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Discovering the Beauty of Southern Uzbekistan

Embark upon a journey of wonderful revelations through the south of Uzbekistan, a treasure trove of historical, cultural and architectural gems. From the capital city of Tashkent, home to the oldest Quran in the world, travel through the ancient city of Bukhara with its world famous, poetry-inspiring minarets, to Samarkand, where you will see traditional paper-making and pottery and where lies Tamerlane and his dynasty. Experience the wonder of the Uzbek countryside, from the mountains to the canyons and the lush valleys around beautiful Darband with its musicians and shamans and then to Boysun, where you will witness the traditions of centuries, preserved today. By the time you return to bustling Tashkent, you’re sure to have fallen in love with southern Uzbekistan.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Drink in the beauty with an ancient city tour of Tashkent
  • Discover the architectural wonders of historic Bukhara
  • Travel through the stunning Uzbek countryside and gaze into the Grand Canyon
  • Meet a traditional musician-healer in UNESCO-protected Boysun
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in the ancient city of Tashkent and check in to your accommodating lodgings. You won’t waste any time getting acquainted with the Uzbek capital’s charms as you are guided on a tour of the city. Wander across Khast Imam Square and discover the Uthman Quran, the oldest in the world, in its library; explore the 15th century Yunus Khan Mausoleum complex and other marvels of the old town.

Day 2

In the morning, hop on a quick flight to historic Bukhara to continue your journey of discovery. Take in the madrassas and lodging houses surrounding the Lab-i-Hauz pond, and gaze up at the towering Po-i-Kalyan Minaret. Visit Mir-i-Arab, the biggest mosque in Central Asia - covered in intricate mosaics and explore the sovereign mosque of Abdul-Azizkhan. Finally, witness the skill of the craftsmen in the domes of jewelers and hatters.

Day 3

Stroll around the pool at the beautiful Bolo-Khauz Mosque in the spacious central square and experience the royal opulence of the Emirs in the royal residence of Sitorai-Mohi-Hosa. Take a short trip just outside the city to visit the memorial of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband, the sacred resting place of the first Sufi Muslim and important site of pilgrimage. 

Day 4

Witness the stunning Uzbek scenery as you take a 3-hour cross-country drive to Gijduvan, famous for its beautiful ceramics. Visit an authentic pottery workshop, see the craftsmen in action and join them for traditional tea. From here, it’s just a short drive before lunch in Samarkand. In the afternoon, take a stroll around the vast and beautiful Registan Square, framed by its three awe-inspiring madrassas.

Day 5

Enjoy the views as Samarkand continues to reveal its treasures; look at the beautiful Friday mosque of Bibi Khanym, built for the wife of Timur; explore the mysterious and sacred Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum complex and the final resting place of the mighty Tamarlane. Finally, stare into the sky from the top of Ulugbek, the oldest observatory in Central Asia.

Day 6

Get another dose of the wide ranging Uzbek culture; first with a visit to the old paper mill of Samarkand, where you will see the ancient paper making techniques in action; next, plunge into the mausoleum of Daniel, a sacred religious ensemble and destinations for Christian, Jewish and Muslim pilgrims from around the world. In the evening relax and enjoy a performance of El Merosi in traditional historical costumes.

Day 7

Begin a 4-hour drive through majestic mountain terrain to the lush and verdant city of Shakhrisabz where you will discover the fabulous Ak-Saray, Tamerlane's summer palace. After lunch, travel along the passage of the caravanserai to beautiful Darband, a charming town of music and culture set in the stunning scenery of the Grand Canyon. Dine and spend a peaceful night in the town’s National House.

Day 8

Discover the truly authentic historical culture of Uzbekistan when you drive to isolated, UNESCO-protected Boysun where Shamans, Buddhists and Magis preserve their ancient traditions. visit the museum and the market and traditional ateliers and after lunch, meet an authentic musician-healer. In the afternoon, you will head back to Darband to board your comfortable overnight train.

Day 9

After your relaxing train journey, check into your cosy accommodation and enjoy a morning to yourself in Tashkent. We recommend taking some pictures of the fabulous Russian style Palace of Prince Romanov or a little shopping in the bustling Chorsu market. In the afternoon, stroll under the decorative archway into Independence Square, see gorgeous Uzbek masterpieces at the Museum of Applied Art and the Art Deco-styled stations of Tashkent subway.

Day 10

On your final day in Uzbekistan, you’ll check out of your hotel and allow your driver to whisk you from your hotel to the airport, where you’ll be assisted with check-in for your international flight either 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 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. 

Homestay in Darband

Homestay in Darband

The charming town of Darband is located in the south of Uzbekistan, surrounded by magnificent scenery including lush, green valleys and the stunning Uzbek Grand Canyon. Nearby is the small town of Boysun, protected by UNESCO and where the ancient traditions of shamans are still practised. Darband itself is located along the historical route of the caravanserai and is today considered a hub of traditional Uzbek folk music and culture. By far the best way to experience the authentic charms of the town, the region and its people, is to opt for a homestay in a local home. Allow a local family to welcome you into their home and enjoy the famous hospitality of the Uzbek people. Although it’s not like staying in a sumptuous hotel, guests get their own room and the unique opportunity to live like a local: cooking, eating and laughing together; having your own host and tour guide is undoubtedly the best way to enjoy the sights of this gorgeous region and its fascinating culture.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
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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