Our guide in Uzbekistan seemed to know everyone wherever we went which made us feel like locals.
A Couple from California

Classic Uzbekistan

In recent years, Uzbekistan has been earning its stripes as a fascinating alternative travel destination in Central Asia. Many are drawn in by its array of royal palaces, busy street bazaars, historic tombs, and widely-revered mosques that can be found dotted throughout the county’s ancient Islamic cities. This 10-day journey through classic Uzbekistan covers it all. After getting a taster of the capital, Tashkent, it’s on to explore the intricately decorated city of Khiva, awash with blue-covered domes and rooftops. The epic mountain journey that awaits will take you on to the equally impressive cities of Bukhara and Samarkand - two spectacular jewels in Uzbekistan’s crown.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Be taken aback by the sights, smells and sounds coming from the central Tashkent bazaar of Chorsu.
  • Witness the ocean of blue across the ancient city of Khiva
  • Explore the grand mosques and mausoleums of the monastery-like city of Bukhara
  • Spend two full days sightseeing in Samarkand, the historic silk crossroad city
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

After checking in to the hotel, this first day provides some free time for you to discover this interesting capital of Tashkent all at your own leisure. The widely revered Khast Imam Square, the spiritual heart of Muslims of Central Asia, is well worth a visit. A peek into the hectic market (or bazaar) of Chorsu, will hit most new visitors with a sensory overload; it’s full of exotic smelling spices and can get jam-packed on weekends.

Day 2

After enjoying breakfast at your luxury hotel in Tashkent, it’s time to hit the road - and the sky. A morning flight to Urgench is followed by a short 19-mile drive to the spectacular city of Khiva. Situated deep into the Kyzylkum Desert, this historic settlement boasts a colorful blue theme across some 50 monuments. You’ll be greeted by a private guide who will show you the best of the best throughout the old-town quarter.

Day 3

Begin the day with an early morning departure for the 7-hour drive to Bukhara. As you enjoy the rugged Kyzylkum Desert pass from your window, there will be ample opportunity to stop off and take in this unique scenery, including a picnic stop for lunch and a visit to a local Karakul sheep farm. Arrive in the monastery-city of Bukhara in the evening and prepare for tomorrow’s full day of exploring.

Day 4

Waste no time in getting up an about - there are so many interesting sites in Bukhara that you’ll need all the time you can get. First, head to Lyabi Khauz Plaza – a gorgeous square pool at the centre of the city. You won’t want to miss the Ismail Samani Mausoleum either – this is one of the oldest buildings in the Central Asia, and perhaps the most elegant too.

Day 5

A second day in the intriguing city of Bukhara allows you time for a tour of the Royal Mosque Bolo Khauz, once the residence of Emir of Bukhara. The mosque features impossibly carved stalactites and elaborately decorated pillars through its large complex. A trip to Bukhara’s grandest monument, the Bahauddin Naqshband Ensemble, is saved specially for last.

Day 6

Time to depart the architectural wonders of Bukhara and journey to Samarkand (3.5 hours), passing through the impressive desert city of Shakhrisabz on the way. After lunch in Shakhrisabz, a sightseeing tour will take you through this great ancient city, including a visit to the Ak-Saray Palace - a summer residence of the great former ruler. In the afternoon it’s back on the road, cutting through the mountains to your next destination of Samarkand.

Day 7

For the next two full days you’ll be staying in the historic city of Samarkand. Perhaps the most famous city in Uzbekistan, Samarkand has long prospered due to its close proximity to the ancient silk trade route from Asia to Europe. You’ll see the enormous Registan Square and the luxurious Bibi-Khanym Mosque, both of which offer testimony to city’s past riches. Afterwards, take a trip to Siyab local bazaar and taste some traditional bread and fruits of Samarkand.

Day 8

A second day’s sightseeing trip in Samarkand whisks you off Shakhi-Zinda necropolis - a mini collection of mausoleums from the 9-14th centuries. It’s then on to Ulugbek observatory, an ancient Islamic star-gazing site, before rounding off the day with a trip to a traditional paper factory to observe ancient methods of production.

Day 9

After spending the last two days delving into the archaeological delights of this fascinating settlement, it’s time to check out of your hotel and depart Samarkand. Your 4.5-hour journey back to the capital will take you through Bakhmal village, where you can discover (and taste) the art cotton honey making. Arrive back in Tashkent for one last look around before enjoying a farewell dinner.

Day 10

Your 10-day trip through classic Uzbekistan has come to an end. After breakfast and a morning hotel check-out, private transport will take you to the international airport for your flight home or to your next exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace , International Hotel Tashkent, Miran International Hotel

Lotte City Hotel Tashkent Palace

Perfectly located for business, vacation and travel, the Tashkent palace is situated in the center of the Uzbek capital, just a ten minute drive from the international airport and within easy strolling distance of the fountains of the city park, the international ceramics garden, Amir Temur Square and the Alisher Navoi Opera. Built in traditional Uzbek style, the hotel features all the modern conveniences required by international travelers. All 232 rooms feature en-suite bathrooms, satellite television, mini bar and air conditioning as well as views of beautiful Tashkent. After a hard day’s sightseeing, enjoy Uzbek and international cuisine in the hotel restaurants, one of which is open air and offers views of the city and a fountain show. The hotel also has spa and fitness amenities including an outdoor pool, a gym and sauna and massage facilities to ensure guests are fully relaxed during their stay.


International Hotel Tashkent

This property lies in the heart of Tashkent with all the marvellous sights and sounds, museums, mosques and bazaars just minutes away. The International Hotel Tashkent is just 20 minutes’ drive from the airport and within walking distance of the beautiful and peaceful Japanese Garden. The elegantly appointed rooms range from standard to presidential and all are equipped with mini-bar, air conditioning, satellite television and WiFi. Enjoy fine dining and international cuisine in the Allegro Restaurant; relax with beautiful lake views and a barbecue at bright and fresh Brasserie on the Park or sip cocktails in one of the hotel bars. Aquarius Spa is fully-equipped to provide full relaxation and regain harmony of body and soul with massage, gym and sauna facilities, a gorgeous pool and even yoga classes are available. Whilst it wouldn't rank as an international 5-star standard hotel, it's the best hotel in the city. 


Miran International Hotel

The Miran International Hotel offers comfort and convenience for business and leisure travelers in the heart of Tashkent. Its 140 spacious rooms feature all mod cons including 42-inch flat-screen televisions and high-speed WiFi, while the en-suite bathrooms are equipped with toiletries and bathrobes. The hotel offers a range of cuisines in its restaurant as well as banqueting and conference facilities. What’s more, guests can spend their leisure time relaxing with a game of billiards or in the health club with its year-round indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi and gym. Within walking distance to Amir Timur Square and its museum and just a short drive to the treasures of Chorsu Bazaar and the beautiful Khast Imam Mosque, this hotel surely offers something for all visitors to Tashkent.

Asia Khiva, Hotel Orient Star, Malika Kheyvak Hotel, Malika Khiva Hotel

Asia Khiva

This comfortable is perfectly situated in the city center, next to the southern entrance to Itchan Kala - the old town. Within walking distance are some of ancient Khiva’s  most famous sites, including the Stone Palace, Citadel Kunya-Ark and the Djuma mosque with its carved wooden columns. The hotel has 132 rooms, all of which feature air conditioning, refrigerators, wireless internet and satellite television as standard and though not necessarily modern and luxurious, the authentic charm of the decor is in keeping with the city surroundings. The hotel restaurant serves international cuisine and guests can dine inside or out on the terrace. After a hot and tiring day discovering Khiva’s historic sites, unwind by the outdoor pool or take advantage of the sauna facilities. 


Hotel Orient Star

This beautiful hotel located right in the heart of the architectural-urban museum reserve of Khiva’s old town, Itchan Kala, offers a unique accommodation experience. The Muhammad Amin Khan madrasah, built in 1855, was originally, like all Uzbek madrasahs, a school for students of Islam. Today these students’ cells have been renovated into beautiful hotel rooms which, although small, retain the charm and intricate detail of their previous purpose and feature all the mod-cons including mini bar, telephone and en-suite bathroom. Thanks to its unique and original architecture,  the hotel remains pleasantly cool with no need of air conditioning, and guests will be delighted by the beauty of the highly decorative arches and carved wooden doors throughout the reception and in the spacious restaurant. The hotel also features a souvenir shop, an outdoor cafe and a lounge bar and with its ideal location,  the wonders of ancient Khiva, including the towering Kuk Minor minaret, lie right on its doorstep.                                          


Malika Kheyvak Hotel

This comfortable hotel, although relatively modern, is built and decorated tastefully in the authentic Uzbek style so that guests enjoy all the conveniences in an environment of intricate wood carvings, elaborate Khiva carpets and traditional design. Located within the crenellated walls of the Itchan Kala fortress, it sports stunning views of the skyscraping Islam Khoja Minaret and is a short walk from the mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud. The hotel restaurant serves delicious Uzbek cuisine and there are acclaimed local wine varieties, as well as international brands of spirits, available at the hotel bar, while the summer terrace offers wonderful views of the old city so that guests can relax and unwind, fully immersed in the marvellous culture of the city. All single and double rooms have en-suite bathrooms, satellite television and a mini bar. 


Malika Khiva Hotel

Since 2004, the Malika Khiva hotel has been charming and enchanting its guests with its blend of old world authenticity, modern convenience and colorful, quirky decor. Situated at the very entrance of Itchan Kala at Ata Darvaza and built to look like a madrasah, it serves as a perfect doorway into the old town of ancient Khiva and boasts the very best views in the city. The gorgeous main hall and reception area is decked out with colorful hanging Uzbek carpets, traditionally dressed dolls and even features a giant novelty chess set and classic Silk Road bullock cart for guests to enjoy upon check-in. The bright and cozy single and double rooms each have their own en-suite bathroom, air conditioning and satellite television; the hotel restaurant serves up tasty Uzbek dishes and room service is available 24 hours a day.

Asia Bukhara, Lyabi Khauz Hotel, Omar Khayyam Hotel

Asia Bukhara

Built in 2006, this 96-room hotel in central Bukhara allows guests easy access to the city’s main historic attractions. Part of a respected hotel chain within Uzbekistan, the Asia Bukhara Hotel is built in the style of a traditional madrasa and offers travelers welcoming three-star service, with facilities that include an outdoor swimming pool, business center with conference rooms and fitness center. The hotel also offers massage services to help travelers recuperate after a day exploring Bukhara’s ancient sites. Guest rooms include a modern bathroom with tub and shower, a minibar, air conditioning, satellite TV, and in the deluxe rooms, a safe. The on-site restaurant serves up national and international dishes and a bar and nightclub gives visitors the chance to socialize with fellow travelers and locals after hours. The Asia Bukhara Hotel is located in the heart of the ancient city, and guests will find many historic sites of note within walking distance.


Lyabi Khauz Hotel

Positioned in the heart of the Old City, Lyabi Khauz Hotel provides warm Uzbek hospitality in a beautifully restored 19th-century house. All 40 rooms have been refurbished in a comfortable, modern manner with traditional Uzbek accents and mod-cons such as satellite TV, air conditioning, fridge, work desk and full bathroom. Accommodation is available as single, twin or triple rooms with the option of a Junior Suite for travelers who require more space. Among the highlights of this beautiful hotel are its original facade and a central dining room and hall with ornate tiles and antique decorations. The place was designed and built by architect Usta Shirin Murad, whose other works include the Summer Palace of the Emir of Bukhara and the Ballet Theatre. Not only is the hotel a valuable part of Bukhara heritage itself, it’s located in the historic center of town, within steps of the 16th-century Silk Road marketplace where travelers can pick up souvenirs and handicrafts. The Lyabi Khauz Hotel is also equipped with a business center, bar, 24-hour room service and laundry service. The restaurant serves up more than 100 local Uzbek dishes, plus international favorites and vegetarian fare. 


Omar Khayyam Hotel

Named after the legendary philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and poet, the Omar Khayyam Hotel offers guests an authentic experience in the heart of ancient Bukhara. With 22 rooms, including one apartment-style studio and several deluxe suites, this property features ornate stucco arches and balconies that overlook a central courtyard. In-room amenities include satellite TV, air-conditioning, fridge, work desk and modern bathroom with hairdryer. The restaurant serves up traditional Uzbek meals as well as European dishes, vegetarian fare and Korean cuisine. In the summertime, the courtyard sets the scene for an open-air bar and cafe, providing a wide range of drinks and a taste of local sweets. For the executive traveler, there’s a business center with internet access and safety boxes. The hotel also provides laundry services and access to medical care, if required. Many of this UNESCO city’s major historic attractions - the Po-i-Kalyan complex and the 5th-century Ark-Citadel, for instance - are within walking distance of the hotel. 

Grand Samarkand Hotel, Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel, Samarkand Plaza

Grand Samarkand Hotel

This four-star hotel is located within a mile of the Old Town and Registan Square. It offers spacious, traditional-style rooms with free WiFi, TVs with international satellite channels, and ambient sitting area with open fireplace. The on-site restaurant offers local and international meals, with an emphasis on warm Uzbek hospitality and traditional breakfast served each morning. The streets surrounding the hotel also offer a range of restaurants for guests wanting to explore their surrounds. The centerpiece of the hotel is a picturesque garden courtyard with seating where travelers can enjoy breakfast or relax with a drink after a day of sightseeing. The Grand Samarkand Hotel is a favorite in the area for its quaintly decorated rooms and boutique feel. The architecture of the building and the detail in its stained glass and ironwork reflect the craftsmanship still evident in Samarkand’s old quarter. The hotel is located opposite its sister property - the Grand Samarkand Superior - which has a business center, fitness center and rooftop swimming pool.


Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel

This elegant hotel is located close to the heart of historic Samarkand, convenient for shopping and within a mile of the famous Registan Square and Old Town. Rooms at the Grand Samarkand Superior Hotel are decorated in a traditional manner, with Uzbek carpets and Silk Road textiles creating a cozy, comfortable ambience. Modern in-room technology includes a flat-screen TV with satellite and USB connectivity, air conditioning and free WiFi. Bathrooms amenities include robes, slippers and hairdryer. Aside from single and twin/double rooms, larger apartment-style rooms are also available for guests who require more living space. The hotel has a wide array of facilities, including a Finnish sauna, a rooftop pool with sun loungers, a fitness center with cardio machines and free weights, and a well-equipped business center offering a range of executive services. The onsite restaurant serves up Western and traditional Uzbek cuisine, with a fine collection of wines to match and a pianist providing live music every night. Just across the road is the hotel’s sister property, the Grand Samarkand Hotel. 


Samarkand Plaza

Undoubtedly the best hotel in the city, the Plaza offers international standard service and convenience. Rooms from twins to suites are all comfortably appointed and come well equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, high-speed internet and well stocked mini-bar. Thanks to its location right in the heart of ancient Samarkand, it is the ideal base from which to explore the treasures of the city. After a long day of sightseeing, relax in one of two hotel restaurants for a range of Uzbek and international dishes, lounge with a drink in the bar or take advantage of the pool with its sauna and fitness facilities. 

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Jay Tindall was amazed by Uzbekistan's cultural diversity, its 2700-year old history and its mosques, markets and friendly people.
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