Uzbekistan is slightly off the beaten track on the tourism circuit.  When I tell people I visited Uzbekistan, their first question is, “why would you go there?”  To the unsuspecting layman, Uzbekistan is just a country in that part of the world, but there is so much more depth to it.  I vaguely knew about the amazing culture, food, and history before my visit, but I had no concrete examples.  I wanted to travel there because I was interested in visiting the stops on the Silk Road and that was my answer when people enquired as to why I was going.  So you want to visit Uzbekistan?  Or maybe you don’t and I can change your mind.  Here are a few things to know:

  1. Food

    The food is badass.  I mean look at this feast.  And that slop!  Full disclosure: I didn’t try the contents of that vat, but we had portions from other vats.  Including horse, which was my favorite on that table (bottom right).

    Lunch in Uzbekistan

    We probably only needed to order half of that!

     

    Vat of slop

    I promise all other food looked more appetizing and less like it had already been ingested.

  2. Taxis

    To hail a taxi you just put your arm up like a regular New Yorker; however, literally any car that feels like driving will pull over.  You will fit comfortably…if you are by yourself.

    5 people in a tini taxi in uzbekistan

    How many clowns can you fit in an Uzbek car?

  3. Money

    You will be a millionaire!  Yay! Finally! Uzbekistan is known for their black market currency rates which is typically worth at least twice the bank rate.  And while it isn’t technically advised to buy money on the black market due to it technically being illegal, I recommend it to people who like free money.  I also recommend a wheel barrow or a duffel bag to carry your cash.  The 5000 som bill is the largest denomination found in Uzbekistan, which is worth less than 1 USD as of September 2016.

    money money uzbekistan

    Living the high life. I mean seriously, the hotel had bathrobes!

  4. Markets

    The bazaars are bizarre, but cool and extremely organized.  All of the fresh produce and meats you could ever dream of.

    bazaar in uzbekistan

    If only Stop and Shop were this aesthetically pleasing

     

  5. Beer

    The beer is served with a straw.  We will allow this to remain one of life’s little mysteries.  Let’s also not jump to conclusions and say all beers in Uzbekistan come with straws (however, if you are at the Marilyn Monroe Karaoke bar….)

    Beer with straws in uzbekistan

    Whyyyyyy?

     

  6. Beauty

    The culture, buildings, landscape, people, everything.  The country is beautiful.

    colorful samarkand uzbekistan

    Displaying colored lights as I am sure the original architects intended 😉

     

    Dusk at samarkand, uzbekistan

    I missed the sunset while touring this amazing complex, but it looks pretty beautiful after sunset as well

     

  7. Architecture

    On a scale from 1 to obvious, it is pretty damn obvious that Uzbekistan was previously part of the Soviet Union based solely on looking at the more modern buildings.

    hotel uzbekistan

    Soviet architecture

     

  8. Fashion

    Uzbekistan is hot.  It is also fairly conservative meaning ladies should show respect by covering their shoulders and legs.  I decided to throw my sense of style to the wind and buy a big, cheap potato sack of a dress to stay cool.

    me wearing the same dress as an uzbek woman

    Clearly I knew what was going on in the Uzbek world of fashion without even trying! Who wore it best-Uzbek edition

     

  9. People

    I have never experienced such warm, friendly, and generous people.  I was approached by children who wanted conversation and photos, I was invited to afternoon tea at the home of a local family, and I attended a local wedding.

    children of uzbekistan

    The most interaction I’ve had with children all year

     

    snacks with a family in uzbekistan

    The sweet table the local family set for us in their home

     

There is a lot to love about this country. So you want to visit Uzbekistan now? My advice to you? GO!