Three reasons why you should visit Uzbekistan soon
Don’t worry, I won’t start with click-bait-y blog titles.
I can warmly recommend a visit to Uzbekistan as soon as possible. Three reasons why I think you should visit rather sooner than later:
1. It is really cheap right now. The government fixes the exchange rate of the Uzebkistani Som to the US Dollar and it is massively overvalued. Hence a black market exists where you can get almost double the official rate. While hotels are usually priced in US Dollars, just about anything else is in local currency and hence it is really cheap. For one US Dollar you can currently receive 6300 Som. Below are some examples of prices:
- Dinner at a high-end touristic restaurant including appetizer and main dish and beer (for one persion): 25’000 Som
- Taxi across town (shared): 3’000 Som
- International postcard stamps: 1’600 Som
- Large bottle of water: 1’000 Som
You do the math yourself, but it is really cheap for what you get.
2. There are still very few tourists: apart from some European tour groups, there are still very few tourists. In many instances, you’ll have the monuments to yourself and even when not, there are hardly any other tourists.
Look at the amount of tourists above at Uzbekistan’s best known attraction.
3. It is safe and currently politically stable:
dictator elected president Karimov is holding the strings together. Yes, Uzbekistan is a police state and the frequent police checkpoints and border control can be annoying but it is very safe. Apparently there is no clear heir to Karimov so you never know what will happen once the 78-year old is not longer around.
The cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand are definitely worth a visit and all very unique. Go and go sooner rather than later.