Southern Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Discover the rich cultural and natural attractions of Southern Uzbekistan. Learn about the best things to do, where to stay, local culture and customs, and much more.

Introduction to Southern Uzbekistan

Southern Uzbekistan is a beautiful region located in the heart of Central Asia. It is home to some of the most fascinating historical sites, beautiful natural attractions, and rich cultural traditions. This region offers an immersive travel experience that will leave lasting memories.

List of Places to Visit in Southern Uzbekistan

If you’re planning a trip to Southern Uzbekistan, you won’t be disappointed by the long list of places to visit. Here are some of the most noteworthy attractions:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. Samarkand - A city with architectural masterpieces dating back to the Timurid era, including Registan Square, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, and Shah-i-Zinda complex.

  2. Bukhara - A UNESCO World Heritage site containing over 140 architectural monuments, including the Ark Fortress and Po-i-Kalyan complex.

  3. Khiva - An ancient city that houses formidable walls surrounding a maze of alleys featuring stunning mosques, palaces, and mausoleums, such as the Allah Kuli Khan Madrasah and the Kuhna Ark.

Natural Attractions of Southern Uzbekistan: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Nurata Mountains - A mountain range known for its breathtaking scenery and the ancient town of Nurata.

  2. Lake Aydar - A beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and perfect for camping, fishing, and swimming.

  3. Chatkal Mountains - A picturesque mountain range in the far east of the Uzbekistan section of the Tian Shan mountains.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Southern Uzbekistan

For outdoor enthusiasts, Southern Uzbekistan is a playground. Here are some popular hiking and biking routes:

  1. Stary Urgench - A road trip and hike to the old fortresses of the Karakum Desert.

  2. Asraf Pass - A high-altitude mountain pass that connects the valleys of Yakkabag and Sarymat in the Nuratau Mountains.

  3. Aydarkul Lake - A cycling route around the scenic lake, with opportunities to camp.

Best Things to Do in Southern Uzbekistan: Activities and Tours

Here are some of the best things to do while in Southern Uzbekistan:

  1. Join a guided tour of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva.

  2. Enjoy a traditional Uzbekistan dance and music performance.

  3. Visit the Chorsu Bazaar, the largest market in Tashkent, to buy souvenirs and taste local cuisine.

Week-Long Itinerary for Southern Uzbekistan

Here is a week-long itinerary that will give you a taste of Southern Uzbekistan:

Day Activity
1 Arrive in Tashkent, explore the city’s bustling streets and markets
2 Drive to Samarkand, visit Registan Square, Shah-i-Zinda complex, and the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
3 Visit Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Ulugh Beg Observatory, and the Siab Bazaar.
4 Drive to Bukhara, visit Kalon Minaret and Poi Kalon Mosque
5 Visit Ark Fortress, Bolo Haouz Mosque, and Hauz-i-Kausar.
6 Drive to Khiva, visit Ichan Kala and the Kuhna Ark
7 Visit the Allah Kuli Khan Madrasah and the Tash Kurghan Palace. Return to Tashkent.

Food and Drink Scene of Southern Uzbekistan

Southern Uzbekistan is well-known for its delicious and hearty cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Plov - A rice dish cooked with meat, carrots, and onions.

  2. Shashlik - Grilled meat skewers marinated in spices and served with bread.

  3. Samsa - A baked pastry filled with meat and vegetables.

Local Beverages

  1. Tea - A staple beverage in Uzbekistan, often served with sweets.

  2. Doogh - A refreshing yogurt drink, perfect for hot summer days.

  3. Wine - Uzbekistan is known for its excellent wines, particularly from the region near Samarkand.

Where to Stay in Southern Uzbekistan: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Southern Uzbekistan has a wide range of accommodation options, suitable for every budget. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Samarkand - Hotel Grand Samarkand Superior, Registan Plaza Hotel.

  2. Bukhara - Hotel Asia Bukhara, Boutique Hotel Minzifa.

  3. Tashkent - Hotel City Palace, Hotel Uzbekistan.

What to Buy in Southern Uzbekistan: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Here are some popular souvenirs and local products to buy in Southern Uzbekistan:

  1. Uzbek textiles - Handmade Uzbekistani textiles such as ikat silk scarves and suzani embroidered fabrics are popular souvenirs.

  2. Ceramics - The vivid ceramics of Gijduvan, Samarkand, and Rishtan are unique to Uzbekistan.

  3. Spices - The spices of Uzbekistan are fragrant and colorful, and make an unusual gift.

Local Culture and Customs of Southern Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a country with a rich culture and tradition. The locals are friendly and hospitable. Here are some custom and etiquettes you should keep in mind:

  • Always remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a mosque.
  • Dress modestly, particularly when visiting a mosque or conservative area.
  • Do not take pictures of military installations.
  • Get permission before taking photos of locals or their homes.

Best Time to Visit Southern Uzbekistan

The best time to visit Southern Uzbekistan is between March and November, when the weather is pleasant and warm. However, the summers can be particularly hot, so it’s best to avoid traveling to the region during July and August.

Do’s and Don’ts of Southern Uzbekistan


  1. Greet the locals with “Assalamu Alaykum” (Peace be upon you).
  2. Respect religious traditions and customs.
  3. Try local street food and shop at bazaars.
  4. Learn basic Russian or Uzbek to communicate with locals.


  1. Drink tap water, always drink bottled water.
  2. Smoke in public places, particularly near religious sites.
  3. Travel at night in remote areas without a guide.
  4. Take photographs of military or government buildings.

Safety and Health

Safety in Southern Uzbekistan

Southern Uzbekistan is overall safe for tourists. Petty crime may occur, so it is important to take basic precautions such as keeping a close eye on your belongings in crowded areas, and not displaying expensive electronics or jewelry.

Health in Southern Uzbekistan

Medical care is limited in Uzbekistan, particularly outside the major cities. It is advisable to purchase comprehensive travel insurance before traveling. Visitors are recommended to take vaccination against hepatitis A and tetanus before arrival.

Getting to Southern Uzbekistan: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Southern Uzbekistan

The primary airport serving Southern Uzbekistan is Tashkent International Airport, located in the capital city of Tashkent. Samarkand International Airport and Bukhara International Airport also serve the region with domestic and international flights.

Bus Stations Near Southern Uzbekistan

Buses are a popular mode of transportation in Uzbekistan, and there are several bus stations in Southern Uzbekistan. However, due to language barriers and inconveniences, traveling by bus is not advisable for tourists.

Other Options

Uzbekistan is also served by a network of railways, with high-speed train services operating between the major cities of Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara.

How to Get Around in Southern Uzbekistan

Taxis and shared minibuses are the most convenient form of transportation within the cities. It is advisable to agree on a fare before starting your journey. Within the city, you can also use public transportation such as buses and metro.

Where to Go Next from Southern Uzbekistan: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Once you’ve experienced the wonders of Southern Uzbekistan, why not extend your trip to other nearby destinations? Here are some popular excursions:

  1. Turkmenistan’s ancient city of Merv.
  2. Kazakhstan’s cosmopolitan city of Almaty.


Southern Uzbekistan is an ideal destination for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and those passionate about culture and tradition. With so much to see and do, this region is sure to provide a unique traveling experience. Plan your trip carefully, take precautions, and enjoy exploring this beautiful part of the world.