THE OFFICIAL EXCHANGE OFFICE
Khiva actually has an OFFICIAL Currency Exchange Office. IT is a complete waste of actual time. I needed a small amount of money. I ended up having to argue with the lady behind the counter because she stated that they did not accept British Pounds Sterling. That would be the third rate down on the board in my first photo. After not taking No for an answer – the young lady made a phone call. I could tell that the person on the other end of the phone was saying the exact same thing to her that I did. I could also tell by her posture that she was going to make this a difficult and drawn-out process. I was right!
Not 1 but 2 forms were produced I had to fill out. My passport had to be photocopied several times as well. Then she had to type and print up 2 official transaction certificates. And I had to sign those as well. Fifteen minutes to get £20 exchanged! The rate was the official rate which was ok. You can, and I did, change money on the street after this fiasco.
As I went outside into the courtyard of the Mohammed Rakhim Khan Medressa I was asked by a guy if I wanted to change money. He was more than happy to give me a better rate (after a short negotiation) and hand over his money first. No problem at all. Changing money on the street is safe in Khiva as long as they count and then hand over their money first. It’s also quicker and you can negotiate your rate.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
PAYING A LOT FOR NOTHING
Be very careful. There is a sign just inside the entrance of the West Gate that seems to be saying you must pay to enter the Ichon-Qala. This is the name of the whole of the walled city. This is not strictly true, but please keep reading. It gets complicated!
In past years there was an overall 2-day pass for ALL the historical sites within the walls. You paid for this ‘super ticket’ and you did not have to pay for separate entrance fees at every museum and madrassah. The current sign says the prices are for 1 day.
Also in past years they sometimes stopped tourists and told them they MUST pay this to even enter the walls at all! This has NEVER been true. Do not pay if this happens. The city of Khiva is FREE to enter. In fact the other 3 gates have never had such a sign!
OK. I suggest you take a photo of this and show it to the first chargeable building. See if they will accept a ticket from there. If so – go back and buy a ticket!
$12 a day ($10 December - February)
$3 a day for a camera
$3 a day for video cameras
Just pay the entry fee at the entrance of all the chargeable places!
If you get an hassle - enter from another gate!
Its a 10 minute walk to the next one in either direction.
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
In several spots in the old town we saw these “photo opportunities”, where tourists could dress up in traditional costume and pose in elaborate settings. It was far too hot though for us to want to put on layers of heavy clothing or thick furry hats, even if we’d wanted to pay for the privilege of looking a bit silly! There’s also a place where you can be photographed with a camel (called Misha according to my guidebook) but I’m fond of camels and it didn’t seem to me that he was very happy with his lot so I kept away in order not to encourage this practice.
Fun Alternatives: If you want pictures of traditional Uzbek clothing the locals will be more than happy to oblige!
- Historical Travel
Simply be prepared (not a real trap)
Well, by now I don't see this as tourist trap anymore, but want to place it here for all who might read my writings.
Be prepared that, as a foreign tourist, you have to pay more than Uzbek tourists. I cannot judge about prices in restaurants or hotels, but it is due for all entrance fees.
Simply accept this, don't complain (as I did in between, but only to myself). Just consider that the price you paid to get from your country to Uzbekistan is much more than people earn here per month.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip