Central Asia is one of the origins of the Persian culture, from Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire, it had been divided into 3 parts, one of which was Bactria where the famous Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva situated.
Central Asia is commonly known as the five republics in the central part of Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In the vast region of Central Asia, there are lots of reputed figures and influential historic events which led the world history to a new page. From Cyrus the Great and his descendant whom divided Central Asia into three lands, to Alexander the Great who ruled the countries in Central Asia, which was later conquered by Genghis Khan, all these had made Central Asia, mysterious and mesmerizing. With the opening up of the Silk Road, Central Asia became the gateway between the East and the West and played an important role in the development of the Silk Road.
Central Asia, an ancient region resonant with history, is rich in historical sites and natural wonders. Among them are the imposing architectures in Uzbekistan, some of them are inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage list. In Kazakhstan, where traces of Turkic Khanate and Kazakh Khanate can still be seen, be amazed by the natural wonders of the largest landlocked country in the world.
Officially known as the Republic of Kazakhstan, the country is located between two different regions of Eurasia - Central Asia and Siberia. Neighbouring to such countries as Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and sharing the coastlines with Iran and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world. It is also a country rich in historical and cultural relics. Before 16th century, the country was mainly inhabited by Turkic tribes. In early 18th century, it was under Russian’s rule and became one of the Soviet regions. After the Soviet Union was dissolved, Kazakhstan declared independence on 16 December 1991. The capital, Astana, is the major industrial and agricultural centre, and also a transportation hub of the country.
Situated in the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan was once an important gateway lying on the crossroad of the ancient trade route that connected the East and the West. It played an irreplaceable pivotal role on the ancient Silk Road and contributed to the exchange of civilization between China and the West.
Neighbouring the Aral Sea in the northwest, Uzbekistan shares boundaries with 5 states: Kazakhstan to the north, Afghanistan to the south, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Turkmenistan to the southwest, with a total area of 447,400 sq. km. Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan. The Tian-Shan and Pamir-Alay mountain ranges lie in the southeastern part of the country, while the Turan Lowland and Kyzyl-Kum Desert are located in the northwest. Uzbekistan is located between two rivers, the Amudarya and Syrdarya. Uzbekistan has the largest population in Central Asia and a wide mix of ethnic groups, with the Uzbek being the majority group, accounting for about 80% of the Uzbekistan population. Other ethnic minorities include Russians, Tajiks, and Kazakhs, etc. Uzbekistan has a dry continental climate, with extreme fluctuations in temperature. Winters are relatively short yet freezing, the northern part is comparatively colder than the south, in which the temperature can fall to -35°C. During summer, the southern part of the country reach a higher temperature than the north, hitting a peak of 45°C. Uzbekistan has a mild climate in spring (from April to June) and autumn (from September to October) in general.
Uzbekistan possesses abundant natural and energy resources, such as gold, oil, natural gas, and coal. In response to the increasing demand for energy and fuel from foreign countries, the heavy industries of extracting gold, oil, natural gas, and other minerals resources contribute to the major development of Uzbekistan’s economy. Uzbekistan also relies on agricultural processing. It is one of the top five leading cotton producers and exporters in the world. Apart from that, the export of fruit and vegetables produced locally and animal husbandry also play a crucial role in Uzbekistan’s economy. The industrial development of Uzbekistan is prominent in Central Asia; predominant industries include metallurgy, chemical engineering, machinery manufacturing, and textile, etc.
It was such a wonderful journey. Although it took us quite a while to go through the customs at Tashkent airport, everything went on smoothly. Thanks to Silk Road Travel’s detail-minded arrangement.
10 Days Uzbekistan Tour
A set of travel kit which includes a detailed itinerary, flight schedule, hotel information and contacts will be provided before departure.
Central Asia is dry in all seasons. Summer is hot and dry. However, the temperature between day and night varies, jacket is recommended. In winter, it is cold and snowy. The temperature will hit below zero degree.
Kazakhstan is the biggest landlocked country in the world; it has a diverse climate which varies from different regions. When spring begins in the South, the North might still be covered with thick snow. In summer, the temperature range is between 15ºC – 30ºC. In winter, the temperature of Astana can reach as low as -40ºC while it is around -20ºC the lowest in Almaty.
Uzbekistan is a double landlocked country; the weather is dry, the temperature is higher than Kazakhstan. The temperature in Winter can reach 0ºC while the temperature can reach 45ºC . The average temperature in Summer is 30ºC. The humidity is low.
Time Difference Kazakhstan: GMT+6, 2 hours behind Hong Kong
Uzbekistan: GMT+ 5, 3 hours behind Hong Kong
The official language of Kazakhstan is Kazak while Uzbek in Uzbekistan. Both languages belong to the Turkic language family. Russian is also widely spoken as both countries were once members of the Soviet Union. English is not a common language even in sightseeing spots.
Long sleeves and loose clothing (preferably cotton or natural fibres) is recommended for daytime use, with a light jumper and/or jacket for the cooler evenings. There will be many walking tours throughout the trip; some involve dusty and rough areas (i.e. dirt, cobblestones, etc.). Therefore, comfortable, solid walking shoes or sports shoes are essential.
Light colour clothing can help protect you from sunburn. A hat with good shade protection and sunglasses are essential. Sun radiation can be strong in some destinations. Please bring your sunscreens and lotion along.
There is no dress code for most of the religious sites that you will visit, except that ladies are recommended to cover most part of their body including arms and legs. For ladies, please also bring a shawl in case needed.
The hotels that you will stay at provide in-room Wi-Fi service. Amenities are provided in hotels but still recommended to bring your own. Avoid going out at night for your own safety.
In Uzbekistan, hotel will take your passport and do the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR); tourists have to keep the OVIR for the collection from officers during departure.
Food & Beverages
Central Asian cuisine is rich in meats and milk. Nan (big round baked bread), Shashlik (grill meats), Plov (fried rice with vegetables and beef), Manti (dumplings with beef or lamb), cheese and, camel and horse milk are their daily food. Horsemeat is a common food in Kazakhstan. If you have any dietary requirements, please advise us as soon as possible.
Local mineral water contains a higher level of minerals than western spring or bottled water and the taste can be rather "salty". Imported spirits and wines are available, however in some places the provenance of some spirits and wines is questionable and the prices inflated.
Avoid drinking tap water and eating cold dishes or beverages at the street market. Drink only bottled water and well cooked food during the trip.
The most efficient and comfortable way to travel is by air. Air Astana operates regular flights between Almaty in Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. To fly from Hong Kong to Uzbekistan, you need to take a connecting flight to Tashkent via Korea or Beijing. Coach and high-speed rail will be arranged occasionally. The itinerary states clearly the transportation that will be used throughout the trip. You may wish to bring some snacks with you for the long coach journey.
You are required to fill in two arrival declaration forms regarding the amount of currencies and specific items that you are bringing from your country of origin to Uzbekistan. One of the forms will be collected when entering Uzbekistan while the other one will be collected together with the departure declaration form, which should state the remaining amount of currencies and specific items upon departure. Please note that Uzbekistan currencies cannot be taken out of the country as there is a currency control. The custom officer will also collect your Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) form on your departure.
Visa & Travel Document Kazakhstan: HKSAR, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the U.K, the U.S, Spain, and Singapore passport holders are exempted from visa requirement when entering into the Republic of Kazakhstan for a stay of up to 14 days effective from 16 July 2015 to 31 December 2017.
For further details about visa requirement, please visit the official website of Consulate General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Hong Kong: http://www.consul-kazakhstan.org.hk/
Uzbekistan: Every visitor must possess a valid Uzbekistan Visa, which can be applied in any Uzbekistan Embassy or Consulate. It is possible to apply for a Visa on Arrival with a Letter of Invitation (LOI) at the international arrivals hall of the Tashkent International Airport, if the following conditions are met:
• There is no Uzbekistan Embassy or Consulate in the your country of origin;
• There is not enough time for you to apply for the visa at the transit point even there is Uzbekistan Embassy or Consulate.
Letter of Invitation (LOI):
According to the regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and Switzerland passport holders can get a Uzbekistan Tourist Visa directly at the embassy without an invitation letter from a ground tour operator. All other nationalities must submit a letter of invitation from a local tour operator when applying for the Uzbekistan Tourist Visa.
Silk Road Travel Management Ltd will help prepare the LOI for free upon confirmation of the Uzbekistan tour. Please ensure your travel documents are valid at time of travel (with at least 6 months’ validity).
Communication Kazakhstan Country Phone Code: +7
Uzbekstian Country Phone Code: +998
Telephone: Most of the hotels have IDD lines which you can make IDD calls in your rooms or at business center. Internet: Internet connection is available at hotels (International brand). There are WiFi Internet zones at the airport; railway stations of major cities and some restaurants and shops, though the coverage might be limited. In order to get the all-time Internet connection, please contact your domestic Internet service provider.
Kazakhstan national currency is Tenge (KZT). Exchange rate as per: 1USD = 186 KZT. The highest banknote is 10,000 KZT.
Uzbekistan national currency is SOM. Exchange rate as per: 1USD = 3000 SOM.The highest banknote is 1000 SOM.
Hotels and shops often list prices in U.S. Dollar. It is better to bring U.S. Dollar or Euro (€) for easy exchange (small amount, fresh and clean notes preferable) and you are recommended to exchange small money for local use in bazaar and small shops. It is advisable to keep all documents for money exchange until departure. Small shops and restaurants accept cash rather than credit card and cheque.
No photography is allowed in some religious monuments, airports, railway stations or near military installation. Be aware of the sign of the sightseeing spot and the instruction from tour guide. Sometimes, it is needed to pay the fees for taking photos in some sightseeing spots.
If you wish to take a picture of a person or a child in the street, please obtain his/her consent first and do not touch their head, which is considered to take their luck away.
Memory cards and batteries are available in major cities, but it is suggested that you purchase your supply before arrival, particularly if you have a sophisticated type of camera that requires a specific film and / or batteries.
Customs In Central Asia, Islam is the dominant religion. There are some customs and taboos that tourists need to respect and note. For example, physical touch between men and women is not allowed, eating pork and even talking about it are strictly restricted, and touching children’s head is a taboo.
The most common medical problems on tours are chest colds, sore throats, and the rare light bout of diarrhea or constipation. Bring along your own remedy for these ailments, as well as any prescription medicine you need since these may be difficult to find.
As it is practically inevitable in the areas where water is high in mineral and metallic salts, one should be prepared for minor gastric complaints. Consult your physician or pharmacist for recommended remedies.
Throughout the areas you will be travelling, one of the main health warnings is dehydration. At all times maintain a steady intake of non-alcoholic liquids.
IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you carry in your hand luggage any medicine you may require in case your suitcase is separated from you.