Uzbekistan Travel Notes

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Australian Embassy in Moscow

Australia does not have government representation in Uzbekistan, all consular assistance is provided by the Embassy in Moscow

Podkolokolny Pereulok 10a/2,
Moscow, Russia
Tel  +7 (495) 956 6070
Fax +7 (495) 956 6170
www.russia.embassy.gov.au

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

Uzbekistan is on Greenwich Mean Time +5 time making them 5 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. Uzbekistan does not operate daylight savings. To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

Uzbekistan use 220 volts. Plugs are of the two-round-pronged European type.
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

The official currency in Uzbekistan is the Som. The Som is divided into 100 tiyin.

Money is a complicated issue in Uzbekistan, due to the black market. The official rate of the Uzbek som Sums (лв) is kept artificially high. It’s easy to feel rich in Uzbekistan – the highest Uzbek note (1000S) is worth less than US$0.50 (approx). One US$100 bill turns into a plastic bag full of ragged bills, usually tied together with a rubber band.
Som notes come in denominations of 1000, 500, 200, 100 and 50
Tiyin coins come in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 3 and 1 (Coins are not widely used)

Credit Cards and ATM machines

ATMs are NOT readily available.  We DO NOT recommend their use as there are security concerns, they are often not working and they may not be available in all places you will visit. For this reason we are suggesting travelling with cash – as below. Please remember that if your cash is lost or stolen it is unlikely that it will be covered by insurance or, you will find that there is a limited amount that you can claim.

Please note that using a credit card in foreign countries usually requires a new “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Cash

Foreign currency is not accepted. Uzbekistan remains a cash-based society. Currency can be exchanged at banks and larger hotels (US preferred however Euro are also accepted). Do not change money in the street, it is not safe. Foreign currency need to be newer, not torn, low denominations (highest US$50.00)

The import of foreign currency is unlimited, but should be declared on arrival. You should know exactly how much money you have before boarding your aircraft so that you do not have to count your money in public upon arrival. The export of foreign currency is permitted up to US$1500. Travellers who
have imported sums in excess of US$2000 are required to provide proof of lawful exchange into Sum, otherwise a fine of 30% of the amount imported will be payable. The import and export of local currency is unlimited.

Travelers Cheques are NO longer accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones
Most mobile telephones work in Uzbekistan and coverage is reasonable throughout the country with the exception of the desert areas. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing  (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank as calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provider prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet
Internet access is unreliable and slow even in hotels and large cities.

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in Uzbekistan

Offices & Banks  09.00 – 16.00 Monday to Friday. (lunch break from 14.00 – 15.00)

Personal Safety
  • We recommend you drink only bottled water. Tap water is not recommended.
  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home. Carry spare phassport photo’s
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. And men, try to avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a rain coat or a water proof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable.

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest

  • Day pack- The site visits often involve walking on cobbled streets and uneven ground, up numerous steps and may be of reasonable duration.  You will want to have your hands free to hold rails or steady yourself as applicable and we recommend you carry a day pack for your ancillary items:  camera, torch, waterproof, sunhat, sun cream, bottled water (provided), sunglasses etc
  • comfortable walking shoes are very important (Hiking boots not required),  sandals or open shoes are only suitable for evening
  • sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • alarm clock or phone alarm
  • plastic bags: for wet clothes and dirty shoes
  • shampoo and soap. You cannot rely on these being provided by the hotel
  • penknife and/or cork screw (remember to pack in check-in luggage)
  • travel torch – this is essential!
  • insect repellent
  • folding umbrella and/or waterproof, windproof jacket
  • fleece or pullover:  It can be cold in the mornings / evenings, the temperatures can vary considerably
  • toilet paper, wetwipes and  hand sanitiser (see note below – Toilets)
  • travel detergent and universal plug
  • camera:  Please take all necessary equipment/spares with you as there are limited options to purchase additional supplies while on tour
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)
  • Pens, pencils and writing material
  • Novel/s (you can swap them with other tour members)
  • Bubble wrap, useful for packing breakables should you do some shopping
  • Small medical kit – you may wish to include antiseptic cream, antibiotics (check with your doctor and refer to note above), medicine for pain or fever eg Panadol or Aspirin  (nothing with codeine however), anti diarrhoea & anti-nausea tablets, mild laxatives, motion sickness medication (if applicable), insect repellent, anti itch cream, cough drops, oral rehydration salts.

Recommended dress code
Women
Remember that you will be travelling in a Muslim country, albeit not rigidly traditional ones. You should not display too much of your body. Do not wear shorts or skirts above the knee at all as it is culturally insensitive. You should also avoid wearing tops without any sleeves. Short sleeves are generally accepted, but when visiting mosques it is better if your arms are covered, at least to just above the elbow. By following these guidelines, you will not only will you feel more relaxed in a conservative environment but you will also keep cooler.

Men
Dress codes are more relaxed for men than women but shorts and sleeveless tops are generally considered inappropriate, especially in more conservative areas and religious buildings.  Men can, however, wear short-sleeved tops into mosques and do not need to cover their hair.  Long trousers allowing for both mild and cool weather, do not bring shorts.

Toilets:   Once you have left your hotel, the toilets will be a mixture of Squat & European, with very little or no toilet paper supplied.  There is also no soap provided.

Travelling with Medication

  • Talk to your doctor or a travel medicine specialist and discuss both the prescription and over the counter medicines that you will need to take with you; take only those for personal use.
  • Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets, or codeine containing medication, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. Travellers who do not declare restricted medications may be detained. Visit www.advantour.com/img/uzbekistan/file/medications_list.pdf
  • Carry a letter from your doctor with your prescription medicines. The letter should include the name of the medicine, how much you are taking and state that the medicine is for your personal use and specify medical condition.
  • All medicines should be kept in their original container displaying your name and dosage requirements, and carried in hand luggage to prevent their loss.

Because a prescription from your doctor here cannot be filled overseas, and familiar over the counter medicines may not be available in foreign countries, it is also important to carry an adequate supply for the entire trip plus some extra in case of travel disruption or delay. For further clarification please email appropriate Consulate or Embassy  [email protected].

Eating and Drinking Precautions

You are advised to:

  • drink only bottled water
  • peel all fruits and vegetables, stay away from salads
  • avoid under cooked meat or reheated food
  • avoid eating unpasteurized dairy products,including ice cream unless a labeled brand and most food sold in the streets
  • never use ice unless you know it has been made from safe water (this includes luxury hotels)
  • clean your teeth in bottled water

Travellers need to be stricter with their personal hygiene habits when travelling in developing countries than when they are at home in a ‘safer’ environment. A simple and effective way of decreasing the ingestion of unwanted organisms is to use hand sanitiser frequently.

Additional packing tips pertaining to Food and Drinks

We recommend you consider taking the following with you:

  • Small travel jug (these usually come with plastic mugs) or infuser. (There may be no tea/coffee making facilities in the hotel rooms).
  • Instant coffee, tea bags, sugar (or sugar substitute) or powdered or tube milk; ROBERT TIMMS coffee bags are an excellent choice. They are light, and you can have good coffee for breakfast by taking your bags into the breakfast room and asking for a pot of boiling water!
  • Instant soup, biscuits and other dry snack food (if the local cuisine gets too much on certain days!)
  • You can store biscuits in zip lock bags or tupperware containers. You may also wish to think about bringing a tube of  vegemite or the like to put on your biscuits. Powerbars, muesli bars & nuts make great snacks for afternoon or morning tea. It can be quite difficult to find this kind of snack food or sweet treats on this tour.
Etiquette
  • No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone, they may try to obtain money from you.
  • Handshaking is the normal form of greeting between men.
  • As this is a Muslim country, foreign women should dress modestly, especially in the rural areas, and cultivate a certain coolness of manner. Women can dress in normal western-style modest clothing, although female visitors should avoid wearing short skirts (they must be below the knee) and shorts.
  • You must carry a scarf with you at all times – preferably cotton for comfort in the heat and not silk as they tend to slip off. You will find it easiest to start the day with the scarf around your neck ready to lift up and down as required as there are often a number of visits to religious buildings each day. A scarf a metre or so in length will be the easiest to manage.
  • Due to the nature of the terrain covered on this tour you will find it most comfortable to wear trousers during the day. This also applies to managing toilet facilities where squat toilets are common.
  • Men should wear long trousers only.

Tipping is expected in restaurants, coffee shops, taxi’s etc – the expected amount is 10%

Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)
Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress rules, women should wear a head & shoulder covering (ie a scarf) at all religious sites. T shirts are permitted apparel however they must cover your shoulders (No singlet type T shirts). Men cannot wear shorts and must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.

Duty Free

www.visituzbekistan.travel/usefulinfo/customs.php

Banned imports: Prohibited imports include firearms, ammunition, drugs, photographs and printed matter directed against the country and live animals (without a special permit).  Restricted items include fruit, vegetables and plants. You should only import medicines for personal use.

Banned exports: Precious metals, stones, furs, arms and ammunition, antiquities and art objects (subject to duty and special permit from the Ministry of Culture). When buying items that may be more than 50 years old, ask for a certificate stating the age of the item(s).

Useful websites

Uzbekistan Tourism
www.visituzbekistan.travel

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com or www.weather-finder.com 

The climate in Uzbekistan differs according to region.

Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Tashkent -3/6 1/9 5/16 9/22 13/28 18/34 20/36 18/35 13/30 8/22 4/15 0/9
Samarkand  -3/6  -1/9  4/14 9/21 13/26 17/32 18/34 17/33  9/29  7/25 3/15  -1/9