In this article you will find details about our journey in Uzbekistan: transport information, accommodations, and prices in dollars or local currency ( $1 ~ 9,000 uzbek som in September 2019).
We stayed in Uzbekistan 12 days and we moved overland using shared taxis, minibuses, and trains. Uzbekistan is very touristy and people tend to charge you double the price for everything, so watch out, bargain to death, and complain if you feel you’re being cheated. Dollars are accepted but paying in local currency is always better.
Farap Border (Turkmenistan) → Bukhara
We entered Uzbekistan from Turkmenistan (Farap/Alat border) and we took a taxi at the border to go to Bukhara paying $15 in total. Some other taxi drivers were asking $60.. just run away from them!
In Bukhara we stayed 3 nights at Silk Road Guesthouse paying $18 per night, double room, shared toilet, breakfast included (see booking.com).
- Pros: the lady is very nice and a good cook ($5 per person for each meal); the private room is comfy and quite big. Location is great, 5 minutes walking to the old city centre.
- Cons: toilet is opposite the room in the yard so you need to go out every time (not a big deal to be honest). Laundry service costs $5, a bit expensive. The lady is not keen to give you the registration sleep, so you have to insist and check it carefully: make sure there is a registration number. Wi-fi is not working properly.
Bukhara → Khiva
We took a taxi to get to the bus/taxi station in front of Kharvan Bazaar (Urgench avobekati on maps.me) paying 30,000 som (we now think that the real price was 10,000 som; back then we thought it was a good deal as other taxis wanted 100,000 som …). There, we had to bargain very hard to get the final price down to 100,000 som per person to go to Khiva (shared taxi). We changed taxi in Urgench but everything was arranged for us and we were taken to the hotel.
We stayed 2 nights at Rustambey House and we paid $19 per night for an ensuite room, breakfast included.
- Pros: good location, about 10 mins walking to the city walls. Breakfast is good and there is a restaurant next door (same owner).
- Cons: room had no window, they may close the door at night so make sure you inform them if you want to go out after 10pm… Wi-fi worked well but the signal was poor in our room.
For info about the entry fees in Khiva have a look at our article ‘Khiva: What to Do in a Couple of Days’.
Khiva → Nukus
We took a marshrutka to Urgench more of less in front of the North Door; we paid 3,000 each (we were asked for 6,000 but another passenger told us the real price). Once in Urgench, we walked for half an hour to the station called “shared taxi to Nukus” on maps.me, which is actually along the road. There, we bargained to death to get the real price to Nukus, that is 40,000 som. Once in Nukus, the driver wanted other 10,000 to take us to the hostel; we refused, got off the car and walked there.
In Nukus we stayed for 2 nights at Besquala Hostel/ Guesthouse paying $12 per person in a 3-bed dorm (but we were alone), shared bathroom, breakfast included. It’s on booking.com but we didn’t make a reservation so we paid slightly less.
- Pros: it’s very nice and clean, 3 toilets and 5 showers for 13 beds, we think. Nice common area, kitchen available but not for cooking, good breakfast. You’ll likely find other travelers.
- Cons: a bit expensive for being in Nukus. Expensive tours to Moynaq and the Aral Sea.
If you are planning to go to Moynaq, check out our article ‘A Guide to Nukus and Moynaq | 48hrs in Karakalpakstan’ we are explaining how to get the public bus which costs just 15,000 som and it’s a nice adventure!
Nukus → Samarkand
That was the easy one! We took a train at 16:30 from Nukus train station (No’kis Temirjol Vokzali on maps.me) and arrived at Samarkand at 4:45 am; it costed 164,000 som each.
How to buy the tickets:
- Option 1: go to the train station at least one day before.
- Option 2: ask the reception to buy them online for you and pay them cash. At Besquala they do it for sure. The website is railway.uz/en but only accept Uzbek credit cards.
In Samarkand, we stayed 4 nights at Platan Hostel and we paid $20 per night for a private room, shared toilet. We booked on booking.com and we highly recommend it (Platan Hostes on booking.com)
- Pros: perfect deal in Samarkand, good money value, hotel-like rooms, kitchen fully available to use, free laundry service, common area with sofas and TV, debit cards accepted.
- Cons: no sign on the door (anyway, it’s between Platan Hotel and Platan Restaurant, both very visible; we added the real location on maps me as Platan Hostel (real location) ), only 1 shower for six rooms – it can get crowded. Reception is at the Hotel, but they were setting up one (not really a cons to be honest).
Using city bus is easy, there are many and they all have a ticket guy on board shouting the stops; a ticket costs 1,400 som. Taxis should be always around 10,000 som for a ride inside the city.
Samarkand → Dushanbe
We went by taxi to Kaftarkhona bus station from Platan Hostel(10,000 som) to catch a shared minibus to the border with Tajikistan and we paid 10,000 som each. There, before crossing the border, we arranged our transfer on a shared taxi till Dushanbe. A local lady helped us so we get immediately the right fare and we could pay in uzbek som, 110,000 each.
- MasterCard is hardly accepted in Uzbekistan. In Bukhara you can withdraw at Asaka Bank. If you have a VISA, you are ok.
- Ask your registration sleep to your hotel and make sure it has a registration number! You need it to exit the country. Some people were not asked for them, but we were (September 2019) and other tourists in front of us got in trouble as they were missing two nights.
- 25,000/ 30,000 som each is a reasonable price for a meal. In some cheap local cafés or canteens you can spend 10,000 each.
- Buy an Ucell sim card if you want to use the internet; WiFi networks are not reliable.
- Send postcards from the post office, it costs half the price compared to the tourist post desks.
- Taxi should cost 10,000 som for 5 km.