Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan. Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s first leader from independence in 1991 to his death in 2016, ruled this country with an iron fist. His harsh policies overflowed and negatively impacted travelers to Uzbekistan. Upon Karimov’s death, Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed the presidency and the country made significant changes. Some of these positive changes positively effected the tourism industry. In fact, Uzbekistan in a short period transitioned from a challenging country to visit to a very pleasant experience. Uzbekistan is the best introduction to Central Asia for travelers.  There are affiliate links in this post for the hotels.  

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan


In the old days (pre-2016), you had to jump through some hoops to get a visa, such as actually going to the embassy or at least mailing in your passport. Under the new regime, many countries are visa free (most of Europe) and evisa for countries like the US, China, and India. The online evisa was simple and fast to fill out, and I received my evisa in several days. The fee is $20. In addition, Letters of Invitation for many countries have been done away with.

uzbek visa

Now, just a boring stamp.(and bonus Armenian stamp as well)


There have been major improvements when it comes to money in Uzbekistan, known as the Som. ATMs are now ubiquitous in major cities, compared to being non-existent previously. There are still some lingering issues, where occasionally the ATMs are out of money or not working. And some ATMs only work with Mastercard and others only with Visa. The ATMs only contain Uzbek Som.

Uzbek ATM

Up until 2013, the largest denomination was only 1000 Som which was worth only 60 cents at that time. So you can imagine how thick your wallet would be with the equivalent of $100 in som. Uzbekistan now has 50,000 (2017) and 100,000 (2019) denominations which are becoming more common.

Uzbek Som

Credit cards are accepted at the bigger hotels and restaurants.


In years past, you would have to fill out a customs form in duplicate upon arrival declaring all foreign currency. Upon leaving the country, more customs forms need to be filled out and currencies checked by officials. This policy is no longer enforced.


Like any good ex-Soviet Union country, you need to register with the government wherever you travel. The hotel would produce a form upon your departure, and the visitor would be responsible for maintain these documents to produce upon leaving the country (or a possible spot check when traveling). This policy is also no longer being proactively enforced. While the hotels did produce the forms, customs officials are no longer requesting them.

hotel registration form uzbekistan

In short, this is the golden age to visit Uzbekistan!

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a vast country similar to the size of California with thirty plus million people. So how do you fit the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle. I am going to share with you my two-week agenda in Uzbekistan, which I consider to be the perfect two-week itinerary to explore and discover this amazing country. If you were to critique my agenda, I did not visit the far east of the country, the Fergana Valley. But time is finite.

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan


Nukus is in the far west of the country and most people skip this part of the country. But, there are two great reasons to visit this region.  Nukus is the home of the Nukus Museum of Art or, in full, The State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, named after I.V. Savitsky. It is an extremely well-regarded home to over 82,000 pieces. The founder, Savitsky, was deemed an enemy of the Soviet Union yet amassed a giant collection of avante-garde Soviet artists. For art lovers, this is a must-visit.  Here is a run down on one day in Nukus.

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan

How To Get There

I flew to Nukus from Tashkent. This flight is under $100 and takes three hours. Other options are taking a train for about 20 hours or driving for about 15 hours.

uzbek air

Where To Stay

Stay with this family run hotel that has been in operation for over ten years, Jipek Joli Inn. Comfortable rooms and friendly service (and a five-minute walk to the museum). It is about $50.

Jipek Joli Inn

How Long To Stay There

I stayed here two nights with one night on the Aral Sea sandwiched in between. Check out my one day in Nukus for an overview.

Aral Sea

The Aral Sea used to be the 4th largest lake in the world. But, not today. Primarily due to mismanagement, the sea has shrunk by 90%. It is considered one the world’s worst ecological disasters. Nukus is the main launching point to visit the edge of the Aral Sea. It is an adventure to get there, the roads eventually disappear and there are only a handful of tourists that you will encounter.

Aral Sea

How To Get There

This is a two-day trip to get to the sea. There is a tent encampment where you can stay at on the Aral Sea. I traveled with Ayim Tours, you can read about my adventure exploring the Aral Sea.

drive to Aral Sea

How Long To Stay There

Staying one night in the tent encampment on the lake does the trick.

aral sea camp


Khiva is an ancient walled city that looks like it could pop out of a fairy tale book. Khiva dates back over 1500 years and was part of the Silk Road. This town is perfect to simply stroll around and take in the atmospherics and aesthetics of the extremely well preserved Itchan Kala (within the wall).


How To Get There

Jipek Joli Inn provided a private car for door-to-door hotel service for $30. You can also take a shared taxi, but this requires you to get to the starting point in Nukus, wait for enough riders, and then find another taxi once you get to Khiva.

Where To Stay

Qosha Darvoza was about a five-minute wall to the northern gate of the walled city. The room was comfortable and priced attractively about $35.

Qosha Darvoza

Where To Eat

The restaurant scene is not that great in Khiva, but I imagine it will improve in the near future. I had a couple of meals at Terrassa Café which I appreciated as much for the view as the food.

How Long To Stay There

I stayed two nights in Khiva, three would have been a little bit better.


I couldn’t tell you which city on the Silk Road was my favorite, but they were all incredible in their own way. Bukhara was perfect for strolling and soaking in the atmospherics of the ancient town. I loved Bukhara for the fact that I could walk from my hotel into this time capsule of breathtaking Islamic monuments.

kalen mosque bukhara

I would also suggest a half-day visit to the Emir’s summer palace called Sitorai-Mohi-Khosa. Easy to arrange with a taxi or through your hotel. Through my hotel, I paid 200,000 Som (a but more than $20) for driver, guide, and three stops including the Summer Palace.


How To Get There

You can take taxis, shared taxis, or the train, or a tour/transfer, which I would recommend. I signed up for a private tour, called 5 Ancient Khorem Fortresses with transfer to Bukara with Islambek Travel. This tour (which takes 12 hours) is aggressively priced at $59 for the car and driver, with door-to-door hotel service. AS the name implies you will visit 5 ancient forts and then be dropped at your hotel in Buhkara. I had a great driver and it was a fun day with a great driver and a professional back office. Taking a car is over six hours and a train about eight hours.

Khorem Fortress

Where To Stay

I stayed at Old House Hotel which was perfectly located next to historical sites and restaurants. You could easily explore Bukhara with using Old House as your base. It is a newer hotel, with good breakfast and a friendly and helpful staff. The hotel was about $50.

old house bukhara

Where To Eat

The restaurant options improve greatly compared to Nukus or even Khiva.

Restaurant Ayvan is fantastic. It is set in a 19th century, wealthy merchant’s home which has been lovingly restored. The food and service are great.


Budreddin Restaurant has a great open courtyard. The food was good but what I loved was the pitcher of mint, lemon tea for under $2. Make a stop here just for his iced drink.

Budreddin Restaurant

Chasmai-Mirob. You don’t come here for the food but for the view. Came a table on the roofdeck before sunset for the amazing view of Kalan Mosque, Mir-i-Arab Madrasa, and Kalon Minaret. Don’t leave until everything is lit up.

How Long To Stay There

I stayed three nights in Bukhara and that was a perfect amount of time.


Timur-i-Leng, considered the father of Uzbekistan, made Samarkand the capital of his empire in 1369. As his capital Timur put the city on the world map and much of the architecture visible today was built by him or his descendants. Samarkand epitomizes all of what you imagine the Silk Road to be. The Registan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one the world’s must-sees. Make sure you come here for sunrise and sunset. This city is bigger and not walkable like Bukhara. But Yandex (the CIS’s answer to Uber) is a great way to explore the city. Rides range from less than $1 to $3.

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan

Samarkand is also a great launching point for a worthwhile day trip. I took this day tour with Jahongir Travel to Timur’s birthplace, Shahrisabz. It is a relaxing driver over the mountain pass, Tahtakaracha. Shahrisabz is an UNESCO World Heritage site.


How To Get There

Uzbekistan has a strong system of trains and shared taxis. The fast train can get you there in about two hours and the shared taxi in about four hours. Or you can be lazy and hire a private taxi, which will take around four hours. I asked a couple of guys on the street until I found someone for door-to-door service for $50. I negotiated with a taxi drive on the street.

Where To Stay

Check out the Platan Hotel. A super big and comfortable room. It is not cheap, about $90, but it was worth it.

platan hotel samarkand

Where To Eat

Platan has one of the best rated restaurants in the city and justifiably so. I ate all of my meals at this restaurant including the great Greek salad and grilled chicken.

platan restaurant

How Long To Stay There

I stayed here three nights allowing a good amount of time to explore this amazing city.


Tashkent is an underrated capital of the former Soviet Union. A city of wide boulevards, green parks, Soviet monuments, and historic mosques. It is easy to explore this spread out city on the metro or with Yandex.

great patriotic war memorial tashkent

How To Get There

Again, you have the options of shared taxi and train. I elected for a private taxi for $50. While more expensive the door-to-door service, it allows you to save an hour or so, instead of waiting for a train or waiting for the shared taxi to fill up.

Where To Stay

I lived it up in Tashkent and stayed at the Hyatt. This was a great way to end the trip in a 5 star hotel. It was a good use of points to stay here for free, otherwise it is over $200 a night.

hyatt tashkent

Where To Eat

Caravan was my top pick in Tashkent and I dined here twice, once inside and once in the open courtyard. This is a great pick if you like Lebanese fare.

caravan restaurtant tashkent

And the breakfast at the Hyatt was also a real treat.  You will not go hungry here.

hyatt breakfast

How Long To Stay There

I stayed here two nights, but I wish I had a third.

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan.  Or what I really consider to be the perfect two-week agenda in Uzbekistan.

If you have a couple of extra days and want to explore a bit more, check out Termiz on the Afghan border.

Two-Week Agenda In Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is my 139th country. 

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