Across Uzbekistan with MIR

Oct 10th, 2017, 05:43 PM
  #81  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,178
Thinking of you, Thursdaysd. Hoping that you get the care and treatment you need and will eventually be able to travel again.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 06:44 PM
  #82  
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,356
Larry - going back has definitely been on the list of possibilities. But there are certainly better reasons!

TP - thank you. Me too!
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 09:16 PM
  #83  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,226
I’ve finally taken a moment to catch up on your trip, and OMG, you have accomplished the impossible, thursdaysd – you have moved this part of the world onto my wish list! I didn’t see that happening. ;-) Between your informative and evocative words and your stunning photos, I can see the appeal despite the frustrations of your tour. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences!

And of course, I send my best wishes for improved health.
kja is offline  
Oct 11th, 2017, 08:47 AM
  #84  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 150
This is such a meaty trip report. One of the best I've read here or anywhere.
2016adventurer is offline  
Oct 11th, 2017, 09:41 AM
  #85  
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Thank you both! Still have a bit more to come, including Khiva which I loved.

kja - make sure you consider including Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, I really regret missing the scenery there. Of course, I would also like to have included Iran, but right now just getting a visa could be difficult. Again.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 11th, 2017, 03:59 PM
  #86  
kja
 
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I'll be sure to note that on my travel wish list, thursdaysd -- thanks!
kja is offline  
Nov 4th, 2017, 06:35 AM
  #87  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 70
Hi thursdaysd, nice to run across you on the forum again, and I hope you are recovering from your maladies. I've had frozen shoulder and it sucks - cortisone works wonders, but you can't really have it more than once due to tissue damage, unfortunately.

This is a fantastically detailed and interesting trip report. We've got our post-Christmas trip to Kathmandu and Bhutan sorted, and were kicking around ideas for the April school break, as it will be our last chance to travel together as a family before my daughter heads off to college in the US. Having seen much of SE Asia from here in Singapore these last few years, I surprised myself by suggesting Uzbekistan. I traveled there on business in the early 1990s, and again to Tashkent about five years ago, and I would like to see some of the stunning Islamic architecture again. It's not the easiest place to get to, as you know, but Uzbekistan Airways has a weekly non-stop from Bangkok, so at least we would not have to fly all the way to Istanbul and back-track, or via Seoul.

My problem (aside from the usual travel grumpiness, of course) is that we would be somewhat pressed for time due to my work and the HY air schedule. The one weekly flight in from BKK is on Tuesday, with the return on a Wednesday. Do you think it would be possible to see Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara, traveling by the fast train, in a week? We don't need to do the yurt or other exotica, and Khiva is too far out of the way, but it would be nice to be able to include all three cities if we have time. And having been to Tashkent several times, I think two days there would suffice. But it's been so long since I visited Samarkand that I can't recall how much time we spent there or even how we got there (it was a whirlwind factory tour that included Almaty, Bishkek and Dushanbe, just after the USSR collapsed, with a quick side trip to Samarkand).

So if we could spend a couple of days in each city going by train, and then perhaps fly back to Tashkent from Bukhara, that would be ideal. Would you suggest that, or just limiting to Tashkent and Samarkand over seven days? Is the train fairly reliable? And finally, do you think we could do this mostly independently, such as hiring local guides in each city rather than being part of an organized tour? My Russian is pretty rusty, but probably enough to get around the cities. Thanks.
ClarkB is offline  
Nov 4th, 2017, 07:57 AM
  #88  
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Thanks Clark! Glad you have found my TR useful, even though it's still incomplete. Alas, the methotrexate I'm taking isn't working (hopefully it will in a couple of weeks...) and I am having more bad days than good. I have at least four more posts to write, including one on Khiva, which I loved. However, I quite see that you won't have time for it on this trip.

I would give time to Samarkand and Bukhara in preference to Tashkent. In fact, I would be tempted to fly straight on to Bukhara on arrival, except for the fact that the international and domestic terminals are not connected and there is no telling how long it will take to get out of the zoo in the international terminal. The four hours I see on skyscanner should be long enough but it would be a very tiring day. Probably better to overnight in Tashkent and take the 8:00 am train out the next morning. For train times and info see:

https://www.seat61.com/Uzbekistan.htm

I was on the 8:00 am train, in business class, but it is Spanish Talgo rolling stock and economy should be fine. Have no good info on reliability, though. Mine was on time.

Not sure how popular Russian is in Uz these days - one blog I read the author was learning Turkish for Central Asia instead, but the older generations no doubt speak it.

Although I went with a tour group I am sure you could DIY, although you might want someone to buy the train tickets. If you can lay hands on an Odyssey or Bradt guidebook for Uz you probably don't need a guide. When I was there the guide was useful for changing money on the black market, but I seem to remember reading recently that under the new president that may no longer be necessary. Maybe a guide for the first day in Bukhara to change money, get the lay of the land and point out the best shops if you want to shop? Definitely recommend my hotel in Bukhara - the Amelia.

Have fun in the Himalayas!
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 5th, 2017, 06:05 AM
  #89  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 70
Thanks! Good advice - I think we can cut Tashkent down to one full day, and I noticed that Adventura advertises a 4-day run through Samarkand and Bukhara (flying first to Bukhara, then road/rail to Samarkand and back to Tashkent) that would fit our 8-day flight schedule well.

Uzbekistan Airways' website isn't the most clear, but fortunately they have a sales office here in Singapore, so I can make sure they are actually flying the days they say they are.

Thanks again for all of the insight and advice.
ClarkB is offline  
Nov 5th, 2017, 07:55 AM
  #90  
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Can't find a link in English for that company.

I was thinking of:

Tuesday arrive Tashkent
Wednesday - 08:00 - 10:08 train to Samarkand
Thursday - Samarkand
Friday - Samarkand
Saturday - 10:08 - 11:47 train to Bukhara
Sunday - Bukhara
Monday - Bukhara
Tuesday - fly to Tashkent
Wednesday - fly home

But if you want a day in Tashkent I would drop one from Bukhara - nicer town than Samarkand, but more to see in Samarkand.

I bought my Uzbekistan Airlines ticket through MIR. Flight was fine, as was the domestic flight Nukus - Tashkent.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 5th, 2019, 09:25 AM
  #91  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 5
I noticed that more and more people prefer solo traveling to group tours to Uzbekistan. Thank you for useful article! No doubt I'd like to visit Uzbekistan!
gregory312 is offline  

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