"UZ: Self-organized versus group travels" Uzbekistan Favorite Tip by Trekki
Uzbekistan General: 57 reviews and 75 photos
Favorite thing: As I have been asked several times if Uzbekistan can be travelled self-organized, or if a group tour is necessary, please find here my two cents on that question (as of summer 2006):
Self-organization is possible without a problem. Don't let anyone (like travel agents) tell you something different. There is no necessity to have accommodations to be booked in advance, except you want to travel in Uzbekistan's high season or you have specific hotels in your mind. Even if you travel in high season and you are flexible in the kind of accommodation, no reservation is needed; there is enough hotels, hostels and guesthouses.
Moving from A to B is done either by shared taxis, bus, train or plane (depends from where to where). You will be able to get your seat(s) with Basic English or hand language.
Uzbekistan is a safe country to travel, so you won't need the special protection through a group.
Even if the main languages are Uzbek and Russian, a lot of people speak basic or quite understandable English. Otherwise, hand language always helps.
Books, websites and, of course, VT pages provide helpful information beforehand. I also highly recommended reading about Islamic culture and architecture beforehand, as you definitely will get "lost" in what you see, mainly if you have not much travel experience in Islamic countries.
Fondest memory: Group travel:
Although I a very much group travel phobic (I'd rather scream like hell than booking myself on a completely organized trip) I do see advantages of "organized" tours for Uzbekistan and other Central Asia countries. Depending on the tour operator, you might learn much more than you can ever read beforehand, while travelling with them. But still, they will take you to places they define as being of interest (and you might miss exciting other ? lesser known ? sights), they will take you to the restaurants they have chosen or have contracts with (and not let you eat at these yummie food stalls where it smells so wonderful), they determine space and pace.
But a third option is to get a tour guide for a day (like the first day in a town) or even only a specific monument, mosque, medressa or museum. Then you still can travel self-organized, but have the advantage of local knowledge during your sightseeing.
Now, back from Uzbekistan, I wish, I would have asked for local guides from time to time. Well, next time :-)
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