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Ecotourism Uzbekistan Articles & Resources

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Travel with Respect

In Uzbekistan, and in Central Asia in general, elderly people are greatly respected. They are known by the name aksakal, which means 'white beard'. Always treat the elderly with great respect and defer to them in all situations.

Information from wikitravel.org*

Travel Safe

For the most part, Uzbekistan is generally safe for visitors, perhaps the by-product of a police state. However, as this was written in the spring of 2006, there are many anecdotal (and a significant number of documented) reports of at least some increase in street crime, especially in the larger towns, particularly Tashkent. This includes an increase in violent crime. Information on crime is largely available only through word of mouth - both among locals and through the expat community - as the state-controlled press rarely, if ever, reports street crime. As economic conditions in Uzbekistan continue to deteriorate, street crime is increasing.Normal precautions should be taken, as one would in virtually any country. Especially in the cities (few travelers will spend much time, such as overnighting, in the small villages), be careful after dark, avoid unlighted areas, and don't walk alone. Even during the day, refrain from openly showing significant amounts of cash. Men should keep wallets in a front pocket and women should keep purses in front of them with a strap around an arm. Avoid wearing flashy or generally valuable jewelry which can easily be snatched.Aside from violent crime, scams are not unheard of. One of the most common (and one that is not limited to Uzbekistan) involves a stranger coming up to the victim and saying they have found cash lying on the street. They then try and enlist you in a complicated scheme that will result in you "splitting" the cash - of course only after you have put up some of your own. The entire scenario is ludicrous, but apparently enough greedy foreigners fall for it that it continues. If someone comes up to you with the "found cash" routine, tell them in no uncertain terms you are not interested (in whatever language you choose) and keep walking away.Also beware of locals you don't know who offer to show you the "night life." This should be completely avoided as common sense would suggest. Some visitors, however, seem to leave their common sense at home.While all of these precautions should be observed during travel virtually anywhere in the world, for some reason many tourists in Uzbekistan seem to lower their guard. They should not.It is also possible that you will be asked by police (Militsiya) for documents. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen, and they have a legal right to do so. By law, while in Uzbekistan, you should carry your passport and visa with you. In practice, it is better to make a color scan of the first two pages of your passport and your Uzbek visa, before you arrive in Uzbekistan. Carry the scans with you when you're walking around, and keep the original documents in your hotel safe. The scanned documents will almost always suffice. If not, make it clear the Militsiya officer will have to come to your hotel to see the originals. Unless they have something out of the norm in mind (such as a bribe) they will almost always give you a big smile and tell you to go along. Always be polite with the Militsiya, but also be firm. While almost all of them take bribes, they mostly take them from locals. For the most part, they understand that going too far with a foreigner will only cause them problems, especially if the foreigner is neither being abusive nor quaking with fear.One note about locals offering to show you around: It isn't uncommon for younger Uzbeks (usually male) who speak English to try and "meet" foreigners at local hotels and offer to serve as interpretors and guides. This is done in daylight and in the open, often in or near some of the smaller but better hotels. This can be rewarding for both the local and the visitor. The local is usually trying to improve their English (occasionally other languages, but usually English) and make a few dollars/euros. If you are approached by a clean-cut person offering such services, and you are interested, question them about their background, what they are proposing to do for you and how much they want to charge you (anywhere between $10-$25 a day is realistic depending on their services and how long they spend with you). Most of the legitimate offers will be from young people who have studied in the West on exchange programs and/or studied at the University of World Diplomacy and/or Languages in Tashkent. If everything seems to fit, their language skills are good and they seem eager and polite, but not pushy, you may want to consider this. They should offer to show you museums, historical sites, cafes, bazaars, cultural advice, generally how to get around, etc. They should ask you what you want to see and/or do. Often this works out well. However, for your and their protection, do not attempt to engage in political discussions of any type. Again, if they are proposing "night life" (or related) services, do NOT take them up on their offers.Due to sliding relationships between the USA and Uzbekistan over the past years the US State Department has strongly discouraged travel to Uzbekistan by American citizens.

Information from wikitravel.org*


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* ecotourdirectory.com is not responsible for the travel advice and travel with respect sections on this page. We would strongly advise that before traveling to Uzbekistan you consult your countries embassy for the lastest guidance.

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