Ever since I travelled overland along the Silk Road of China from Beijing to Kashgar in October 2014 I wanted to see more of this amazing ancient trade route. My dream was to return to Kashgar in Xinjiang province and continue my journey from there out of China to Kyrgyzstan via the Torugart Pass, as Carly did in late summer 2014, and to travel overland through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. But I knew that I would need quite a lot of time for that sort of trip, more time than I have this and next year. So when I stumbled upon a Central Asia adventure tour starting in Almaty, Kazakhstan and finishing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan I didn’t hesitate too long but pretty much booked that trip right away. The trip encompassed an overland journey through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with only one flight between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. I had planned it for June this year but unfortunately, I got sick in late May and had to cancel the trip. There was nothing I could do so I accepted it. It seemed that I had to postpone Central Asia and this part of the Silk Road. When I was well again I decided to attend an international travel blogging conference called TBEX instead which currently takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. But when calculating all costs for Stockholm like the conference ticket, the flights to and from Stockholm, accommodation and food for seven to ten days in Sweden I realized that it would only be slightly cheaper than ten days in Uzbekistan. Guess, what I did? I decided not to go to Stockholm but spontaneously booked a trip to Uzbekistan instead. To prepare for my journey I asked some of the most amazing bloggers who have been there for their advice and I received these fantastic travel bloggers’ tips for Uzbekistan:

Alesha and Jarryd from “Nomadasaurus”

“Take US cash with you and exchange it on the black market. You will get twice the value rather than withdrawing money from an ATM. Just make sure you leave with less money than you entered with – they will count every dollar you have at the airport and at the borders.

Wear long pants and a long sleeve, a modest shirt and you will be fine.”

Check out Alesha’s and Jarryd’s blog, and their photos of Uzbekistan in this post and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Carly from “Carlys Adventures Afar”

“Ancient cities where brilliant aqua domes push towards bright blue skies, exotic and colourful markets, shared taxi adventures, cashless ATMs and black market negotiations, fascinating history and locals who greet you with a gold-tooth smile. This is Uzbekistan and it is one of the most unique and unusual countries in the world.

Photo credit Carly RobinsonPhoto credit: Carly Robinson from Carlys Adventures Afar

For me, the absolute highlight of travelling in Uzbekistan was the impressive buildings saturated in tiles of intense blue ranging from cobalt, azure, aqua and turquoise (I may be a little obsessed with these gorgeous tiles!).

Avenue of Mausoleums - Photo credit by Carlys Adventures AfarPhoto credit: Carly Robinson from Carlys Adventures Afar

And the Silk Road, romantic sounding, cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are full of these incredible architectural gems. From the famous Registan, the most dramatic architectural site in all of Central Asia, to Gur-E-Amir Mausoleum the resting place for Timur, the stunning Shah-i-Zinda (Avenue of Mausoleums), Miri-i-Arab Medressa and the perfectly preserved museum city of Khiva. My number one tip for travelling to Uzbekistan – take cash!! ATMs in Uzbekistan are notorious for having no cash and navigating the black market was an unavoidable necessity. The local currency (Uzbek som) is so worthless 100USD would purchase 300,000 som on the black market and given the majority of money only came in 1,000 som notes you quickly realise why the ATMs have no cash! It also means keeping your stash of cash in plastic bags is totally normal.”

Uzbek money - Photo credit by Carly RobinsonPhoto credit: Carly Robinson from Carlys Adventures Afar

Check out Carly’s blog, her destination guide for the country, and her other posts about Uzbekistan and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Stefanie from “A World Kaleidoskope”

My favourite place in Uzbekistan is Bukhara. I spend almost a week there and couldn’t get enough of the richly ornamented madrassas (koran schools), the infamous square at the Kalon minaret and the impressive citadel. I also like to remember the laid-back evenings at the “Lyabi-Hauz” lake where you can indulge in Uzbek delicacies in the traditional restaurants.

Uzbekistan photo credit Stefanie SchwarzPhoto credit: Stefanie Schwarz from A World Kaleidoscope

I especially liked Bukhara because the sights – compared to other Silk Road cities – are not overly restored and are not isolated from the rest of the city. And more insider tip: you can get a fantastic panoramic view when taking a big wheel ride at Samani park.

I absolutely recommend the train ride from Tashkent respectively Samarkand to Urgench, the access point for Khiva. The train ride takes almost 20 hours but the old Sowjet sleeper trains are in a good condition so that you can sleep well, marvel at the endless desert and meet lovely locals.

Photo credit: Stefanie SchwarzPhoto credit: Stefanie Schwarz from A World Kaleidoscope

More tips in my detailed Backpacking Guide for Uzbekistan: http://aworldkaleidoscope.com/backpacking-in-usbekistan-reisetipps-highlights/ (in German).

Also, check out Stefanie’s blog and follow her on Facebook, and Instagram.

My own itinerary for Uzbekistan

And it won’t take long until I am leaving for Uzbekistan myself. I will be flying from Dusseldorf, Germany tomorrow morning at 10.30 AM to Istanbul Ataturk Airport with Turkish Airlines TK1524 and from Istanbul to Tashkent with TK370 and back on the 28th July with TK371 and TK1525 – well, if everything works as schedulded. Like most of you know there has been a military coup in Turkey last night with hundreds of deads and more than 1400 injured people. This makes me very sad especially after all Turkey and the Turkish people had to go through in the last few months and it dampens my anticipation of my upcoming trip.

But nevertheless if anyhow possible I will go. I have booked an amazing trip and I can’t wait to explore Uzbekistan myself. After getting into Tashkent late at night – my flight usually arrives in Tashkent at 12.45 AM – I will have the full next day for myself to explore Tashkent before meeting a local Uzbek guide and an international group of 11 or 12 other, hopefully nice people.

From Tashkent we will drive to Samarkand the following day where we will explore the infamous Registan, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, the Tomb of the Prophet Daniel, the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the Shah-i-Zinda (Avenue of Mausoleums) and hopefully also have enough time for a stroll over the Samarkand market.

Then we will head into the desert and visit the Nurata Shrine and the remains of the Alexander the Great fortress and continue to the Aydar Kŭl lake where we will spend the night in a yurt camp.

After our night in the countryside we will travel to Bukhara where we will explore the old city around Lyabi-Hauz,the Samanid Mausoleum, the Ark Citadel, and the Minaret Kalyan complex, the mosques, medressas and the covered market.

From Bukhara we will continue through the desert to the oasis city of Khiva whose ancient city is surrounded by stunning city walls and is a UNESCO world heritage site. We will wander along and through the medressas and minarets and discover the dark dungeons Khiva was once famous for.

Then we will take the sleeper train back from Urgench – the access point to Khiva – back to Tashkent. After our final night’s dinner and farewell party I will have another 24 hours for myself.

In Tashkent I plan to wander through the ancient city, stroll through the Chorsu Market and visit the Amir Timur park with the Amir Timur statue and let’s see what else I will do before heading back to the airport for my night flight back from Tashkent via Istanbul Ataturk to Dusseldorf.

If you would like to follow my journey through Uzbekistan or my travels in general subscribe via email and don’t miss to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you enjoyed this article I would also be happy if you’d leave a comment below.