Uzbekistan Travel Essentials: Money Exchange, Medicine ,Safety
Here is a list of Uzbekistan travel essentials including health and medicine, money exchange pecularities, language , customs ,safety and other useful tips for your trip.
Is Uzbekistan safe to travel to?
Uzbekistan is one of the safest counties to travel to in the region.
Traveling to Uzbekistan as a solo female traveler? I have a whole blog for you, with every detail on safety and precautions while visiting Uzbekistan.
Is Uzbekistan open for travel in 2022?
Uzbekistan is open to tourists from Russia, but to enter, you need a certificate of the absence of coronavirus.
The country is gradually lifting restrictions, but you still need a vaccination certificate(QR code) to visit public places: mosques, cafes, restaurants.
Passengers arriving in Uzbekistan from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Egypt, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic must go through a mandatory 10-day quarantine at home or in a hotel at their own expense. As well as provide a negative COVID PCR test result, made within 72 hours before check-in for a plane or train.
Can I get the PRC tests at Uzbekistan airport?
All major airports in Uzbekistan have on-site labs where you can do Covid testing for as little as $20
Registration for tourists in Uzbekistan.
Within three days after entering the country, you must register at the place of stay. If you are staying in a hotel, you will be registered automatically. The hotel must have a license to accommodate foreigners.
What do I need to travel to Uzbekistan?
All US citizens and European citizens must have Uzbekistan visa to enter the country, including transit visa;
Electronic visa to Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan launched an electronic visa system in 2018. Citizens of 50 countries can obtain this type of visa. You need to fill out a questionnaire, http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/, submit your application, and receive confirmation.
The electronic visa to Uzbekistan fee is $20
How long does it take to receive an electronic visa to Uzbekistan
From 3 to 7 working days. The finished e-visa is sent to the applicant’s mail-in PDF format within 3 to 5 business days.
You can apply for electronic visa here.
The consular fee depends on your type of visa and the length of your stay. A regular tourist visa to Uzbekistan for up to 30 days costs $ 60.
A tourist visa for up to one year costs $ 250.
Uzbkinstan transit visas cost $ 20 – $ 40.
Health and medicine in Uzbekistan
Some hospitals are working with foreigners in Tashkent. The doctors speak English, well equipped and provide a wide range of services, from dental to emergency incidents.
For emergency assistance or if you are in remote areas, local emergency rooms and conventional clinics will do.
Pharmacies in Uzbekistan
The pharmaceutical market was underdeveloped in Uzbekistan for many years. Recently, especially in major cities, like Tashkent, the industry has been thriving; currently, you can find any medicine in pharmaceutical chains (Dorixona ,for example, instructions each drug comes with directions in Uzbek and the language of the manufacturer.
You can buy everything (except for strong tranquilizers and such) without a prescription and at a fraction of the price it would cost you in the US.
Pharmacists are trained and certified and can advise you on the right medicine.
Money Exchange in Uzbekistan
(The Worst Part )
There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring to Uzbekistan. However, a foreign citizen must have the same or smaller amount(compared to what was declared upon entry) when leaving the country.
There are plenty of banks and ATMs in Uzbekistan.Mostly in bigger cities though.
Foreigners are encouraged to use NBU, the National Bank of Uzbekistan. It has branches in all major cities, where you are probably going to travel to.
You need to show your passport and your money should be crisp, without any bends or marks on it. Here is what can happen if a bill doesn’t fit the bank’s standard:
They don’t accept it. Period.
They send you to a different bank that works with “not clean” money, where you sign papers acknowledging that your money suck and you agree to exchange it at a lower exchange rate. Way lower.
I dealt with this procedure several times in Uzbekistan and Russia. The banks are not trying to make your life difficult or make extra money on your “not-so-crisp” bills; they actually can’t work with these bills.
If you need to exchange money in Uzbekistan, plan to do so ahead of time. You won’t have the opportunity to stop by an exchange shop in the middle of your tour to get some cash.
There are no “Currency exchange” stores in any major streets, even the most touristy ones. The authorized exchange services operate inside big hotels and airports.
ATMs in Uzbekistan
You can get some money at ATM but it’s limited to $20-$50 per transaction and the commission is very high.
There are Western Union locations in all branches of local banks.
After the exchange of foreign currency for Uzbek soums, it may be problematic to exchange it back. The lines to get foreign currency are long and sometimes there is a shortage of it.
There is an unofficial “black market” for exchange in Uzbekistan, but you should know it’s never a good idea.
Soum is the only legal currency in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is one of the countries that practice cash payments. Many restaurants and even stores (not even mentioning bazaars) won’t accept anything but cash. Don’t get me wrong, Uzbekistan is a modern country and the locals have credit and debit cards. But most facilities won’t accept foreign cards. If you are paying with cash, it has to be local too.
This does not relate to carpet stores where one transaction can start with $1000, of course.
Bills come in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 soums . Any bill less than 200 soums have no value.
Best time to travel to Uzbekistan
Typically, the best season to visit Uzbekistan depends on the most pleasant weather conditions.
Mid-March to the end of May, and from mid-August to mid-November
has the most pleasant weather for travel to and around Uzbekistan.
It’s mild and pleasant, neither too hot nor too cold. It is also the perfect time for fruit and vegetable harvest. And trust me, local produce alone is worth the trip, without any exaggeration. It’s not by chance that Uzbekistan is the world’s capital of watermelons.
Of course, this is also the peak of the tourist season, so be prepared to deal with bigger crowds, higher tour and accommodations prices.
If you are comfortable traveling and sightseeing in 40-degree heat, summer is a beautiful season too. And with great discounts.
Most accommodations and transportation for tourists are AC-equipped.
If you travel to Uzbekistan in winter, you can practice your skiing skills. There are mountain resorts in the Tashkent region (Chimgan, Beldersay)
What language do they speak in Uzbekistan
There are three languages commonly spoken in Uzbekistan: The Uzbek language, Tajic and Russian.
The Uzbek language belonged to the Turk family and was the original language since the country’s foundation, as well as Tajik. Russian came with the Soviet times. Most young people speak English very well.
And remember, knowing just a couple of words in the local language is the ultimate sign of respect. This is the universal rule and can be applied to any country!
What can you export from Uzbekistan
Ceramics, metal, knives can be exported out of Uzbekistan with no issues. If you are buying antiques: carpets, swards, knives, silk vintage suzane pieces, you may need a license issued by the Uzbek Ministry of Culture, stating that your purchases have no historical or cultural value. You can ask for this license directly from the seller.
Otherwise, custom authorities are allowed to confiscate unlicensed items.
You can export fruits and vegetables without restriction in reasonable quantities adequate for personal consumption.