Large buses are very slow, while marshrutkas are generally the best price/speed deal. Shared taxis are the fastest, fill up the quickest, but cost more. Sometimes, they are your only option.
Large buses cannot drive after 10pm. If they make a stop for the night, you can sleep on the bus. They have no air conditioning, no toilets and are very cramped. Marshrutkas are also cramped. Shared taxi backseats are also cramped.
If you’re taking a shared taxi, try to get the front seat (if you are a single female traveler, this is often not advised as you might be giving the wrong signal); Uzbeks will try to maximize leg and shoulder space in the backseat, leading you to either get squeezed or be tangled in a never-ending wriggle match (with 2 expert wrigglers).
Taxis vary in price according to the driver, how wealthy you look, how hard you bargain and the car itself. Uzbekistan prides itself on its car manufacture and since independence four new cars have been produced in country. These are all made by Daewoo and include the Tico, a small car that needs little fuel, the Nexia, a luxury car, air-conditioned and usually more expensive, the Matiz, a medium sized car and the Damas, a small van.
All these cars are used as taxis as are the traditional Ladas of Soviet days. Foreign women traveling by themselves are not hassled by taxi drivers in the same way as in many other countries.
Prices and driving times
Below are the average prices and driving times for 1 seat in a shared taxi. For buses, divide the price by 2 and multiply driving time by 2. For marshrutkas, divide price by 2 and multiply driving time by 1,3.
Driving into a city, getting dropped off at your hotel or elsewhere is generally included in the price. If you are just interested in an onward taxi or bus, taxis tend to stop at gathering points summed up below. Things tend to change quickly, updates are welcomed!
- Tashkent – Ferghana: 10-12$ – 5h
- Tashkent – Samarkand: 10$ – 4h
- Tashkent – Andijon: 10-12$ – 5h
- Samarkand – Bukhara: 10$ – 4h
- Samarkand – Shakhrisabz:
- Bukhara – Urgench: 20$ 6-7h
- Bukhara – Qarshi: 3$ – 1,5h
- Bukhara – Shakhrisabz: 10$ – 4h
- Bukhara – Termez: 15$ – 6h
- Bukhara – Denau: 15$ – 6h
- Urgench – Khiva: 1$ – 30 min.
- Khiva – Nukus: 8$ – 2,5h
- Nukus – Moynaq: 10$ – 2,5h
- Nukus – Kungrad: 5$ – 1,5h
Tashkent has different gathering points for buses and taxis plying long-distance routes.
The main long-distance bus station is the Tashkent avtovogzal (tel. 793929), five minutes’ walk through a bazaar from Sobir Rakhimov Metro (western terminus of Chilonzor line). The further the destination, the less frequent the buses, so consider buying tickets a day in advance or at least calling ahead to see when they leave.
Better is to take one of the marshrutkas vying for your attention. They leave when they fill up. Shared taxis work according to the same principle. Both are waiting outside of the bus station.
Main destinations from the avtovogzal are Samarkand and Bukhara.
Marshrutkas and shared taxis to Urgench, Termez and Qarshi are waiting on the parking lot behind the large Ippodrom bazaar (we recommend taking a train if you can!)
If you are heading anywhere in the direction of the Ferghana Valley, there are 2 spots. First is the Severnij vogzal (northern train station, main one) parking lot, where you can also get a night bus to Samarkand. Qoylok bazar is a short drive away from Tashkent, with cheaper transport available.
In Samarkand, the meeting point for shared taxis to Tashkent is in front of the Ulugh Beg observatory.
Shared taxis heading to Urgench and the nearby Khiva (amongst other places) depart from the southern car park of the Karvon bazaar. A shared taxi is pretty much the only reasonable way to get to Urgench from Bukhara. If you wish to travel via the more comfortable train you must get a train north to Navoi and then hop another train to Urgench, before getting a bus or taxi to Khiva. This takes much longer and you risk spending a night in Navoi in the process if there are no more trains when you arrive.
Bargain hunters look for the cars with 22 on the numberplate. These are cars from Urgench region making a return journey and might be easier to bargain down.
Shared taxis to Qarshi, Shakhrisabz, Termez and Denau on the Tajik border leave from the Sharq Bus Station east of the center.
From Kolkhozny Bazaar transport leaves to Qarakol/Olot. A seat in a shared taxi costs 1-2$ and the trip takes about 40 minutes. You will have to hire a taxi from here to the border for another 1-2$. Olot is 7km from the Uzbek-Turkmenistan border. A taxi from the border to Turkmenabat will cost about 1$ and the trip will take 40 minutes
Urgench and Khiva
The stand of the shared taxis and marshrutkas in Urgench is at the Urgench Bazaar next to the Dynamo Stadium. Near the train station you can also find taxis (Urgench bazaar is better, though). In Khiva transport leaves from the North Gate.
Another way to get to Khiva from Urgench is via the trolleybus, which you can pick up near the Urgench Bazaar. For 0.50$ you can admire the countryside between Urgench and Khiva at a snail’s pace. It will also drop you off right in front of the northern gate of the Ichon-Kala with the rest of the taxicabs. Trolleybuses leave Urgench every 30 minutes during daytime and the journey takes about 60 minutes.
In Nukus, shared taxis to Kungrad and Moynaq leave from the parking lot in front of the railway station. For transport towards Khiva, head for the old avtovokzal aka the South Bus Station (near the old Asaka-bank).
To Kungrad and Khiva, it might take up to an hour for the cab to fill up with other people. Moynaq is even more difficult. Best to head for Kungrad and find another taxi to Moynaq from there.