Uzbekistan is a country located in Asia with name that begins with letter U. Uzbekistan is one of five republics in Central Asia that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. The country has been independent since 1991. It has around 32 million residents and an area of around 450,000 km²; so it is somewhat larger than Germany and Austria combined.
Around three quarters of the country consists of steppes and deserts, only around five percent of the state’s area is forested. For comparison: in Austria it is around 50 percent. Intensive irrigation measures for cotton and fruit growing have contributed to the extensive drying up of the Aral Sea on the western border of Uzbekistan, the area of which has shrunk to a quarter of its original size in the course of the last few decades.
Entry and visa
A passport that is valid for at least three months after departure is required to enter the country.
Steppes, deserts and continental climates ensure little precipitation, very hot summers often over 40 degrees and icy winters, in which values below minus 20 °C are often reached. The temperature fluctuations are also enormous during the day.
The best travel times are spring (April to mid-June) and autumn (September and October).
The climate in Uzbekistan is continental. Long, hot and dry summers alternate with cold winters. In most of the country there is very little rainfall, deserts and desert landscapes are predominant. In the driest part of the Kyzylkum Desert, precipitation is less than 100 mm per year. In the mountain regions, precipitation amounts of up to 1,000 mm per year are reached.
The best time to travel is from late March to late June and from mid-August to early November. In April the desert blooms for a short time and in autumn it is harvest time and the bazaars overflow with fresh fruit.
Summers are ideal for hiking (July to August) because there is hardly any rain. However, it is extremely hot in the cities at this time of year.
Food and drink
The national dish is plov, the Uzbek variant of the rice dish pilaf. It consists of rice, lamb or beef, onions, carrots and ingredients that vary from region to region and season, such as fresh fruit or raisins and dried barberries.
In addition, there are often filled dumplings, rich soups and a lot of grilled food on the menu, accompanied by green tea, the yogurt drink Ayran or wine.
In addition to the standard vaccinations, vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended. Uzbekistan has no social security agreement with Austria and Germany, medical treatments often have to be paid for in cash in dollars or euros. The conclusion of travel health insurance including repatriation insurance is therefore highly recommended.
Ninety percent of the Uzbek population are Muslims, but alcohol is often drunk with pleasure, mostly wine or vodka. When a clergyman passes by or the call of the muezzin sounds, the Uzbeks usually hide their glasses under the tabletop, because: “Allah cannot look through the table.”
The exchange of affection in public is frowned upon.
All about money
The national currency is the Uzbek Som. The import and export of the local currency is not allowed, so changes are made in Uzbekistan. Our guides are happy to show our guests where it is best to change. In Uzbekistan the euro is gladly accepted for the exchange in Som.
Credit cards can be used to pay in most hotels and restaurants and in some shops. With your ATM card you can withdraw money in the cities. Remember to have your ATM card activated at your bank before you travel!
The import of foreign currencies is not a problem if it is declared upon entry. The exchange of Soum for euros, however, can cause problems under certain circumstances. It is better to calculate carefully towards the end of the trip and keep the exchange receipts. You may be asked for this when you leave the country.
Other essential information
Uzbekistan is +4 hours ahead of our winter time and +3 hours ahead of our summer time.
The mains voltage in Uzbekistan is 220 volts. As a rule, sockets for two-pin plugs can be found in the accommodations. Mostly Austrian and German plugs fit into the sockets. To be on the safe side, we still recommend that you bring a world travel plug with you.
If you have booked a trip with tent trekking, there are no charging options while camping. Please bring enough batteries for your camera and headlamp. The batteries discharge fairly quickly in the cold. Our tip: take it with you in the sleeping bag at night. Power banks and solar panels also do a good job during trekking tours.