In this Solo Girl’s Uzbekistan travel guide, Gloria from Midlife Safaris shares everything you need to know about things to do in Uzbekistan. Planning a solo trip but asking yourself, “What language do they speak in Uzbekistan?” We’ll cover all the nitty gritty about travel tips and the ideal Uzbekistan itinerary to see the best the country has to offer.
Uzbekistan Travel Guide for Solo Female Travelers
I’ve spent several years exploring different cities in South and Southeast Asia and thought it was time to visit Central Asia. Many people that travel to that region of Asia tend to see two to three of the “-Stan” countries, but I wanted to spend ample time in Uzbekistan and tour the others on future trips.
Solo Things to Do Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan Travel Guide
Day 1: Tashkent
You’ll likely land in Uzbekistan’s capital city of Tashkent, a vibrant city that combines modern and traditional cultures. A city tour of Tashkent includes museums, the Amir Temur and Independence Squares, and shopping along Broadway Street. If you have a packed Uzbekistan itinerary and are short on time, I suggest heading straight to the Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand. These towns are famous for their stunning history and architecture.
Day 2: Khiva
Day two of this Uzbekistan travel guide focuses on Khiva, a mystical city built over 2500 years ago, enshrined within a fortress called Ichan Kala (“the walled city”). One day is enough to visit most of Khiva’s top sights.
There’s a lot to learn about the local history of Khiva by visiting its beautiful mosques, madrasahs, and shrines. Some iconic things to see include the Juma Mosque, Kunya Ark (iconic for its blue majolica floral patterns with elegant Arabic writing), Isfandiyar Palace, Kalta Minor Minaret, and the Tash Hauli Harem.
The best view in Khiva can be found on the rooftop of the Ak Sheykh Minaret, giving you a bird’s eye view of the city. Khiva is also a great place to shop for clothes and souvenirs, as prices are pretty reasonable throughout the city’s stores and street vendors.
Days 3-4: Bukhara
The holy city of Bukhara is well-known for its ancient buildings that have been beautifully restored and preserved, transporting you back in time.
Explore the Old City
Relish the beauty of the thousands-year-old Bukhara Old City and get a taste of its timeless traditions and culture. Must-see places include the Kalyan Minaret, located in the heart of the city, Chasma Ayub and the 12th-century Magok-i-Attari Mosque, the Samanid Mausoleum, and the Ulugbek, Abd Al Aziz Khan, and Miri-Arab madrasahs. Most of these are characterized by brightly colored bricks and tilework.
Visit Lyabi Hauz Plaza
Lyabi Hauz Plaza is one of the most bustling areas of Bukhara—many hotels are located throughout this portion of town. Surrounded by a scenic artificial pond, Lyabi Hauz is a great spot to stop for tea and snacks. Uzbekistan is known for its delicious tea, so be prepared to drink a lot during your solo trip!
Bazaar shops and kiosks throughout Bukhara offer excellent bargains on jewelry, carpets, souvenirs, and local textiles. I purchased a multi-colored winter trench coat from a Bukhara street vendor that’s fashionable, high-quality, and didn’t break the bank.
Hammams are some of the most popular things to do in Uzbekistan, and Bukhara is the perfect place to try them. The ladies’ one is located behind Kalyan and is run by the loveliest grannies who will warm your heart and soul. Be prepared for a relaxing scrub, massage, and facial—the treatment costs about $20 and must be booked in advance.
See a Puppet Show
Puppet shows are available at the Bukhara Theater and are a fun, artistic, and interactive way to experience the local culture and learn about Uzbekistan’s history.
Tour a Palace
If you have time in your Uzbekistan itinerary to drive 30 minutes outside Bukhara, you’ll find the impressive Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum. The Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Palace, also 30 minutes from the Bukhara Old City, is worth a visit. Its rooms and furniture remain intact, and the palace boasts countless artifacts and opulent furnishings.
Days 5-6: Samarkand
Registan Square is the highlight of any trip to Uzbekistan, which explains why it’s always packed with tourists. That said, strolling through its beguiling rooms, including over 50 madrassahs, gives you inner peace. For about $3, you can climb up a narrow stairway to the top of one of the minarets for a panoramic view of the square.
The Bibi Khanym Mosque, a short walk from Registan Square, is also a must-see because of its history and magnificence.
Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum, where the famous Mongol ruler Amir Temur and his close relatives are buried underneath tombstones made from precious stones like jade and onyx, is another popular choice. Some say the mausoleum is adorned with almost five kilograms of gold!
Some stunning madrasahs you might recognize from Instagram include Ulugbek, Sher Dor, and Tillya-Kari. Most are still places of worship, so it’s essential to be respectful during your visit.
To learn about Samarkand’s local history and culture, visit the Afrosiab Museum, located just outside the city. If you’re interested in astronomy, walk to the Ulugbek Observatory after touring the museum.
How to Get Around Uzbekistan
One of my favorite things about Uzbekistan is how easy it is to travel between different cities.
There are high-speed and normal trains that connect major cities throughout Uzbekistan. The only catch is you have to book early, especially during peak tourist season.
Taxis and Driving
Taxis in Uzbekistan are pretty reasonable and safe. If you have time, I recommend driving between some of the cities to enjoy the scenic views.
Safety in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is relatively safe for solo female travelers. You will stand out as a foreigner, so expect some stares and requests for selfies from the locals. It’s mostly harmless, as they’re genuinely welcoming to foreigners.
How to Dress in Uzbekistan
There are no restrictions regarding apparel for foreigners—dress for comfort and pack good walking shoes. In many places of worship, you may need to remove your shoes or cover your hair as a woman. The weather in Uzbekistan can vary greatly, so pack many layers and options.
What Language Do They Speak in Uzbekistan?
One of the most common questions is, “What do they speak in Uzbekistan?” Few people speak English—Russian is more widely spoken in Tashkent and Uzbek in Samarkand and Bukhara.
Internet in Uzbekistan
You can get a 7-day tourist SIM card that provides decent Internet throughout Uzbekistan.
Cash is the preferred mode of payment in Uzbekistan, as most international credit cards won’t work. Marked bills are not accepted and can only be exchanged at a bank for a fee.
Where to Stay and Eat in Uzbekistan
Accommodations are reasonable and can be easily booked through Booking.com, TripAdvisor, or Airbnb. However, you need to book early as places can fill up fast.
Tashkent: I recommend staying close to the city center so you can easily walk around. There are many affordable hotels and homes to choose from.
Khiva: I stayed at the Orient Star Hotel, a renovated former madrasah. While the rooms are tiny and have very low ceilings, they’re warm and comfortable.
For meals, check out Terrassa Restaurant—the food is delicious, and you can sit on the rooftop and enjoy the views.
Bukhara: Most of the hotels are quaint and cozy renovated homes that are incredibly charming. One thing that caught my eye in Bukhara was the elegantly maintained courtyards. I stayed at Lyabi House, a traditional boutique hotel that was very comfortable. The staff was also very friendly!
The restaurant at Lyabi House has fantastic décor, and the food is decadent—you must try the pumpkin soup. On certain nights, the hotel even hosts live magic shows and performances.
Salom Inn also has good food and a gorgeous courtyard. Komil Hotel, a beautiful family-owned establishment, is another excellent option in Bukhara. The restaurant is nicely decorated and has delicious food, but you need to make a reservation in advance.
Samarkand: Despite being a big city, Samarkand is home to many charming hotels in the Old City area. I stayed at the Jahongir Bed & Breakfast, within walking distance of Registan Square.
Things to Do Uzbekistan: FAQs
What Do They Speak in Uzbekistan?
Uzbek and Russian are the most common languages spoken throughout Uzbekistan.
What Are the Best Things to Do in Uzbekistan?
Tour Uzbekistan’s many beautiful cities, including Tashkent, Khiva, and Bukhara.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Uzbekistan?
The best time to visit Uzbekistan is before or after summer, so plan your trip between March and May or August and October.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Uzbekistan
If Uzbekistan isn’t on your travel bucket list, it should be! This vibrant country has so much history and culture to discover, so I hope this Uzbekistan itinerary inspires you to visit.
Gloria works in international development and travels frequently for work and pleasure. She is currently living and exploring Asia.
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This post was proofread by Grammarly.