Region: North & Central Asia
Islam is the main religion, with most following the Sunni tradition although only a minority would consider themselves actively practicing Muslims.
Uzbek is the official language and is also the most widely spoken non-Slavic language in central Asia. It is a Turkic language and started off by using Roman script, before converting to Cyrillic after 1941. In recent times there has been a shift back to using Roman script, as it is seen as a way of getting better access to Western markets. Many people will also speak Russian (a legacy of the Soviet era) and/or a second regional language such as Tajik or Kyrgyz.
Area (sq. km):
447,400 square meters
GMT +5 hours
The climate is basically dry and hot, although subject to extremes in temperature. In the summer, it is not unusual to encounter temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, whilst severe frosts and sub-zero temperatures can be encountered in winter. Most of the rain falls in spring (March and April).
The best time to visit is from April until early June (spring-early summer) and from late August to October (autumn).
Tashkent International Airport is located 6 kilometres south-east of the city centre and 5 kilometres from the Tashkent ring road. There are many taxi touts outside the airport and negotiating with them for the fare can be difficult so we recommend organising an Arrival Transfer in advance (included in the cost of your trip).
All former countries of the USSR uses European two-pin plugs (220V/50AC) - round pins with no earth connections.
Plov (Central Asia pilaf consisting of rice and fried vegetables) and shashlyk (barbecued meat) are the staple diet. Non and similar round breads are also common. Other common dishes include meat and bean stews and stuffed cabbage leaves. The food has a mixture of both Persian and Russian influences.
On tour you will travel in mini-buses (usually a Toyota vehicle - either a Coaster or a Hi-ace). Road conditions are generally good between the major cities.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Peregrine Adventures have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.
Please note a Uzbekistan Visa on arrival is only available at the Airport. If you are crossing into Uzbekistan overland at a border crossing, passengers will need to get their Uzbekistan Visa in advance. Passengers can also obtain a Uzbekistan Visa in Bishkek if travelling through there before entering Uzbekistan. Passengers would need to be in Bishkek for a couple of days (weekdays), when the Consulate is open to allow for processing times.
By logging onto The Visa Machine website via the links below you will be able to access checklists of what information and documents you will need to prepare as well as apply for the visa support documents you will need. More specific information is provided below for your trip, however for all countries we advise that you start your visa support application with The Visa Machine no later than 3 months before your trip is scheduled to enter each country in order to allow for the lengthy process, and where applicable, to apply for your visa in advance.
If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend submitting a single application to The Visa Machine which contains all the information necessary for visiting each country. This will allow The Visa Machine to provide you with the most efficient customer service.
Please remember that applying for the necessary supporting documents as well as the visas is the responsibility of the traveller. Once you have submitted your application to The Visa Machine you will be contacted by their customer service team along with any further instructions.
The following country specific visa information was current at the time of writing. Please check with your local Embassy/Consulate for the most up to date information and requirements before applying for your visas.
All visitors to Uzbekistan require a visa. Most nationalities will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) in order to apply for your visa. Citizens of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK & USA do not currently need a LOI to apply for a tourist visa if applying within their home country; however this information is subject to change at short notice so we recommend checking with the embassy before you start your application. If applying for a visa outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required.
Please be aware that LOIs take an average of 15 days to be processed but this can be longer, so you will need to allow a minimum of 20 working days. This does not include the time it will take to apply for and receive your Uzbekistan Visa which will vary depending on place of application. Both LOI and Visa processing times are out of our control and can be unpredictable. Once the LOI has been processed a copy will be sent to you or your tour leader. You can then begin the process of applying for your visa if you are getting it in advance. LOIs are valid for a 3 months period so you must apply for your visa within 3 months of the LOI being issued.
Instructions and Information:
Please check with the Embassy for up to date information and requirements.
If you do require a LOI to enter Uzbekistan, please follow the below link to get the process started in obtaining your supporting documents with the Visa Machine.
Firstly please look at the Central Asia ‘CHECK LIST’ and make sure you have everything you need with you so you can start the process. The system doesn’t let you save your progress for later, so you must finish the entire application at the one time. If you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, the same information and documents may be required for different visas. Please make sure you carefully read the check list in order to eliminate any double up.
The Visa Machine will apply for the letter of invitation on your behalf. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for you visa support, click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.
If you have any trouble with the online form please contact The Visa Machine on firstname.lastname@example.org or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402. The Australian Visa Machine office can be reached on email@example.com or +61 (0)26 100 3077.
WARNING – REGISTRATION IN UZBEKISTAN:
All visitors to Uzbekistan must register with the local department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs within 3 working days after arrival. When staying at a hotel, you will be registered automatically. Please ensure you keep any registration documents issued by the hotel until you exit the country.
LAWS & HEALTH:
Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. You should declare all prescription medications and other restricted items on arrival in Uzbekistan, and carry a copy of the prescription with you.
There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are:
The Great Game - Peter Hopkirk
Setting the East Ablaze - Peter Hopkirk
Land Beyond the River: The Untold Story of Central Asia - Monica Whitlock
The Lost Heart of Asia - Colin Thubron
Central Asia: A Travellers' Companion - Kathleen Hopkirk
Central Asia - Lonely Planet