Uzbekistan Eco-Tour: Folks & Crafts

The pearls of the Great Silk Road in Uzbekistan and folk traditions in Nuratau Mountains

 

Countries: Uzbekistan
Tour duration: 10 days / 9 nights
Itinerary, 10 days: FerganaMargilanRishtanKokandTashkentSamarkand – Khayat village – BukharaTashkent

Scheduled arrival dates in 2024:

Group #1: 18.04–27.04.2024
Group #2: 29.08–07.09.2024
Group #3: 03.10–12.10.2024

Fergana Valley + Classical tour: Khiva, Samarkand, Bukhara

The itinerary of guided Uzbekistan tour begins in the fertile Fergana Valley – the centre of traditional crafts – and continues across the country via all the main Uzbek cities, which were key points on the Great Silk Road, as a result, were highly prosperous urban areas.

The Fergana Valley is the land of wise artisans, who have carried through centuries the secrets of skillful ancient masters specialized in producing silk and original ceramics. There you will visit a silk-weaving factory in Margilan, where the famous khan-atlas, a handmade silk, is produced following ancient technologies, and the village of Rishtan, Uzbekistan’s main pottery. Rishtan’s unique blue ceramics is highly popular among tourists, who often buy it as souvenirs.

The tour culminates in Samarkand and Bukhara – Uzbekistan’s two most famous cities, historical and cultural reserves boasting colossal architectural masterpieces of the Tamerlane's time and earlier historical periods.

We will also visit the Nuratau Mountains and immerse into the traditional life and culture. Unique folk traditions have been preserved almost unchanged there. You will see millstones for grinding grain, watch how carpets are hand-woven, try the freshest, eco-friendly products, national local dishes at homestay and enjoy freshly baked flatbread from tandoor oven. On the wild slopes of the Nurata Mountains, you can see rare animals listed in the Red Book - Severtsov’s argali, golden eagle and black vulture included in the Red Book. The locals are very open and genuinely hospitable. You cannot see anywhere else, either in Samarkand, Bukhara or any other place, the handmade souvenirs such as local people sell.

  • ITINERARY / SERVICES & COST
  • VISA
  • FAQ

 

Tour program
Day 1.
Thursday
Fergana, arrival Fergana – Margilan – Rishtan – Kokand by road (90 km).
Arrival in Fergana from Istanbul by TK 260, 01:15-08:00.
Upon arrival in Fergana airport, we move directly to Asia Fergana hotel for breakfast and freshen up (without accommodation).
After breakfast transfer 20 km to the small town of Margilan. In Margilan we visit the famous Yodgorlik silk factory, where we will learn the process of production and coloring silk cloths and neighboring silk workshops.
Proceed to Rishtan. Upon arrival - we will enter the village of Rishtan ceramists where the generations of ceramic masters live and work. Here we will visit one particular house of the Nazirovs’ family that practices and forwards its skills from generation to generation. We will meet the master and his works and the technologies of production and enjoy watching the process of ceramic dishes production. Lunch with the family.
After that proceed to Kokand. Accommodation at the hotel and rest.

Meals: breakfast, lunch.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2.
Friday
Kokand – Ok Er village – Tashkent by train (17:38-21:40).
Late breakfast at the hotel.
11:00 Meet the guide and start the sightseeing tour in Kokand – the capital of the ancient Kokand Khanate (18-19 centuries). We will visit the main sites of the city: Khudoyar-Khan Palace, Jami Mosque and Norbut-biy Madrasah.
Further transfer and visit to the botanical garden "MEHRIGIYO" (located in 7 km from Kokand). Olives, guava, milk thistle, kiwi, papaya, mango, lavender plantations and much more are grown here. We will have a short rest to taste tea with honey and other sweets prepared on Avicenna's recipes.
Further we proceed to Ok Er village (translated as the White Land). Here we will visit a workshop where the local Kyrgyz craftsmen make folk musical instruments.
16:00 Transfer to the train station.
17:38-21:40 Transfer from Kokand to Tashkent by train.
On arrival - meet at the railway station and transfer to the hotel.
Accommodation and rest.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3.
Saturday
Tashkent.
Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 Today we begin our first acquaintance with the “stone city” - that is how the name of Uzbekistan’s capital city is translated from the Turkic language. The architecture and atmosphere of the old and the new city reveals the appearance of Tashkent from different sides.
A city tour in Tashkent includes the ancient Khast Imam Square with adjoining madrasah and mosque, the vast Chorsu oriental bazaar, the Independence Arch, theatrical square adorned with a great Alisher Navoi theater building. There will also be an opportunity to ride the local metro and see some of the most beautiful stations in Central Asia.
Return to the hotel in the evening for rest and overnight.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4.
Sunday
Tashkent – Samarkand by a high-speed train (2 hours).
Early breakfast at the hotel (or breakfast boxes).
06:20 Transfer to the railway station.
07:28-09:42 Transfer from Tashkent to Samarkand by Afrosiab high-speed train.
Upon arrival in the city, we start our busy day in a jewel of the ancient and modern Silk Road. There is the mysterious jade mausoleum of Gur-i-Emir, the graveyard of Tamerlane. One of the greatest treasures is Registan Square, Temur’s outstanding creation, a huge complex of minarets, mosques and madrassas. Further we move on to Bibi Khanum Mosque, the gorgeous necropolis of Shah-i-Zinda, and the old observatory of Ulugbek, the greatest Muslim astronomer, and the neighboring Ulugbek museum.
Accommodation at the hotel in the evening, rest and overnight.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 5.
Monday
Samarkand, day trip to Urgut region and Amankutan gorge by road (120 km in both directions).
Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 After breakfast we meet our guide and driver to start an easy hiking tour in the surroundings of Samarkand. 30 min transfer from Samarkand to Karatepa lake and visit the gorgeous rocks of Teshik-Tash. Proceed to Amankutan village (20 min driving) to visit Sam-gu grotto - 20 min walk to explore the region.
From the grotto we will proceed by car (15 min driving) to the national park and the abandoned camp of the “Young Guards”. We will have a walk from the camp to the Lion’s cave (or Amankutan cave), which is located on the nothern slope of Zeravshan mounts. In 1947 a fossil man’s femoral bone fragment and primitive tools were found here, later these findings became the the most ancient evidence of the existence of a fossil man on the territory of Uzbekistan. Walking in the cave will take us about 20 min.
From the Lion’s cave we will walk up to the Pinewood (30 min). Walk in the wood and decend to the car (40 min). Further transfer for lunch towards Kashkadarya (meat dishes, salads and bread available in menu).
After lunch proceed to the famous Shaytan Djiga plato via Takhtakaracha pass (20 min driving). Explore the region on arrival (30 min). Transfer back to Samarkand afterwards. En route, on the pass there will be a small colourful bazaar with spices.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel in Samarkand.

Day 6.
Tuesday
Samarkand – Nuratau mountains – Hayat village by road, 300 km.
Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 Meet the guide and driver, continuation of the city tour in Samarkand. Today we will visit only the fabulous Afrasiab Museum with its famous museum containing unique wall paintings, and the Tomb of Saint Daniel – one of the local shrines.
After that transfer to the region of Nuratau mountains. En route stop in a small town of Nurata for visiting of the holy spring, and further transfer to the village of Hayat, located in the most authentic part of Uzbekistan, in Nuratau mountains. On arrival – accommodation at the guest house of the local residents. Participation in culinary master-class with the hosts of the family and dinner.
Rest and overnight.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Overnight at the guest house.

Day 7.
Wednesday
Hayat village – Bukhara by road, 300 km
Breakfast at the guest house.
09:00 A walk around the surroundings to the village of Upper Hayat. On the way we will enjoy beautiful views of the green mountains of the local mountains, get acquainted with the life of local residents, examine the ruins of the ancient village and its mills. Besides, it will be possible to visit the nursery of Severtsov's sheep, a rare endemic subspecies listed in the Red Book.
Further transfer to Bukhara. Accommodation at the hotel on arrival and rest.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8.
Thursday
Bukhara.
Breakfast at the hotel.
09:00 Meet the guide and start exploring Bukhara. Bukhara is filled with over 900 historical monuments, here we will spend time visiting many sites and wandering amongst the old city streets. Our focus will be directed today on Samanids Mausoleum and Bolo-Khauz Mosque. Further we proceed to the Fortress Ark, the old citadel of over 20 m in height. In the afternoon we will visit Poyi Kalon Architectural Ensemble that consists of Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Miri Arab Madrasah; Ulugbek Madrasah; Abdul-Aziz khan Madrasah, Lyabi Khauz Complex and the Trading Domes – Coumpol Bazaar, that has been existing here from the times of the Great Silk Road.
During the tour we’ll have a wonderful opportunity to walk over the narrow streets of the old city and take unique photos.
Return to the hotel in the evening. Rest and overnight.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9.
Friday
Bukhara – Tashkent by a high-speed train (4 hours).
Breakfast at the hotel.
10:00 Bukhara and its surroundings guided tour continuation: Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace – the "Palace of the Moon and Stars", the summer residence of the Emir of Bukhara, which is an amazing combination of Russian, Eastern, and European architecture.
Nextup, we will visit the "Central Asian Mecca" – the Sufi complex of Bahautdin Nakshbandi. Nakshbandi was the spiritual mentor of Amir Timur and the founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, which soon became one of the most famous orders in the East.
14:30 Transfer to the railway station.
15:50-19:43 Transfer back to Tashkent by train.
Accommodation at the hotel on arrival. Rest and overnight.

Meals: breakfast.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10.
Saturday
Tashkent, departure.
Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out before 12:00.
Transfer to the International airport for departure. The end of the tour program.

Meals: breakfast.

COST OF THE TOUR IN USD:

Twin/double share. 1565 USD
SGL supplement +250 USD

The cost of the tour includes:

  • Accommodation at the hotels, mentioned above, or in similar, but of the same category in double/twin rooms with breakfasts, including breakfast on Day 1 in Fergana; check-in at the hotels - at 14:00; check-out - at 12:00.
  • Accommodation in a guesthouse in Khayat village (single accommodation is not possible).
  • Meals – breakfasts at the hotels, 1 lunch in Rishtan, 1 lunch and 1 dinner at the guesthouse.
  • Entrance fees to the monuments and museums listed in the tour program.
  • Services of English-speaking local guides for the whole tour.
  • Comfortable air-conditioned transportation throughout the tour, including ‘airport-hotel-airport” transfers.
  • Railway transfer from Kokand to Tashkent on an ordinary train (business class tickets).
  • Railway transfer from Tashkent to Samarkand and from Bukhara to Tashkent on a high-speed train (economy class).
  • Bottled mineral water per day/per person.

The cost of the tour doesn’t include:

  • The cost of international flights.
  • Meals not mentioned in the tour program.
  • Medical expenses and insurance.
  • Porters at the hotels, railway stations and airports.
  • Tips and gratitudes.

Information on the hotels.

City Hotels 3*
Kokand Silk Road Kokand Hotel 3* or similar
Tashkent Sato 3* or similar
Samarkand Arba 3* or similar
Hayat village Guest house
Bukhara Kabir Hotel 3* / Kavsar Hotel 3* / Devon Hotel 3* or similar

Information on the vehicles.

Group Venicle
Group of 4 pax “Hyundai Starex” minivan or similar
Group of 6-8 pax “King Long minivan” or similar
Group of 9-15 pax “Eurise minivan” or similar

 

Visa to Uzbekistan:

Visa-free regime for up to 60 days has been established  for citizens of countries below:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Armenia
  • Belarus
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

Visa-free regime for up to 30 days has been established  for citizens of countries below:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkey
  • Singapore
  • the Vatican
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

A great number of other countries can obtain an e-visa to Uzbekistan by simply visiting the governmental portal e-visa.gov.uz.

Read more about visa to Uzbekistan here »»

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

1

Is it necessary to get a stay permit (temporary registration of stay) while visiting Uzbekistan?
Any foreigner to Uzbekistan is to get a stay permit within 3 working days (consecutive or not) during his / her visit to the country. If he / she stays at an Uzbekistan hotel or a guesthouse, such a stay permit for the period of stay at it is granted automatically. (Inquire whether the hotel / guesthouse you want to stay at provides such a permit unless your accommodation is organized by a host tour operator. Also make sure you are given your stay permit certificate with the seal of your hotel / guesthouse when you check out.) If you stay at other lodging facilities during your visit, you will have to get your stay permit from a local visits registration police department.

2

What is Uzbekistan’s currency? Where can I exchange money?
The national currency of Uzbekistan is the som (UZS). There are 100, 200, 500, 1.000, 5.000, 10.000 and 50.000-som banknotes used currently. The banknotes are similar in size but vary in color; they depict Uzbekistan’s cultural and heritage sites.
You can exchange money at Uzbekistan’s National Bank outlets, most of the hotels and official currency exchange offices commonly located near bazaars and at shopping centers. You will need your passport to exchange money through them.
Note that the most common foreign currency in Uzbekistan is US dollars. The US banknotes you exchange in the country should be in good condition - without defects, bad folds, worn areas and scribbles - or it will be hard to exchange them.

3

Can I use credit cards in Uzbekistan?
You can use Visa and MasterCard cards mainly in Tashkent and at fewer locations in Samarkand and Bukhara for cash withdrawals through ATMs (cash machines) in their large hotels or banks. You can also make payments with these cards at some hotels, restaurants and stores in Tashkent. However, technical failures of the card handling equipment may occur, so it is advisable to always have enough cash on you.

4

What is the difference between GMT and Uzbekistan time?
It is GMT plus 5 hours in Uzbekistan.

5

Can foreigners to Uzbekistan use the services of a local mobile network operator during their stays in the country?
Yes, they can if they have a stay permit to show.

6

Can I bring alcoholic beverages into Uzbekistan?
A person is permitted to bring a maximum of 2 liters of alcoholic drink(s) into the country.

7

What maximum amount of cash can I bring into Uzbekistan?
There is no limit on the amount of cash in a currency that is foreign to Uzbekistan a person can bring into the country. If you bring in over 5,000 USD (or the equivalent in other currencies), you will be given a ТС-28 certificate. If you bring in over 10,000 USD, you will have to pay a 1% duty on this sum.

8

What maximum amount of cash can I take out of Uzbekistan?
The amount of cash (in a currency foreign to Uzbekistan) you can take out of the country must not exceed the sum you brought in as per your arrival customs declaration. Taking out the amount exceeding the sum you brought in is possible if permitted by Uzbekistan’s Central Bank or another Uzbekistan’s authorized bank. Note that taking out Uzbekistan soms is not permitted unless they are several souvenir coins or banknotes.

9

Can I use a photo / video camera at the tourist sites?
Photographing and videoing at the tourist sites is allowed unless a site has a prohibition sign. They charge fees for using cameras at most tourist attractions though. Photographing and videoing is prohibited in Tashkent metro, at the airports and railway stations. Using a camera at the functioning mosques is possible if allowed by the worshippers there.

10

What kind of clothes should I wear in Uzbekistan? Are there any clothing requirements for women in the country?
Clothes made of cotton and other natural textiles will be the best choice in warm and hot weather. Both men and women will feel best in T-shirts and shorts. Your footwear must be comfortable, light and strong, since you will have to walk a lot. Have sunglasses, a light headwear and sunblock lotion.
If you travel early in spring (March to the beginning of April) or at the end of autumn (October to November), it is advisable to take a windbreaker, a sweater or a similar garment. In winter the temperature may fall to minus 10°С or so, so a raincoat, a warm coat and headwear will be necessary.
There are no strict limits on women’s clothing in the country. However, you should be considerate towards the local traditions, culture and religion. While visiting religious places women should wear loose garments covering most of their arms and legs, and of course the cleavage. Headscarves will also be advisable to put on. Note that you will have to take off your shoes while entering some of the sacred places.

11

What languages do people in Uzbekistan speak?
The official language is Uzbek; it is spoken by a majority of the population. Russian is spoken by the country’s largest Slavic minority and is still used widely in business and as a lingua franca, especially in Tashkent and other major cities. Tajik is widespread in Samarkand and Bukhara for their large Tajik ethnic minorities. Karakalpak is spoken in the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan where it is an official language besides Uzbek. English is popular as a foreign language to study but there is little chance of coming across a good English speaker in the street. However, in the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand many young souvenir sellers dealing with foreigners speak elementary English.

Photos of the tour:

View all photos »»

Our video gallery:

Traditional cuisine of Central Asia
Cuisine of Central Asia
Pilafs in Tashkent
Pilafs in Tashkent
Wine-Making in Uzbekistan
Wine-Making in Uzbekistan
Uzbek fruit and vegetables
Uzbek Fruit and Vegetables

View all videos »»

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the copyright owner.

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The Great Silk Road tour (China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan)
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The Trip to the Country of Fires (Azerbaijan)
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Airline tickets
Visa to Uzbekistan
General Information on Uzbekistan
Hotels in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Tourist Attractions
Uzbek cuisine
Carpet Making in Uzbekistan
Suzani Tapestry Wish Message
Photo of Uzbekistan

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