The mountains in the south of the country offer good trekking. There
are high peaks for those wanting a challenge, while easier treks can be done
in the foothills and on the plateau. The best time to go is between March and
Tours are available for cyclists of all levels. Easier rides can
be done in the Ferghana Valley and around Tashkent, where lake and mountain
scenery can be enjoyed. The more experienced cyclist might prefer to take the
Silk Road from Tashkent via Lake Aidarkul to Khiva.
There is skiing slopes in the mountains above Tashkent. The deepest
caves in Asia are in Uzbekistan at Boi-Bulok (1415m/4641ft) and Kievskaya (990m/3247ft).
These are suitable for experienced cavers only. Beautiful gypsum formations
can be seen at the Kugitang cave, while the caves of Baisuntau contain mummified
bears and those in western Tian Shan feature underground rivers and lakes. Rafting
and kayaking are possible on the Syr Darya, Angren, Ugen, Chatkal and Pskem
river, the best time being Sep-Oct.
The best place to experience Central Asia is in the oriental bazaars.
An amazing large markets of Tashkent and Samarkand offer goods ranging from
herbs and spices to Central Asian carpets. In the Alaiskyi Bazaar in Tashkent,
it is possible to buy decorated Uzbek knives. Remember that there is a usual
risk in large busy place of pickpockets, beggars and bag slashers.
Silk is still produced in the country and well-priced
silk fabrics can be bought at large department stores. Many museums have small
shops which sell a variety of modern reproductions and some original items.
It is possible to buy carpets and embroidered wall hangings. Bukhara is famous
for its gold embroidery, and visitors can buy elaborately embroidered traditional
Visitors should be aware that it is illegal to export
anything more than 100 years old or items which have a cultural significance.
Most of stores are open from 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 or 7:00
p.m., although a few open from 7:00 a.m. to midnight and a very few 24 hours
a day. As a rule, grocery stores and supermarkets work Monday through Sunday,
but some specialized shops can be open Monday though Saturday. Most of the stores
work without lunch breaks, but some can be closed from 12:00 p.m. till 1:00
p.m., or from 1:00 till 2:00 p.m. Offices tend to have business hours from 9:00
a.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.
In most stores and businesses, plan on using cash. Don't expect
shop owners to keep a large amount of change, so you better break large bills
before shopping. Sales Tax is included in the price of all retail goods. Some
large supermarkets and butiques accept credit/debit cards.
Bazaars are the outdoor markets where offering just about anything
that is available for purchase at much lower prices than shops. Bazaars can
be huge, medium and small in size. They can be found all over the country, in
every village, town and city. As a rule bazaars are crowded, muddy in bad weather
and bag slashers, pickpockets and scam artists proliferate. Bazaars, however
are the best value for buying almost anything (food, home supplies, personal
hygiene stuff, etc.). Some are specialized such as the car market (cars, car
supplies, different kind of machines, etc.) and animal market, and some bazaars
are simply known for providing the best prices for certain things.
Bargaining is normal at the bazaars but is rarely practiced in shops
except for a very few privately owned ones. Sometimes foreigners get charged
more than the locals, especially if they don't speak the language, so in this
case it makes sense to bargain, however in most of the shops you can find price
labels on each product. In most cases merchants will quote the going rate without
trying to rip you off. In any case, a little research before making a final
decision will help you to save some money. Here is an example of a bargaining
Customer: "How much are your peaches?"
Sales-person: "20 sums per kilogram!"
C: "It is too expensive!!! I think they are worth, like, 16 sums!"
S: "No way!!! My peaches are the best!"
C: "Alright, man! I will buy peaches from that other guy!"
S: "OK. Wait. Don't leave! I will give them for 18 sums!!! This is the
cheapest you can get this kind of peaches for! Deal?"
C: "Well, I think it will work for me."
It is hard to know when the seller is being honest about a price
or when they have said a higher price hoping you will take it. A surprising
number of people selling food and other products say the price they want to
sell and item at and do not want to bargain. So the best is to simply know how
much an item should cost and stick to paying that price. And it is sometimes
hard to bargain hard with a grandma selling peaches when you know that for her
one som is a big difference. Shopping is fun here, full of both good and bad
experiences, expect both.
There are a lot of stores where you can shop for many things, but
prices there are higher than at the markets. There are a number of drug stores
("apteka"), bookstores, kiosks (small shops with a variety of drinks,
cakes, cookies, gums, liquors, cigarettes, etc), clothing stores and other stores.
Refunds generally don't exist. If you're not happy with a purchase
stores might let you exchange it for something else, but you won't receive money
back. Some private merchants at the bazaars are more flexible and willing to
satisfy their customers, but when buying you should ask if the product can be
Film processing is prevalent in stores, supermarkets, as stand alone
businesses and subways. They are easily recognizable and carry signs like "Kodak",
"Fuji", "Konica", etc. The shops also carry cameras, films,
frames and other things you need for picture-taking.
Quality varies dramatically, and even the most professional processors do not
tend to treat the process and negatives with care expected in the west.
This is becoming more customary.
There are a variety of theatres, concert halls in Tashkent, which
show everything from European operas to traditional Uzbek dancing and music.
The prices are low by Western standards; shows generally start at 1800. There
is also a number of themed Western-style bars, restaurants and discos.
Tashkent State Conservatory
Tashkent,31 Pushkin St.,
Tel: 133-5274, 133-5568
Turkistan Concert Hall
Tashkent, 2 Alisher Navoi St.,
Tel: 139-1425, 35-71-00
Bakhor Concert Hall
Tashkent,5 Mustaqillik Sq.,
Tel: 139-4004, 133-5025