A Tailor-Made Uzbekistan Tour
Celebrate Persian New Year with us on a specially-crafted Uzbekistan tour.
Uzbekistan is a beguiling land at the heart of the ancient Silk Road. On this journey, you will experience sumptuous architecture, fascinating history and dazzling arts.
What’s more, it’s visa-free for UK nationals – as well as 44 other countries, including Australia and New Zealand.
Visit Uzbekistan at Novruz
This imaginatively designed 11-day itinerary gives you the chance to not only be dazzled by some of the most famous sights of the Silk Road, but also get under the skin of this intriguing post-Soviet nation – to meet artists, celebrate the Spring Novruz festival, eat with families and walk in the little-visited mountains south of Samarkand.
You’ll wander the dusty alleyways of Khiva, the UNESCO-listed desert citadel; be awed by the turquoise domes of Samarkand and Bukhara; explore the ruins of ancient desert fortresses; haggle in bazaars; meet famous Uzbek fashion designers; eat vibrant Central Asian food and follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and more. You’ll soon see why Uzbekistan is considered one of the world’s most up-and-coming destinations.
As you’ll be in Uzbekistan during the Novruz festival – also known as the Persian New Year – this immersive, culture-laden trip also incorporates a range of Novruz food and traditions; from eating sumalak and haft-sin to watching kupkari, the Central Asian version of polo. After seeing this, the Cowdray Gold Cup will never be the same again!
Inspired by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure
This Uzbekistan tour has been designed by one of our directors, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent, an award-winning travel writer and TV producer.
Antonia produced the Central Asian leg of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventures, spending a year researching and designing Joanna’s journey and travelling across these countries with Joanna and the crew. Thanks to this, this journey gives you a unique opportunity to follow directly in Joanna’s footsteps: to travel to the places featured in the series, stay in the hotels she stayed in and meet the people she met.
||Please ensure you arrive in good time for our scheduled departure from Tashkent
- All accommodation
- All meals
- Internal flight from Tashkent to Khiva
- All land travel
- All museum entrance costs
- A number of bespoke, exclusive experiences
- Expert, English-speaking local guide
- Fresh filtered water + a Water 2 Go water filtration bottle, in order to reduce plastic waste
- Professional route planning and logistics, backed by risk assessments, emergency procedures and satellite communications (where necessary).
- International flights to and from Tashkent
- Guide gratuities
- Personal spending money for alcohol or souvenirs
- Your personal travel insurance
What is Novruz?
Novruz – also spelled in many different ways including Nowruz, Navruz, Nouoruz. Nevruz and Nooruz – is an ancient rite dating to at least the 6th century BCE that marks new year and ushers-in spring. The festival is observed on March 21st in many countries along the Silk Road, including Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. You can read more details about the festival at the UNESCO Silk Roads Project page here.
What does the price include?
The price includes all entrance fees to museums, an expert English-speaking local guide, accommodation in high-quality hotels, all meals, one internal flight, train tickets, travel in an air-conditioned minibus and a number of exclusive, bespoke experiences (dance, talks, fashion shows, Novruz festivities etc). It does not include international flights, alcohol or your own personal travel insurance.
Where will I be staying?
You’ll be staying in a mix of places – from four star hotels in Tashkent to stylish, boutique hotels in Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand. You will always have en-suite bathrooms and, if you are a single traveller, your own room.
Who will be guiding this trip?
This trip will be guided by one of our excellent English-speaking Uzbek guides. You will also be joined at various points by historians, artists and ethnographers – each one of them adding to the in-depth, expert-led nature of this carefully designed itinerary.
What will the weather be like?
It’s Spring so the temperature will still be varied – up to 20 degrees during the day and down to as low as five degrees at night. But have no fear, we will supply you with a detailed packing list after you’ve signed up.
Do you charge single supplements – I can’t see them in your information?
No. We don’t believe that solo travellers should be penalised with extra charges except where this is unavoidable. It goes against our ethos, so the price quoted is for both single and twin-travellers.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.
What vehicles will we be travelling in?
You will be travelling in a well-maintained minibus, or a top spec 2019 Hyundai Starex, if there are less than four of you.
Can you guarantee we will see a kupkari game?
The local Equestrian Federation only announce the dates of the kupkari games a few weeks before they happen, with multiple games happening in villages and towns throughout the Spring and Navruz period. As soon as the Federation announce the schedule, we will do our best to fit our itinerary around seeing a game. We have opted to do it this way than to put on a show match which would a) add a hefty wack to the trip cost and b) not be authentic.
How much are flights?
This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. If you take the direct Uzbek Airways flights from London to Tashkent, it’s about £400 return. We also use the Turkish Airlines flights which hop via Istanbul for about the same price. If you’d like us to book your flights for you, let us know. We are fully ATOL-protected and can book these as part of an ATOL-protected package.
What will the food be like?
Varied – the ‘stans are a region known for meaty delicacies so you can expect tasty shashlik almost anywhere if this is your thing. But it’s not all bad news for veggies as the salads in Central Asia are fantastic. Bread, plov, tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and vodka all feature heavily!
Will I have to share a room?
No, not if you are a single traveller and request a room to yourself.
How fit do I need to be?
Not very – although there is some walking in each city we visit, how much you walk is largely up to you. There is always the option to do your own thing, or relax at the hotel for a few hours instead. Ideally you should be able to walk for two to three hours at a time though, when exploring cities.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
Is this really for me?
If you love adventure, new places, friendly people, wild landscapes, history and culture then yes!
However, travelling in Central Asia – still an emerging destination – is not for everyone and at times (such as on the road from Khiva to Bukhara) the loos will not be Western-style, and there is nothing we can do about this. If you have issues with this, and are not prepared for a bit of adventure, then this trip isn’t for you.