15 Day Uzbekistan Culture and Crafts

Women Only

Max Group 12

Lifetime Deposit

No matter how far and wide you’ve travelled, we bet you haven’t been to Uzbekistan. At least, not this side of Uzbekistan. That’s all about to change though! Because once you’ve had a look at this magical itinerary we’ve designed for the ‘artisan’ in you, you’ll be hitting that ‘enquire now’ button in no time!

Get ready to submerge yourself in the cultural delights of Uzbekistan on this small-group, women-only tour. You’ll delve head-first into Uzbekistan’s historic wonders, from intricate monuments that’ll fill you with awe, to hidden marketplaces off the beaten trail and the never-ending swirl of fabric colours, patterns and textures that the Silk Road is revered for. Your non-visual senses get a workout too, with all the enticing aromas of ethnic Uzbek food.

You’ll try out ancient arts and crafts that have been practised here since the trade route days – from block printing, to embroidery… even yurt making! By the time you’re ready to go home, you’ll have such special memories to fill your soul and a tonne of new interests that will lift your creativity to the next level. How good does that sound?!

Just keep your mind open and leave your expectations at the door: Uzbekistan is the place for true adventurers!

Highlights

Create craft and art with local artists across the country

Quilting, water colour, embroidery, textiles & block printing masterclasses

Private guided tour of the Savitsky Museum & Secret Artworks

Travel by train across the desert

Learn to cook local dishes with women in their homes

Pottery class in a family-run pottery studio

Explore the ancient cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand

Shop for exotic textiles in Urgut Market

Travel in a group of 12 like-minded ladies and your tour leader

Dates

March 2024

3 SPOTS LEFT

Starts: Tashkent, 14 March 2024

Finishes: – Samarkand, 28 March 2024


Price – $5,399 AUD (per person twin share)

Single supplement: $1,102 AUD


September 2024

Only 2 Spots Left

Starts: Tashkent, 28 September 2024

Finishes: – Samarkand, 12 October 2024


Price – $5,711 AUD (per person twin share)

Single supplement: $1,205 AUD


October 2024

NEW DATE

Starts: Tashkent, 15 October 2024

Finishes: – Samarkand, 29 October 2024


Price – $5,399 AUD (per person twin share)

Single supplement: $1,101 AUD


Missed out on a trip? Let us know and we’ll be in touch about future dates!

Trip Details

Price

According to departure date

  • $1,650 AUD deposit.
  • 2-week cooling-off period applies.
  • Lifetime Deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips.
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo.
  • Private supplement available max 4 spots.
  • Tip Kitty: $195 USD

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Trip length

15 days, 14 nights


Meeting point

 Mirzo Boutique Hotel, Tashkent, Uzbekistan


Ending point

Rabat Boutique, Samarkand, Uzbekistan


Group size

Maximum 12


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section under the Participation Tab.


Included

  • Meals: 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 14 dinners
  • Accommodation as listed in the itinerary
  • English-speaking tour leader throughout the tour
  • Entrance tickets to all sites listed in the itinerary
  • Comfortable transport from start to finish
  • Flight from Tashkent to Nukus
  • Train rides: Khiva – Bukhara (upgraded comfort), Bukhara – Samarkand (high-speed train)
  • Drinking water

Not included

  • International flights and travel insurance (necessary)
  • Additional hotel nights & late checkouts
  • Drinks and other personal expenses
  • Photography permission in some museums
  • Tip kitty. Note: as Aussies and Kiwis, we are not used to tipping! However, guide and driver tipping is customary for tours in Uzbekistan.

Click the tabs to find out more
Day 1 – Welcome to Uzbekistan!

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as you touch down in ‘Uz-mazing’ Uzbekistan!

Landing in a new country after a long journey can feel overwhelming, but not on our watch! One of our local team members will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel for a stress-free arrival.

After a quick chance to freshen up, you’ll meet your tour leader and fellow Patchies, hitting the pavements of Tashkent to check out some of the city’s most impressive landmarks. After all, who wants to sit around at the hotel when there’s a new country to explore? Not you!

Tonight, join your new friends for some yummy Uzbek food at one of our favourite local restaurants. It’s been a long day, but it’s finally time to tumble into bed. It’ll feel so good!

Accommodation: Mirzo Boutique Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 2 – Tashkent

After a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel like a new woman, which is ideal because today you’ll delve into Tashkent’s ancient history.

This city is actually the oldest in Central Asia – but it sure doesn’t look like it. After a devastating earthquake in 1966, Tashkent was rebuilt in a style that can only be described as… very Soviet. Looking past the concrete, some ancient buildings miraculously survived. The 7th-century Khasta Imom Complex is your first introduction to the stunning architecture of ancient Uzbekistan, but, if you can believe it, it’s only going to get better.

For a complete change of pace in the afternoon, you’ll head over to a family-run pottery studio to let your creativity run wild. This hands-on workshop will have you learning ceramic art from the masters as you spend your time at the pottery wheel.

Tonight, get your boarding pass ready, because you’ll take a short flight to the far west of Uzbekistan – Nukus!

Accommodation: Jypek Joly (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 – Chimbay

Exploring Nukus can wait until tomorrow. Today, you’re heading straight to Chimbay, an artistic hub for local crafts people who are only too happy to show off their skills!

You’ve probably never thought of it before, but yurt-making is actually an art form here in Uzbekistan. You’ll kick off your day in Chimbay with a visit to a traditional yurt factory, where you’ll see local workers making yurts with age-old techniques. After, you’ll step inside a yurt for yourself to learn the customs and traditions of yurt etiquette. Yes – yurt etiquette. It’s a thing!

As well as yurt etiquette, you’ll also learn about the importance of dress in Uzbek culture, including the messages you can send through your clothing. Single ladies, your time is now – you’ll learn how to correctly wear a traditional hat called a tubeteika, so that people know you’re on the market!

Up-to-speed with Uzbek clothing traditions, you’ll visit the women of the Karalpak family, who have been making quilts for centuries. You’ll spend the afternoon quilting to your heart’s content with the ladies, and you’ll have your own quilt pillowcase to show by the end of it!

Accommodation: Jypek Joly (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 – Nukus

Once a Soviet city heavily guarded by the KGB, when Nukus finally opened to the world in the 1990s, art critics around the globe were astounded by the discovery. Inside Nukus’s Savitsky Museum was a secret collection of works by Central Asian and Russian avant-garde artists banned by Stalin in the 1930s. For decades, artist Igor Savitsky had collected and hidden their works for safekeeping.

This morning, you’ll be one of the privileged few to witness a curated collection – all under the care of an expert guide.

You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to be awed by today’s visuals, and the stories of triumph and tragedy to Shakespearian proportions. So, you won’t mind the 4 or so hours it takes to drive to Khiva this afternoon – it’s time to relax and to process.

Once in Khiva, you’ll be able to stretch your legs and take your first peek of the ancient citadel before tucking into bed. What a day! You’ll sleep well tonight.

Accommodation: Asia Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 5 – Khiva

Good morning, Khiva! Today you’ll delve into one of the most intact cities on the historic Silk Road. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped from a time machine as you check out the same sights and sounds that amazed travellers, hundreds of years ago. Wandering the Khiva citadel feels like you’re in a living, breathing museum.

Your journey through Khiva will be accompanied by a local watercolour artist, who will teach you how to recreate these once-in-a-lifetime sights with watercolours. Not a painter? No worries! Painting is all about capturing the ‘feeling’ you have, after all. If things go wrong you could always just call your piece abstract art!

By now you’ll be craving the aromatic whiffs of dinner each night. Tonight though, we’ve got something extra planned to accompany your meal. Hmm…is that music you hear?

Accommodation: Asia Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 – Khiva

Khiva is the type of city that you won’t want to leave. The good news is, you don’t have to! At least, not today. This morning, you’ll watch over Khiva from her city walls, as she wakes. Have your camera ready because the blue mosaic flashes on the otherwise earthen buildings dazzle in the morning light and that’s a photograph you don’t want to miss!

Later, it’s time to head down into that labyrinth of streets you just watched over, to meet some local women. What an honour to be welcomed into their homes! Don’t rush this time with them – you’ll cherish it close to your heart, long after the trip is over. And when you meet up with your watercolour teacher later, you’ll have a newfound sentiment of Khiva that you’ll want to express in today’s painting.

Accommodation: Asia Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 – Crossing the Desert

Hold on to your hat, because today you’re in for the ride of your life as you conquer the colossal Uzbekistan desert. Back in the days of the Silk Road, this was a gruelling journey that would have taken days. Lucky for you, the journey now takes just five and a half hours by bus!

In the early afternoon, you’ll arrive in Bukhara, known as Central Asia’s holiest city. You’ll quickly understand why it has this reputation when you start exploring a few of its over 300 mosques!

Here at Patch, we love to be travel trendsetters, not followers, and we love nothing more than venturing off the tourist trail. You’ll explore Bukhara’s backstreets with your guide. In this hidden corner of the city, locals will be delighted (and a little curious) to see you and share their stories of life in the “real” Bukhara.

Accommodation: Kavsar Boutique (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 – Bukhara

Peel back the centuries with a visit to the Ismail Somoni Mausoleum, the oldest monument in Central Asia! This impressive structure, which was built at the end of the 9th century, is the tomb of the members of the Samani family, who ruled over this area from 875 to 999 AD.

Next, you’ll visit the Bolo Hauz Mosque, an enclave of calm amongst the chaos of the city. With its iconic pillars, the pond stretching out in front of the mosque, and countless fascinating patterns on its facade, you’ll be so inspired you’ll want to whip out your sketchbook and start drawing up your next masterpiece right then and there!

There’s no time to waste, so after a quick lunch, you’re back sightseeing, checking out the Poikalon Complex, one of the most picturesque spots in town! Get ready for a photoshoot extravaganza, because you’ll want to capture its beauty from every angle.

Accommodation: Kavsar Boutique (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 – Bukhara

You’ve gotten up close and personal to so many art forms already, but we’re not stopping yet. Today we have an embroidery workshop planned for you! Under the careful tutelage of a local embroidery master, you’ll learn all about this ancient craft and pour your inspiration into your own embroidery piece. And you won’t have to search hard for inspiration – just think of all the out-of-this-world things you’ve seen and done in Uzbekistan so far!

The rest of the day is at your leisure. There are countless wonderful restaurants in Bukhara, so if you’re struggling to decide where to go (we don’t blame you!) your guide will be happy to point you to their favourite.

Accommodation: Kavsar Boutique (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 10 – The Bullet Train

This morning is free for you to do whatever you want. Fancy a lie-in followed by a leisurely stroll around town? You got it! Want to go souvenir shopping for local crafts? Be our guest!

Then there’s lunch – well, we’ve got a surprise in store for you there. There’s plenty of time to let your food digest this afternoon though, because you’ll catch the bullet train to Samarkand. Yep, a bullet train – we bet you didn’t expect that in Uzbekistan! On arrival, you’ll get some time to freshen up at the hotel before heading out as a group to explore the Samarkand promenade, a window to local life.

Accommodation: Rabat Boutique (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 – Samarkand

There’s only one way to describe your eleventh day in Uzbekistan: mind-blowing!

Today, you’ll check out the old stomping grounds of Emperor Timur, one of history’s most ruthless (and successful) conquerors. Uzbeks hail Timur as a national hero, and you’ll learn more about his successes and atrocities on this morning’s visit to Gur-e-Amir, Timur’s Mausoleum. This is just the beginning of what we have in store for you!

The first time you lay your eyes on Registan, the main square of Samarkand, is a moment you’ll remember for the rest of your life. This is the crown jewel in Uzbekistan’s astonishing array of ancient complexes, and, today, you get to experience it for yourself.

Full of inspiration, you’ll visit the studio of Lena Ladik, a local designer who works with natural fabrics. Here, you’ll create your own artistic interpretation of the sights and sounds of Registan. This evening, you’ll return to see the jaw-dropping Registan lit up at night. After all, you can never see it too many times!

Accommodation: SandHill Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 – Ulugh Beg Observatory

Today is all about digging deep into Samarkand’s artistic heritage. Your journey will take you on an artistic pilgrimage to Koni Gil to meet local artist Vladimir. He’s keeping the age-old practice of block printing alive, and you’ll get to join in. Roll up your sleeves ladies – you’re about to get your hands dirty. Not only will you be printing your own piece, you’ll be making the dye too!

You’re heading on a journey through the cosmos late in the day by visiting the Ulugh Beg Observatory. Built in the 15th century, this was once the largest observatory in the world and at the cutting edge of space discovery. You’ll feel a sense of wonder and awe as you look up at the night sky, imagining the groundbreaking discoveries made there centuries ago. At moments like these, you’ll totally understand why you travelled thousands of miles to visit Uzbekistan.

Accommodation: SandHill Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 – Samarkand

There’s nothing quite like filling your lungs with fresh mountain air, and this morning, you’ll get to do just that on a scenic walk through the Gissar Mountains. And nope, this walk isn’t challenging, so it’s suitable for everybody!

For centuries, travellers along the Silk Road broke up their journey with cups of tea heated over a campfire, and today you’ll take part in this tradition. Wrap your hands around the steaming cup and take a sip. With the crackling of the fire and the sounds of nature all around you, you won’t believe that this is real. It’s a moment so peaceful that you’ll have to experience it to believe it.

You’ll finish the walk at the tiny village of Ohalik, where local women will teach you how to cook vegetarian sambusas, a version of samosa, and local bread. Their recipes are guaranteed to make your tastebuds dance!

Accommodation: SandHill Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14 – Urgut Market

It’s a wild ride this morning as you visit the market town of Urgut, just outside Samarkand. This is as off-the-beaten-path as it gets, but you’re here for one reason, and one reason only: the huge and colourful Urgut Market! As you lay your eyes on the bold colours and geometric patterns of the textiles, you’ll feel yourself getting swept up in the addictive chaos of the market. You’re definitely not in your home country anymore!

If you have plans to buy a traditional quilt whilst in Uzbekistan, this is the place. Unfolding in front of your eyes, quilts, tassels, beads and embroidery in every colour under the sun are displayed for what feels like miles. It’s every textile lover’s dream!

Tonight, back in Samarkand, you’ll head out for your farewell dinner. You’ll laugh, cry, and maybe even laugh until you cry as you say goodbye to your group of new friends. Until next time!

Accommodation: SandHill Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15 – Farewell Friends

You’re up bright and early this morning for your departure. Well… you’re actually up so early that it’s not even bright yet! Flights out of Samarkand are very limited, so it’s likely you’ll all catch the same flight to make your journey home. Alternatively, you could catch the fast train back to Tashkent (approx 2 hours) and depart from there.

Not a morning person? No worries. We’ve taken all the stress out of the journey so all you’ll need to do is show up in the hotel lobby!

Trip Map
The Essential Info
ACCOMMODATION HIGHLIGHTS:

Bukhara: Kavsar Boutique Hotel
Samarkand: Rabat Boutique Hotel

 

FITNESS

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There’s one easy walk in the hills between villages and there will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include city walks and getting on and off various forms of transport.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:USD exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on these trips is based on the following exchange rates:

12 October 2023 departure: 1 AUD:0.69 USD

14 March 2024 departure: 1 AUD:0.67 USD

30 March 2024 departure: 1 AUD:0.67 USD

A deposit of $1,650 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling-off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions for further information.

This is the most frequently asked question we get!

Nearly everyone is in their 50s and 60s, with some people above and below (but of course, everyone is welcome!)

Most Patchies come alone and are matched with a room-mate. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a single supplement if you come solo. We will place you with a similarly-aged roommate.

The typical Patchie has travelled a LOT, is a well-seasoned adventurer, and is not easily thrown by small things. However, many Patchies tell us that this is their first ever group tour. Many of our guests have avoided tours to this point as they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

Oh, and one last thing:

Patchies are warm, generous, and kind. We knew it would be like this, but we weren’t expecting it to be *quite* like this. We’re so blessed as a business to have the customers we do; we consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest people in the world.

We can easily accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets, or any variation of the above. Please let us know about your dietary requirements in advance. We cannot cater for those with severe nut allergies. If you have any other medical requirements, please advise.

Australian and NZ citizens do not need a visa to travel to Uzbekistan. 

Airfares are not included.

Solo travellers will be matched with a room-mate. Of course, if you prefer to have your own space, you can reserve the private room supplement.

Please contact us for more information.

The national currency of Uzbekistan is sum. Passengers entering to Uzbekistan shouldn’t try to bring local money. If you want to bring cash, don’t bring AUD; USD is preferred. Our guide will assist you to change money while on the ground. In all major cities, there are ATMs where you can easily take money out!

Airport transfers are included. You can plan to arrive at any time, but we recommend arriving in the morning to give yourself time to settle in.

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There’s one easy walk in the hills between villages and there will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include city walks and getting on and off various forms of transport.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

In the unlikely event of a health or security related incident during a trip, we’ve engaged a local partner to assist. From our experience, there is not one framework that fits all, and every incident is unique and requires a different approach. With all trips, your guides are your day-to-day support. While behind the scenes, there is an active line of communication – between your guide, the on-ground support team, and Australian Ops.

Have more burning questions?

Check Out Our Other Trips!