Plan a Perfect Trip to Samarkand in 2024 With These Insider Facts

Have you ever taken a bullet train ride? How many of you have seen an architectural marvel that is dependent on tile work? Do you know where the great Central Asian Conquerer, Timur was laid to rest? Don’t worry we will unveil everything in this blog about Samarkand, you just have to be with us till the end.

In case you don’t know who we are……

We call ourselves Travel Freaks……

Returning to our story, we landed at late night in Tashkent and travelled to the railway station waiting for a new journey to a new city. Do read about our landing.

You might wonder…….

1. Where are we heading to?

We were travelling to one of the oldest inhabited cities of the Central Asian Region, Samarkand. We have already mentioned in our previous blog that we were waiting at the railway station to travel to Samarkand. And this time we were fascinated about travelling on a bullet train. It was a new experience for us.

The train took us around 2 hours to reach Samarkand. The railway system here was so systematic. Every train coach has a different ticket checker and they help the passengers with their coach and seat numbers.

As we boarded the train, after some time we got complimentary breakfast as the traditional Central Asian bread and hot beverage.

The train had a 2*2 seating arrangement on both sides. It departed at the correct time. Even though it was morning hours and we were drowsy due to the previous night’s travel, we saw some stunning landscapes of Central Asia. As it was a bullet train, it was almost soundproof. We enjoyed our ride. Another interesting fact that we observed was as the station approaches the ticket checker comes and alerts the passengers who want to get down.

We reached Samarkand around 10 AM. As we got off the train, it was chilly windy weather out. We moved towards the exit area and then the station gates were closed. This happens every time a train comes and passengers come out of the station.

We waited outside for some time and saw many taxi drivers approaching us but the fare was way too high. Our hotel was approx. 4 kms from the Samarkand railway station.

Tip: Do negotiate with the local cab drivers or either go for the convenient public transport or book a Yandex cab from the app.

We enquired a bit from the locals and also connected with our hotel owner about how to reach the place. Then we took a small bus which dropped us to the nearby landmark area. From there our hotel was at a walking distance. We navigated to our hotel and reached soon.

As we reached, you might wonder…….

2. How was the hotel in Samarkand?

Our stay was at the “Optimist Hotel”. It was at the heart of the city and was close to most tourist attractions in Samarkand. The best part was that the host gave us access to prepare tea and meals in his kitchen. On top of that the jovial nature of our host made our stay more memorable. We would highly recommend you all stay at this property while exploring Samarkand.

As soon as we reached our hotel, the host opened the gate and welcomed us inside. Our host was a nice smiling and friendly person. He explained to us about the city tour all the places we can visit, how we can go, and which are the places famous for local food. When we showed him our itinerary for Samarkand he was laughing as we already included all the places he mentioned and told us that we seemed to be professionals from the tourism industry đŸ˜‰

He collected our passports and showed us the rooms. We just loved the room and the entire stay area. It was a homely feeling. We settled our luggage and after a quick freshen up we went for lunch.

The lunch area was within walking distance of around 600 metres. After reaching there we decided to try something different from the conventional food and ordered grilled veggies, chicken, fish, traditional bread and fresh green salad.

It was tempting to see when the order arrived. As all of us were hungry, we finished our lunch quickly.

We requested the restaurant manager to help us get a public bus for our first destination in Samarkand. The best part of travelling in Uzbekistan is its cheap public transport. It’s so affordable and convenient too. Irrespective of how far you go the fare is generally 2000 Som (approximately 15 INR).

Let’s break this blog now into the main attractions we visited…..

3. Gur-i-Mir Mausoleum Complex

The bus took around 20 minutes to reach the designated bus stoppage. There was a shop at the bus stop where we got down. We were excited to see cotton candy being displayed on the outside. We bought one and walked towards the Mausoleum Complex which was also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After a 10-minute walk, we reached the complex. There was an entry fee of 30000 Som per person for foreigners. We were awestruck to see the architecture of the mausoleum. There was the tomb of Timur in the central part of the complex. The most fascinating thing that caught our attention was the yellow light on the backdrop of spectacular architecture.

The Gur-i-Amir Mausoleum in Samarkand is considered to be the final resting place of Timur, the Central Asian conqueror. The mausoleum was also an architectural gem, featuring a large dome and stunning blue tiles. 

There were a few souvenir shops on the left-hand side of the main complex. We loved the collection and bought a few souvenirs from there.

The central chamber of the mausoleum had the tombs of Timur and his family members. The area was illuminated with yellow lights. Locals believe that the architecture of the mausoleum has influenced the design of the Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan.

After spending close to an hour, we decided to move to the next on the list……..

4. Registan Square

The distance from the Gur-i-Amir Mausoleum to the Registan Square was about 1 km. So we thought to walk and see the city while reaching the place.

We passed by a few gardens and a few old heritage soviet era buildings where we bought oranges to have on the go and finally reached the Registan Square complex after half an hour’s walk. It was worth taking an afternoon walk.

There were quite a few wedding photo shoots taking place. We tried to stand there for over 15 minutes and admire the beauty of the place.

Slowly we took the entrance tickets that cost us 50000 Som per person. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex was so huge that it consisted of three big madrasas (Islamic Schools). The first one was Ulugh Beg Madrasa. We noticed a large courtyard that could accommodate a large number of students. It was also the oldest madrasa within the Registan Square complex.

The second one was the Sher-Dor Madrasa. The front wall of the madrasa had mosaic tiles in the form of two lions. It was breathtaking to watch such a masterpiece.

The third on the list was Tilya-Kori Madrasa. This madrasa also had a mosque within the complex. We loved the central courtyard where various celebrations take place.

There was also a light and sound show within the Registan Square Complex. Every day, the show timing is generally around 8:50 PM and costs around 40000 Som. As there were a couple of hours left for the show to start we decided to visit the other nearby attractions.

You might be wondering, about the other attractions, the next on the list was……

5. Siyob Bazaar

This time we booked a cab from Registan Square to Siyob Bazaar as it was on the verge of closing and we had to reach on time. In no time the Yandex cab came and we reached Siyob Bazaar within 15 minutes.

As soon as we reached, we saw the bazaar was spread across a huge area. The area was covered from the top in the form of a traditional Central Asian pattern having a dome. It was one of the important trading hubs along the ancient Silk Road. The market had fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, dried fruits, local sweets, and traditional Uzbek bread.

We took a stroll through the market area and tried and bought a few candies and cookies. It was about 5:30 PM when we decided to explore the last few attractions for the day. The second last on our list was……

6. Bibi Khanym Mosque

We walked for around 5 minutes to reach our destination. There was an entrance fee of 25000 Som per person. The entire complex looked stunning. The mosque was named after Timur’s wife, Saray Mulk Khanym, also known as Bibi-Khanym.

This mosque featured a large dome with many minarets and beautiful intricate artwork. We felt the mosque to be visually appealing. We loved the geometric patterns and calligraphic inscriptions on the mosaic tiles.

It was close to 6:30 and as we already had plans to experience the light and sound show at the Registan Square, we moved to the final attraction for the day……..

7. Shah-i-Zinda

We booked a Yandex Cab from the Bibi Khanym Mosque to Shah-i-Zinda. It was a 15-minute ride. There was an entrance fee of 20000 Som per person. Thankfully, we arrived just in the nick of time. It was about to close by 7 PM.

Hurriedly, we entered and caught a glimpse of a few mausoleums and tombs. Unfortunately, due to time limitations, we could not enter most of the mausoleums. We did enjoy the beauty from the outside of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The blue tilework of the structures looked marvellous.

The clock was ticking and the mercury was dipping towards the freezing point. We took a quick break for evening snacks and coffee at a local restaurant. It was a cosy restaurant where we enjoyed the vibes on a chilled night. Finally, we booked a cab and returned to Registan Square for the light and sound show.

The show was close to an hour, but it was worth watching. As soon as the show was over, we looked at the watch it was close to 10 PM, and we were exhausted at the same time. We booked a cab back to our stay and got off close to a nearby restaurant. It was on the verge of closing, we requested the owner to pack our dinner so that we could have it in our hotel. He agreed and we reached our hotel with our dinner. A long and adventurous day finally came to an end after dinner.

Of course, we wished to stay more and enjoy the beauty of Samarkand. But we have more to explore in Central Asia. Stay tuned till then and do follow us for more exciting experiences of our Central Asian Trip.

Wait! We are not going anywhere without this last question……

8. What kind of help are we going to provide?

Let us inform you that we prepare itineraries not only for anywhere in India but also for Asia. We have been travelling since we were toddlers. So here in our blogs and stories, we will give you a glimpse of our journey and help you plan your trip.

Read about our Uzbekistan blogs.

Read about our Kazakhstan blogs.

Read about our Singapore blogs.

Read about our Vietnam blogs.

Read about our Cambodia blogs.

Read about our Bali blogs.

Read about our Kuala Lumpur blog series.

Read about our Sri Lanka blogs.

Read about our Nepal blogs.

Read about our Char Dham blogs.

Read about our Ladakh blogs.

Read about our day trip to Hyderabad.

Read about our Madhya Pradesh blogs.

Do follow our Instagram handle @mindfulllofvacations and watch for the next destination story of a new place. For any query related to any trip, drop a mail at @mitkau007@gmail.com.

by mitkau

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