Doing Our Time in Uzbekistan

I’m having a hard time trying to say anything nice about Uzbekistan and I’m not feeling the need to write out this experience in detail for future reference. So I thought it best to just list some observations and some things we have experienced along the way thus far.

Uzbekistan must be the turquoise tile capital of the world.

It’s August and super hot outside, hovering around 100F or 37C

Cycling in the desert like atmosphere is extremely unpleasant.

The food is much better here then in previous Central Asian Countries we have visited.

People whistle at you to get your attention. You begin to feel that people are calling you like they would call a dog.

The bureaucracy borders on the insane.

Almost all the police are corrupt and not to be trusted.

There aren’t many roads and they are in horrible condition.

Watermelon sellers are everywhere and everyone buys watermelon.

Alcohol is prevalent.

Sending a package out of Tashkent requires an act of God.

Buy your train tickets in advance.

Vodka fixes traffic tickets.

Trains can and will leave before the scheduled time.

Samarkand is a must see.

Roadside eateries are everywhere and cheap.

Always check your change.

Change your money on the Black market, normally in front of the actual market.

Never eat at a restaurant with out a menu with prices  and be sure to check the bill for “accidental errors.”

There are no ATMs outside of Tashkent, I’m still not convinced there are any in Tashkent.

Banks will not give you money on Saturday and are closed on Sunday

Hotels rarely take credit cards even if they tell you they do, they will not.

If I ever make it back to this part of the world I will go to see Khiva.

Negotiate for everything everywhere.

Learn a bit of Russian but when dealing with authorities pretend to know nothing.

People will purposely try to cheat you.  Watch and be aware.

Not all hotels accept non residents.

B&B’s are hostels and are normally the cheapest places in town, breakfast included.

Coke is expensive.

The old city areas are normally quite beautiful.

Ask for prices first.

I haven’t seen one live camel but many golden camel statues.

Taking the Metro in Tashkent is cheap and easy.

Standing in a queue is almost equivalent to a wrestling match except the little old ladies almost always win.

We drink more then 6 liters of water per person per day while cycling.

Gas stations are all over but almost all are closed.

Most of our cycling is done on the main road.

Use the crosswalks, they work.

Uzbekistan handicrafts are amazingly detailed.

There are a lot of tourists even in the hot/low season.

The highest currency note is worth less then .50 cents US

Almost any car is a Taxi.

You can find Medicinal Alcohol for camp stoves (Trangia) in the Pharmacies.

Carrying your bags in the Tashkent metro be prepared to stop for an ID check and bag search.

Dachas in the mountains outside of Tashkent in the Chorbog area cost over $100 USD per night the one hotel is $75 USD (August 2013)

There is good Indian Food!

Bukhara has a beautiful old city, small and compact.

Authorities always what to hear how great Uzbekistan is.

Trying to remain positive about Uzbekistan can be hard, I feel like I’m waiting out the last few remaining days of a prison sentence. Where the promise of better times are just ahead. Our visas for onward travel into Tajikistan were dated for 2 weeks after our entrance into Uzbekistan. Killing time has been priority one lately, which isn’t good for either one of us. We both need a focus to keep happy and motivated. There are just a few more days left until we can leave this country and hopefully put all the bad memories behind us. Here’s some photos:

What changing money is like.

What changing money is like.

Making silk carpet.

Making silk carpet.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Bukhara.

Making shashlik

Making shashlik

Watermelon Sellers.

Watermelon Sellers.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Amy. Samarkand.

Amy. Samarkand.

Our pal Alex. Samarkand.

Our pal Alex. Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

Samarkand.

This rad lady is riding her motorcycle home from England to Mongolia. Dressed like a zebra.

This rad lady is riding her motorcycle home from England to Mongolia. Dressed like a zebra.

Handicrafts.

Handicrafts.

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17 responses to “Doing Our Time in Uzbekistan

    • I’m not sure what of? My experience here in Uzbekistan has been terrible. There are pretty pictures to take, sure. But is it worth it? I’m still trying to figure that one out. Thanks, though for making me feel a bit better

    • It’s true. The cities are really beautiful here. I’m sure we’ll be laughing about all this soon enough. For now, tho, just get me to Tajikistan!

  1. I really like your blog. I can t read all the blogs anymore telling me how great everything is… Sure this wount help at all but i d like to say.
    We are still in dushanbe due to bad uszbek food….
    All the best!

    • I hate to say it, but I may be done with kabobs. Central Asian kabobs are not so great. I’m really looking forward to Chinese food…

  2. great post. I like the honesty. i guess there is a tendency for travelers to sugarcoat there experiences… yet, despite the information provided, I know i’ll still bike through Uzbekistan and the others some day. the idea of biking through central asia is what got me in to bicycle touring in the first place. i’m actually somewhat obsessed, so against better judgment… I must go | I will go.

    safe travels! hope the trip gets better! keep us updated!

    • Glad to hear my post doesn’t dissuade you from wanting to travel Central Asia! I would never tell any one not to visit this section of the world. The cities in Uzbekistan are quite beautiful. And who know maybe you’ll have a much better time then we did. I hope so. Good luck!

    • Biking Central Asia is also what really got us excited to do this trip, and Uzbekistan was certainly a worthwhile experience. The cities are incredibly beautiful and the landscapes are daunting. Our experiences weren’t super positive, but we talked to plenty of people who had a great time there. There are as many different experiences as there are people having them. We’re now in Dushanbe and will be setting out for the Pamir highway in a couple of days. THIS is really why we are here :)

  3. Great Post! I am also planning to bring a Trangia stove on our trip to Central Asia, is it hard to find fuel? I read that you found those in a pharmacy, any tips? THANKS!!!

    • Not hard to find as long as you know where to look. And yes mostly Pharmacys along the way. Although we didn’t check when we were in Turkmenistan that place was something different entirely. Hope that helps. If all else fails ask for “спирт” (Russian)they will know what your are asking for then.

  4. Thank You So Much Amy for the tips! I can’t wait to visit Central Asia. I like this blog its very honest, and same as you I am trying to learn not to worry about random things anymore:-)

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