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 madrassas 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!
Season: April - October
Tour duration: 9 days/8 nights
Category: individual tour
Day 1. Tashkent. Arrival.
Day 2. Tashkent - Samarkand.
Day 3. Samarkand.
Day 4. Samarkand - Bukhara.
Day 5. Bukhara.
Day 6. Bukhara - Khiva.
Day 7. Khiva.
Day 8. Khiva - Urgench - Tashkent (air flight).
Day 9. Tashkent. Departure.
Detailed tour description:
Day 1. Tashkent. Arrival.
Sightseeing: Khast-Imam Square, Barak-Khan madrassah, Kafal-al Shashi Mazar, Kukeldash madrassah, Chor-su bazaar, Applied arts museum, Independence Square, Istiklol Square, Tashkent metro.
After sightseeing tour you will be offered a delicious lunch. Aromatic shourpa (national soup) with many spicy salads will be served up to you. As a rule, shourpa is cooked of lamb, but chicken will also do. Moreover, sometimes shourpa is made of fish; in this case it is called “asy-sorpa”. A big amount of vegetables, fresh herbs and oriental spices are included into the recipe of this dish. For dessert you can delight in juicy watermelon or cantaloupe. It is said that nowhere else in the world one can find such a sweet and aromatic melon as in Uzbekistan! Believe it or not, this is true. After lunch our experienced guide will take you to the most interesting sites of Tashkent and will tell you many amusing stories.
For main course you can savour that very remarkable dish – pilov. Traditionally it is made of rice and mutton, though beef, pork or chicken can be sometimes used, too. Pilov possesses a specific flavour, being saturated with spices and smoke, as it is cooked on open fire. In Uzbekistan they say that genuine pilov can be cooked only by man. It is so indeed. Pilov is to be accompanied by various appetizers: kazy, khasyp, somsa, meat rolls, aychik-chuk (national salad), lepyoshka etc.
Day 2. Tashkent - Samarkand (330 km, 5 hours).
Sightseeing: mausoleum of Daniel the Prophet, settlement and museum of Afrosiab.
when the sightseeing tour is over, you will come up to another important part of your trip - meal degustation. You are offered to make a short trip to a village in the suburbs to taste barra – a dish made from two-week-old lamb cooked in oriental oven - tandyr. Another don’t-miss dish is shashlyk (shish kebab), a favourite both in Asia and in Caucasus. It can be easily made from any type of meat or fish. The meat is cut in cubes which then are skewered and roasted over an open fire on the chargrill. Shashlyk is garnished with fresh vegetables, pickles, sauces, and fresh herbs, of course. Shashlyk can be eaten hot or cool. This is a perfect snack for strong drinks. In the Orient the appropriate drink for shashlyk is red or white wine. By the way, the local wines are mostly sweet.
Day 3. Samarkand.
Sightseeing: the Registan Ensemble, Ulugbek madrassah, Sher-Dor madrassah, Tillya-Kari madrassah, Gur-Emir mausoleum, Rukhabad necropolis, Bibi-Khanym mosque, Ulugbek Observatory, Shakhi-Zinda ensemble, Khazrat-Hyzra mosque.
You will finish off your morning sightseeing with a fabulous lunch. The local cuisine offers much to choose from. You can start with lagman – a dish which is wide-spread all over Central Asia. There exist Uzbek, Tajik and Dungan varieties of this dish. The main ingredient for lagman is pasta made from stretched dough. Some people call lagman a noodle soup, others consider it to be the main course as sometimes it is made too thick. Lagman consists of two essential ingredients cooked separately and then brought together into one dish before being served up. The first ingredient is pasta itself, whereas the second is so called vajja which imparts the dish with a peculiar taste and aroma. Vajja is a kind of sauce made of meat, vegetables and herbs. You will certainly like it!
If you happen to be in Samarkand during “wedding” season, which traditionally is autumn, when sweet juicy fruits ripen, you will undoubtedly be invited to a wedding party. And you will get a good chance to taste many local delicacies: noodles, meat dumplings- chuchvara, kazan-kabob, beshbarmak, traditional pilov, dumlyama and many other things! And what a variety of sweets! There are pakhlava and rakhat-lukum, pulpy dried apricots and raisins, and candied nuts. The table is groaning with fruits: soft pears, crunching apples, persimmon, pomegranate, juicy peaches, melons and watermelons.
Day 4. Samarkand - Bukhara (280 km, 4,5 hours).
Road transfer from Samarkand to Bukhara. Free time in Bukhara on arrival.
Bukhara is well-known for its pilov and somsa. While in Bukhara, don’t miss the opportunity to taste Bukharan somsa. It is a three-cornered patty made of flaky paste. The filling for somsa varies and can be made of lamb, veal, cheese and herbs, as well as of pumpkin, potato, with some onion and various spices, such as pepper, sesame and caraway seeds. It is tasty and nourishing, a real delicacy. What about dessert? Sure enough you will be offered a wide choice of dessert. It may be khalvetor- Uzbek national dessert made of fried raisin, walnut and honey. Or you may savour chack-chack, a dessert made of small pieces of pastry with raisin, walnut and honey.
Day 5. Bukhara.
Sightseeing: Laybi-Hauz ensemble, Kukeldash madrassah, Nadir Divanbegi madrassah, Ulugbek madrassah, Poi-Kalon complex, Chashma Ayub mausoleum, Samanid mausoleum, “Ark” fortress.
Sightseeing Bukhara is an interesting pastime, but you should not forget that local cuisine is the highlight of the tour. So it’s high time to satisfy your gourmet passion. On an oriental trestle bed, in the shadowy green yard you will be treated to a delicious lunch. The hospitable hostess will cook chuchvara – the most widespread dish sometimes called varak-chuchvara.
Chuchvara is kind of meat dumplings. Its characteristic feature is the flavoursome broth. Dumplings can be served up as main dish as well. In this case you will be offered some seasoning: either tomato sauce with plenty of herbs and garlic, or kind of yogurt with herbs (called “suzma”). A perfect combination! Would you like to sample another exotic dish - mastava with pumpkin? The meat for mastava should be first fried and then boiled. Then rice, one of the basic ingredients, is added to the broth. Sometimes caraway and pumpkin are added, too.
Day 6. Bukhara - Khiva (480 km, 10 hours).
The trip in Bukhara is completed and today you will make your way to Khiva. It’s going to be a very interesting trip, as the road runs along the famous desert of Central Asia – Kyzyl-Kum. You will see endless red hot sands, once trodden by numerous trade caravans. Khiva is an inimitable, real Oriental city, whose air is still pervaded with the spirit of the Middle Ages. There are no high modern buildings or wide busy highways here.
Everything in Khiva is like a fairy-tale, including cooking. Khiva is both architectural and culinary feast. Have you ever sampled naryn? Naryn is usually served as main course and is made of special oiled noodles with pieces of boiled horse meat sausage – kazy and spices. Another widespread dish is onion soup – piyeva. For dinner we recommend to sample roast veal with quince. This dish should contain much caraway and herbs. A good match for this dish is famous Central Asian salad achchik-chuchuk. It consists of ripe fleshy tomatoes cut into pieces and onion sliced in thin rings. These are then dressed with hot pepper. Doesn’t it sound savoury? And then comes tea with halavah (paste of nuts, sugar and oil with sesame seeds) or dry melon – oriental delicacy sweets!
Overnight in hotel.
Day 7. Khiva.
Sightseeing: Ichan-Kala, Islam-Khoja minaret, Juma mosque, Kalta-Minor minaret, “Avesta” museum.
Now few words about the cuisine. In Uzbekistan eating habits vary from region to region, from city to city. Thus many dishes having same name can taste differently depending on the region they belong to. For instance, stuffed cabbage rolls. There are many ways to cook them! Today we can sample stewed vine leaf rolls stuffed with lamb and rice and various oriental spices. They are no less tasty than traditional cabbage rolls.
Another typical Khorezmian dish is tukhum-barak - a kind of dumpling stuffed with boiled eggs and fried onions.
The main component on each table is bread. Uzbekistan bread is lepyoshka (“obi-non”). Even lepyoshka varies in taste and form in different regions of Uzbekistan. In Tashkent it is puffy and is made from fancy pastry, in Samarkand it is thick, in Khiva it is thin and milky.
Tea ceremony is widespread all over Uzbekistan. Uzbek people drink tea whenever an opportunity presents itself: for breakfast, lunch and dinner, at work, at home or while being a guest in somebody’s house. The favourite tea of any Uzbek person is green tea – kok-chai. No party, no celebration or meeting of friends can do without it. Tea is served in piala (a drinking bowl) together with fruits and pastry: so called ‘twiglets’, puff cookie, thick pancakes with butter, kaymak (boiled cream), dry fruits or honey. Tonight you will have an exotic feast.
Day 8. Khiva - Urgench (35 km, 40 min) - Tashkent (morning air flight).
Day at leisure in Tashkent.
Tashkent offers a diverse range of cuisine as its population constitutes a heavy mix of foreigners and diverse ethnic community. In Tashkent you can savour the dishes of Uzbek, European, Chinese, Korean, Kyrgyz, Uigur, Japanese and other cuisines which have become popular among the local people and numerous guests of Uzbek capital.
Day 9. Tashkent. Departure home.
Cost of the tour per person under accommodation at the hotels 2-3*:
Group in 2 pax - 1885 USD/per person
Group in 3-4 pax - 1745 USD/per person
Group in 5-6 pax - 1570 USD/per person
Group in 7-9 pax - 1490 USD/per person
Group in 10-15 pax - 1475 USD/per person
Supplement for single accommodation is 160 USD/per person
Cost of the tour per person under accommodation at the hotels 3-4*:
Group in 2 pax - 2125 USD/per person
Group in 3-4 pax - 1980 USD/per person
Group in 5-6 pax - 1790 USD/per person
Group in 7-9 pax - 1735 USD/per person
Group in 10-15 pax - 1715 USD/per person
Supplement for single accommodation is 230 USD/per person
Cost of the tour includes:
- Double accommodation at the following hotels with breakfasts:
Tashkent: Sairam Hotel**/Tashkent Palace****
Samarkand: Malika Samarkand Classic**/Asia Samarkand***+
Bukhara: Amulet Hotel**/Asia Bukhara***+
Khiva: Orient Star Khiva Hotel***/Asia Khiva Hotel***+
- Excursion program in each city according to the program;
- Services of an escort English speaking guide for the whole tour;
- Entrance tickets to all the monuments and museums according to the program;
- Master classes in Samarkand, Gijduvan, Rishtan;
- Meals on full board basis (spesial menu);
- Air flight “Urgench - Tashkent”;
- Comfortable transportation with an air-conditioner for the whole tour, including meeting/seeing off at the airports.
Cost of the tour does not include:
- International airfare;
- Cost for the photo and video filming in museums and on the monuments;
- Alcohol drinks;
- Visa fee.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Uzbekistan Local Culture Food & Wine Cultural Journey
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