Location: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Bukhara was the third stop on our tour of Uzbekistan back in April and I have to say that it was my absolute favourite city of all those that we visited in the country. We could walk to many of the sites, yet it wasn’t as small and concentrated as Itchan-Kala in Khiva. It was a little more developed in that it had ATMs but it equally held that historical charm that Khiva exuded. We also had the best food experiences during our time there and given that we stayed there for about 4 days and 3 nights, we kept returning to the same restaurants for lunch and dinner as we enjoyed them so much. So just like I wrote for Tashkent and Khiva, welcome to the start of my travel guide for beautiful Bukhara. This one will be a little different though, in that it will be split into multiple parts – there was just so much to see!
To get from Khiva to Bukhara, we booked another internal flight with Uzbek airlines. Internal flights are incredibly cheap however it really is best to book these well in advance as they tend to fill up quite quickly. If the flights do happen to be full by the time you come to book, there is always the option of a car or train, however it will just take that little bit longer. We arrived at the airport in Bukhara, and whilst slightly bigger than the one in Urgench, it wasn’t much different. As before, the airport is still relatively small and there are only a few flights that land here, so all the taxi drivers know when to hang around outside waiting for the new influx of tourists. Also as before, meters in the cabs are not used, so be sure to ask the cost of the ride before jumping in the car. If I remember correctly, we paid around 50,000 som/£5. I’m 100% sure that we overpaid, especially given the ride was only 10 minutes, but it’s hard to begrudge them when £5 will go so much further for them than it will for us in London.
We arrived at our first hotel and were pleasantly surprised by how cosy and quaint it was. Malika Hotel was within easy walking distance of the main sites to see, however we saw that there was a higher rated hotel called Minzifa Hotel not too far away. It was not available for all of our nights in Bukhara, so we spent the first night at Malika Hotel and the next two nights at Minzifa Hotel. I don’t know who wrote the reviews but I wish we had never moved at all. It doesn’t really look like the pictures you’ll find online, is located in a quiet dirt road with very poor lighting and overall was just pretty awful. We were not given a room in the main hotel, but in Minzifa Inn around the corner. Needless to say, if you do plan on visiting Bukhara, Malika Hotel is the better option – take my word for it.
Just like we did with Khiva, we hired a guide for the day in Bukhara too just so that we could really learn as much as possible about the location we were in and I really recommend visitors do the same. Before spending the day with the guide though, we spent a day by ourselves to just explore Bukhara on our own. By spending the day walking around alone before we met the guide the following day, it really gave us a flavour of the city and it meant that we knew what we wanted to focus on for the day ahead. It was this day that we took some of my favourite shots of the year. Actually, that’s another point. Although I always feel like I am working when I travel, whenever we hire a guide I want to be fully present for the tour we are on and we do not typically shoot content for any of my channels. The images here were on our first night spent in Bukhara, with me wearing a silk coat made in the traditional Uzbek style by our tour guide Naz whilst we were in Khiva. We had dinner at Chasmai-Mirob Restaurant, where we got to experience an evening of local cuisine whilst looking at the Great Minaret of Kalon. We overheard some fellow tourists saying that they used to hold executions at the Minaret by throwing people off the top, however our guide confirmed the following day that this was not the case.
I’ve got so much content from Bukhara and it will slowly emerge over the next few posts, covering everything that you need to see whilst you are in town. For now though, let this be a little teaser of the beauty of Bukhara.