Registan Square, Samarkand

Uzbekistan Uncovered

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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 35 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
AXS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Travel through history from Nomadic tribes and Muslim preachers to Silk-route traders and Soviet spies.

Who can mention the names of Samarkand, Bokhara or Khiva without conjuring up images of the romance and intrigue of the Great Game, of skull caps and silk sashes, of fabulously coloured mosaic domes and minarets, or of a newly arrived caravan train of traders just out of the deserts of the east? This journey to the heart of Central Asia takes us back across the centuries but also reveals a modern day Uzbekistan.

Highlights

  • Time to explore Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan
  • A visit to the Kunya-Ark, the 12th century fortress of the Khans
  • Two full days to explore Bukhara, a city with over 900 historical monuments
  • Spend the night in a traditional Yurt camp
  • Explore Samarkand, the greatest city on the historic Silk Road

Key information

  • 9 nights standard hotels, all en suite, 1 night yurt (tent) with basic shared washing facilities
  • Travel by private bus or minibus and internal flight
  • Some long drives
  • Experience local culture and nature

What's included

  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Tashkent; city tour.

    In the afternoon we will start our sightseeing of this Central Asian capital. This will include visiting Independence Square flanked by public buildings and water fountains and also the Old City with its mausoleums and bazaar. Tashkent was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 60's and was rebuilt in true Soviet style with pleasant leafy boulevards and lots of fountains to keep the heat down in summer. There are some very interesting museums as well as mosques.
    Arien Plaza Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Fly to Urgench; transfer to Khiva; city tour.

    In the morning we fly to Urgench, our base for our visit to Khiva and the Desert sites. On arrival we transfer to Khiva and visit the living museum of the perfectly restored old city. We will see the khan's old residence, the Kunya-Ark 12th century fortress, the tiled base of the never completed Kalta Minar, (which was originally planned to be taller than any minaret in Bukhara) and the beautiful mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud (Khiva's patron saint) with its tiled courtyard. Many wedding parties and pilgrims come to visit the tomb and drink the water from the well in the courtyard.
    Malika Khiva Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Visit the desert castles of Toprak Qala, Qaval Qala and Ayaz Qala.

    After breakfast we head off to the arid plains of Khorezm. These plains were once densely populated marshland, inhabited by Messagetae Scythians. These horseback archers were nomadic and fought to retain the land, even defeating Cyrus The Great, a Persian emperor in BC 529. We visit the 2000-year-old ruined city fortress of Toprak- Qala, dramatically located with the Sultan Vais Mountains acting as a backdrop. The settlement began in the first century BC under Kushan patronage and was later devastated by Turkish raids that led to the depopulation of the town in the sixth century. There are still three large round towers and an impressive portion of the citadel that still remain, but the parchments and paintings that were found there are now in St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum. We also visit Kavat-Qala, formerly an important oasis with an impressive amount of remaining buildings and finally Ayaz-Qala, an imposing hilltop fortress dating from the Sixth century. We later return to Khiva to spend the night.
    Malika Khiva Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive across Central Asian Plateau and through desert to Bukhara.

    A long day's drive on bad roads to Bukhara (approx 10/11 hours); first we cross the fabled Amu-Darya (Oxus) River and then the Kizilkum Desert. If time allows we may have the chance to make a first visit to old Bukhara and have a cup of green tea at the fascinating chai-khana (tea-house) at 'Laby Khauz' (one of the water- filled stone pools).We will break up the journey today with stops en route.
    Hotel Aist Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Spend the day exploring 12 Century Char Minar, Bolo Khauz Mosque and the old Summer Palace of the Emirs.

    We have two days sightseeing in Bukhara, the next of our great Central Asian cities. Bukhara boasts over 900 historical monuments, here we will spend time visiting many sites and wandering at leisure amongst the old city streets. Unlike Samarkand the district of the old town has remained separate from the rest of Bukhara and has undergone lots of restoration and preservation in recent years. In addition to its importance as a trading centre, it is the perfect setting to just sit and watch the world go by much as it has done for hundreds of years. Of particular interest is the Fortress Ark where, in the 19th century, the Emir of Bukhara had the English officers Stoddart and Connolly imprisoned and killed and the mausoleum of Ismail Samani, a beautiful example of early Islamic architecture dating back to the 10th century. We will also visit the Emir's rather kitsch Summer Palace, the old town with its domed bazaars and khauz (stone pools which used to be the city's only water supply), and the attractive 12th century Char Minar. One of the great landmarks of Bukhara is the Kalyan minaret, known as the death tower, where many an unfaithful wife has met a sticky end.
    Hotel Aist Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Another day discovering the delights of Bukhara's old town.

    Another day discovering the delights of Bukhara's old town.
    Hotel Aist Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive via the rock paintings of Sarmysh Gorge to Nurata, Alexander the Great's fortress; overnight in traditional yurt camp in desert.

    From Bukhara we travel via Navoi to Sarmysh Gorge where over 3000 petroglyphs from the Bronze Age right through to The Middle Ages remain. They are on a dramatic canvas of dark shale and consist of remarkably clear images of animals and primitive man. Continue on to Nurata formerly known as Nur and founded in the 3rd Century BC by Alexander the Great. This ancient town was once regarded as the frontier between the cultivated lands and the steppes, and the ruins of Alexander's hilltop citadel stand testament to its ancient history. The city was also an important Muslim place of pilgrimage, reaching its peak in the 10th Century AD as devotees flocked to its many significant graves and memorials. We stop at a 10th century mosque and holy sites that have attracted pilgrims from all over Central Asia. After a traditional lunch at a teahouse we transfer to our Kazakh yurts. These are traditional round felt tents, which are spacious, colourful and comfortable inside. The Kazakh nomads still use them. Our camp offers a glimpse into what life was like on the Silk Road in times gone by.

    Currently only some of the petroglyphs at the entrance to Sarmysh Gorge are available for viewing as the gorge itself is shut.
    Yurt Camp

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Freetime at Aidarkul Lake; and on to Samarkand.

    Today we walk and there is also the chance to ride camels for a short time towards Aidarkul Lake. The lake stretches through the desert within sight of the Nuratin Mountains and once there we are free to explore the shoreline or swim. Later we transfer to Samarkand.

    It is not possible for the whole group to ride camels at the same time due to camel numbers.
    Dilshoda Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Full day tour in Samarkand visiting Registan Square, Ulugbek Observatory and Mausoleum of Tamerlane.

    Samarkand is truly a jewel of the ancient and modern Silk Road. We have a busy full day taking in all the sights. There is the exquisite jade mausoleum of Gur-i-Emir, the resting place of Tamerlane, who is now being rapidly reinstated by the Uzbek government as a national hero. Perhaps the greatest treasure is Registan Square, Tamerlane's outstanding creation, a vast complex of domes and minarets, mosques and medrassas. We will also visit the equally beautiful necropolis of Shah-i-Zinda and the old observatory of Uleg Beg, the greatest Muslim astronomer. Samarkand is still a major centre for textiles, carpets and works of art and is the perfect city to try out bargaining skills and explore the ancient site of the bazaar.
    Dilshoda Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Free morning; return to Tashkent.

    This morning is left free for us to enjoy just a little more time in Samarkand. Perhaps a visit to the local bazaar where you can sample delicious fresh produce, or you might like to return to the many stalls nestled in the Registan Ensemble to find that perfect souvenir. Our adventure in Uzbekistan is almost complete as we leave Samarkand and drive back to the capital for our final night. Tonight we have a farewell dinner to mark the end of our travels together, and reflect on all we have seen.
    Arien Plaza Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    End Tashkent.

    Those on the group flights will be taken to the airport for their flight. For land only passengers, the trip ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Uzbekistan

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

All passengers require a visa for Uzbekistan. Clients from the UK, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Spain and Switzerland no longer need an authorisation letter first to obtain a visa. Should you need an authorisation letter please contact Exodus at least 8 weeks before departure as we can arrange this for you through our local operator.

For more information on the Uzbekistan Visa see our Visa Information Sheet (http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Uzbekistan.pdf )

PLEASE NOTE: When you arrive in Uzbekistan you will be given 2 currency declaration forms. Fill both forms in, they will keep one and hand one back. Hold on to that form as you will have to show it when you leave Uzbekistan. You'll also have to fill in a new currency declaration form and must leave with less money than when you arrived. They may check. You will also be given a receipt from each hotel you stay in. Please hold on to these as well as they may be checked when you leave.

There has also been greater restrictions on bringing medicine into Uzbekistan. If you have any special medicine we recommend you check with the Uzbekistan Embassy about allowed quantities. You should also bring copies of your prescriptions and declare them upon arrival. Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccinations

Uzbekistan

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Please note that vegetarian food choices may be rather limited. If you are strictly vegetarian or have any specialist dietary requirements please notify us well in advance.In Uzbekistan the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free or dairy-free, is minimal or non-existent and we strongly recommend you bring these specialised dietary items from home.

Weather

These areas of Central Asia have long, extremely hot summers, but the winters are very cold. The July and August departures may be rather hot with afternoon temperatures often reaching 35ºC. Other trips are planned for spring and autumn when the temperature should not be below 5ºC at night and may be up to 25-30ºC during the day. Sunny weather with clear blue skies should be experienced but there can be some rain at this time of year. Occasionally periods of unexpectedly hot or cold weather can be experienced.

Khiva

Khiva

Samarkand

Samarkand

Is this trip for you?

This is a generally undemanding trip with reasonable roads for the most part and time for sightseeing. Most of the accommodation is modest but clean, mostly with private facilities. This is an extremely rewarding trip for those wishing to get to the heart of Central Asia and who are prepared to deal with a long day's drive (day 4) on a bad desert road, early starts/long days and hot (but also sometimes rather cold) temperatures. Tourist services and facilities can be patchy and erratic. Tolerance and flexibility are required, and for this you will be rewarded with an insight into local life. The camel ride at Aidarkul Lake is optional and usually people walk alongside the camels after an initial 20-30min ride.

Call us on
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Basic Yurt

You will spend 9 nights in standard hotels with en suite facilities and 1 night in a basic yurt with basic washing facilities. While in the Yurt you will have basic washing facilities with simple basins (hot water can be heated on request) but no showers, a toilet tent/basic outhouse and a dining yurt.

Call us on
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

As another year flies past, it’s time for us to ask ourselves one simple question: where next?

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Lesley Prosser

    Very well-run tour of a great destination

    This was a fascinating insight into a country I knew little about. The pace was good, and both the sites and the sights were interesting and varied. With one exception, the accomodation was better than my expectations. We were 15 people in a full-size coach, a real luxury for the several long drives. It was great to be able to swap sides to see a better view, or join others for a chat. The group were a pleasant assortment of people who got on well with each other and were enjoyable company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What can one say? The Registan at Samarkand. Just when we thought we were all mosqued out, there it was...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I generally prefer solo travel, as I like to go my own way, but Dilshod had made a convert of me. He is a brilliant leader. His long experience shows in the effortless ease with which he performs this very demanding job, but nonetheless, he injects his presentations and information sessions with a freshness and enthusiasm that never, ever sounds like he is just playing a tape recording in his head. He is an immensely likeable person, and a pleasure to chat with out of hours. He is the first leader I have come across who was willing to spend dinner with his group every night to make the ordering and paying a painless process in restaurants where English was rare.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While standards of hygiene are generally good, some public toilets really require you to have a supply of tissues and sanitiser. Oddly, if you wanted to buy a roll of toilet paper, it would be easily found in any little local shop. Kleenex, on the other hand, is hard to come by - you really need to find a pharmacy to buy that. So take plenty of Kleenex.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Hayley Mooney

    Unbelievable Uzbekistan

    Definitely book this trip, Uzbekistan is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The yurt camp. Sitting under the milky way listening to the guy singing is something I'll never forget, even the 6k walk through the desert the following day was fun. Of the historical sites, the necropolis in Samarkand was my favourite, and Samarkand was my favourite city. It's easy to get around and the people are lovely, although that can be said for every town and city in Uzbekistan.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was incredible, his passion and knowledge of Uzbekistan is awesome. He must be the best guide in the whole of Uzbekistan. He's also just a really fun and lovely guy. Valentin is a fantastic driver. Even though most of the roads are in good condition it did get a bit bumpy at times, but I always felt safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan airways is great, you get plenty of leg room and the food really isn't as bad as everyone says. A lot of the historic sites have been reconstructed in the past 10-15 years, so much so that it kind of became a running joke, it doesn't detract from the trip though. The food is delicious. Plov is the best! The kebabs taste amazing, but can be a bit greasy. The bread is delicious, and there's plenty of salad options for vegetarians.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Forget any preconceptions you have about Uzbekistan, chances are it's nothing like you're imagining.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    steve adams

    the delights of uzbekistan

    The people of uzbekistan are so open and friendly. The cities and the monuments within them live up to all expectations and there is so much to see. The Yurts are comfortable and spacious, toilet facilities at the camp are good, much better than expected. Camel ride and walk through the desert was a great experience and finishing up with a swim and a picnic beside the lake was a great rounding off of the camp experience. There are long bus journeys on this trip between the towns and some of the roads are quite rough but we felt safe in the hands of our driver. Food is much better than expected and there is more variety than the trip notes seem to indicate. Nobody appeared to get any serious stomach bugs on the trip which is unusual when the weather was so hot. I think this was because our guide advised on good eating places and kept us right. The currency issues are not as difficult as hinted at and are easily managed. Security, including arrival and departure at the airport was robust but not a problem

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say as there were many. For me the Registan and other monuments in Samarkand were probably the most inspirational thing but the night in a yurt camp with camel ride was amazing as were the desert forts. Or maybe the most inspirational thing was the openess and friendliness of the uzbek people. A trip of many highlights

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was patient, understanding, organised and extremely knowledgable on history and local customs. He had a good sense of humour, gelled well with the group and shared many personal experiences of his life in uzbekistan. He made the trip easier for us all and kept us going when the heat of the day made us wilt. I think his guidence and attention in terms of directing us to eating places also helped to keep us healthy

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel as light as possible, have a torch for the Yurt camp and make sure you drink lots and lots of water. Take money in US dollars and slap on the sun cream before you go out.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a wonderful trip that fully lives up to expectations
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Erica Whitfield

    Uzbekistan uncovered

    This was a well structured trip , and took in most of the spectacular sights of Uzbekistan. It is busy with little free time (in the right places ) and we didn't get to go on the train , which would have been a relief from the tour bus ,as it covers a lot of distance. Uzbekistan is a fabulous place to visit , has many awesome buildings , and you cannot walk more than 50 metres without a local wanting a photo with you, which meant lovely conversations and interactions. It was great to have a camel ride to the lake , as this meant chilling time and a much needed refreshing swim.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Poi Kalyon was fabulous , and seeing the Koran in Tashkent (which we would have missed if we had not insisted on going )

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was very good , a calm and knowledgeable guide who would try to accommodate our wishes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The vegetarian food is nowhere near as bad as suggested , try to avoid the set meals though , they are not worth it for Veggies. Do not accept a ground floor room by reception in Bukhara Hotel Aist, it is very noisy ,dark (no window) and cramped.(which the other rooms are not )

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels are not always in the best location , Tashkent hotel was miles from anywhere in a residential suburb, so having a free morning there was pretty pointless.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Elizabeth Robertson

    UZBEKISTAN UNCOVERED

    Surpassed all expectations. This was an 11 day escorted tour across Uzbekistan, following the silk road.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The historical monuments were stunning. The sheer scale and colour was breathtaking. There was a nice mix of seeing the old alongside the new.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can't speak highly enough of our tour leader Dilshod. Nothing was too much trouble. His knowledge of Uzbekistan history was incredible. He was helpful, informative and a real pleasure to have with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a raincoat as we had a couple of cooler wet days. Tea is the national drink, taken without milk. If you enjoy coffee or milk take your own. The sun can be quite strong so take sun cream. All the hotels had wifi, although it could be very intermittent. Alcohol was widely available and very cheap, even in restaurants.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Dulcie Wrinch

    Uzbekistan Uncovered

    A well balanced comprehensive trip in that we had time to see all the sights and look around in general before moving on to the next destination. Trips out to the desert fortresses and the night staying a yurt followed by a hike with camel ride to Aidarkul Lake were a welcome break from seeing the historical and other not so old blue tiled mosques and madrassas etc. The long drives were made more bearable in the fact we had a full sized coach and only 16 people so were able to spread ourselves out, the rest stops were regular and unhurried. The food was variable and rather greasy and mostly edible. The local people were friendly (apart from some taxi drivers)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to say what was the most inspirational moment as the sights overall were all awesome and in particular when lit up at night. I think the most fabulous moment was when I was on a camel and saw Aidarkul Lake ahead of me. The other people in the group were a lovely bunch and it made things even better. I came home feeling well satisfied with it all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod....He was wonderful, so kind and good humoured. Also very helpful to any needs of our group. His spoken English was excellent, the best of any guides that I have met on Exodus trips to date. He was so organised when it came to ordering meals and drinks and managing the finances of it all. Didn't want to say goodbye.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not waste time going and leaving Tashkent outside the trip itself, the flights to and fro from London are only twice a week so more time spent there is not worth it. It was difficult to explore as tourism virtually unknown and taxi drivers say they can take you to requested place but haven't a clue where they are going. The hotel used in Tashkent is not widely known or central. The customs forms about permitted medication were non-existent, going through customs was trouble-free unlike what blogs say. A good torch for the night at the yurt advisable unless you like fumbling around in the dark, but we all fell asleep very quickly. Bring lots of of immodium and andrex loo paper, also air freshener as bathrooms have no ventilation!! Maybe download some maps prior to trip because they are non-existent.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highly recommend this trip....go now and enjoy.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Michael Allen

    Glad I went but glad it's over

    This was a bit of disappointment because I was hoping to see lots of exquisite Islamic art and architecture. There is some toward the end of trip in Samarkand but the mosques and madrasas in Khiva and Bukhora weren't very attractive. There was too much shopping time for my taste. I am vegetarian which limited food selections. The salads are very good but there isn't much choice beyond that and I don't think even the non-veggies enjoyed the food much. Sometimes a vegetarian dish was just a regular dish with the meat removed e.g. we were told chick peas were vegetarian but they came with some bits of meat which they had overlooked. The local beer, however is excellent. An interesting part of the trip was learning about the Russian influence, good and not-so-good, and the changes that have occurred since the Soviet Union imploded and Uzbekistan became independent. I also enjoyed learning a about current life in Uzbekistan but am aware that we as tourists we may be presented with a somewhat sanitized view of things.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most enjoyable (not inspirational!) parts of the trip were the yurt stay/camel ride and in Samarkand learning about Ulugh Beg, the brilliant ruler and astronomer, and touring his museum.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was excellent - extremely conscientious, good humoured, punctual, reliable and helpful. He never tired of answering our questions and knew a lot about the history of Uzbekistan. He took very good care of us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to be offline for several days. The internet service is very poor and was not working in some hotels. This seemed to be more of a problem for Macs and iPads than Android devices. In Bukhara I went to an internet cafe to check email and even there the connection was very slow.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Philip Stoate

    Uzbekistan uncovered

    Well planned and executed trip. A wide range of sights visited. Hotels were reasonable some were good and some were very good. Particularly the room in the madrassa was unusual. Generally the standard was better than expected.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The night in the yurt - definitely better appointed than I expected. Followed by the camel ride and swim in the lake

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very accomplished and caring. Ensured that our salads were safe to eat and toilets were clean. Checked on anyone who became sick.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to be ill with a stomach upset at some stage. In spite of care taken everyone became ill at some stage.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus -Add a universal plug to your universal packing list. None of the hotels had basin plugs
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Lucie Oakley

    A great mix of the old and new in Uzbekistan

    A fascinating tour along the Silk Road seeing all the fabulous architecture, mixed with activities which were relaxing and interesting. This is a leisurely tour, a couple of early starts and a few long drives but nothing too onerous. Good to have some free time to explore places. We had an expert guide, helpful and friendly and quietly smoothing our path - perfect!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many good moments....the wonderful architecture (which is largely reconstructed but finding out more about its history over the years was fascinating); the people - so friendly and keen to engage with us, welcoming and open; watching the sunset in the desert camp; swimming in the lake in the sun; watching local bread being cooked in an oven in the market, then eating it; trying nuts and roasted apricot kernels in the market; going to the hammam - amazing! The food - so delicious after all the dire warnings for veggies - I'm a veggie and the salads are wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Olympics? Dilshod deserves a medal - he is very knowledgeable about the history, economy, religion etc of his nation, but for me it was his personal experience in his own lifetime of Uzbekistan's recent past that was so vivid. We stopped off at a cotton field one day so he could explain how it's grown and how to pick the buds. He organised dinners for us, ordered ahead when we were running late, sorted the bills, stopped at ice-cream shops when we asked(!) and explained everything with patience and good humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go! It's amazing - the architecture is breathtaking and the people are really friendly. Whether you are a vegetarian or not, the salads and the breads are really tasty. Cover up for mosques as per the trip notes - the guide is always very clear about what to wear and when (it's not a major issue, just respect the dress code). Take your cossie! It really is worth swimming in the lake - a unique experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hot weather in August was forecast in the Trip Notes, but some people found it too hot. I loved it, but be prepared.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Janet Walters

    Uzbekistan

    Uzbekistan was the only section of the Silk Road that I had not travelled so this trip was on my bucket list and it met my expectations. We had a lively group. Travelling was fine, as described in the trip notes, and the pace was just right. Hotel accommodation was good with excellent service. We visited all the famous sights,shopped in the bazaars, enjoyed the local food and had fun at the yurt camp. I was impressed by the friendly and enterprising. people. A memorable trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Registan in Samarkand at night. Also dancing with a happy smallholder in Khiva and chatting with families on days out at the shrines.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was excellent. He took the role of general guide, looking after us very well, and was also our guide at each of the sites that we visited. His Engish was the best I have experienced on all my trips with a detailed knowledge of not only his country's history and culture, but also each place that we visited. He kept us amused on bus journeys with stories and was very helpful with local currency.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes cover what you need to know.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked to have visited the Fergana valley.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: sales@exodus.co.uk

 

Private Adventures 

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