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Packing list for Uzbekistan :-)
Luggage and bags: Travel light and as small as possible. No matter if you travel by bus, taxi or train, you will have to carry and store the luggage. If you travel by shared taxis, Uzbeks usually define a car full with minimum 4 people, so 4 people’s luggage has to go into the trunk !
If you travel with backpack, bring protection. Some cars will be repaired all the time, your luggage will be removed and put on the ground (sand or whatever). Some cars also travel with bottles full of gas (benzene) in the trunk.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Clothing depends on your travel time. In summer it is bloody hot, so dress light, cotton is the best. Preferably long sleeves and trousers, just in case you visit mosques and encounter mosquitoes. However, bring a light sweater, as you might visit museums or other buildings, which have strong air condition.
Be prepared to cover your arms when entering mosques, so a light shawl also comes in handy.
Bring solid shoes; you will walk a lot, often on cobblestone. If you plan hiking, you will bring hiking boots anyhow
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring toilet paper, if you have sensitive skin. Depending on the quality of hotels you will stay in, you won't need it. But as you most probably will be in need of a toilet other than in your hotel, you will soon realize why I recommend this. In my picture you'll see some of the typical "soviet" toilet paper, which you find sometimes if you are in good luck; sometimes there is none at all. Lonely Planet called this paper "Russian sandpaper" – and well, I fully agree with their description.
I also would have wanted to have this wet kind of toilet paper with me (here it is of brand "Haakle feucht").
For girls only: bring your own tampons.
Bring insect repellent ! There are not much mosquitoes, but the ones I found (or which found me) DO BITE ! After one night in Khokand, I looked like a streusel cake....
Bring sunscreen, the sun is brutal in summer !
(Medical supplies: I will write separately about health topics under "General Tips")
Photo Equipment: Photography: for both, digital and SLR: you will get rolls for paper and slides and memory cards. However, if you want your usual quality pictures, bring all from home. Batteries are available.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Unless you have booked with a tour operator, bring your own camping equipment and outdoor gear. But well, which experienced hiker wants to use rented stuff like boots, jackets, tents, sleeping bags, etc ?
Miscellaneous: Small calculator comes handy, as you might want to quickly calculate prices in your currency, or check the bills in restaurants, which I highly recommend ! Often things appear on your bill, which you never ordered, and often, the sum (as in totalling) is slightly higher than it would be by using a calculator.
But: this not only happens to foreigners, also to natives !
Bring a small Russian phrasebook. Russian is widely spoken in Uzbekistan, and most of the menus are in Russian. It would be good if you bring a list with what you like to eat, and have it translated into Russian (Cyrillic), so that you can check the menus for things you might like to eat.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Packing list for Uzbekistan (2)
Miscellaneous: If you are used to drink coffee: be prepared that you most probably will not find freshly ground coffee in most of Uzbekistan's restaurants (the big hotels might have, a handful of restaurants and cafés as well). They serve Nescafe, which tastes... well, the way, Nescafe tastes.
If you are used to have milk with your coffee: even if you see cows all over in the country, you hardly find restaurants or cafés, which serve milk. Some even don't serve powdered milk.
Bring some powdered milk from home, but bring it in the original packaging !!! You don't want to be questioned at the border for suspicious looking white powder ! Yes, you can buy milk powder in the supermarkets or bazaars, but in my opinion it does not taste well.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
Packing for the heat
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If like us you’re visiting Uzbekistan in summer (we were there in July 2007), go prepared for HOT weather! Think cool cottons and linens, loose-fitting and light-coloured, and make sure you take a sun hat. Although this is officially a Muslim country you don’t need to worry as much as you might elsewhere about covering yourself up. I took long trousers rather then shorts, but was told that the latter would have been perfectly acceptable, and found that although I’d brought a light shirt to wear over my sleeveless tops, it wasn’t considered necessary even when visiting (mostly non-practicing) mosques. In fact we were amazed by the skimpiness of the clothing worn by many of the young Uzbek women, particularly in Tashkent. Having said all that though, if you’re planning to travel in more remote areas I’d recommend that you exercise a degree of caution – better to be on the safe side and not cause offence.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen with a high SPF is a must. We didn’t have any problems with biting insects in any of the areas we visited, including the desert camp and Lake Aidarkal. I strongly recommend that you take Imodium (or similar) – however careful you are to stick to the “rules” about what to avoid eating/drinking, you’ll probably find you need them (the majority of people in our group did). In addition sachets of replenishing drinks would be a good idea, though we made do with the fizzy drinks that are readily available everywhere, and the hardest-hit among our group were grateful that there happened to be a doctor among us who’d had the foresight to bring antibiotics. None of this is meant to worry anyone – I suffered from nothing that I wouldn’t consider par for the course in a country like this, and well worth it for the experiences I had!
Photo Equipment: Take plenty of memory cards and/or film – the sights of Uzbekistan are amazingly photogenic and you’ll get through a lot! I did see film on sale at all the major tourist sites, but not digital memory, and although there was a small shop in Khiva offering transfers to CD I’m not sure what the quality would be like.
Miscellaneous: It would be a good idea to include a torch – the back streets of Bukhara, for instance, are not well lit (especially if you have a power cut one evening as we did), and it’s essential if your itinerary includes a stay at a desert camp.
There are very few guidebooks covering this region. The best we found was “Uzbekistan: the Golden Road to Samarkand” (written by Calum MacLeod & Bradley Mayhew, published by Odyssey). There’s also a Lonely Planet guide to Central Asia which we were able to borrow from a friend (or try your local library) but at the time of writing this is being reprinted.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Although nominally a Muslim country, decades of living under Russian rule has resulted in Uzbekistan being a very secular society and you'll find you can wear pretty well anything you like here but, for all that, it is still a conservative society so covered shoulders and nothing shorter than knee-length is probably best. Women don't need to cover their heads except to protect themselves from the sun but the gesture is noticed and appreciated when visiting holy sites so a scarf is useful.
Uzbek men don't wear shorts so, if you do pack them, keep them for country excursions or travelling days.
Comfortable shoes are a must.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: As well as a good supply (ie sufficient for your whole trip + some to allow for an emergency) of any meds you take regularly, it's a good idea to bring a letter from your doctor listing those you are carrying. The customs form you fill out on arrival asks for meds to be listed, a letter will back you up if any questions arise.
You should also talk to your doctor about precautionary medications - ie a broad spectrum antibiotic and something for food poisoning (apart from the over-the-counter stoppers and rehydration mixes anyone travelling to Central Asia carries) and add these to a basic first aid kit. Apart from one clinic in Tashkent Uzbekistan's medical facilities are not anything like Western standard and you should be prepared to treat yourself if necessary.
DEET-based insect-repellant is essential if you intend to spend time out of the cities, either trekking, visiting farms or spending a day in the countryside. Central Asia is a known tick area and one tick-bite can really ruin any holiday.
Photo Equipment: Plenty of memory for your camera is a must - Uzbekistan will see you setting records for the number of photos you take and, unless you've brought your own equipment, places to get memory cards downloaded are just not there.
Don't forget your battery cahrger and a spare battery.
Miscellaneous: A folding fan takes no room in a bag and can be an absolute blessing on a hot day. Similarly, crystal-filled neck ties are another great little helper when it comes to keeping cool.
A small torch will help you find your way around at night if you move away from the main streets, most likely to happen in Bukhara but even some Tashkent and Samarkand streets can be very dark under those shady trees once night falls.
It's not only bird-watchers who will find a use for binoculars, a small pair will help you get a really good look at architectural details and the views from high minarets.
Do find room in your bag for some small gifts from your home land. These don't need to be elaborate - postcards, small key rings, stickers, little flag pins are the sort of thing I'm talking about. My big success was rolling stamps with Australian animal footprints - they cost me $1 each and lasted the whole trip. I've no doubt there are still children out there somewhere who have yet to wash off the wombat trail off their arm. Much better than sweets or pens and it didn't matter if a dozen children wanted a stamp, there was enough for everyone.
Luggage and bags: bring a backpack rather than a suitcase if you can. also, don't be too surprised if your bags are missing, have been opened, or have been damaged when they arrive in tashkent.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: if you're here in the summer definitely bring sandals and some good walking shoes. i wouldn't bother with hiking boots unless you're actually going hiking.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: bring some ant-diarrea medicine because if you get giardia you're going to need something to hold you over until you can get back to medical facilities that can get you some flagyll to get rid of it. those little guys are brutal and you'll know it if you get it (and anyone travelling with you will smell it)...
Photo Equipment: bring a converter if you're coming from the states. in tashkent you can get film and batteries cheaper than you can in europe or america. processing (kodak or fuji) is also much cheaper.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: you're gonna be hard pressed to figure out away to get to the mountains but if you do you won't need a water filter for the rivers. and it's gonna' be hot even at two thousand meters.
Miscellaneous: anything from your home country you can bring, like tshirts you can probably trade for souveniers.
Luggage and bags: Depends on the type of activity. Suitcase is suitable if you plan to stay in hotels, otherwise take a rucksack.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Once again, think of what you will be doing. In any case, take light clothes. You do not have to worry much about your clothes being suitable for the streets, as the country is not strict in this respect. However if you plan to visit mosques take some modest clothing with you. If you go to the desert take some covered shoes - you may see snakes there.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most of the things can be bought now (though it was not so when I went there) but if you need something special you'd better fetch it in your home country.
Miscellaneous: Take some cash: ATm and credit cards are still quite rare.
Luggage and bags: A strong bag with wheels at one end. A suitcase is not practical because it can't be squeesed in when the lugage compartmant in a bus or other means of transportation is small. A backpack is easy to cary but as we all know: what you need is always at the bottom...
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even in hot wheather I walk on my rather heavy hiking-boots. Trousers with legs that can be zipped off are the best for all circomstances. Mine are partly cotton, partly synthetic, so they will dry very fast after rain or washing.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toiletpaper of the quality we like can be bought in Tashkent. The paper we 'met' in hotels (if any) was very useful if you wanted to pack something, but could not be used for what is was made for.
Photo Equipment: I use a Canon Eos 500n to make my slides. I have only one lense (28-200) so I never have to change lenses. Films I always take from home. I never rely on foreign quality.
Luggage and bags: Suitcase or backpack. Because mostly you sleep in a hotel. And the transport between different cities is by bus or train.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Light coton cloths, light walking shoes.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring something against diarrhoea, because the meals are extremely fat, they cook mostly with sheep's fat.
Bring also some ORS, agains dehydration.
Photo Equipment: nothing special, only bring enough rolls because there are so much beautiful sights. I'm not sure about the quality of the film rolls you can buy overthere.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Sun cream and a hat (or umbrella to keep the sun off).
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Always make sure that you have some toilet paper about your person, just in case. You won't always need it, but it helps to be prepared.
Immodium or similar diarrhoea tablets and rehydration salts are also useful, though you can obtain these in a pharmacy in an emergency.
Photo Equipment: Ideally, bring a brush for cleaning your camera (one with the airbulb on the end) - sand is not good for cameras.Related to:
- Historical Travel
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