Consulate in Tehran:
Pasderan street, Aqdasiye street, Park street 4, n°15
Not to be confused with the embassy which is at a different address.
Cost of the visa: 75$ (we payed in IR) + 40.000IR for typing the form.
The uzbek visa has no flexibility whatsoever: you have to get in on the date you specify. If you enter after, you lose the days. Not like the iranian visa where you have 3 months to enter. Calculate exactly the dates with your iranian visa and the 5 days of the turkmene visa. We had to extend our iranian visa because we were missing one day!
1. Ask for a letter of invitation. We went through Stantours (25 euros) and got it in a week via email. Print the letter and take it to the consulate with 2 pictures. They told us to come back at 1pm but we sat in the yard and they called us back at 10 am.
2. Ask your embassy for a letter of recommendation (free for French people but we met an Englishman who paid 80$!). You get the letter within a day. Bring the letter to the consulate. The visa is delivered within 3 days.
The advantage of the letter of invitation is that you can get the visa on the same day. So you can start the turkmene visa on the same day (if you are lucky), you save on the taxi ride and nights spent in Tehran (a hotel night is between 15 and 20 euros).
1 euro = 1820 som
1 dollar = 1340 som
In Bukhara, change at the black market (ask for the Black Bazaar), rates are higher than in the old city.
Be careful! It is very difficult to change uzbek soms outside Uzbekistan. We changed in Osh at a rate of 43 uzbek soms for 1 khirghize som (instead of the official rate of 33). A lot of changing booths declined to change our uzbek soms.
Boukhara: the best internet café is in the Office of telephone and telegraph, Muminova 8. Fast connection, 500 soms/h. All the other internet cafés we tried were very slow and charged 1000 soms/h.
In Samarcande, the fastest connection is also next to the telephone office.
Tashkent: Arostr, Afrosiab street flat 66 house 13
firstname.lastname@example.org, +998 (3)71 256 4067, www.arostr.uz
We used them to buy plane tickets but we would have been better off uying them ourselves. It took 7 days and countless phone calls.
Road & Accommodation
Border - Boukhara (100 km)
Good state. Small shops in Alat, 25km from the border. We could only get biscuits and water.
Some stalls at Koraqol bus station sell samsas for 900 soms (meat pasties). After Koraqol, there are more cafés, we even got ice-cream!
Bukhara: Malikjon guest house, 9 Sarafon street, tel:998 65 224 5050. Double room with bathroom, 20$. Breakfast included. Dinner 6.000 soms. A lot of charm, clean and the family is very friendly, we felt at home. The home-cooked food is delicious and the portions are big. Popular among travellers, better to book in advance.
Khiva: accommodation is in Ichon Qola, the old city.
Otabek guesthouse, 10$/bed, shared bathroom, breakfast included.
Mirzoboshi, 10$/bed, breakfast included. Dinner 5000 soms.
On the road, we asked people if we could setup the tent in their garden ... we always slept inside!
For tight budgets, we don't think it's worth buying the 11,000 soms ticket. Walking in the city is enough and you can always have a look through the door of monuments (use groups to sneak in!). You can also negotiate with the guards.
Boukhara – Samarcande (290 km) & Samarcande – Tashkent (340 km)
Quite boring! It is mostlt cotton fields and villages. It was difficult to stop without being surrounded by half a dozen of curious people. The road is not in a great state, sometimes smooth but usually with bumps and holes. The good part is the hospitality of uzbek people.
Malikrabot (just before Navoi): hotel Parvoz (just after the caravanserail), 14,000 soms for a double room without bathroom.
Samarcande: hotel Marokand, Chorraha Ko-chasi, a 5 min from Bibi Khanoun mosque towards the West. 24$ for a double room with bathroom. Antika also looked great.
Tashkent: Gulnara guesthouse. 15$ for a bed in a dorm. Good hotel but the owner is not very friendly. But there isn't much choice.
On the road, we knocked on people's doors or sometimes they even invited us to their home. We never had to open the tent which says a lot about uzbek sense of hospitality ...