Here are 12 reasons you should visit Uzbekistan:
1. It is unbelievably affordable. I spent $5 in a posh restaurant ranked first in TripAdvisor. It is pretty hard to spend more than S$30 (USD 22) per day on food, transportation, entrance tickets and accommodation unless you decide to stay in the most expensive hotels in town. I paid S$1-2 for entrances and $5 for major sites (supposedly the most expensive but only twice).
2. The travelers you meet are the really special ones. Many of them are traveling for 1-2 years. I hung out with French doctors who quit their jobs to travel for a year, Romanian lawyers who are so knowledgeable and curious about the history, students who are traveling through Central Asia for 3 months during their summer vacation, Spanish guy who cycled 9000km from Spain, Japanese and Singaporeans who quit their jobs to fulfill their dreams and travel the world, and people who run a marathon from Europe to Asia.
3. One of the safest countries I’ve ever been! I never once felt that I was in danger. No pickpockets, no robbers and nobody who tries to scam you. In fact, people are extremely helpful and hospitable. Even though I didn’t know Russian or Uzbek, it’s not that difficult to travel around. The only danger is probably the traffic, drivers tend to drive through pedestrian crossing.
4. It isn’t as touristy as most countries I’ve been and people are starting to realize what a gem it is!
5. It has most of the major cities along the Silk Road with great history to discover.
6. It has some of the most beautiful architectures that you’ll ever see, absolutely different from the ones I’ve seen in Europe, South America or Asia!
7. It has one of the most polite and friendliest people in the world, curious to know you and enthusiastic to bring you around.
8. You’ll be exposed to some of the richest history, albeit complicated as there were numerous conquerors in Central Asia.
9. You’ll discover some of the best craftsmen with techniques passed down since the days of the Silk Road and get to watch the entire process of their craft making.
10. The ancient cities and architectures are well-restored and you’ll feel like you’re walking in a museum city or even a cinematic set.
11. Engage a guide in any of these sites for better understanding of the place. They are people who had done their university degree or master in history. They understand the complexity of the Central Asian history so well you could ask them any question and they’ll be able to answer you.
12. It is not at all backward or rural like most people would have imagined, you’ll be surprised to find well-organized super green cities with massive European style gardens. You will see a mix of soviet buildings, beautiful European houses, majestic Islamic architectures, you can even find yurts in some of the rural parts of Uzbekistan.
All these being said, even though most nationalities are required to have a visa to enter Uzbekistan, it is totally worth it because it also helps to keep it relatively authentic.