Travellers usefull tips
Things to know about Uzbekistan
About 90% of the population confess Islam. However, in the country you can meet Christians, Jews, Buddhists and members of other religious denominations. The state ensures the freedom of religion to all its residents, thus Uzbekistan mosques, Orthodox churches, Jewish synagogues, Catholic churches, as well as places for Baptists, Adventists and Krishnaits can be noted by you in Uzbekistan.
Uzbek is an official language of Uzbekistan. English is often used for business purposes. Many Uzbeks speak Russian.
Extreme continental climate is typical for the whole territory of the country. It is characterized by hot and dry summers. The average summer temperature is 26-30ºC, and in the south of the country it rises up to 40-42ºC. Winters are frosty and shorter than summers. Temperature in winter varies from −7ºC to +3ºC. Uzbekistan doesn’t receive much precipitations, an average number of precipitations on the whole territory of the country is no more than 200 mm per year. Humidity is quite low. Uzbekistan is suitable for a visit from April to June and from September to October.
The average temperature in Uzbekistan:
January +1 °C
February +2 °C
March +9 °C
April +16 °C
May +21 °C
June +26 °C
July +28 °C
August +26 °C
September +20 °C
October +13 °C
November +8 °C
December +3 °C
Currency: Uzbekistani som. International code – S, UZS. One som consists of one 100 tiyin. Such banknotes are in circulation: 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 som. Circulated coins are in denomination of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 som. Small denomination banknotes and coins are rarely used.
Means of payment in Uzbekistan: Mostly cash. Credit cards and traveller's cheques are acceptable in Tashkent, a capital of Uzbekistan, and in towns popular among tourists. ATMs are not very common in Uzbekistan. International hotels located in Tashkent usually have their own ATMs that accept such cards as Visa and Mastercard. Such ATMs dispense US dollars and are not so convenient in use. Some banks in Tashkent and across the country have ATMs that accept Visa or Mastercard. If you need to get American dollars, a more reliable way is to get cash advance on your credit card in a local bank.
Currency exchange: You can exchange money at branches of the National Bank, in special exchange offices and hotels. Many hotels accept US dollars, euros, British pounds and Japanese yen. Currency of other states can be exchanged only in exchange offices located directly at the banks of Uzbekistan. Exchange offices located in hotels are available seven days a week 24 hours a day. Banks are usually open from 9:00am to 3:30pm or 4:00pm. Exchange offices offer their services from 8:00am to 6:00pm. In many hotels, exchange offices work 24h.
Calls to Uzbekistan from other countries
International dialling code of Uzbekistan: +998. To make a call to Uzbekistan, you should follow next scheme: exit code – international access code – international dialling code of Uzbekistan – area code – phone number itself.
Calls from Uzbekistan to other countries
As a rule, hotels in Uzbekistan provide phone connection with the countries of the former USSR. In case you need to make a call to another country, you should get to a central post office or a payphone. Such public telephones accept phone cards that are sold at kiosks, shops and post offices. Internet is another convenient way to make a call to another country. All major cities of Uzbekistan have Internet cafes. You can buy a SIM card of a local mobile operator to save money on calls.
Useful phone numbers in Uzbekistan:
Directory inquiries – 059
Fire Department – 01
Police – 02
Emergency service – 03
Time zone: UTC / GMT +5 hours - GMT.
Daylight saving time is not observed.
It is allowed to import into the Republic of Uzbekistan:
1. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency you can bring into the country. However, it must be declared. Those who are not residents of Uzbekistan are allowed to bring out of the country not more than the sum of currency declared by entry to Uzbekistan. Residents of the country are allowed to bring out of the country not more that 2.000 US dollars or its equivalent in other currency. If the amount of currency you want to bring out of the country is more than 5.000 US dollars or its equivalent in other currency, you will need a special permission from the Central Bank of Uzbekistan.
2. Medicine for personal use. For example, up to 30 packages of insulin. An approximate number of medicines for personal use you can bring in is not more than 10 ampoules or 30 pills in one package.
3. Goods for personal use you can bring into the country duty-free (if their total value does not exceed an amount equal to 50 US dollars, and if the goods are imported from the territories of neighbouring states):
- up to 2 kg coffee,
- up to 2 l of beer,
- up to 2 l of other alcoholic beverages,
- up to 10 packets of all types of tobacco products,
- not more than 2 bottles of perfume.
Shopping in Uzbekistan
Shops are usually open from 9:00am to 7:00pm. If you are going to a market, you’d better go there in the morning. Most official shopping centres offer fixed prices, but you can bargain at bazaars, markets and private shops, especially while buying handicrafts and carpets. Seasonal sales in Uzbekistan are in the middle of summer and in winter, a season not much popular among tourists.
Transport in Uzbekistan
a) Public transport:
1. Buses and route buses. All major cities of Uzbekistan offer passenger services. Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Kokand, Andijan, Navoi and other cities have a network of buses and route buses. The fare in public transport is less than 0.5 US dollars.
2. Subway. Tashkent is home to the only one subway in Central Asia. In the capital of Uzbekistan, it is considered to be the most convenient way to get around, as its three lines cross in the centre of the city and can carry you to all major tourist destinations, as well as to train stations. The fare is about 300 som or 0.25 US dollars.
3. Taxi. Taxi service of Uzbekistan offers quite reasonable prices. A trip around Tashkent will cost you about 3 US dollars, to the airport – about 3-4 US dollars, to the border with Kazakhstan – about 5-6 US dollars. Taxi service in Uzbekistan is mostly private.
b) Long-distance transport:
1. Buses and route buses. Intercity bus service between major cities is well developed. For example, on the route Tashkent – Samarkand there are more than 20 trips a day. Trips to Bukhara, Fergana, Qarshi and Navoi are also quite frequent. Transport that follows commuter routes has an approximate fare of 700 som for a trip. Route bus service outside the city has its tariffs.
2. Railways. Railway system across the country has totally four routes: Tashkent – Bukhara, Tashkent – Urgench, Tashkent – Andijan and Tashkent – Termez. Comfortable express trains operate between Tashkent and Samarkand. Rail transportation is the cheapest kind of transport in Uzbekistan. In addition, you’ll get a field ration for free.
3. Aircraft. Domestic flights are between Tashkent and Namangan, Fergana, Samarkand, Bukhara, Qarshi, Termez, Urgench, Nukus.
Water transport in Uzbekistan
Ferry crossings are at the mouths of the Syr Darya River in the Fergana Valley and of the Amu Darya River on the territory of Khiva-Urgench. The fact is that there are no bridges, and water transport is the only way. Ferries run every 15-20 minutes. The fare is 100 som per person.
Car rental in Uzbekistan
You can rent a car in Uzbekistan only with a driver. Hotels offer such service. A range of rental car models in Uzbekistan is limited to vehicles manufactured in Uzbekistan. Alternatively, you can take a taxi for a whole day; it will cost you only 20-40 US dollars.
Hotels in Uzbekistan
Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Khiva and other major cities of Uzbekistan offer great hotels that meet modern requirements. In addition, private hotels and guest houses offer comfortable hotel rooms at reasonable price, as well as suites.
Tipping in Uzbekistan
In accordance with Islamic canons of hospitality, tipping is not common in Uzbekistan. However, in a restaurant, if the service is included in a bill, it is usually 5-10%.
National holidays in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan annually celebrates seven official holidays:
1 January – New Year
8 March – International Women's Day
21 March – Nowruz
9 May – Memorial Day
1 September – Independence Day
1 October – Teacher's Day
8 December – Constitution Day
Some holidays in Uzbekistan are working days, however very significant. These are as follows:
14 January – Defender of the Fatherland Day
31 August – Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Repressions
Days, on which Islamic holidays – Ramadan and Eid al-Adha – fall, are days off. These dates are determined according to the lunar calendar.
Electricity in Uzbekistan
Mains voltage – 220V, frequency – 50Hz. East European type socket are standard in Uzbekistan.
Traditions and behaviour rules in Uzbekistan
Once you have come to a foreign country, you should comply with its rules and customs, unless you should seem rude or ignorant. It is considered bad form to stare at a woman in a paranja. It is not advised to meet such women or take pictures of them without their permission. You should treat people at prayer the same way.
In addition, it is prohibited to drink alcohol on the street, to take pictures of places protected by the police or military facilities. It is also prohibited to litter, spit, fight on the street and behave provocatively. You’d better not offer Uzbeks to eat pork, as most of them are Muslims. They may regard it as an insult against their faith. Gambling is also prohibited in Uzbekistan.
Women in tight clothes are not allowed into Moslem holy places. In addition, the entry into an active mosque at prayer is strictly forbidden for women. Both men and women shouldn’t wear shorts and T-shirts while visiting holy places of Uzbekistan.
Once you have been proposed to be a guest at Uzbek home, you shouldn’t refuse the invitation, unless you should seem impolite. When you cross the threshold of a house, you should greet hosts and other guests. You should take off your shoes before entering the house.
Once you find yourself at a bazaar, don’t miss an opportunity to bargain. Bargaining is a kind of courtesy or shopping ritual in Uzbekistan.
Citizens of some countries don’t need a visa to come to the Republic of Uzbekistan up to 60 days. These are: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
Citizens of France, Italy, Belgium, the UK, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Austria, Spain and Switzerland can use a simplified system to obtain a visa and come to Uzbekistan.
Citizens of other countries require a visa in accordance with the legislation of Uzbekistan.