This travel comes from different sources. At one hand we had
that, when Azerbaijan hosted Eurovision contest in 2012, they made a
good marketing plan by showing places of their capital city, Baku,
before every song. We promised ourselves to go there after that.
On another hand, we had that Uzbekistan have
jewels from the ancient Silk Road. Some are quite popular, as
Samarkand, and we found out about the others when investigating about
this country, as Bukhara or Khiva. The first time I was curious about
this country was after my surprise when reading how Marco Polo
explained in his book his visit to the tombs of the Three Kings who
visited Jesus Christ when he was born. These tombs are no longer there,
but my investigation took me to pictures of Uzbekistan and were
pictures of Registan in Samarkand what made me wish to go there.
With this, the trigger to make this travel now
came from an email from Turkish Airways saying the most of our points
were going to expire on December 31st of 2016. Those points were enough
for a return flight to Baku but, having Uzbekistan at hand, we looked
for the way to go there too, which generated the first route plan.
We’re finally doing the classic tour through
Uzbekistan, visiting the three ancient Silk Road cities: Samarkand,
Bukhara and Khiva; and stopping necessarily in the capital city
Tashkent as the place for entrance and leaving the country. Our flight
from Baku to Tashkent allows us to do a stop in one of the most iconic
cities in Kazakhstan: Almaty.
Once in Uzbekistan, how we visit the three
mentioned cities comes from the train lines. Due to the night train to
Khiva pass through Samarkand, but it is not by Bukhara, we’ll go first
to Bukhara to make a quick train trip to Samarkand and having that
night train from there to Khiva. With this, it looked more comfortable
for us to flight to Bukhara from Tashkent instead of taking the night
train so we’ll be able to rest from the previous night flights.
At above map, train routes appear in green and flights in
red. Khiva train station and airport are both in Urgench.
The last modifications to this plan comes from
adding one more day to Baku from the initial two as there are a lot to
see and and we’ll probably need to rest the first day.
So, finally, the definitive route plan (number of
day and where we sleep) is the following, starting by September 23th of
2 y 3: Baku
6 y 7: Bukhara
11 y 12: Khiva
Total budget for this travel is around 2700€ for
the two of us, which are mostly spent in flights. You need to know
that, for the ones that want to make just the route in Uzbekistan, this
budget can be reduced until less than 1100€ per person, with same
hotels and airline.
This entire travel comes from the needing of using the
Turkish Airlines points that were going to expire at the end of 2016,
so we spent 10000 points per person for a one-way flight to Baku and
pay 129€ for taxes. We thought about taking return flights but thinking
about flying back home directly from Tashkent makes us go for that,
although the points needed for a one-way flight from Tashkent were long
more as per no having enough for it. Besides, it was a strange behavior
in Turkish Airlines’ website regarding the rates for flights to
Tashkent making that we should take two one-way flights anyway as the
return ones were as high as 3000€ per person, when the two flights were
not reaching even the third part of it when purchased separately.
Later, once in 2017, we got the rest of the
flights. First were the flights back home from Tashkent, which we could
buy for a bit less than 500€ per person.
Finally, this time we needed to fly from Dublin
so, the return flights with Turkish Airlines are like this, by 1200€:
23/09/2017 DUB 16:30 IST
09/09/2017 IST 01:35
06/10/2017 TAS 08:15
06/10/2017 IST 13:05
When we look for the available options to fly between Baku
and Tashkent there is not a clear option as there are only two direct
flights per week between these two cities and we would need to spend
two more days in Baku to take it and we have not enough holidays for
that. So we even check the option of taking the ferry through Caspian
Sea to Turkmenistan, but the days we would need for that and the
difficult it seems to be getting a visa for Turkmenistan makes us
reject that idea.
We end by taking the option that is mostly
suggested by the search engines, although it makes us get three flights
with two different companies and during the same night: one flight from
Baku to Aktau with Azerbaijan Airlines and one flight Aktau – Tashkent
with link in Almaty with Air Astana. We purchase these flights with one
of these engines because it was a better rate then with the airlines
and to be covered in case of having problems with one of the links.
We’ve never had a link that needed to make the immigration procedures,
taking our baggage and checking in to another airline, so it’s
difficult to be sure those three hours we have for it are enough. We’ve
got with this a 7 hours stopover in Almaty too, Kazakhstan's former
These flights are the following and we pay 485€ in
total for them for the two of us:
GYD 20:00 SCO
27/09/2017 SCO 01:15
27/09/2017 ALA 12:15
The map above shows Turkish Airlines flights in red and
magenta for the ones between Baku and Tashkent.
With this, we only need the domestic flights in Uzbekistan: leaving and
coming back to the capital city, Tashkent, to Bukhara and from Urgench.
We pay 54€ per person for the first one and 101€ for the second.
28/09/2017 TAS 12:20
05/10/2017 UGC 09:20
The total price for the flights is 2045 € per person, which
doesn't look like having any save by using the points.
As hotels are cheap in the destinations of this travel we
could look for the best value for money in the desired location for
With this, we made our searches in Booking.com and chose Seven Rooms Boutique Hotel, within
Baku’s Old City, by 93€ for the two nights we’re going to be there; Hotel Khurjin in Bukhara’s city
center, by 50€ per two nights; Bibikhanum Hotel, touching
Bibikhanum Mosque, by 108€ per two nights; and Hotel Kala, within Khiva’s walled
city, by 53€ per two nights.
After this we only needed to choose our option for Tashkent,
where we’re going to spend two nights too, but separated, as they’re
going to be the first and last nights in the country. We’ve finally
chosen City Line Boutique Hotel
for the first day because is close to the airport and, as the main goal
for that day is resting between arrival flight and the one taking us to
Bukhara next morning, it seems the best option to be as near as
possible from the airport. Besides, train station to purchase our
tickets is close to the airport and, therefore, to this hotel too. It’s
63€ per night there.
For our last day we end by choosing the same hotel. We’re,
again, arriving and leaving by plane the following day, so it’s still
convenient. Same rate for this day.
So, finally, the expense in hotels for this travel
is a total 430€, which makes an unbelievable average of 43€ per day.
We don’t need visa for Kazakhstan but we need it for
Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
We can get the visa for Azerbaijan online from
by filling the form and paying 23 USD (20 for visa and 3 for service’s
fees). After one or two days, they send an email with the e-Visa in a
PDF file which you’ll need to print and bring with you.
The visa for Uzbekistan is quite more laborious to
request: we needed to send all the documentation along with the
passports to the Uzbekistan embassy in Madrid. Spain is in the list of
countries which have a simplified procedure for this visa. So what we
did is going to a Post office and send the following:
- The two passports
- The forms from this website filled and printed
- One photo of each of us
- The receipt from the payment of 140€ (70€ per visa) made
directly in the desk of a Banco Popular’s office in Barcelona.
- A Post shipping envelop filled for the return sent and paid.
In the Spanish
Uzbekistan embassy’s webpage, within “Consular issues”
section, you can find the details of what you need to send, the
address, the bank account for the payment, etc…
Apart from all the flights, we still need two train journeys.
we’ll purchase the tickets once there, we’ll explain about it in our
So we only need to add here our half day private
tour to Gobustan and Mud Volcanoes we’ve booked with Azerbaijan
Traveller. It’s 80 AZN per person, so 80€ in total for the
two of us.
Detailed plan, then, is like this: