretty abysmal – Uzbekistan’s national dish is ‘plov’, which sounds as bland as it tasted. The basics are all there: meat (read: sheep) and rice, but the fat-to-meat ratio is often intolerable. If you’re a nomadic carnivore, brilliant, if you’re a vegetarian, prepare for more bread than you’ve ever eaten and a shed load of tomatoes.
Travel with small children. Travelling in Uzbekistan involves long transfers along bumpy terrain, sure to prompt a draining succession of ‘are we nearly there yets?’ and ‘I feel sicks’. Plus, to young children particularly, once you’ve seen one Madrassa you’ve seen them all. No two kids are the same of course. Young children with a penchant for finding things ‘boooooring’? Not recommended. Active kids with short attention spans? Nope. Older kids with a vivid interest in history en route to studying archaeology? Absolutely. Only you know which one(s) you’ve got.
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Uzbekistan travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN UZBEKISTAN

Long distance travel


Marianne Grimshaw from our supplier, Wild Frontiers, shares her Uzbekistan travel advice: “The roads in Central Asia are very bad and travelling between places by mini bus or private car can be a bit hell raising, although your driver will be very adept at swerving around pot holes. You will keep to a schedule because lengthy road journeys will be taken into account and extra time allowed for by your tour operators, but people should be aware that the roads are bumpy and uncomfortable, so it’s best to keep calm and be patient.”

Shopping tips


Marianne Grimshaw from our supplier, Wild Frontiers, shares her shopping advice: “The Fergana Valley is a little visited area of Uzbekistan and a good place for shopping, with silk factories to visit where you can watch and learn about the full silk making process. All round Uzbekistan you can buy locally produced pottery and ceramics that are painted by hand and are very beautiful souvenirs. And of course, everywhere in Central Asia is big on their carpets. They can be handmade depending on how much you want to pay and some tourists choose to have them sent home after their trip; you can spend thousands of pounds on a on a carpet if you want to.”

Advice on what to eat


Linda Maguire from our supplier, Undiscovered Destinations, shares her advice on coping with the food, especially if you’re vegetarian: “The food in Central Asia is best summed up as simple. There is a lot of grilled lamb and the national dish, ‘plov’, which is stew with mixed vegetables is very traditional and is served everywhere. The food isn’t stodgy, but there is very little variety and it’s not the most exciting. We ate a lot of cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs and the ingredients are very fresh, so it does taste delicious. I wouldn’t say that vegetarians are well catered for as the rice that is available is often cooked in meat stock, so they could struggle after a few days surviving on salad and bread.”

Uzbekistan travel advice


Tips from our travellers in Uzbekistan

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Uzbekistan travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.

“The wild camping and spending a night in a yurt contrast well with sightseeing in the fabulous cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Be adaptable and enjoy the benefits of travelling in a small group such as eating in local restaurants.”Diana Rybinski
“Take your own tonic it is not available anywhere in the country!”Dominic Long
“It was a very full schedule and we made a conscious decision not to try and do everything, especially as we experienced travel delays in Tajikistan due to very poor roads (and road closures). Be prepared for possible stomach upsets and basic plumbing. If that doesn't worry you, then you will have one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking trips of your life and you should go!”Caroline Gant, on a tailor made holiday in Central Asia
“If you’re on an active, tailor made holiday, the first week is fairly relaxed but the second week is full on – 75km is the first day's bike ride after an 8-hour trek over the pass (which we didn't do because of bad weather). Take padded shorts for cycling & horse riding. You don't need to pack snacks as they are always on the table and lots in the shops.” Penny Bulbaczynskyj, on a tailor made holiday in Uzbekistan
“Relax and enjoy the people and country but make sure your drivers and guides understand your itinerary and interests.”John Bird

“Check what medicines you can take into the country with a doctor’s prescription info, otherwise may have problems at border control.” Anne Higgins
Photo credits: [Samarkand: David Stanley] [Silk road travel: lensnmatter] [Plov: Thomas Depenbusch] [Samarkand mosque: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection] [Yurts: stefan_fotos] [Kamchik pass: upyernoz]
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