The Uzbek cuisine is probably one of the most diverse in Asia. Situated on the caravan routes of the Great Silk Road, Uzbekistan has for many centuries been assimilating the most interesting and original recipes of food from various countries. Each meal in Uzbekistan has its own traditional way of cooking, and one and the same dish has innumerable methods of preparation throughout the country.
Let’s take the Uzbek plov, which has become Uzbekistan’s main culinary brand. In fact, the ‘true Uzbek plov’ includes about ten different recipes, each characteristic of a certain region of the country. Even with their eyes shut, a true plov-lover can easily tell by a mere taste of the dish where the plov he is eating has been cooked - in Samarkand, Fergana, Tashkent, Karshi, Bukhara or Khorezm. Welcome to Uzbekistan, where you can taste all the multitude of nuances of the Uzbek plov!
Certainly, plov is far from being the only remarkable dish in the Uzbek cuisine. Tender manty, juicy shashlyk shish kebab, aromatic samsa pasties, rich shourpa and horsemeat sausage kazy, naryn served on special occasions and khanum for an everyday family table, tandyr-kabob in Bukhara, lagman in Tashkent, nohat-shurak in Samarkand and exotic tukhum-barak and shivit-oshi in Khorezm - all of them form but a small part of the list of dishes in the Uzbek cuisine! And what about the dessert, consisting of a great number of Oriental sweets, fresh fruit, dry fruit and various kinds of nuts?
With the focus on Oriental gastronomy, this tour will give you an opportunity to immerse yourself in Uzbekistan’s rich history and culture, to learn about treasured architecture of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva - the fabled cities still keeping the memory of Tamerlane, Alexander the Great, Genghis-khan, and many trade caravans of the Great Silk Road. Tall elegant minarets, grandiose madrassahs and mosques will be branded in your mind for long. But first of all, this travel will be appreciated by gourmets. Open for yourself the world full of oriental delicacies!
No doubt, this fascinating culinary tour for foodies will become the most 'delicious' in your collection!
Discover Uzbekistan's incredible history and cuisine!
Day 1. Arrival in Tashkent. Tashkent - Urgench (night train)
Meeting at Tashkent airport. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Rest after a long flight. Breakfast at the hotel. Meet the guide and other group participants at 09:30. Start of the sightseeing tour around Tashkent at 10:00: Khast-Imam Square, Barak-Khan Madrasah, Kafal-al-Shashi Mausoleum. Lunch at the Plov Centre, tasting Tashkent plov cooked with sesame oil. After lunch continuation of sightseeing program in Tashkent: Kukeldash Madrasah, the oldest bazaar of Tashkent - Chorsu, Museum of Applied Arts, Tashkent Metro. Evening meal at National Cuisine Centre (recommended dish is naryn). Transfer to the rail station for night train №56 Tashkent - Urgench (20:15-12:53). Overnight in the train.
Day 2. Urgench - Khiva
Breakfast in train. Arrival to Urgench at 12:22. Meeting at the station. Transfer to Khiva and check-in to the hotel. Lunch at National house (recommended dishes are Khivan plov, and typical Khorezmian dish - tukhum-barak). Guided sightseeing tour around Khiva (Ichan-Kala ‘inner city’ historic old city): Kunya-Ark Fortress, Islam Khoja Minaret and Madrasah, Avesta Museum. Master-class for cooking gumma (patties) and evening meal at restaurant. Overnight rest in hotel.
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Khiva: Tash Khauli-Khan Palace, Juma Mosque, Muhammad Amin-Khan Minaret and Madrasah, Pakhlavan Mahmoud Complex. Transfer to ponds for tasting fried fresh-caught fish. Back to Khiva. Leisure time. Dinner at the restaurant (recommended dish is Khorezm kebab). Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 4. Khiva - Bukhara
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer across the Kyzyl-Kum Desert and along the Amudarya River to Bukhara. Lunch en route. Arrival in Bukhara. Leisure time. Evening meal at restaurant (recommended dish is meat). Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 5. Bukhara
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Bukhara: Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Ark Citadel, Po-i-Kalyan Complex (Kalyan Minaret and others), Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Ulugbek Madrasah. Lunch at a restaurant for tasting Bukharan plov. After lunch visiting the "Silk Road Spices" tea house for tea-party: tasting teas prepared from herbs and spices, and traditional Bukharan sweets. After tea-party guided sightseeing: Lyab-i Hauz Architectural Ensemble, Kukeldash Madrasah, Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah, domed shopping arcade. Folklore show in Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah. Evening meal at National House (recommended dishes are dolma, Bukharan samsa). Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 6. Bukhara - out-of-town guided sightseeing tour - Samarkand
Breakfast in hotel. Out-of-town guided sightseeing tour (4 km from Bukhara): Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, memorial complex of the Islamic saint Baha-ud-Din Naqshband, Chor-Bakr Memorial Complex. Lunch at Uzbek chaykhona, tandyr-kabob (meat baked in tandyr oven) and shashlyk tasting. After lunch transfer to Samarkand. Transfer to hotel and check-in. Wine tasting in old winery named after Khovrenko. Master class in cooking manty at traditional House ‘U Zarify’ (recommended dishes are manty, shourpa). Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 7. Samarkand - Tashkent
Breakfast in hotel. Guided sightseeing tour around Samarkand: Registan Square (Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah, Tilla-Qori Madrasah), Gur-e Amir Mausoleum (Tamerlane’s sepulcher). Lunch at the plov centre and Samarkand plov tasting. After lunch: Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, Ulugbek Observatory. Transfer to the rail station for train to Tashkent “Afrosiab” (17:00-19:10). Arrival to Tashkent. Meeting at the station. Transfer and check-in to hotel. Dinner at the restaurant (recommended dish is shashlyk). Overnight rest in hotel.
Day 8. Tashkent. Departure
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to airport. Departure from Uzbekistan.
GUARANTEE DATES OF GROUP TOURS IN 2017*:
Group No. 2. 14.09 - 21.09.2017
Group No. 3. 12.10 - 19.10.2017
* This tour is guaranteed and will be arranged whatever final number of persons in a group.
The cost of the group tour 2017 for 1 person in Hotels 3*: 735 USD (+110 USD SGL supplement)
The cost of the group tour for 1 person in Hotels 4*: 1150 USD (+295 USD SGL supplement)
• Hotel accommodation in double/twin rooms with breakfast, including early check-in on arrival;
• Meals on full board basis in the best restaurants and food outlets (according to the special menu);
• Sightseeing tours according to the program;
• Local guides in cities;
• Services of the driver with comfortable transport during the tour, including airport - hotel - airport transfers;
• Train tickets (4 seats in a compartment) for night train №56 (Tashkent - Urgench);
• Train tickets (economy class) for high speed premium service train «Afrosiab» (Samarkand - Tashkent);
• Assorted fruit on each day of the tour;
• Folklore show in Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah;
• Wine tasting in old winery named after Khovrenko;
• Tasting teas prepared from herbs and spices;
• Master classes for the preparation of national dishes;
• A bottle of mineral water on each day of the tour;
• Memorable souvenirs.
Cost does not include:
• International air fare;
• Sites entrance fees;
• Medical insurance.
• Sites entrance fees - 75 USD/per person/on all route;
• Update to 2 seats in a compartment (lux compartment) for train Tashkent - Urgench - 45 USD/per person;
• Additional night in hotel on arrival/ departure:
50 USD (Hotel 3*)/ 230 USD (Hotel 4*) per SGL room/per night,
70 USD(Hotel 3*)/ 257 USD (Hotel 4*) per DBL room/per night.
• Visa support for Uzbekistan - 45 USD/per person.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What nationals need visas to enter Uzbekistan?
Citizens of any countries other than Uzbekistan and the CIS countries enjoying visa-free regime agreements with Uzbekistan need visas to enter Uzbekistan or travel through its territory. These people can obtain Uzbekistan entry visas through a Visa Invitation Letter (Visa Support) from their host parties (host tour operators). Citizens of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK can apply for Uzbek visas to embassies or consulates of Uzbekistan without getting Visa Invitation Letter, independently. Please read here for more information.
2. Is it necessary to get a stay permit (temporary registration of stay) while visiting Uzbekistan?
Any foreigner to Uzbekistan is to get a stay permit within 3 working days (consecutive or not) during his / her visit to the country. If he / she stays at an Uzbekistan hotel or a guesthouse, such a stay permit for the period of stay at it is granted automatically. (Inquire whether the hotel / guesthouse you want to stay at provides such a permit unless your accommodation is organized by a host tour operator. Also make sure you are given your stay permit certificate with the seal of your hotel / guesthouse when you check out.) If you stay at other lodging facilities during your visit, you will have to get your stay permit from a local visits registration police department.
3. What is Uzbekistan’s currency? Where can I exchange money?
The national currency of Uzbekistan is the som (UZS). There are 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 5,000-som banknotes and 25, 50, 100 and 500-som coins used currently. The banknotes are similar in size but vary in color; they depict Uzbekistan’s cultural and heritage sites.
You can exchange money at Uzbekistan’s National Bank outlets, most of the hotels and official currency exchange offices commonly located near bazaars and at shopping centers. You will need your passport and stay permit to exchange money through them.
There is also a black market of currency exchange in Uzbekistan. Although its rates are higher, we do not recommend that you exchange money through its dealers (commonly individual money changers in the street, usually near bazaars). There is a risk of falling prey to cheaters or be arrested red-handed if you go for their services.
Note that the most common foreign currency in Uzbekistan is US dollars. The US banknotes you exchange in the country should be in good condition - without defects, bad folds, worn areas and scribbles - or it will be hard to exchange them.
4. Can I use credit cards in Uzbekistan?
You can use Visa and MasterCard cards mainly in Tashkent and at fewer locations in Samarkand and Bukhara for cash withdrawals through ATMs (cash machines) in their large hotels or banks. You can also make payments with these cards at some hotels, restaurants and stores in Tashkent. However, technical failures of the card handling equipment may occur, so it is advisable to always have enough cash on you.
5. What is the difference between GMT and Uzbekistan time?
It is GMT plus 5 hours in Uzbekistan.
6. Can foreigners to Uzbekistan use the services of a local mobile network operator during their stays in the country?
Yes, they can if they have a stay permit to show.
7. Can I bring alcoholic beverages into Uzbekistan?
A person is permitted to bring a maximum of 2 liters of alcoholic drink(s) into the country.
8. What maximum amount of cash can I bring into Uzbekistan?
There is no limit on the amount of cash in a currency that is foreign to Uzbekistan a person can bring into the country. If you bring in over 5,000 USD (or the equivalent in other currencies), you will be given a ТС-28 certificate. If you bring in over 10,000 USD, you will have to pay a 1% duty on this sum.
9. What maximum amount of cash can I take out of Uzbekistan?
The amount of cash (in a currency foreign to Uzbekistan) you can take out of the country must not exceed the sum you brought in as per your arrival customs declaration. Taking out the amount exceeding the sum you brought in is possible if permitted by Uzbekistan’s Central Bank or another Uzbekistan’s authorized bank. Note that taking out Uzbekistan soms is not permitted unless they are several souvenir coins or banknotes.
10. Can I use a photo / video camera at the tourist sites?
Photographing and videoing at the tourist sites is allowed unless a site has a prohibition sign. They charge fees for using cameras at most tourist attractions though. Photographing and videoing is prohibited in Tashkent metro, at the airports and railway stations. Using a camera at the functioning mosques is possible if allowed by the worshippers there.
11. What kind of clothes should I wear in Uzbekistan? Are there any clothing requirements for women in the country?
Clothes made of cotton and other natural textiles will be the best choice in warm and hot weather. Both men and women will feel best in T-shirts and shorts. Your footwear must be comfortable, light and strong, since you will have to walk a lot. Have sunglasses, a light headwear and sunblock lotion.
If you travel early in spring (March to the beginning of April) or at the end of autumn (October to November), it is advisable to take a windbreaker, a sweater or a similar garment. In winter the temperature may fall to minus 10°С or so, so a raincoat, a warm coat and headwear will be necessary.
There are no strict limits on women’s clothing in the country. However, you should be considerate towards the local traditions, culture and religion. While visiting religious places women should wear loose garments covering most of their arms and legs, and of course the cleavage. Headscarves will also be advisable to put on. Note that you will have to take off your shoes while entering some of the sacred places.
12. What languages do people in Uzbekistan speak?
The official language is Uzbek; it is spoken by a majority of the population. Russian is spoken by the country’s largest Slavic minority and is still used widely in business and as a lingua franca, especially in Tashkent and other major cities. Tajik is widespread in Samarkand and Bukhara for their large Tajik ethnic minorities. Karakalpak is spoken in the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan where it is an official language besides Uzbek. English is popular as a foreign language to study but there is little chance of coming across a good English speaker in the street. However, in the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand many young souvenir sellers dealing with foreigners speak elementary English.
The price depends on the number of participants (persons) in a group and the fact whether it is a group tour or private one
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