There are some incredible sights on our planet. But the most famous feats of architecture – places like Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and the Pyramids of Giza – all have one thing in common: they’re overrun by tourists. If you’ve ever visited a popular tourist attraction, you’ve probably had to queue up for ages to buy a ticket. You’ll then have to fight your way past the crowds of other people trying to take selfies… or the vendors selling overpriced souvenirs.
Thankfully, there are still some magnificent wonders in this world that are just waiting to be enjoyed on your own terms, without the crowds! One such place is The Registan in the heart of the ancient Uzbek city of Samarkand. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s home to some of the most impressive oriental architecture in the world. And as henleybeach recently discovered, you can have this hidden gem almost to yourself!
Spent the morning at Registan square. Breathtaking, amazing, unbelievable. How this isn’t visited by millions of tourists a year like the Taj Mahal. The sheer size is huge.
The ancient city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan is just one of the incredible destinations visited by henleybeach on a recent trip to Central Asia. Beginning the trip in Tashkent, this AFF member also visited the Uzbek city of Bukhara and Almaty, the largest city in neighbouring Kazakhstan.
The entire Central Asian region is filled with stunning architecture and scenery. But that’s not the only reason that the “Stans” are the ideal holiday destination. The people are incredibly friendly, it’s safe, there’s lots of history and plenty to do, and getting around is surprisingly easy and affordable. The food is delicious too, with local specialities including plov (a beef rice dish) and manti (dumplings).
As part of the trip, henleybeach caught a domestic flight on Uzbekistan Airways. On this short Economy class flight, every single passenger was offered a pre-departure beverage! This member also took a few long-distance trains with Uzbekistan Railways and was seriously impressed.
Just arrived in Samarkand on the train. Very impressed, absolutely spotless, quiet and defiantly the best way to travel over here.
You may not have previously considered taking a holiday in Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan. But perhaps you should. These destinations are underrated and largely undiscovered by Western tourists!
I was only saying to Mrs HB yesterday, it’s amazing these sites and buildings and there is hardly any tourists. I find the locals friendly and they don’t pressure you to buy from their stalls. They all think we are Russian until we talk and we say Australia and their eyes light up and smile.
Since February 2019, Australians can even enter Uzbekistan without a visa. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which are also part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), are visa-free for Australians as well.
View the full trip report, including some spectacular photos, on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong