Uzbekistan is a newly independent country and a very attractive tourist destination in Central Asia. The country features millennia of historical background, ancient Buddhism and Zoroastrinism monuments, the legendary Great Silk Road leading from China and India to Europe, and medieval kingdoms of Tamerlane. Magnificent monuments of architecture in Samarkand and Bukhara attract thousands of travelers annually.
The trip to Uzbekistan usually starts with a question ‘how to get there?’ Uzbekistan is located in the very center of Central Asia, surrounded by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Moreover, it is a double landlocked country, the only one but Liechtenstein in the whole world, which means that there is no sea, no ports, and to reach the nearest sea port you need to cross borders of at least one more country.
Trains arrive in Uzbekistan, though their quality remains quite low. The busiest rail routes run through Kazakhstan to Russia and mainly serve local people who are not too demanding for the quality of service as they prefer cheaper options. Also, it takes about three days to ride from Moscow, so using trains in the warm season can be quite an ordeal as the trains have no air conditioners.
The only feasible option, therefore, is to come to Uzbekistan by plane. There are now many international airlines who operate flights to the country, such as Turkish Airlines, AirBaltic, Russian Aeroflot, Czech Airlines, Koreana, Asiana Airlines etc. The national air carrier, Uzbekistan Airways or ‘Uzbek Khavo Yullari’ is the sole national air company in the country.
Uzbekistan Airways was founded after independence in 1991 and gained a reputation of a reliable and quality carrier with a good safety record. The airways operate a fleet of Russian-made and modern western aircraft. The western planes are mainly used for international routes. The company operate flights to major world destinations including Europe, Northern America, and Asia.
You can purchase a ticket to Uzbekistan from a variety of air companies, but inside the country for domestic routes there is only one: the Uzbekistan Airways. Because of that, they offer significant discounts when you purchase an international flight plus a local flight. For example, many travel itineraries are designed based on a circular route: Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara-Khiva and then back to Tashkent. The ending part of such a tour would usually include a flight from Tashkent to Urgench (Khiva), which you can purchase along with the international tickets.
There is, however, one problem with Uzbekistan Airways: they don’t sell air tickets online. To purchase a ticket, you need to visit an office of Uzbekistan Airways in your country. Or, as an option, you can send your passports by mail.
This obstacle often makes people unhappy as they fail to book Uzbek Airways through their travel agent. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: you need to find a local agent in Uzbekistan who would purchase tickets for you locally and then send it to you by regular mail if you prefer hard copy tickets, or just by email. Luckily, the Airways have recently introduced e-tickets and now the ticket can be sent to you by email as a scan.
Such flight booking agents are numerous and they offer a lot of useful information. On their websites you can see flight schedules, offices of Uzbekistan Airways, and place a request to purchase a ticket of Uzbekistan Airways.
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