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Uzbekistan

 
 
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Author paul
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 6 Sep 2016 15:44 
I will be visiting Uzbekistan in early October and am planning my itinerary. I would welcome any suggestions on how many days each of the inscribed sites require to visit. I am normally quite a "slow" traveller - especially as I travel these days with small children, but for this trip I am on my own, and will do some "harder" travelling.

I am also considering hopping across to the boarder to Turkestan in Kazakstan for a hectic day trip, perhaps using the night train. Is it worth the hassle?

Thanks for any help!

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 6 Sep 2016 17:45 
Hi Paul, I don't have anything constructive to add just to add my voice to saying I would be interested in this as well, and to what extent is independent travel viable for westerners, in terms of visa regulations etc.

Author elsslots
Admin
#3 | Posted: 6 Sep 2016 23:50 
paul:
how many days each of the inscribed sites require to visit

I'd say:
- Shakhrisyabz: 1 day (day trip from Samarkand)
- Samarkand: 2-3 days
- Buchara: 3 days
- Itchan Kala: 2 days

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 7 Sep 2016 05:15 | Edited by: Sjobe 
This is my first message in this forum, so hello everybody!

Uzbekistan, as Central Asia in general, is very challenging but also rewarding country to visit. If you are ready to do all the painful prearrangements, Uzbekistan can offer lots of fascinating things to see. My experience is that independent travel is viable for westerners.

These are my thoughts on this subject:

Itchan Kala: 1-2 days
Bukhara: 2-3 days (just Bukhara), plus 1-2 days more if you want to visit some interesting places around Bukhara - Chor-Bakr, Bahoutdin Complex, Vobkent Minaret, etc.
Samarkand: 2-3 days
Shakhrisyabz: 1 day (day trip from Registan Square by shared taxi)

It really is worth visiting Turkestan and the magnificent Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi. It is highlight of any trip to Kazakhstan and also one of the highlights in Central Asia. But at the same time I doubt that it could be made as day trip - from Tashkent I assume. Maybe it is theoretically possible but it would be a very long day. The border crossings in Central Asia are not very easy and fast things to do. I assume you would use Shymkent as your base to visit Turkestan. From Shymkent central bazaar it is 2-3 hours trip by marshrutka to Turkestan.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 7 Sep 2016 05:32 | Edited by: Solivagant 
paul:
would welcome any suggestions on how many days each of the inscribed sites require to visit

The length of time you give each depends of course on the total amount of time you have - I wouldn't disagree with Els's "proportions". Each of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva can each be "done" in a day - though Samarkand's full list of sites of interest covers quite a large area. So, add available time to Bukhara and Samarkand before Khiva. Shakhrisyabz is certainly a part day "visit" destination - again, depending on your transport arrangements, there is no absolute need to return to Samarkand if you are going on to Bukhara as you are already part way there! You would need to check on latest transport details.

A question of course is what else could you do in the area. I don't remember Tashkent having anything of note - other than an extra "tick" on our "Metros of the World" list! We certainly value the memory of our trip up to the "Aral Sea" from Khiva - a unique experience to see the "beached" ships sitting in the middle of today's "desert" near Munak. We had a car with driver and drove from Khiva to Munak and back to Nukus (though could have got all the way back in a day). We stayed over in Nukus, however, as we wanted to see the Savitsky Museum there with its collection of avant garde art "saved" surreptitiously from Stalin etc (see the Web) - but I don't know if you are interested in such things.

As for a trip across to Kazakhstan - we were not able to do this back in 2004 (we were concentrating on the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Turkmen "Stans") but I understand that, until 2017 at least, Kazakhstan is offering Visa free entry to European nationals so, if you have sorted out double entry visas back into Uzbekistan, it is certainly possible. But what do you do when you have crossed over - other than pick up another "country"? We visited Almaty during Soviet times - it is nicely situated but not really accessible on a short term crossing from e.g Tashkent. As well as the inscribed site of Turkistan (c320kms away) there are the closer T List ruins of Otrar "only" around 230kms north of Tashkent. but .........? It would need research to see if it could be arranged from Tashkent and how long it would take.

Author elsslots
Admin
#6 | Posted: 7 Sep 2016 06:19 
Sjobe:
This is my first message in this forum, so hello everybody!

Hi Sjobe!

Sjobe:
Chor-Bakr, Bahoutdin Complex

Certainly worth a visit indeed. Part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan - will surely become a WHS in the coming years.

Author paul
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 7 Sep 2016 08:25 
Thanks everybody.

I was thinking about perhaps taking the night train from Tashkent to Turkestan, but the Uzbek visa is quite strict on dates and I can't book the train from Europe (I can book but have to pick up the tickets in Russia.)

The remains of the Silk road in Kazakstan are very much remains http://e-history.kz/en/publications/view/1162 and there is very little info on the walnuts in the western Tien Shan

Author elsslots
Admin
#8 | Posted: 7 Sep 2016 08:44 | Edited by: elsslots 
paul:
very little info on the walnuts in the western Tien Shan

I don't know if you'll see walnuts, but I have been looking at Kazakhstan as a destination for 2017.
This is part of the WHS: http://www.aksuinn.com/eng/content/how-to-get-there (or at least a site with access to Aksu reserve)

Shymkent is a good hub to visit the Aksu reserve and the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi WHS. The combination of both will take 3-4 days I guess

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 7 Sep 2016 15:04 
Sjobe, welcome. It is always nice to have new voices on here, and good to know that independent travel for westerners seems viable. I'm always keen to avoid organised tours so that sounds promising, I guess seeing how the country evolves under the latest regime may have some baring on things as well.

Solivagant:
other than an extra "tick" on our "Metros of the World" list!

I have that list as well!

Author paul
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 9 Sep 2016 15:59 
Well just drove 400km to arrange a visa, 400km next week to pick it up! The train to Kazakhstan seems easy.

Author clyde
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 17 Oct 2016 13:39 
Any recommendations on reliable private tour/chauffeur agencies in Uzbekistan and especially Turkmenistan (important for visa)?

Author barabanov
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 17 Oct 2016 15:35 | Edited by: barabanov 
Dear Clyde,
Try this agency http://www.centralasia-travel.com/en/about
Turkmenistan is probably top-3 most difficult country to get visa, much harder than Bhutan or North Korea
Even for ex-Soviet comrades it's extremely tricky to obtain visa
Important is not to mention in the visa application any references to journalist activity, blogs, media, etc., they are especially reluctant to give visa to this category.
But the country is absolute must (I plan to visit ad well, studied a lot of reports, and the country is VERY unusual).

Author clyde
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 17 Oct 2016 16:00 
I sent them an email and I'll also try my luck with other agencies (mainly to get the Turkmenistan visa). I'm planning to visit in June 2017 even though it might be quite hot in June. Will let you know if I get a reply hopefully providing useful tips about obtaining a Turkmenistan visa.

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 18 Oct 2016 02:25 | Edited by: Sjobe 
Clyde, I didn't use private tours or chauffeurs but I used Stantours, http://www.stantours.com, to get a Letter Of Invitation for Uzbekistan. Everything worked out very smoothly with them. As for Turkmenistan they can provide you with visa support letter and also car with driver if needed, http://www.stantours.com/tm_mn_trn.html

Author warwass
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 18 Oct 2016 06:13 
Sjobe:
http://www.stantours.com,

I do recommend Stantours - they were very helpful when I was travelling in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and now they're helping me organize a trip to Kazakhstan.

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