Reasons To Visit Uzbekistan

Some countries don’t make it onto the travellers radar and Uzbekistan is one of these countries. Why it gets overlooked – we have no idea. That’s a pondering for another day. In this post, we’ve listed our 5 reasons to visit Uzbekistan. If you need more proof, then check out our pictures too and you’ll be sold in less than 3 minutes. You can thank us later.

Reasons to Visit #1: Few Tourists

Excessive commercialism, pandering to the preferences of tourists, overcrowding – these kinds of things aren’t an issue in Uzbekistan. It means you get a more authentic feel for the country, not to mention the chance to enjoy major sites without having to battle any crowds. It gets better.

The locals are eager to showcase their homeland to tourists. In Samarkand, we were ushered into bathhouses for a tour, and invited to watch a game of nardy (нарды). In Bukhara, our couchsurfing hosts treated us like family and in Tashkent we were invited into an exhibition about wartime propaganda free of charge. The Uzbek locals live up to (and surpass by miles) their reputation for hospitality. Being one of the few tourists will mean that you’ll experience this on the regular.

Not only does it make for that ‘wholesome fuzzy feeling’, but it also gives you an insight into the culture that you wouldn’t get in some more tourist destinations. Yes, the language barrier is a downside – but that’s why translation apps were invented.

Reasons to Visit #2: Unique

We haven’t seen much of Central Asia yet (give us time, we’re getting there), and saw a landscape that’s incomparable to the other countries we’ve visited. The Shah-i Zinda’s architecture in Samarkand, the deserts in Karakalpakstan, the bazaars – they were all first time experiences for us. If you’ve never visited a Central Asian country then you’ll be in for a unique trip. We met a couple of people following the Silk Road and these travellers, who’d visited the neighbouring Stans, recounted something similar. There’s just something about Uzbekistan that sets it apart.

Reasons to Visit #3: Food

Wait, two vegans are commenting on how great the food is in Uzbekistan – a country known for its meat-centric diet. True, it was difficult to find meat-free dishes (check out our favourite vegan and veggie restaurants in Tashkent) but that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the food that we could eat. Trips to bazaars were the best with the Karvan bazaar in Bukhara easily winning the award for ‘best’. Locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables all sold for an affordable price. And we haven’t even started on the huge selection of dried fruits, nuts, bread and veggie somsas.

For the meat eaters, then you’ve got plov, shashlik and somsas waiting for you. We’re not huge beer fans but Uzbekistan won us over. A can of Sarbast, the traditional beer will cost you around 9000 to 12000 so’m. That’s only 0,7 to 0,9 euros.

Reasons to Visit #4: Diversity

There’s a lot going on in Uzbekistan. It’s just an all-round melting pot, from the diversity of its people to the country itself. You’ve got mountains and deserts; yurt traditions lasting hundreds of years and Soviet style metro stations from the 70s. You’ve got mosques and synagogues which are less than a 2 minute walk from one another; ancient Silk Road Cities next to an up and coming capital. When it comes to the people, differences are not grounds for discrimination. Whenever we expressed our surprise at this with the locals they seemed equally surprised by our question – ‘why would it be a problem?’ We think some countries could learn a lesson or two from Uzbekistan.

Reasons to Visit #5: History

Don’t roll your eyes. History isn’t dull – especially not Uzbek history. You’ve got everything from Silk Roads and the Timurid Empire, all the way to occupation and independence. Think about your school days. Did Central Asian history ever get much of a mention in your classes? Didn’t think so. Learning about the country’s history is like being invited into a whole new chapter of history that you knew nothing about. You’re suddenly aware of your ignorance but also eager to learn more. Amir Timur. Never heard of him before this trip. Now, we’re amazed that someone as influential as this has evaded our history books for so long.

Wrap Up

Now all that’s left for you to do is to open a new tab on your computer and book your plane tickets. And while you’re waiting for that screen to load, drop us a comment in the box below. Got any other countries that should be on our radar? Visited Uzbekistan already and want to let us know your thoughts? We want to hear from you.

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