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. If you are travelling on more than one trip, either with us or another operator, your LOI application will need to go through one local operator. Please send all required documentation to your booking agent, and they will be able to assist you with this process.
LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI):
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 travel. If applying for a visa outside of your country of residency, a LOI will be required. We recommend that all documents be submitted no later than 3 months before your tour is scheduled to depart to allow for the time consuming visa process. In order for Intrepid to apply for the LOI on your behalf through our partners in Uzbekistan you will need to email the following information and documents to your booking agent immediately after booking.
• A completed visa/LOI application form which can be filled out online at the following website: http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/
(You only need to fill in the sections marked with an asterix (HOWEVER you must enter your middle name). See below for specific information to help you fill in the form. Please send a copy to your booking agent and print a copy for yourself which you can use when you apply for your visa)
• Clear, colour scanned copy of your passport
• Letter of Employment or Study. This must be a letter from your employer or place of study on a business letterhead that states clearly that you are travelling for tourism purposes only. If you are retired or self-employed, please indicate this on booking.
• Exact dates of entry and exit from Uzbekistan (including 2nd entry if applicable)
• Where you will apply for your visa (for Visa on Arrival – Tashkent International Airport)
• Copy of your international flight tickets in and out of Tashkent
Submitting this information for your LOI is the responsibility of the traveller.
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 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.
You must allow enough time to receive the LOI and apply for your visa if you are planning to get it in advance. You must indicate where you will apply for your visa and any changes in this information will result in your LOI being delayed so please plan carefully. p>
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. Remember that LOIs are NOT the actual visa. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller and separate from the trip price. Costs will vary depending on your nationality and place of application. How and where you apply for your Uzbekistan visa will depend on how you enter the country – please see the trip specific advice below.
APPLYING FOR YOUR VISA
Some information you may need to fill out your visa application:
• Inviting Party: Nuron Savdo /Asia Adventures +998 71 150 62 80 (These are our local partners in Uzbekistan)
• Purpose of Visit: Tourism
• Address in Uzbekistan: Use the name and address of your start or finish hotel
• Occupation: This must match the occupation listed on your supporting Employment letter. Indicate here if you are a student or retired.
• Place of Application: This must be the same as what you requested for your LOI.
Australian & New Zealand citizens wishing to apply for their Uzbekistan visa in advance can do so by post at the consulate in Singapore or Bangkok.
We advise all travellers to apply for either their Visa on Arrival or in advance and not attempt to obtain their visa en-route in China or Kyrgyzstan.
VISA ON ARRIVAL – AIR:
Travellers arriving into Tashkent International Airport can obtain their visa on arrival at the airport ONLY if this is nominated as your place of application on your LOI. Etickets will need to be provided when you apply for your LOI. You will require a printed copy of your LOI before your board your flight. Costs will depend on your nationality (currently approx US$100) and payment must be in cash. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival at any land border. You will also need a printed copy of your Visa Application Form as these are not always available in English at airport immigration
Travellers on PCJU – Jewels of Uzbekistan, PCKL – Kyrgyzstan Lakes of The Sky, PCGS – Grand Silk Explorer & PCPT – Tajikistan Pamir Adventure may apply for an LOI indicating Tashkent International Airport as place of visa application in order to get a Visa on Arrival.
Please note that travellers on PCPT - Tajikistan Pamir Adventure will require a double entry visa. Enter the total number of days of your stay in Uzbekistan on your LOI form and indicate that a double entry is required
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.
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