UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

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emmeemme59
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UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby emmeemme59 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:18 pm

Hy everybody,
just found this very informative site and logged in.
We (me and my wife) found a narrow slot for a short (2 weeks) trip to Uzbekistan.
Unfortunately our holiday time is first half of august and we will arrive in Urgench on august 1st and leave from Tashkent on august 15th.
Our first intention was to make a short bicycle ride (self-supported) from Bukhara to Samarkand (via Navoy etc.) but, judging on some reports, it does not seem the best cycling itinerary in UZ.
So we are currently evaluating to change our plans and go for alternative cycling itineraries (after the must-do Khiva / Bukhara / Samarkand tour by train/bus/car) both starting from Samarkand.
The first choice would be cycling the route from Samarkand to Termez via Shahrisabz (with en-route detour to Urgut in case we had time) and then go directly to Tashkent for our flight back home.
The second one would be to follow the probably easier and less demanding Samarkand to Tashkent route (via Jizzax).
On http://www.gpsies.com we found interesting information on both cycling routes. The gradients do not seem impossible (especially for the second option) and total distance is a reasonable 400km approx..
Anyway, as it is the first time we go to a “’stan” (unless you consider Armenistan, as the Irani call it, a “’stan”) we would like to have some advice, especially on the following:
1. Safety: we read from the Italian Foreign Ministry site that the area around Termez was put under “territorial control” by Uzbek Government. Can we still go there or do we need special permit? Are there particular safety issues being close to the afghan border?
2. Difficulty: apart from gradients, are there substantial differences between the routes (e.g.: in the temperature)?
3. Registration: we were not able to find on the net any B&B or Guesthouses on the two routes, this can be a problem for registration as we will likely spend more than three nights on the road, do you know whether we can find “registrering” accomodations en-route?
Finally, and most important, which route would be the most enjoyable in your view (including also the Bukhara to Samarkand)?
Thank you for your help.
Ciao
Marco
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steven
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby steven » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:36 am

Hi Marco,

welcome to the forum! First off, are you aware of the intense heat in this time of year in Uzbekistan. In Termez, 50 degrees in the sun is not unusual in August. It will be hot all over Central Asia in this time, but less in the higher regions of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In general, most Silk Road cyclists don't like Uzbekistan too much since the scenery is not that interesting, but they really enjoy Taj and Kyrg.

If you do want to go, the route from Samarkand to Termez is much nicer in terms of landscape. There will be no issues to cycle to Termez, only some areas around are under tight control. Registering is always a problem for cyclists, cyclists generally do not report problems when leaving the country.

Hope that helps!
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby maximminga » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:22 am

Hey!

We are also planning a travel route through Uzbekistan (though not cycling) and think about travelling south from Samarkand to Termez.
The reason why I am posting here is Marco's question about registration and security issues in Surxondaryo Province.

The German Foreign Ministry website gives a similar information as the Italians, i. e. travellers to Surxondaryo Province have to be "specially" registered. I don't find this information very precise or helpful. Plus I and cannot find any other sources of information about special registration for this province (not in my Bradt Guide, not online...)

What are your experiences? Is going to Termez possible with normal visa for Uzbekistan? Are there just more of the "controlled areas" in this region which you should stay away from? Does anyone have information on the current situation regarding safety?

Any answers are much appreciated!

Thanks,
Max
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby steven » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:56 pm

Termez is more controlled than other areas, so for some places close to the AFghan border you need a special permit. If you stay on the road you won't be heading there, though. You don't need a special visa. Registration is preferred every day, but I have met cyclists who went there, they obviously did not register every day simply because it is not possible. So what to do?
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby maximminga » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:44 am

Thank you Steven for your quick answer!

I guess as we are not travelling by bike or intending to cross the border, it should be no problem then to go to Surxondaryo and Termez.

We are interested in seeing the old buddhist structures Kara Tepe and Fayaz Tepe outside of Termez, one of which might not be accessible according to the Bradt Guide. It is close to the border so I guess this might be one of the places one would need a special permit for.
We will have to find out when we arrive in Termez, probably asking at the local archaeological museum is the best option.

Thanks again!
Max
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby steven » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:33 am

maximminga wrote:We are interested in seeing the old buddhist structures Kara Tepe and Fayaz Tepe outside of Termez, one of which might not be accessible according to the Bradt Guide. It is close to the border so I guess this might be one of the places one would need a special permit for.
We will have to find out when we arrive in Termez, probably asking at the local archaeological museum is the best option.


Yes, this kind of stuff seems to change weekly in Uzbekistan. I will ask Aliya if she has a moment to chime in here, she might know something we don't.
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby maximminga » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:44 am

That would be great, thanks!
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby steven » Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:33 am

Here's the latest from Aliya from Tashkent:

"Kara-Tepe is not accessible - there is military object nearby and government doesn't give permits anymore for Kara-Tepe. Other sights are OK."
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Re: UZ Cycling route Samarkand-Termez or Samarkand-Tashkent?

Postby maximminga » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:37 pm

Thanks for sharing this information!
Termez might still stay on our itinerary, we also think about travelling back north via Denov, to see Dalverzin Teppe and Khalchayan. These sites are not as close to the border as the sites near Termez, so I hope we will have a better chance to see them...
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