Friday, December 25, 2015

Central Asia: 10 Random Tips on travelling in Uzbekistan

From Tashkent International Airport departure hall
1.   The quietest airport award goes to airports in Uzbekistan (ok, disclaimer - at least the ones I've been to). After our ordeal in Manas Airport, we were a little paranoid decided to err on the cautious side and get to the airport earlier but our fear was unfounded. The airport is fully guarded with guards/military and one would need to show their flight itinerary and passport before allowed to step into the airport.

2.   Domestic airport and international airport in Tashkent are separated and they are not within walking distance.

3.   One would need to complete 2 copies of Custom Declaration Form by hand. They are not carbon copy so technically you need to copy the second copy off the first one. One copy will be kept by the custom officer, and you retain the other copy. You will need to declare the currency and valuables you hold. 

Not millionaire yet...
4.   Black market money charger in Uzbekistan is big and much higher than official rate. It is illegal but pretty much everybody does it. It is not the wisest choice to change money with the taxi driver in the airport. Just change enough to pay for the taxi to get to your hotel/B&B but not more.

5.  Almost everybody in Uzbekistan is a black market money charger. Imagine walking around and people will ask you, "Postcard, souvenir, money?" But we found the best place to do this is with the B&B proprietor which gives you plenty of time to count the money. Yes, count them all despite the huge stack.

6.   There are police officers stationed on the entrance to metro stations, and before going through the gate to trains. The officers inside the station (before going through the gate) particularly conduct checks on tourists, specifically passport and hotel registration slips.

7.   Hotel registration slips will be given out by the hotels/B&B that you stayed with upon initial registration. It is basically a stamp on a piece of paper. The hotel would do the necessary registration and complete details of your name, passport number, arrival and departure date and registration number. This paper could be a post-it note so you could stick it in your passport. We were checked in Tashkent at metro stations [see number (4)] but not at other places.

8.   The officer in the airport took my registration slips before my flight to Almaty but sis got all hers back but nobody checked it thereafter so we were all good, with or without the slips.

9.   Metro costs UZS1000 per person at flat rate and "ticket" is in the shape of a token.

10. Photography is not permitted in metro stations in Tashkent. The architecture and designs differs from each station and they are beautiful but do not take any photos. Oh, and there are also officers at the platforms. 


Side note: Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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