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Old 4 Mar 2011
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Question Info about Samarkand, please!

This is not an overlanding thread!

Whilst I would love, and hope, to visit Samarkand when we head east goodness knows when (all I seem to do is postpone), this post is in fact for someone else:-

My Mum and her partner would like to visit this city and region.

They would do so by flying (she shied away from borrowing my Ural: can't think why!) but I would appreciate any an info on:
  • sights,
  • flights,
  • accommodation (my Mum has never really roughed it!!),
  • security/safety concerns or considerations (one reason I think she feels this is a pipe dream is because of perceived danger, but then we travelled to Yemen in the 90s and that was fine...),
  • tour guides/companies,
  • when is best to go,
  • tips/hints etc...
Help me help my Mum's dream come true!!
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Old 4 Mar 2011
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One thing I wasn't worried about AT ALL was security. It's a lovely city with lovely people. The old city itself is very small and surrounded by much less attractive sprawl. In the old town there are some amazing little courtyard b&b's.

I am trying to remember the best bits but keep on confusing Samarkand with Buchara in my mind. They are both fantastic - if you're in the area I'd say do both:

The Rajestan, the Karal Minaret, some of the old Medreseh's, the silk markets - the list of attractions is not huge but they are well worth the visit. If she does go overland can she bring me back a carpet - couldn't fit one on the bike but for 150 dollars you can get the sort of rug that fetches thousands in the UK
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Old 4 Mar 2011
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Tell her Bukhara is the real deal.

Samarkand has very little authentic old stuff, Registan aside, and is considerably more "sovietised" than Bukhara and Khiva.

If she is going to Uzbekistan, Bukhara and Khiva are the two places that would be first on my list of beautiful cities to see. Samarkand would be somewhat down my list of priorities.
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Old 14 Mar 2011
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Hi Warthog
At the risk of contradicting Walter (yet again, but nothing new there), I absolutely adored Samarkand and wandered all over the town on my own.
Loved the fancy, tiled buildings (Registan etc) and stayed in a cheap hostel just down the road from it- private rooms with bathrooms were very reasonable and the shared dorm was fine BUT the toilet for the shared dorm was possibly the worst loo in the 'Stans, and that's saying something
However, I suspect your Mum would prefer somewhere a bit more upmarket.

bear in mind that it does get really blisteringly hot so it's better to go Spring or Autumn and try to avoid Ramadan.
Bukhara and Khiva are also definitely worth visiting and they are quite easily accessible- good roads in Uzbekistan, just watch out for the police with their speed guns.

I'm going to be back out there again in May, so I'll have a bit more info then.
contact David at Stantours- he is very knowledgeable and helpful, also take a look at his company's website for further info
STANTOURS - Central Asia Travel Resources

Good luck and I'm sure your Mum will have a fantastic time.
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