Central Asia is a large landmass and destination that is rather unknown to travellers in the Southeast Asian region. The cities of Central Asia are often overshadowed by glitzy destinations like the hypermodern mega cities of Seoul and Tokyo, or the historical sites of Europe. Perhaps the reason is due to an unfortunate perception that countries like Uzbekistan aren’t all that attractive, and might I dare venture, dangerous?
Photo by feisty_foreigner via Instagram.
And that’s a pity because unlike mass media depictions, Uzbekistan and its contemporaries actually make up a truly historical and absolutely beautiful part of the world.
For one, Uzbekistan plays a starring role in the illustrious history of the Silk Road, a series of trade network routes that connect the East and West. It began during the Han Dynasty in China, where the lucrative trade of silk formed the bedrock of the trade networks, giving the commercially and culturally important network its name.
From expansive views of magical natural beauty to downright stunning architecture, Uzbekistan is truly a gem just waiting to be unearthed. Although we understand the draw of mainstream destinations, we encourage you to ditch them for the heart of Central Asia and prepare yourself for a completely new and enriching travel experience.
When to Visit?
Uzbekistan lies in the center of the Eurasian landmass and owing to the country being landlocked (meaning it is completely enclosed by land with no access to any water bodies), temperatures during the months of summer and winter often veer towards the extreme ends.
Thankfully, Uzbekistan experiences the four seasons and the months of Spring and Autumn are much more forgiving, provide a respite from the scorching heat and biting cold of summer and winter.
Uzbekistan During Spring
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There are two periods in the year that make for the best time to visit Uzbekistan and Spring is one of them. This cool climate breaks in sometime during March and April and this is the time when flowers start blooming across the land.
Spring also happens to be the period of one of Uzbekistan’s most treasured holiday, Navrus. Also known as the Persian New Year, Navrus or Nowrus, ushers in the spring equinox and Uzbeks take the chance to celebrate nature and welcome in the new year. It’s an excellent time to take in the beautiful scenery of Uzbekistan before the climate starts heating up so be sure to get your trekking boots on.
Uzbekistan During Summer
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Now, we’d recommend avoiding flying to Uzbekistan during the summer. If you find the Singapore weather unbearable, you won’t particularly like Uzbekistan in summer. Unlike Singapore where the weather is humid, the summer climate in Uzbekistan is parched and dry.
The summer heat can reach levels north of 40˚C, so be prepared for immense heat especially during the months of July and August when summer is at its peak. Trekking across the hills and mountains are supremely popular activities to do but can be quite taxing with the sun bearing down upon you so ensure that you prepare adequately for the trip (no amount of sunblock will be enough).
Disregarding the overbearing heat though, summer in Uzbekistan can be some of the most exciting times. The country celebrates some of its biggest festivals like the Samarkand International Music Festival and the UNESCO-backed Asrlar Sadosi Festival of Traditional Culture which highlights the diversity of the nation’s culture and heritage.
Uzbekistan During Autumn
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Autumn is the other part of the year where Uzbekistan sees its peak period for travelers. Like many other places in the world, autumn in Uzbekistan presents a very nice and cool climate. Not only that, the entire country morphs into this beautiful terracotta red and gold, a sight that can hardly be described.
During the transitional period in September to November as temperatures slowly cool from the heat, Uzbeks celebrate their Independence Day on 1st September, in accordance of the day in history that they were freed from Soviet control.
This is also the best time to explore the iconic “big three” of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva, the three cities that famously lie upon the Silk Road. The crowds are lesser as we progress later in the year and head towards winter, so if you want to capture the stunning mountainscape when people are scarce, autumn is the time for you.
Uzbekistan During Winter
Photo by khalimbayev via Instagram.
With snow-capped mountains and bare, frost-laden trees, it’s undeniable that Ubekistan winters are strikingly beautiful. But the loveliness comes at a price – a shivering minus 20 to 30˚C.
The extreme cold sees tourism taking a hit during the harsh months of December to February, so you can expect a lot of discounts and deals on hotel rooms and tours in order to boost human traffic.
Skiing is the name of the game during the winter months of Uzbekistan, and the resorts of Chimgan and Beldersoy, located in the Tian Shan mountain range provide some of the best snow for skiing.
Each season of Uzbekistan presents something different and offers a unique experience, though we’d have to say spring and autumn would be the best period to visit, on account of the nice and comfortable weather.
There are currently no direct flights to Uzbekistan, but there are many airlines that have one or two connecting flights which aren’t all that bad for this upcoming, trendy destination.