Back in the early 90's Steppes Travel were the only company in the UK to be offering trips to Uzbekistan. As such, our expertise in this region is unrivalled and we would recommend a trip to Uzbekistan for anyone who wants to get to the heart of central Asia.
Why we like Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan possesses the cream of Central Asian architecture, epitomised by the magnificent ensemble in Registan Square in Samarkand. Recent investment has produced some excellent hotels and small guesthouses, brimming with character, plus there are direct flights from London and some excellent high-speed train routes. It is now also a visa-free destination. Despite the modernisation, the traditional chapan or coat and the long afternoon battles of chess and backgammon are still very much a common sight.
What to expect on your Uzbekistan holiday
Today much of Uzbekistan is a shadow of its former glory, however, the buildings and architecture which remain, much dating from the 13th and 15th centuries, are truly magnificent and one can only wonder at the skills of the craftsmen who laboured with such primitive tools. The markets are a delight and a photographic paradise while outside the cities the dusty, isolated villages with their flocks of woolly, fat-tailed sheep have changed little over the years. Food can be repetitive and based around kebabs making it tricky for vegetarians, although rice is always available.
Some ideas for an Uzbekistan holiday
- Stroll through the ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara
- Visit the Savitsky Museum, home to the finest collection of Avant-Garde art in the world
- Stay in a yurt on the shores of Aidarkul Lake in the Kizyl-Kum Desert, one of the few places which can claim total silence
- Travel beyond the restored UNESCO city of Khiva to the shrinking Aral Sea where ships lie stranded far from the water’s edge
- Trek in the Chimgan Mountains
- Spend time with a master potter learning about this ancient Uzbek craft
- Sample local wines in Samarkand and visit a cottage industry silkworm farm
Beyond the ordinary
In Eastern Uzbekistan lies the fertile valley of Fergana. Shielded by mountains, this conservative region is an ethnic melting pot where mosques and bazaars are alive with activity. The centre for silk production, it was a crucial link on the fabled silk route. From the Fergana Valley, it is a short drive to cross the border into Kyrgyzstan which combines beautifully with Uzbekistan, showcasing mountainous landscapes and nomadic culture.
Tajikistan and Turkmenistan also combine well and offer diverse scenery ranging from mountains to deserts and lakes as well as a thriving felt making industry and fascinating archaeological sites.
Small group tours to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan lends itself well to group travel, offering the chance to travel with likeminded people alongside an expert on the area as well as a local guide. Join one of our expert-led tours to Uzbekistan.
Our Uzbekistan Expertise
Since 1995, when Paul joined the Steppes Travel, he has travelled the length and breadth of this fascinating area and is rightly regarded as one of the top specialists for the area. He was recently named in Conde Nast as their chosen specialist for Travel to Central Asia and the Silk Route. He has crossed every border known to man and some known only to donkeys, and can use his expertise to plan your trip to Uzbekistan.
We highly recommend reading Peter Hopkirk’s book The Great Game which sets the scene for any travel in Uzbekistan and brings to life the places and scenes that you will encounter.