Registan Square, Samarkand

Uzbekistan Uncovered

11 days
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1'819 CHF
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4.5 / 5 from 43 reviews >
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Trip code: 
AXS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
16

Travel through history from Nomadic tribes and Muslim preachers to Silk-route traders and Soviet spies.

Who can mention the names of Samarkand, Bokhara or Khiva without conjuring up images of the romance and intrigue of the Great Game, of skull caps and silk sashes, of fabulously coloured mosaic domes and minarets, or of a newly arrived caravan train of traders just out of the deserts of the east? This journey to the heart of Central Asia takes us back across the centuries but also reveals a modern day Uzbekistan.

Highlights

  • Time to explore Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan
  • A visit to the Kunya-Ark, the 12th century fortress of the Khans
  • Two full days to explore Bukhara, a city with over 900 historical monuments
  • Spend the night in a traditional Yurt camp
  • Explore Samarkand, the greatest city on the historic Silk Road

Key information

  • 9 nights standard hotels, all en suite, 1 night yurt (multi-share - 3-4 persons to a yurt) with basic shared washing facilities
  • Travel by private bus/minibus, train and internal flight
  • Some long drives
  • Experience local culture and nature
  • Countries visited: Uzbekistan

What's included

  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers (for group flights only)
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Tashkent; city tour.

    Those on the group flights arrive this morning in Tashkent and transfer to the hotel for a rest. 

    In the afternoon we will start our sightseeing of this Central Asian capital. This will include visiting Independence Square flanked by public buildings and water fountains and also the Old City with its mausoleums and bazaar. Tashkent was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 60's and was rebuilt in true Soviet style with pleasant leafy boulevards and lots of fountains to keep the heat down in summer. There are some very interesting museums as well as mosques.
    Arien Plaza Hotel / Samir Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Fly to Urgench; transfer to Khiva; city tour.

    In the early morning we fly to Urgench, our base for our visit to Khiva and the Desert sites. On arrival, we transfer to Khiva and visit the living museum of the perfectly restored old city. We will see the khan's old residence, the Kunya-Ark 12th century fortress, the tiled base of the never completed Kalta Minar, (which was originally planned to be taller than any minaret in Bukhara) and the beautiful mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud (Khiva's patron saint) with its tiled courtyard. Many wedding parties and pilgrims come to visit the tomb and drink the water from the well in the courtyard.

    Please Note: On occasion, it may not be possible to secure seats for the group on the flight to Urgench. In this instance, we will buy flights to Nukus instead, and the activities on days 2 and 3 (land only) will be reversed.

    Malika Khiva Hotel / Malika Khorezm, or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Visit the desert castles of Toprak Qala, Qizil Qala and Ayaz Qala.

    After breakfast, we head off to the arid plains of Khorezm. These plains were once densely populated marshland, inhabited by Messagetae Scythians. These horseback archers were nomadic and fought to retain the land, even defeating Cyrus The Great, a Persian emperor in BC 529. We visit the 2000-year-old ruined city fortress of Toprak- Qala, dramatically located with the Sultan Vais Mountains acting as a backdrop. The settlement began in the first century BC under Kushan patronage and was later devastated by Turkish raids that led to the depopulation of the town in the sixth century. There are still three large round towers and an impressive portion of the citadel that still remain, but the parchments and paintings that were found there are now in St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. We also visit Qizil-Qala, formerly an important oasis with an impressive amount of remaining buildings and finally Ayaz-Qala, an imposing hilltop fortress dating from the Sixth century. We later return to Khiva to spend the night.
    Malika Khiva Hotel / Malika Khorezm, or similar, Standard Hotel

  • Day 4

    Drive across Central Asian Plateau and through desert to Bukhara.

    A long day's drive on bad roads to Bukhara (approx 10/11 hours); first we cross the fabled Amu-Darya (Oxus) River and then the Kizilkum Desert. If time allows we may have the chance to make a first visit to old Bukhara and have a cup of green tea at the fascinating chai-khana (tea-house) at 'Laby Khauz' (one of the water-filled stone pools).We will break up the journey today with stops en route.

    Hotel Kavsar / Hotel Sultan, or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 5-6

    Two days to explore Bukhara, including the 12 Century Char Minar, Bolo Khauz Mosque and the old Summer Palace of the Emirs.

    We have two days sightseeing in Bukhara, the next of our great Central Asian cities. Bukhara boasts over 900 historical monuments, here we will spend time visiting many sites and wandering at leisure amongst the old city streets. Unlike Samarkand, the district of the old town has remained separate from the rest of Bukhara and has undergone lots of restoration and preservation in recent years. In addition to its importance as a trading centre, it is the perfect setting to just sit and watch the world go by much as it has done for hundreds of years. Of particular interest is the Fortress Ark where, in the 19th century, the Emir of Bukhara had the English officers Stoddart and Connolly imprisoned and killed and the mausoleum of Ismail Samani, a beautiful example of early Islamic architecture dating back to the 10th century. We will also visit the Emir's rather kitsch Summer Palace, the old town with its domed bazaars and khauz (stone pools which used to be the city's only water supply), and the attractive 12th century Char Minar. One of the great landmarks of Bukhara is the Kalyan minaret, known as the death tower, where many an unfaithful wife has met a sticky end.
    Hotel Kavsar / Hotel Sultan, or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive via Gijduvan and Rabad Malik to our yurt camp in the desert.

    From Bukhara we transfer to Gijduvan, which is renowned for its ceramics school. The skills have been passed from generation to generation and today Gijduvan is home to the sixth generation of potters from Narzullayevs family. There will be a chance to visit the Museum of Ceramics and perhaps you might like to pick a souvenir at the potter’s shop. We'll be treated to some tea and Uzbek sweets here too!

    Next, we drive to Rabat-i-Malik (a few kilometres before Navoi city) - mediaeval ruins of the Karakhanid epoch, where we make a short stop. This site was a portal of the caravanserai but sadly much of the rest of the rabat was destroyed in the 1968 earthquake. We'll stop for lunch in Navoi and then drive to our Kazakh yurts. These are traditional round felt tents, which are spacious, colourful and comfortable inside. The Kazakh nomads still use them today. Our camp offers a glimpse into what life was like on the Silk Road in times gone by and with a bit of luck we will watch a wonderful sunset, and then sit around the fire listening to a local musician (akyn).

    Yurt Camp (multi-share, 3-4 people to a yurt)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Free time at Aidarkul Lake; visit Nurata, then continue to Samarkand.

    Today we walk and there is also the chance to ride camels for a short time towards Aidarkul Lake. The lake stretches through the desert within sight of the Nuratin Mountains and once there we are free to explore the shoreline or swim. 

    Later, we transfer to Nurata, formerly known as Nur and founded in the 3rd Century BC by Alexander the Great. This ancient town was once regarded as the frontier between the cultivated lands and the steppes, and the ruins of Alexander's hilltop citadel stand testament to its ancient history. The city was also an important Muslim place of pilgrimage, reaching its peak in the 10th Century AD as devotees flocked to its many significant graves and memorials. We stop at a 10th-century mosque and holy sites that have attracted pilgrims from all over Central Asia. After a traditional lunch at a teahouse we will drive to Samarkand.

    Please note that it is not possible for the whole group to ride camels at the same time due to camel numbers.

    Dilshoda Hotel / Malika Prime Hotel  or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Full day tour in Samarkand visiting Registan Square, Ulugbek Observatory and Mausoleum of Tamerlane.

    Samarkand is truly a jewel of the ancient and modern Silk Road. We have a busy full day taking in all the sights. There is the exquisite jade mausoleum of Gur-i-Emir, the resting place of Tamerlane, who is now being rapidly reinstated by the Uzbek government as a national hero. Perhaps the greatest treasure is Registan Square, Tamerlane's outstanding creation, a vast complex of domes and minarets, mosques and medrassas. We will also visit the equally beautiful necropolis of Shah-i-Zinda and the old observatory of Uleg Beg, the greatest Muslim astronomer. Samarkand is still a major centre for textiles, carpets and works of art and is the perfect city to try out bargaining skills and explore the ancient site of the bazaar.
    Dilshoda Hotel / Malika Prime Hotel  or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Free morning; return to Tashkent.

    This morning is left free for us to enjoy just a little more time in Samarkand. Perhaps a visit to the local bazaar where you can sample delicious fresh produce, or you might like to return to the many stalls nestled in the Registan Ensemble to find that perfect souvenir. Our adventure in Uzbekistan is almost complete as we leave Samarkand and take a high-speed train back to Tashkent in the late afternoon (please note that the train cannot be 100% guaranteed as occasionally it is booked out by government officials or is unavailable, in which case we will drive instead). Tonight we have a farewell dinner to mark the end of our travels together and reflect on all we have seen.
    Arien Plaza Hotel / Samir Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    End Tashkent.

    Those on the group flights will be taken to the airport for their flight. For land only passengers, the trip ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Uzbekistan

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your entry date into Uzbekistan. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Anyone travelling on a British Citizen, Australian, New Zealand, or Canadian passport can enter Uzbekistan as a visitor (for tourism or business purposes) for stays of up to 30 days without a visa. For a full list of nationalities that are eligible for a visa-free visit of up to 30-days, please visit http://www.uzbekembassy.org/e/visa_to_uzbekistan/

Many other nationalities are eligible for a simplified visa in advance (without the need for an authorisation letter of invitation), including USA. If you are eligible for a visa in advance then you should apply for one as for visas upon arrival, a letter of invitation is still required. Should you need an authorisation letter, please contact Exodus at least 8 weeks before departure as we can arrange this for you through our local operator.

It is no longer necessary for you to complete a currency declaration form upon arrival (unless you are carrying over US2000 with you). However, as this has only recently been implemented (summer 2018), you will still need to keep your receipts given by each hotel that you stay in - please hold on to these as they may be checked when you leave.

There have also been greater restrictions on bringing medicine into Uzbekistan. If you have any special medicine we recommend you check with the Uzbekistan Embassy about allowed quantities. You should also bring copies of your prescriptions and declare them upon arrival. Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccinations

Uzbekistan

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Please note that vegetarian food choices may be rather limited. If you are strictly vegetarian or have any special dietary requirements please notify us well in advance. In Uzbekistan, the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home.

Drinking water is included and will be provided in large containers for you to refill your bottle from - please bring a reusable bottle with you.

Weather

These areas of Central Asia have long, extremely hot summers, but the winters are very cold. The July and August departures may be rather hot with afternoon temperatures often reaching 35ºC. Other trips are planned for spring and autumn when the temperature should not be below 5ºC at night and may be up to 25-30ºC during the day. Sunny weather with clear blue skies should be experienced but there can be some rain at this time of year. Occasionally periods of unexpectedly hot or cold weather can be experienced.

Khiva

Khiva

Samarkand

Samarkand

Is this trip for you?

This is a generally undemanding trip with reasonable roads for the most part and time for sightseeing. Most of the accommodation is modest but clean, mostly with private facilities. This is an extremely rewarding trip for those wishing to get to the heart of Central Asia and who are prepared to deal with a long day's drive (day 4) on a bad desert road, early starts/long days and hot (but also sometimes rather cold) temperatures. Tourist services and facilities can be patchy and erratic. Tolerance and flexibility are required, and for this you will be rewarded with an insight into local life. The camel ride at Aidarkul Lake is optional and usually people walk alongside the camels after an initial 20-30min ride.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Basic Yurt

You will spend 9 nights in standard hotels with en suite facilities and 1 night in a basic yurt. The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary, however, accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. 

While in the yurt you will have basic washing facilities with simple basins (water can be heated on request) but there are no showers. There will also be a toilet tent/basic outhouse and a dining yurt. It is possible that you may have to share a yurt with more than one other person (3-4 people to a yurt). Whilst every effort is made to ensure that men and women who are not travelling together don’t have to share a yurt, this cannot be guaranteed. 

Single Supplement

If you would like your own room, a limited number of single supplements are available on a first come first served basis - please request this at the time of booking. The single supplement is not available in the yurt camp (1 night) and you may have to share with more than one other person on this night.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jill Haydock

    Go and experience Uzbekistan

    An amazing trip if you’re interested in Early to modern civilisation, beautiful architecture and a country rediscovering its heritage and crafts. The people are very welcoming, dress code is relaxed and beer or wine is always an option at mealtimes. It’s a country worth seeing now.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The unexpected ‘wild swim’ in the lake and visiting the beautiful Shah-I-Zinda on the day families were celebrating Eid are both magical memories.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic! Dilshod’s knowledge of ancient and modern history, the architecture, crafts and culture in each city was phenomenal; and his willingness to share his own stories of recent history put this trip right up with the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have a problem with pillows try and take your own travel pillow!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have the yurt stay a little more remote from parked cars, coaches and motorbikes! I was woken by a motorbike starting up!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Ann Burnett

    Inexperienced guide

    I have had to give this trip a 2 star because of the guide, although I take no pleasure in doing this. He was inexperienced and quite unfriendly at times. This was my 6th Exodus trip and this was my worst ever guide by a long way. See group leader section.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I absolutely loved swimming in Aidarkul Lake and the desert scenery on the way to and from the yurt. I also loved Samarkand and particularly Shah-i-Zinda.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakh appeared to be inexperienced, he lacked friendliness at times and he showed a complete lack of interest in the fact that I was very badly ill twice. I had arrived a few days earlier (as a solo female traveller) and the day before I met the group I suffered sickness and diarhoea. On first meeting Shakh at the group meeting I mentioned this to him and I could not believe the almost complete lack of interest. In fact, I thought this so unusual, that I repeated myself in case he had not heard. We later went on our tour of Tashkent and I very nearly fainted (as I had not eaten due to the bug). Again Shakh was barely interested, pointed to a door where I could reach the outside and left me to it. Only when the other members of the group asked me if I was OK did Shakh very briefly check on me. A few days after that the bug returned and I was up all night with the worst illness I have ever encountered. The next day I again mentioned this to the guide and he was still uninterested (and no offers of pharmacy stops were made). Other problems with Shakh were:- not having sufficient water for our group in the first few days of the trip (at the desert fortresses we had run out of water completely in the heat and we also run out of water in the morning at Khiva). In fact, at the desert fortresses, I asked Shakh where the water was and he snapped back that he had not picked up the 10 litre bottle yet. As we had driven from the airport at Nukus there had been plenty of opportunity to pick up water. After that I no longer trusted Shakh to provide water and just bought my own to make sure I always had a supply. I have been on 5 other Exodus trips and on all those trips the guide has eaten with the group and the guides have been good/fantastic. This guide did not eat with us on the first night in Tashkent nor the first night in Samarkand and on around 4 or 5 other occasions. He was not always very friendly or smiley, which I think is the requirement of a guide. In fact one time we passed him in the street during our free time and he did not even smile or acknowledge us. The restaurant chosen for our final lunch in Samarkand was appalling in terms of service and again Shakh sat at a neighbouring table. Some of our food took an hour and a quarter or more to arrive and no complaints were made by him, to my knowledge. Then when the bill came the prices had changed markedly, for example the soup price had increased by over 50% and all the other prices had changed. This situation was awful and was handled very badly by the guide. The coach was not always asked to collect us, e.g from right outside the airport, so we were left with quite long distances to drag our cases. This was not really a problem for me as I had a rucksack (albeit a heavy one) but some of the other travellers were in their 70's and I am sure they would have benefited from being picked up. Shakh gave out his mobile number in case of emergency, with instructions NOT to ring him at night. Whilst I am sure most people would not ring the guide at night, emergencies can of course happen at night. On a more positive note Shakh was very knowledgeable about the history and geography of Uzbekistan and I very much enjoyed his commentaries, especially when he told us about his wedding. He also improved as the 11 days progressed (except for the final lunch incident). However I think being completely uninterested in the health of your travellers is completely unacceptable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sadly a number of people in our group were ill. Take plenty of rehydration salts. The bread is at least delicious, so you can survive on that! Do get out for a walk in the area around the yurt. I had a couple of little walks and it was so peaceful and the wildlife great.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary is great for this trip with a lovely combination of nature and cities. I would however definitely check on who is the guide.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    George Garland

    Fascinating Place

    The names of Samarkand and Bukhara have conjured dreams since my school days many years ago and I never thought I would have a chance to see them. The fall of the USSR and now visa-free travel has left this land of desert fortresses, caravan stops and the beautiful buildings covered in ornate blue tiles within reach. The land of Tamerlane, the vastness of the central Asian steppes and the magical cross-roads of civilisations and learning need to be seen to be believed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving in Khiva and seeing the Silk Road monuments for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shah is a young man fairly new to the industry. He is very knowledgeable but lacks some of the finesse and inter-personal skills that come with experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan is far easier to enjoy than imagined. Outside Tashkent English is widely spoken, particularly in the tourist industry and amongst the young. With a stay up to 15 days now visa free for tourists from a large range of countries including the UK this is the time to travel before too many people start making their plans and prices start rising.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The final 24 hours was wasted time which was a pity. The hotel in Tashkent was near the airport but 7 or 8 kilometers from the centre. There is no direct public transport between the two and with no Uzbek or Russian language skills travel could have been fraught, particularly as the return journey would be time critical. It would be far better to secure an hotel close to the city centre for the one night.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Paul Grundy

    Uzbekistan Uncovered

    A good overview of the country taking in the historic and architectural highlights of Uzbekistan. Transport was Good although it was evident that the train journey was more often than not unavailable. On a personal note, I felt that the group size (16) was too large.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The city of Khiva was the highlight for me. Still relatively unaffected by mass tourism and the locals were pleasant (as they were throughout) and interested to learn about their visitors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, well informed and concerned for the welfare of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now before mass tourism makes its mark.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes seemed ‘generic’ and need updating
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Gary Lavin

    Sucessful and Safe

    It was a marvellous trip. Each day was filled with new wonders and excitement. Plenty of wow moments. A visit that was completely safe and rewarding

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The city of Samarkand was full of wonder and genuine WOW moments

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A fantastic and informative tour leader. Very informative and knowledgeable. Exodus are lucky to have him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not miss out. Uzbekistan is a hidden jewel

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Uzbekistan is a very safe place to visit and Uzbeks are genuine, friendly and helpful
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Roxy Hooton

    Unbelievably beautiful Uzbekistan!

    Fantastic trip to a wonderful country! So much beauty it hurts your eyes, and the people are incredibly warm & friendly. Each of the main cities has a totally different feel to it, & I loved them all! Khiva was my favourite though : be sure to wander around in the evening after the crowds have gone home - it’s a completely different vibe to during the day. Some tips: If you climb the minaret in Khiva you need a proper torch, strong knees & no fear!! The view is wonderful but coming down is terrifying! Being Vegetarian isn’t too hard but it’s not very exciting- just check the soup has ‘no meat’ even if it is called a vegetable soup it will often still have meat in.Vegetable kebabs lack imagination - best option is the pasta based dishes. Be willing to have your photo taken by the locals - it will lead to some wonderful interactions Do bother to get up for sunrise in the desert (if the Vodka the night before doesn’t prevent!) - it’s worth it! Do have comfortable shoes & some energy! This isn’t really a leisurely trip - the pace is quite full on, but totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dinner & a cold beer on a roof top terrace with a fabulous view over Khiva as the swifts whirled overhead and the sun set!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Full of knowledge and always ready to help.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See Summary
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Anwar Bhutta

    Brilliant trip and holiday

    Amazing country and very, very friendly people. Incredible history and historical monuments. The Uzbek government is doing great work in restoring these incredible archeological gems. Full praise to them. A very varied and inspirational holiday plus brought back some indelible memories. Our guide Dilshod was very informative, caring and sensitive to the needs of a diverse group. He is a brilliant guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visit to see the Othmani Qur'an in Tashkent was a great privilege. This Qur'an written in about 646 CE was awe inspiring. Ragistan Square in Samarquand is incredible. The jaw-dropping moment came when we entered the the mosque in the Tilla-Kari Madressa. I could not take my eyes away from the amazing decorations of the ceiling. The ceiling is flat (so they say) but the the master craftsmen have done such an amazing work that it actually appears to be dome shaped. My highlight of the the whole trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Dilshod was very informative, caring and sensitive to the needs of a diverse group. He is a brilliant guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please go as soon as you can. strongly recommend this trip and holiday
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Daphne Partridge

    Amazing people and architecture

    This holiday gives a great overview of the country and it's history visiting cities along the Great Silk Road, each with their own amazing buildings and stories

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had been to many squares, mosques and madrassas but Registan Square in Samarkand topped them all and one of the final highlights of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was excellent - friendly, extremely helpful and incredibly knowledgeable of his country and it's history and also adaptable to our requests.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Everything was incredibly cheap and we struggled to spend $200 on food and drink and trinkets in the twelve days! Take dollars which can easily be exchanged for Som. Women travellers wear sleeved tops and crop trousers/trousers or skirts., and have a scarf handy for the couple of mosques. Don't worry about the night in the yurt - very pleasant with proper framed beds and and an electric light! To avoid disappointment, if you see something you like then buy it.... some items are only local to that city and you won't see them again. The food was good with salads, soups and meat dishes, some almost European style, but also plenty of local cuisine to try.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for quite a lot of long journeys - the tour bus was fairly basic and the roads bumpy (1600 km travelled in total). Tourists are still quite a novelty in Uzbekistan and everywhere we went people wanted to have their photos taken with you or to talk to you and practise their English. Everyone was so friendly and we were treated like VIPs.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Lesley Prosser

    Very well-run tour of a great destination

    This was a fascinating insight into a country I knew little about. The pace was good, and both the sites and the sights were interesting and varied. With one exception, the accomodation was better than my expectations. We were 15 people in a full-size coach, a real luxury for the several long drives. It was great to be able to swap sides to see a better view, or join others for a chat. The group were a pleasant assortment of people who got on well with each other and were enjoyable company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What can one say? The Registan at Samarkand. Just when we thought we were all mosqued out, there it was...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I generally prefer solo travel, as I like to go my own way, but Dilshod had made a convert of me. He is a brilliant leader. His long experience shows in the effortless ease with which he performs this very demanding job, but nonetheless, he injects his presentations and information sessions with a freshness and enthusiasm that never, ever sounds like he is just playing a tape recording in his head. He is an immensely likeable person, and a pleasure to chat with out of hours. He is the first leader I have come across who was willing to spend dinner with his group every night to make the ordering and paying a painless process in restaurants where English was rare.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While standards of hygiene are generally good, some public toilets really require you to have a supply of tissues and sanitiser. Oddly, if you wanted to buy a roll of toilet paper, it would be easily found in any little local shop. Kleenex, on the other hand, is hard to come by - you really need to find a pharmacy to buy that. So take plenty of Kleenex.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Hayley Mooney

    Unbelievable Uzbekistan

    Definitely book this trip, Uzbekistan is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The yurt camp. Sitting under the milky way listening to the guy singing is something I'll never forget, even the 6k walk through the desert the following day was fun. Of the historical sites, the necropolis in Samarkand was my favourite, and Samarkand was my favourite city. It's easy to get around and the people are lovely, although that can be said for every town and city in Uzbekistan.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was incredible, his passion and knowledge of Uzbekistan is awesome. He must be the best guide in the whole of Uzbekistan. He's also just a really fun and lovely guy. Valentin is a fantastic driver. Even though most of the roads are in good condition it did get a bit bumpy at times, but I always felt safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan airways is great, you get plenty of leg room and the food really isn't as bad as everyone says. A lot of the historic sites have been reconstructed in the past 10-15 years, so much so that it kind of became a running joke, it doesn't detract from the trip though. The food is delicious. Plov is the best! The kebabs taste amazing, but can be a bit greasy. The bread is delicious, and there's plenty of salad options for vegetarians.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Forget any preconceptions you have about Uzbekistan, chances are it's nothing like you're imagining.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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