What an idea for a vacation, you might say. But then again, why not? It’s a big world and a lot to see. And I’m not one for an all-in hotel vacation. I get bored after 2 days on a beach.
I’ve only been here 3 days, and feel so totally stressless. The people here are friendly and not at all pushy. It’s like the zen’est place on Earth right now.
We did most bookings and requested information via Advantour, an Uzbek travel agent which prooved to be very usefull. We e-mailed regularly and even phoned to double check. Top notch service.
Flying with Uzbekistan Airways was a breeze, though I was nervous about that. The plane was only half occupied, so enough sleeping room for the 6 hour flight from Europe. You need a valid passport and a visa to get in, before your trip. Most countries need an official invitation letter. Only a hand full of countries don’t. Customs check went smoothly, though the offical was kind of flirtatious. Welcome in Uzbekistan: where it seems people want to take a picture with you when you have big blue eyes!
Khiva is the first city on the tour, and only 20 minutes away from the airport. The mud like fortress walls of the city make all the charm of staying there. We stayed at Meros B&B, a friendly family run it. Located near all the main sites, the only minus is the breakfast: a bit of the same really, and I can only eat so much omelets.
Khiva itself is to be seen in all in 2 full days. After that, best to plan away trips. To see the sites in Khiva, you can buy a city ticket at the West Gate, which is valid 2 days and permits most musea visits.
Money, not an easy thing. Start from the principle that there are no banks, so bring cash you can exchange, preferably US dollars. The Uzbek money notes are huge, so a wallet is not the best way to carry them around. Not easy, paying in thousands of notes!
Do note, as we had the fun to experiance, that Saterdays and especially Sundays, Khiva is filled with kids, from outside the city, busloads full, to have their own little city trip. Friendly, but as a European, they took more pics of us than the sites, it felt.