Things to Do in Uzbekistan

Activities to Do in Uzbekistan

Hike to Nuratau Mountains, Ride the Tashkent Metro, Pay a visit to Hazrati Imom Jome Masjid, Witness a Sunrise at Bukhara, Visit the Old Mohallas of Tashkent, Explore Samarkand, Go to Elliq-Qala, Ride on a camel in the Kyzylkum Desert, and many more.

Uzbekistan has been the cultural hub of Central Asia for centuries and there are multiple things to do in Uzbekistan. Immerse yourself in the exotic culture by getting a history lesson at the UNESCO sites, tasting elegant Uzbek cuisine, go shopping for traditional suzani textile at the colorful local bazaars. Apart from these, visit the Registan Square to watch a traditional music performance, head towards the Silk Road Tea House in Bukhara to relish traditional Uzbek sweets and tea and you can also visit Khiva to learn about handicrafts and woodcarving.

Visit the country's exemplary local bazaar – Chorsu Bazaar, located in Tashkent city. Looking for peace, get lost in the scenic mountains of Chimgan. Adventure enthusiasts looking for what to do in Uzbekistan can paraglide over Charvak Lake. If you have an explorer mindset and love unearthing hidden secrets, visit the Ark of Bukhara, which is the oldest structure of Bukhara, and look for secrets. Uzbekistan is famous for its mausoleums, so there are plenty of them to visit. Do not forget to go to the Samanid mausoleum; it is one kind of an architectural genius. The exquisiteness of Shahi-Zinda will make you emotional, and tears can roll down while cherishing its beauty.
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Aydarkul Lake
Aydarkul is a semi-artificial lake in the middle of the Kyzylkum desert, in the northeast of Uzbekistan. It is also known as the ‘turquoise sea in the sands’ because of the colour of its water and it is one of the best tourist places in Uzbekistan.

Here we can enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating in the lake. You can also take a memorable view of the beautiful landscape around and various animals and birds living in the area. You can also spend the night in yurt camps which are made of wood as per the ancient technology used by the nomads.

Location: Kyzylkum desert, Uzbekistan

Highlights: Beautiful color of water and its impressive size
Nurota Mountains
The Nurota mountain range stretches from Dizzak to Nurata towns of Uzbekistan. The Nurata town was founded by Alexander the Great and the mountain range derives its name from it. This mountain range includes Nurata Nature Reserve and many valleys & rivers and it is one of the famous places to visit in Uzbekistan.

You can also find an endangered species of mountain sheep here, along with some rare tulips and numerous species of birds. You can trek in between the many villages located nearby and also find ruins of some historic fortresses here. You can also enjoy bird watching and swimming on the Adyar Lake located here.

Location: Nurota District in Navoiy Region in Uzbekistan

Highlights: Historic fortresses
Greater Chimgan
The greater Chimgan is the highest point of the Chatkal mountain range and is approximately 3309 meters high. You can come here for mountaineering, skiing, and trekking. Climbing up the Greater Chimgan and the descent from there is the favourite tourist route and activity on the mountain.

You can stay here for the night and enjoy the serene sunrise over the snow-covered mountains. You can also trek along the National Nature Park that was set up with the aim of protecting the primaeval wildlife of the mountain range from any human activity.

Location: Bostanlyk administrative district, Uzbekistan

Highlights: Adventure sports
The Ark of Bukhara is the oldest structure of the Bukhara town which was occupied from the 5th century to 1920. The emirs of Bukhara used to reside here and it is a royal town within a town. 80% of the Ark is now in ruins but some of the royal quarters are still standing and have been converted into museums.

It has a Juma (Friday) Mosque with beautifully carved stalactite column heads, former residences of emir’s kushbegi (prime minister). You can also see the Reception and Coronation Court, the oldest surviving part of the Ark.

Location: Afrosiab St, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Timings: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Entry fees: 13,000 UZS

Highlights: Medieval Architecture
Gur E Amir
Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum is the final resting place of Timur, also known as Tamerlane, his sons, and his grandsons. It is a modest building with a fluted azure dome and a beautiful portal. During the night, the beauty of the building increases because of the spotlight done for the grand effect.

The stones in the mausoleums are just markers and the actual crypts are buried in the chamber beneath. The mausoleum has plain marble and beautifully crafted walls. Many later architectures are inspired by this beautiful mausoleum and this beautiful place is one of the best tourist places in Uzbekistan.

Location: 1/4, Universitetsky Boulevard Bustonsaroy St, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Timings: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Entry fees: 381.60 Som

Highlights: Fluted azure dome and a beautiful portal
Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley is located in Central Asia and has two rivers, Naryn and Kara Darya. The history of this valley stretches back almost over 2300 years when the Alexandria Eschate was founded by Alexander the Great.

The Fergana Valley has a rich history and has been home to Babur and many more great rulers of numerous empires like the Mughal empire, Mongol empire, etc. The valley has many beautiful and old architectures that you can see. You can also enjoy the diverse wildlife in and around the mountains and rivers.

Location: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Highlights: Home to many mughal emperors
Lake Charvak
Lake Charvak, meaning ‘four gardens’ in Persian, is a water reservoir located in the Bostanli District of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The reservoir gets the maximum water from Oskem, Koksu, and Chatkal rivers confluence in the Tian Shan mountains.

It is a famous resort in Tashkent and attracts many tourists who come to enjoy the beautiful view of the reservoir. You can enjoy paragliding here and stay at any one of the numerous hotels, tapchans, houses, and dachas available nearby and it is one of the must visit places in Uzbekistan. This lake was also an archaeological site before the reservoir was filled up and all the sites submerged.

Location: Bostanli District in the northern part of Tashkent Region, Uzbekistan

Highlights: Water reservoir and paragliding activities
Ugam Chatkal National Park
Ugam-Chatkal National Park is located northeast of Tashkent city, Uzbekistan. This entire area is called Chimgan by the locals and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. Here you can enjoy paragliding, trekking, and many other adventure sports activities from some mountains located inside the park.

This place also provides a mesmerising view of the entire area and the valley nearby. You can also go swimming, fishing, and canoeing near the Charvak reservoir inside the national park.

Location: South Kazakhstan Region

Highlights: Recreation and adventure activities
The Rishtan village is located in the west of Fergana, and is famous for its pottery. The pottery production in Rishtan goes back as far as 800 years ago. The pottery of this area has a unique decor, dominated by blue. The blue glaze or ‘ishkur’ used in the pottery is made by hand using natural mineral pigments and the ash mountain plants.

The pottery of Rishtan can be found in numerous museums and private collections all around the world. Here you can meet local master pottery makers and interact with them.

Location: Fergana Region, in Uzbekistan

Highlights: Pottery Art
The famous Registan square is the main square of Samarkand and used to be the main attraction of the Timurid dynasty. The square is a Ulugbke Mdarsah, a religious mosque for education. This square has a mosque, dormitory, and lecture rooms.

The external facade, the imposing portal, and the internal mosaic dome of the square are the major architectural beauty. It is one of the most recognised Mosques in the world. Registan, meaning ‘sandy place’ in Persian, is located on the ancient Silk Road network.

Location: Registan St, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Timings: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Highlights: Ulugbke Mdarsah, a religious mosque for education
Amir Timur Museum
The Amir Timur Museum was opened in the year 2006 and is one of the newest museums in Tashkent. It was opened in remembrance of Amir Timur. The blue dome and the ornate interior of the museum represent Central Asian Islamic architecture.

The museum has many ancient paintings, manuscripts, engravings of the Timurids age, and a Quran from Syria belonging to the 14th century. The museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens which have some prominent fountains and a statue of Timur on a horseback and it is one of the best places to visit in Uzbekistan.

Location: 13 Amir Temur Avenue, Tashkent 100000, Uzbekistan

Timings: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Entry fees: 4000 - 6000 SOM

Highlights: Ornamental interior
Chorsu Bazaar
Chorsu or Chorsu bazaar is a traditional market located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Chorsu Bazaar is almost 100 years old and is the biggest and oldest bazaar in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. In this market, you can find every item of daily necessity and it is one of the famous tourist places in Uzbekistan.

This bazaar used to be a trade centre during the old times, where the goods used to come in and go out of Tashkent. This market displays local social life in the best and traditional way. The Chorsu bazaar still has old large domed structures standing and the coloured glazed tiles that increase its beauty.

Location: 57 Tafakkur ko'chasi, Тошкент, Uzbekistan

Timings: 8:00 AM - 8:15 PM

Highlights: Biggest and oldest bazaar
Palace Of Khudayar Khan
The palace of Khudayar Khan is the most beautiful royal residence in entire Central Asia. The palace was built in 1873, commissioned by Khudayar Khan, and it had 113 rooms in seven courtyards. The palace has been restored in the past few years giving an impression of the vibrant and colourful facade of arches and minarets.

The ramp of the palace leads through a beautiful portal, studded with poles, to the 19 surviving rooms. There is also a natural-history display and shows various items collected from the palace.

Location: Kokand, Uzbekistan

Highlights: Royal Residence
Lyab I Hauz
Lyab-i-Hauz means by the pond and it represents the area near some of the surviving ponds (Hauz) of the Bukhara city. This place is the centre of beautiful architecture created during the 16th and 17th century and it is one of the best places to visit in Uzbekistan.

It is surrounded by ponds on the three sides and today it is a right-angled pond stretching from east to west. It is surrounded by trees that are many centuries old and has a staircase made of massive yellowish limestone blocks. The Lyab-i-Hauz khas Nadir Divan-Begi Khanaka on its west side and on the opposite of Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah.

Location: B. Nakshabandi, Bukhara Uzbekistan

Highlights: Beautiful architecture

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Uzbekistan Things To Do FAQs

What are the best things to do in Uzbekistan?

1. Hike to Nuratau Mountains: When going on a hike to Nuratau Mountains, you will find walnut orchards, gushing streams with chilled water originating from the mountain spring, and hospitable locals toiling or relaxing in their mud houses in Uhum village. On the way, there are different images carved in the rocks by the ancestors portraying their rituals, daily life and animals. These images are known to be 2000 years old. It highlights the remarkable history of humanity. As you walk further, old apricot trees, desert oases, wild mulberries would welcome you in this stunning landscape. The mountains are virgin ones, and you can experience their purity. 

The standard route for reaching the mountains starts from Bukhara to Navoiy to Sarmysh petroglyphs to Nurata to Kyzylkum yurt camp all the way to Nuaratu mountains. The trail is easy to medium level and the mountains are situated south of Aidarkul Lake, between the towns of Jizzakh and Nurata.

2. Ride the Tashkent Metro: After the destruction of Tashkent city in 1966 due to an earthquake, the Soviet Union sent a team of artists to design the Tashkent metro that also doubles up as a nuclear bunker. You will find a different theme for every metro station. Station names like Alisher Navoily, named after Uzbek poet who penned the famous poem Laila Majnun during the 15th century, have poetic illustrations on the walls with dome-shaped ceilings.

Another station Kosmonavtlar, means cosmonauts, is designed for representing the galaxy. Riding in a metro is safe and cheap, and a ticket will cost 1200 som or less than 10 cents. The metro is operational from 5 am till 11 pm. You need to purchase a token for 15 dollar cents or 1200 som. The token is valid for any length of trip as long you are not exiting the station and hopping on and off the metro to visit different stations.

3. Pay a visit to Hazrati Imom Jome Masjidi: One of the top things to do in Uzbekistan is to get inside the magnificent Hazrati Imom June Masjid (the Friday mosque) built in the 16th century. The interiors of the mosque are breathtaking. If you want serenity, watch people pray inside the white walls, under the entangled ceilings, as sun rays pour through the domed windows.

The place is ideal for getting relief from the scorching heat of Tashkent city. Men and women pray in separate halls. However, you can freely walk and capture moments on your camera. Women do not need to cover their heads while entering the mosque. The mosque is situated in old Tashkent city within neighborhoods with the old intertwined and daub homes that had experienced an earthquake in 1966.

4. Witness Sunrise at Bukhara: When planning what to do in Uzbekistan, witnessing sunrise at Bukhara should be on your list. Although Bukhara is very hot and always buzzing with tourists; however, watching the sunrise in the early hours feeling cool is one of the best things to do in Uzbekistan.

The amazing Kalon Minaret built in the 12th century and the 16th-century Lab-i hauz looks marvellous with the rising sun. The perfect spot to watch the sunrise is to follow Lab-i Hauz's route to the Kalon Minaret and walk further towards the Abdul Aziz Khan Madrassa. The city is located in south-central Uzbekistan about 225 km west of Samarakand. Bukhara lies on the Shakhrud Canal in the delta of the Zeravshan River.

5. Visit the Old Mohallas of Tashkent: Tashkent city is the capital of Uzbekistan. It is pretty normal for tourists to believe that there would be busy streets, walkways with endless trees on both sides and extensive avenues. But, there is a different landscape waiting when you enter a small street.

You will be enchanted to witness that there are numerous mud and stone houses built around vine-covered courtyards. As you stroll, one can see kids playing with marbles and curious locals staring at you to know the reason to be in their country. After landing in the country, one of the top things to do in Uzbekistan is to pay a visit to Tashkent's old Mohallas.

6. Explore Samarkand: Samarkand city, a UNESCO World Heritage Center, is often termed as the crossroad of cultures and was one of the significant cities on the Silk Road. With stunning mausoleums and historical sites, this historic city is undoubtedly the country's number one destination.

The major attraction of the city is Registan Square. Every major road of Samarkand leads to Registan as it was once the centre of the Timurid dynasty. Another marvellous historical site is the Shahi-Zinda complex. It comprises spectacular mausoleums and rows of blue tombs lined along a narrow path. Never miss this place as it is one of the primary things to do in Uzbekistan. The city is located in east-central Uzbekistan, which is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia.

7. Go to Elliq-Qala: Ellie- Qala means Fifty Forts, situated on a desert oasis that showcases a valuable collection of anthropological and archaeological history. You will find ruins of countless towns and forts that make one of the most enthralling areas of ruin in the world. When making a list of what to do in Uzbekistan, Khwarezm should be on the list.

Tourists will get to witness the foundations of the large structures of the city buildings and walls. Crumbled underground tunnels, basements and rampant leading from city to fort and city to city are being unearthed daily. This means, Elliq- Qala has become one of the fascinating archaeological sites in the present era. The fortresses are located east and north of Buston which is 75 km northeast of Khiva.

8. Explore some museums in Khiva: Khiva is an eccentric city with a centuries-old history, where numerous streets still correspond to an oriental city of the 17th to 19th centuries. You will find some exotic mausoleums that should not be missed when planning for things to do in Uzbekistan. For instance, Makhmud Pakhlavan Mausoleum was built in the 17th century, which is covered with blue glazed tiles. The walls are decorated with awe-inspiring majolica. People come here to pray and consume the holy water. 

Another mausoleum namely Syed Allauddin Mausoleum is renowned for its architecture that comprises the domes, brick walls, and building constructed in Spartan style without any attractive elements. Due to the mausoleum's simple look, several pilgrims within the country and other countries visit every year.

What are the adventure things to do in Uzbekistan?

1. Ride on a camel in the Kyzylkum Desert: Want to experience the life of the Silk Road caravans? Just ride on one of the Bactrian camels and head up to Nurata and visit one of the Yurt Camps in the desert.

2. Riding the Akhal Tekke horses:
Whether you have experienced horse riding in any part of the world, do not miss the opportunity of sitting on the Akhal Tekke horses that are the national wealth and pride of Turkmenistan.

3. Trek in the heavenly mountains of Tajikistan: 
Tajikistan remains Central Asia's most untouched region, and trekking here will offer you memorable experiences with the local and breathtaking landscapes. Explore the Berloga and Techkitosh caves in the valleys beyond the Dark Star or Derbent and spend the night at Machay. Visit the Chatkal national park for rafting or hiking.

What are the best things to do in Uzbekistan at night?

1. Opera Nightclub: One of the best disco clubs is situated on Rashidov Street in Tashkent. The bar offers a mix of European and Asian cuisines and will give you the experience of a lifetime. The club is located at 71 Sharaf Rashidov Street and opens from 6 pm till 4 am.

2. Pasha Bar and Restaurant: The Grand Mir Hotel situated in Tashkent has a famous bar and restaurant, Pasha. A great place to unwind and is known for exotic food and drinks. Enjoy the evening by shaking your legs on the dance numbers.

3. York Pub: Whenever you look for Uzbekistan's best nightclubs, York Pub's name will appear on the list. Relax on the chairs, sip your favorite drink with mouth-watering non-veg food and enjoy a live dance show performed by professionals.

4. CMI Afterparty Bar: The bar has earned its reputation for its extravagant menu, which comprises 50 varieties of cocktails. To keep your spirits high, famous DJs will be playing rock music along with the dance numbers. 

What is Uzbekistan famous for?

The country is famous for its architecture, arts and crafts, archaeology, and bazaars. Go to Registan  where you will find Central Asia's most magnificent ensemble consisting of three large madrasas covered in beautiful tile work. Central Asia's best ceramics are made in Fergana valley and has Rishton ceramic museum where visitors can attend workshops. Head towards Ellik Kala, where you see numerous ruined forts, city walls and palaces in the desert located outside Urgench.

If you are interested to see the ruins of a Buddhist monastery, visit Fayoz-Tepe, located on the banks of the Amu-Darya. The famous bazaars of Uzbekistan – Siyob Bazaar located at Samarkand and Jahon Bazaar outside Andijon will offer you a once in a lifetime experience.

How to reach Uzbekistan from India?

Uzbekistan Airways, Air Arabia and other carriers will take you directly to Uzbekistan from India. The charges vary from INR 12,000 to 40,000. You can take from all major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc.

What is the best time to visit Uzbekistan?

For a soothing climate and to witness a feast of wildflowers, dark green and gold across the country’s landscape, plan your trip during April and May or September and November where you will find the freshest and ripest produce on sale in local and city markets.

Is Uzbekistan safe for tourists?

Uzbekistan is certainly a safe place to visit. Recently, the country added one more feather to its cap by getting selected as one of the 20 safest destinations in the world because of one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Which are the best historical places to visit in Uzbekistan?

1. Gur Emir Mausoleum, Samarkand: During the 14th and 15th centuries, the mausoleum was dedicated to the Turco-Mongol conqueror Tamerlane and his sons and grandsons. It comprises a mix of Mongolian and Persian styles, serving as a predecessor for various Mughal tombs throughout central Asia--many of them were built by Tamerlane's descendants. 9 to 6

2. Itchan Kala, Khiva: This walled city is a World Heritage-listed open-air museum. Spanning across 64 acres, this marvel features more than 250 old houses and over 50 tourist attractions within its 2 km long brick wall. To reach Itchan Kala, hire a taxi from the regional capital of Urgench, and from there it is a 40 minute drive. However, please negotiate the price of the ride.

3. Ark of Bukhara: Roam around the 5th-century complex of Ark of Bukhara which was once a vibrant town and home of the Bukhara Khans. The place is famous for its cone-shaped, massive walls.

4. Samanid Mausoleum, Bukhara: This 9th-century mausoleum is heavily ornamented with different geometric shapes that feature few Zoroastrian elements from Sasanian and Sogdian traditions built during the Samanid dynasty. It is located in the central location of Bukhara, in the city park which is famous for the celebration of festivals and holidays and for organizing public shows.

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