Our answers to frequently asked questions to ensure that you to have a stress-free and memorable trip here in Uzbekistan!
What is the time difference in Uzbekistan?
Uzbekistan is 5 hours ahead of GMT / half an hour behind India.
What is the voltage used in Uzbekistan?
220 volts AC, Round 2 pin continental (European) plugs are used.
Do I need to be registered when I arrive in Uzbekistan?
According to local law, you must be registered within 72 hours of your arrival in Uzbekistan; if you happen to depart within that time period, you are free from registration requirements. When you check into your hotel, your passport will be taken for maximum of 1 hour and you will be provided with a registration card (free of charge), which you must keep with you at all times and must not lose, as the local authorities may ask you for this at anytime, and most importantly when you depart for your destination, at the airport.
Is filling in the customs declaration form important?
Yes, it is important and mandatory to fill in the Customs Declaration Form upon arrival to Uzbekistan. Customs Declaration Form (2 copies) will be provided to you on board by the cabin crew before landing or you will be able to collect them at the waiting area before the customs control counter in the one of Uzbekistan's International Airport - the point of your arrival. You have to write down in the Form all required passport details and that is the most important to fill in the exact amounts of all the foreign currencies which are available with you.
How much alcohol / tobacco may I import with me to Uzbekistan? What is not permitted?
Per Uzbek law, people 16 years and older may legally import 200 cigarettes or 300gm of tobacco product. It is also perfectly legal to import 2 liters of alcoholic beverages (2 bottles) or 2 liters of wine.
Objects that are not permitted are military arms and ammunition, narcotics (drugs) and weapons. Hunting firearms and live animals are require special permits. Vehicles are subject to registration fees at the border of Republic of Uzbekistan.
Should I carry my passport with me while I am In Uzbekistan?
Yes, it is advisable to carry your passport with you while you are in Uzbekistan, especially while you are traveling independently, during transfers between cities, at train and bus stations, etc. If you happen to walk outside the hotel, visit the local market or explore the city on your own, especially at night, the police have the authority to check your passport, which is a regular occurrence and not a cause for concern. Your passport and registration card should be with you at all times.
How much money am I legally allowed to bring into Uzbekistan?
According to the law, you are allowed to legally bring up to US$ 5,000 with you into Uzbekistan. If you bring more than US$ 5,000, you have to fill in a special declaration form (ON-28). If the amount is more than US$ 10,000 you shall be charged a 1% duty on it. However, this amount will have to be declared via your customs declaration form.
Are credit cards accepted here?
Credit cards (Amex, Visa and MasterCard) are accepted in most of the hotels and restaurants here. However, it is not a very well developed system, so it is also advisable to carry a good amount of cash with you as well, so as to avoid any troublesome situations. You may use your credit card to withdraw cash at ATMs and some hotels, e.g. Uzbekistan, Radisson SAS, Intercontinental, Markaziy, etc. but this is dependent upon actual availability of local currency (Soum) in the ATM at the time of withdrawal.
How do I get local currency (Soum) in exchange for US$ / EUR, etc?
You can exchange money in the local forex office in the hotel where you are staying. Please note that in Uzbekistan, there is a prevalent black market where the rate is higher than the banking rate, BUT this is considered illegal by law, and since these people operate in open markets, bazaars and streets, it could attract the attention of the police and lead to arrest. Please also note that old or damaged currency notes are not generally accepted, or you would only be able to exchange them at a lower rate.
How do I make calls or send text messages to someone locally or internationally?
When you purchase a local SIM card ("Beeline" operator is the best option), it takes less than a minute to activate, and can be verified by seeing the name of the service provider which appears on your mobile phone screen. Your number will display as eg. +998 (country code) 90 (service provider code) 1234567 (actual seven digit mobile phone number). You may make calls to anyone locally by only dialing the last seven digits. You may send a text message to anyone locally by using the entire number, or internationally by using the country code (for eg. India +91) followed by their ten digit mobile number. Incoming calls are not charged and so you can receive calls or text messages from your friends, family and relatives if they dial the entire number eg. +998 90 1234567.
Where can I take photographs / shoot video?
You are allowed to take photographs / shoot video anywhere you like; at tourist attractions a nominal fee is charged, usually US$ 1-3. In these places, they also have professional photographers who can take group or solo photographs for a small fee. Photography is strictly prohibited in the Underground Metro for security purposes, and there are local police at every metro station. They may, at their discretion, either give you a warning or simply confiscate your camera or cell phone. If you wish to take photographs of local people, it is normally advisable to ask them beforehand.
Can I get vegetarian meals here? Are there any Indian restaurants?
Yes, you can find vegetarian local meals here in Uzbek cafes and restaurants. Alternatively, there are a few Indian restaurants located here in Tashkent, which are owned and managed by Indian nationals who would be more than happy to prepare the meals as per your request and preferences eg. Ragu, Bhramji and Raaj Kapur.
How is the nightlife here? Are there any good nightclubs?
Tashkent is known for it's bustling nightlife culture, and the entire city is dotted with many discos and nightclubs. Some of them worth mentioning are: Niagara, Diplomat-S, Casanova, Sky Club, Rich Club, Juliano, Barhan, Dutch Club etc. Some of them are only open from Friday to Sunday. Most have no cover charge during weekdays and before 11 pm.
If I wish to bring an 'extra guest' to my hotel, what is the procedure and charge?
Invitation of an extra guest is a routine practice in Uzbekistani hotels, so it is possible to invite a visitor without any formalities till 23.00 p.m. and with a mandatory registration after 23.00 p.m. The registration procedure is easy and requires just few steps. Firstly, a potential guest has to provide his or her passport at the reception of the hotel for safety and security reasons. Secondly, extra guest is a paid service and you as a hotel guest have to pay a small fee in the amount from 15 to 30 US$ per person. Please collect the receipt from the reception. Also be informed that some hotels can charge extra guest supplement by the price of double room.
Where can I go shopping here? What should I shop for?
There are large markets (bazaars) located all over Tashkent, which open at 8 in the morning. Suggested purchases are spices, dry fruits, local Uzbek souvenirs, carpets, Shilajit and local wine and vodka. However, in case you purchase antiques from Bukhara / Samarkand, you must confirm the date it was manufactured, as anything purchased before 1959 is strictly prohibited for export without special permission, and anything manufactured after 1959 will not require any permission, except a few exclusive works by renowned authors, eg. holy scriptures, literary works, etc. A special permission from the Ministry of Culture could be received at the main cities and/or in Tashkent Airport at your time of departure and will be subject to duty.
How is the crime rate here? Is it safe to be out on the streets late at night?
Tashkent is one of the safest cities in the world, with one of the best security and police networks functioning at all times. The local police are very friendly, especially to tourists, and are always happy to give directions, in case you feel you have lost your way. There are police patrol cars on every road and street corner, and it is safe for even ladies to move around late at night.
Is English a widely spoken language here?
Unfortunately, English still is not spoken widely here among the local public. The languages spoken here are Uzbek and Russian. Usually, English is spoken in private offices, hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, boutiques and some government offices. However, if you do need some help and assistance, you can ask some local young people or students who can speak reasonable English.
What are the local modes of transport here?
Tashkent is a very well balanced and modern city which offers many of choices in terms of local transportation. There are taxis, buses, trams and the Underground Metro system comprising 3 lines and 29 stations. All transportation systems are easy and convenient to use, and economical. Do you know Tashkent is the only city in the world where everybody travels on Mercedes? Green and fresh Mercedes are every where from 6 morning till late night plying on the roads. A visitor can travel to the destination by paying 0.30 US$ only :)