There are two roads from Samarkand to Shahrisabz. The short one takes you across the Takhtakaracha Pass (1676 metres). Unfortunately, it's off-limits for tour buses these days so we had to take the low road - a longer journey that takes you away from the farms surrounding Samarkand and out onto the steppe before turning south towards the mountains. Shahrisabz lies at the foot of the Gissaro Alay, a spur of the Pamirs. The journey takes about 3 hours and is uneventful, passing through just a few villages, becoming drier and more open as the oasis of Samarkand falls behind you only to become green again as you enter the valley of the Kashka Darya.
Independent travellers usually take a shared taxi or minibus from Samarkand. Some minibuses terminate at Kitab, 10km north of Shahrisabz - you can then catch a local bus from there into the town.
From Samarkand to Sharisabz is a short road (80km) crossing the mountains of Saraschan, following the Big Silkroad. This road cannot be used by busses and bigger cars. So most poeple take a detour driving around the mountains, This road is about 175km long. It crosses the socalled Hungerplain, which is a dry plain of almost desert character.
If you go to Shakhrisabz from Samarqand you will have to cross the Takhtakaracha Pass (over 1788m) on Gissar Mountains. This is possible only by car and only during warm season and it will take you two hours. On the other hand, if you go there by bus or pullman, you will be forced to do a detour around the mountains of three hours. I suggest you to choose the first option not only because of the time but also because of the panorama, which is very impressive. Taxi Samarkand-Shakhrisabz 50$ Guided tour (by pullman) 35$