This has been one of the most expensive travel visa I have ever applied for. As with most Central Asia Countries, they require a letter of invitation from a tour agent prior to applying for a tourist visa. A little hassle, tons of emails and quotes from all the travel agents later, I got my visa and air-ticket.
Here’s all the information
- You need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) or Visa Support from an Uzbekistan Travel Agent
- The agent will supply you with a LOI number required to apply the travel Visa with your respective Uzbekistan embassy. Took me 1 week to get the LOI.
Getting the Uzbekistan Letter of Invitation (LOI)
Many Uzbekistan travel agents require you to buy their travel products before giving you the visa support for letter of invitation either for a price or for free. It is up to you whether you want to take up this offer, some tour companies require you to book all your accommodations with them, such as orexca.com. Their travel website gives pretty good info on Uzbekistan as well as the different Stans.
There’s the popular Stantours.com whose main business is basically selling Letter of Invitation (LOI) to travellers going to Uzbekistan, Azbebaijan, Kaakhstan, Kyrqyzstan, Turkmenistan. They get their LOI from the travel agents based in the respective stans. If you are planning to visit all the “Stans”, I would recommend you to use them.
The Uzbekistan LOI visa support from Stantours cost us$35 + bank charges.
Don’t pay them through Telegraphic Bank Transfers, it ended up costing me more than us$45 (sg$63), Stan tours require you to pay the bank charges over at their bank of us$20 per transaction. Pay them through Moneybookers which charges a commission of 5%.
The other alternative, a little more hassle is to go direct to the source of the LOI, StanTours gets their LOI from http://www.arostr.uz
Arostr Travels require you to pay them through Western Union, although you might be able to negotiate by paying them upon arrival at the airport if you employ their other travel services. They will give you Free LOI if you spend us$500 or more on their services. Be prepared for some slow email response, they take some time to reply.
Updated : Contact Alex of Arostr Travel ,/b>, he may be able to meet up with you personally for the LOI. I also got my train tickets from Tashkent to Bukhara from Arostr. us$21 + us$4 booking fee.
AROSTR travel agency,
Afrosiab street, 66 flat, 13 house, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Tel: +998 71 256-40-67. Contact: Mr Airat Yuldashev mob.: +998 (90) 186 86 48
email : email@example.com
Getting the Travel Visa from the Uzbekistan Embassy
You can get a list of Uzbekistan Embassy offices in your respective countries here
I got my travel visa from the Singapore office.
Uzbekistan Embassy in Singapore
20 Kramat Lane, #04-01/02 United House, 228773, Singapore
(Behind Le Meriden Hotel at Orchard Road)
Tel: +65 67343942 , +65 67343943
Operation hours : 10am – 5pm, Mon-Fri
As of September 2008, according to the consulate, submission and collection of travel visa is as above. They have yet to update their website as the time of this post.
It will take 2-3 working days to process the travel tourist visa, call them up prior to check if they have received the LOI application before going over.
You would need :
- Printed copy of the LOI
- Two Passport photo
- Your current passport
- Two computer printed visa application form, no hand filled form accepted.
You also need to pay them via bank deposit at
USD Account: 260-581954-178
They don’t accept cash payment.
I paid us$65 + rate charges (ard SG$95) for a 15 days travel tourist visa.
It is possible to send a courier down to the embassy, make phone arrangements with the friendly Uzbek consulate at the Singapore Office.
Flying to Uzbekistan
If you are departing from Singapore, best is to fly direct from either Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Other alternatives would be the more expensive Korean Airlines (fly via Seoul), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul)
Uzbekistan Airways is annoyingly inefficient and does not email you on the flight schedules. Their website is outdated and has faulty info. The Bangkok Branch does not reply any of my email enquires, the Kuala Lumpur fails to provide any helpful information except by referring me to their similarly inefficient and incredibly slow Singapore agent.
Should you need to communicate with them and their Singapore agent, you need an incredible amount of patience and persistency, somehow they are still locked into the old world of thermal paper faxes and telephones. They will take at least 1 week to response to your emails, or a few days over the phone. There is only one person handling all their operations in Singapore , getting that person’s attention is rather frustrating at times. Keep calling them for flight schedules. They seem to change all the time so be prepared for it.
Uzbekistan Airways Agent in Singapore
Golden World Travel
60 Eu Tong Seng #03-28, Furama Hotel Shopping Center
tel: +65 6323332
Uzbekistan Winter Flight Schedule 2008 : Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok to Tashkent flies only Tues, Wed
Check Uzbekistan Airways for latest flight times
A time of travel
My Airticket cost us$870(sg$1240) with taxes included.
Internal Flight from Nukus to Tashkent : Sg$115.00 one way.
Taking the Train in Uzbekistan
You can avoid the hassle of booking the train online by emailing http://www.arostr.uz and pay them the commission. Especially if you are buying the LOI from them, get the train tickets and have them meet up at the airport or the train station so that you can pay them in person. They won’t mind meeting you there if you tell them you are from Singapore. *wink wink*
Otherwise here is the train schedules
Uzbekistan Railway – http://www.uzrailway.uz/uzb.html
Only in Uzbek and Cyrillic, you can use google translator to figure around the website
Trains in Uzbekistan Blog http://uzbekistan-railway.blogspot.com/
Some kind soul actually post the train schedules, somewhat up to date, but its good and great to plan your schedule.
Here’s what i did
Arrive to Tashkent
Overnight train to Bukhara
Bukhara to Khiva via Urgench (train)
Khiva to Nynus (car)
Nykus to Moynak (car)
Nykus to Tashkent (flight)
Tashkent to Feragana valley (flight)
I would recommend skipping Feragana valley if you are heading to Tajikistan for hiking.
As much as I wanted to, I could not visit more of the Karakalpakstan state and visit the nomads which surrounds this quite desolate place. Maybe if I ever visit again, this would be the place I would focus on.