Getting to Shahrisabz from Samarkand


A day trip from Samarkand to Shahrisabz / Shakhrisabz (yes, it has 2 names) is a popular one. In this post, we’ll tell you what this place is, how to get there, and if it’s worth the visit. You can thank us later.

What To See

A visit to Shahrisabz / Shakhrisabz is solely for Ak-Saray. Aside from this, there’s nothing else noteworthy that is worth visiting. Obviously, this is our opinion so if you don’t want to take our word for it, then you can ask some locals for what they’d recommend seeing while you’re in the area.

Ak-Saray is the palace of Amir Timur (you’ll see and hear a lot about him during your Uzbekistan trip. Considered to be one of Central Asia’s most important rulers and the founder of the Timurid Empire, Amir Timur ordered its construction. To be honest, we were a little underwhelmed. The ruin of Ak-Saray is, undoubtedly, an impressive site.

However, the recently constructed modern gardens around Ak-Saray Palace and the restaurant and cafes which have recently popped up makes for an artificial, consumer-focused atmosphere. It’s a shame because the whole area was once the ruins of the old town. If you’re in Samarkand for a limited time then the long drive and cost may not be worth it.

Costs

This is another reason why it may not be worth the visit. First, there’s the cost of getting to Shahrisabz / Shakhrisabz (more on that later) and then there’s the entrance fee cost. Sigh. The monetising of heritage sites is one that will forever irritate us. A ticket is 30,000 s’om (2,4 euro) Doesn’t sound like a lot but as we’ve said in other posts, all of the ‘that doesn’t sound like a lot’ things add up before you know it, the trip that was supposed to be cheap has turned into an expensive one.

Personally speaking, our finances could be healthier so we’re mindful of how we spend our money and this entrance fee didn’t make the cut.

Getting to Shahrisabz / Shakhrisabz

Recent blog posts told us that this was reachable by public transport. Multiple conversations with locals and tourist information centres told us otherwise. Now, the only way to reach Shahrisabz/Shakhrisabz is via private transport. That means you’ll need to get your haggle skills on. Our trip came to 300,000 so’m (24 euros) for two people. We’d been quoted higher (apparently an air con car is grounds for trying to charge an extra 200,000 so’m – that gave us a good laugh).

The perk of private transport is that you can request stop offs along the way, which is precisely what we did. The drive through the hilly terrain was a memorable one with dozens of viewpoints to marvel at the landscape from. We stopped off at a nearby lake, a roadside bazaar and hilltop points. The whole day trip to Shahrisabz came to around 6 hours.

Wrap Up

Is it worth doing a day trip to Shahrisabz? We’re going to say no – especially if you only have a few days in Samarkand. In fact, what we enjoyed most was the drive to Shahrisabz / Shakhrisabz rather than the place itself. If you don’t agree with us – perfect! We want to hear from you and find out if there’s something we missed or could’ve done differently, so leave us a comment below.

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