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Independent Travel

London
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86 posts
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Independent Travel

I think the pictures of the country look amazing and would to travel there.

I am not partial to group travel and just wondered if anyone has advice about how to travel and whether foreign tourists on their own are welcome or not.

In truth, I do not speak the language, but would I be able to manage with a combination of English, French, Italian and very basic Russian or is that just a stupid idea?

I would be grateful for any thoughts.

X

Registan
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Shah-i-Zinda
Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues
Gur Emir Mausoleum
Architectural Buildings, Cemeteries
Sydney, Australia
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16 posts
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1. Re: Independent Travel

I travelled from Tashkent -> Samarkand -> Bukhara -> Khiva semi-independently in Oct 2010 and experienced no difficulties. I could only speak 50 words of Russian and some Turkish. I feel I did miss some travel experiences from my lack of a local language, but I was able to survive and handle all the logistics of the trip.

By "semi-independently" I mean that I booked ground transport and hotel rooms in advance through the FIT (Free and Independent Travel) desk at Orexca. Many other Uzbek agencies could offer the same service. An English speaking driver would collect me from one hotel and deposit me at the hotel in the next town. This kept me out of bus and train depots and insulated me a bit from language duifficulties. I just walked around each city, checking out museums, markets, restaurants, and neighborhoods.

I felt very welcome as a foreign independent traveller. I will point out I am a "mature-aged" traveller and I try to keep my appearance neat and clean when I travel. YMMV.

Language in Uzbekstan can be tricky as Tajik is most common in the South and West. I've been told Tajik is similar to Farsi (Iran), while the Uzbek I recognised as similar to Turkish. I was told Russian is still useful in the major cities. Most transport and commercial signs included Uzbek so it would be helpful to at least learn pronunciation. I think EuroTalk has a basic Uzbek CD, and also the "Before You Know It' series of language lessons.

Sydney, Australia
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22 posts
12 reviews
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2. Re: Independent Travel

My husband and I have travelled several times to Uzbekistan, doing as the person above haas described: arranging a car and driver to meet us in one city and travel to the next. We have also had local guides in each city. It's very easy to travel within the country, though the road from Khiva to Buykhara is undner construction and took 8 hours last year.

Uzbeks are most helpful and hospitable. We've had excellent service with Odil Akhmedov at Stan Journeys: www.stanjourneys.com It's a small agency and he's been great, recommending specific guides for each place.booking train tickets between Tashkent and Samarkand, booking clean, simple, safe hotels. It's important to secure good guides and accommodation in advance - really makes a difference.

Neither my husband nor I speak Russian, Uzbek or Tajik. We have managed with English, German,and French between us.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan
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3. Re: Independent Travel

The advice from the two prior postings is good. You can travel here independently (although the government would prefer not, but usually will not interfere. Just don't engage in any political discussions, etc.)

Good if you have some Russian or Uzbek (or Tajik some some areas) language capabilities, but not entirely necessary. Part of it depends on your budget and where you will be staying. If you're in high price hotels, usually there will be English-speaking staff (and some French and German). But if not you can get by. As noted, for the most part, people here are very friendly and will try and help you out. Be friendly and patient and they will be the same. Local guides are a good idea, but if you're the type who just likes to wander around on your own, you can do it with guidebooks. Often, young people (usually students) will be around some of the hotels and will be happy to show you around for a very small fee, mostly so they can practice their English.

The most important thing is to make sure you have your visas, etc., in order before you arrive. If you don't, you may have serious problems.

Raalte, The...
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30 posts
24 reviews
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4. Re: Independent Travel

Hi,

I will travel on my own through Uzbekistan in april this year.

I only booked hotels in advance, because of the fact that I can show the immigration officers, if needed, where I will stay during my trip.

I take the LP Central Asia and will travel by train and probably by shared taxi or so from Urgench (Khiva) to Buchara.

I always travel with public transport and eat and drink as most as possible in restaurants and bars where the locals are.

Be friendly and people will be frinedly to you is my experience.

I'm looking forward to visit one of the countries that is high on my wishlist:)

Best regards

Ton

London
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86 posts
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5. Re: Independent Travel

Thank you very much indeed. That is all very helpful.

X

Tashkent, Uzbekistan
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223 posts
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6. Re: Independent Travel

Sounds like both of you are doing the right things. As I said, just make sure you visas are in order, and that your hotels will take care of your propishkas (residence permits). Otherwise you should be fine, and have a great trip. It is an amazing country, from the historical standpoint.

7. Re: Independent Travel

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Pardubice, Czech...
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8. Re: Independent Travel

Hi, what about prices of car with english speaking driver? For example from Urgench to Bukhara? Thank you

Tashkent, Uzbekistan
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14 posts
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9. Re: Independent Travel

The price of transfer by english speaking driver is about USD150 for the transfer.

Austin, Texas
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93 posts
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10. Re: Independent Travel

We just returned from a trip to Central Asia, 3 friends and I traveled on our own for 16 days from Almaty to Ashgabat. Most of the hotels we had booked ahead of time or were pre-arranged as part of the tour in Turkmenistan (had to be on tour there to get the visa).

We did Almaty -> Bishkek -> Suusamyr -> Osh -> Khujand -> Samarkand -> Bukhara -> Mary -> Ashgabat all overland. Transport cost was pretty cheap, but there were 4 of us and able to split the cost of shared taxis.

It definitely helps to know some Russian, and able to read Cyrillic. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have switched to Latin alphabet. Not very many people spoke English. Usually students did know some English.