When thinking about potential holiday destinations, Uzbekistan rarely makes it to the list. The country is located in Asia, and people either haven’t heard of it, or have no idea what they could visit there. However, you’d be happy once you find out about all the culture surrounding it, as well as the arsenal of ancient cities and architecture. The Silk Road and its history also has the power to fascinate you.
Nevertheless, you can’t help but ask yourself “Is Uzbekistan safe to visit?”. Considering you barely hear people going there, the level of safety is unknown to you, because you may not have heard news regarding the situation.
This Uzbekistan safety guide has gathered the necessary information to let you know how safe it is. That being said, before you’re ready to adventure yourself in a new place, take a look at these Uzbekistan safety travel tips.
Highest Risks You’re Exposing Yourself to When Visiting Uzbekistan
Overall Risk: MEDIUM
Uzbekistan is generally safe, and it’s in a much better situation compared to its neighbors, as it’s a police controlled country. Still, you shouldn’t forget about the possibility of something happening whatsoever. Wherever you go, there will always be some risks.
For example, one of the dangers that you should know about is the dangers of the border areas. Areas that border Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan are potential flashpoints and it can be risky to travel near them. At the same time, there are uncontrolled border areas that may be land mined. This could, again, be a great risk, because you can’t know where the landmines are situated, thus stepping wrongly may end in a tragic way.
Crime is not uncommon, but there are rare situations when foreigners are the targets. Crime such as theft, pickpocketing, bag snatching and more are said to be more frequent, especially if you’re in crowded areas. There are even break-ins and burglaries from time to time, even if the neighborhood it happens in is wealthier.
Road travel is relatively safe, but the risks can’t be ruled out. It is always indicated to wear seatbelts for protection. Moreover, there are a lot of public transport vehicles, such as taxis and buses, that don’t always respect the safety regulations, which Is what makes them not the best option.
As a tourist, you are at risk of being scammed. Scammers operate in such way to trick you into giving them money. It is always best to stay away from people offering you any type of deal.
Safety for women exists, but walking alone along the streets of the major cities is not indicated. Especially during the night, the risk increases, and it’s better to take safety precautions beforehand.
Also, Uzbekistan is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, because it’s located in a seismically active zone.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Uzbekistan: MEDIUM
“How safe is Uzbekistan for tourists?” you may ask yourself, thinking about being in a total foreign country. Given the risks are much higher when you’re away from home, worrying about your safety in such cases is only natural.
Despite not being so common, theft and pickpocketing against tourists are still existent. After all, someone could try to take advantage of any situation at any given time. That being said, incidents such as bag snatchings, pickpocketing and theft are said to be more common.
Most of the times, crowded areas are at risk, usually such as public transportation and bazaars. While in a crowded place, it may be harder to notice someone is trying to steal from your bag or pockets, thus you may end up without what you used to own. The vulnerability you have as a tourist, compared to locals, could be inviting to some thieves and pickpocketers.
It could also be dangerous if you walk alone at night, because it’s harder to see the perpetrator, and they act much easier in such conditions. Not only you can barely see anything, but there’s nobody on the street to help you either.
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Uzbekistan?
If you don’t want your money, bag, purse or passport to be taken away by a stranger, you should take some safety measures before your trip. For example, you should take special care in crowded areas. It is the perfect operating field for those involved in pickpocketing, which is why you should take precautions. Do not keep things of much value in your pockets, and definitely do not carry all of your money wherever you go. If you have a bag, keep it tightly in front of you, and stay vigilant.
If possible, do not travel at night. Make sure you arrive at your hotel before the sun sets, so you are not targeted by criminals.
Scam Risk in Uzbekistan: HIGH
When visiting a country, one of the main concerns you may have is regarding scams, which could lead to you asking “Is Uzbekistan safe to visit?”. Scams are not uncommon in the country, and the risk is pretty high, especially if something gives away the fact that you’re a foreigner.
Some of the most known scams involve somebody trying to distract you by various means. For instance, one of the most common scams is the one where a stranger comes to you talking about some money they’ve found. They would try to make you put come money too, and then the scammer will offer to split the cash with him.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Uzbekistan?
It is better to avoid such people, and never accept deals with any stranger. The last thing you’d want to happen during a trip is being left without money.
Kidnapping Risk in Uzbekistan: LOW to MEDIUM
When it comes to kidnapping, this type of risk is closely related to terrorism – namely, some of the groups that are known to possibly carry out attacks in Uzbekistan have a history of kidnappings and such.
However, there have been no recent reports of such incidents – some have occurred in the past, but it seems that the rate is overall much lower now and, thus, tourists/ travelers should not be worried about it.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Uzbekistan?
Still, you should always know how to avoid anything happening to you – in this respect, we advise you to refrain from walking alone, especially during the night. As usual, avoid any dark alleys and the city slums and try to be surrounded by people that don’t look suspicious.
Namely, stick to the areas that are frequented by tourists and don’t go out of your way to visit places that seem abandoned or not populated enough, thus threatening your safety.
Terrorism Risk in Uzbekistan: LOW
If one of your main concerns was the “Is Uzbekistan safe to visit regarding terrorism?” question, you will be happy to know that terrorism has a low rate of happening. Recently, there has been no attack on the country’s territory, and the situation is pretty stable.
- How to avoid terrorism in Uzbekistan?
However, you can’t rule out the risks altogether. After all, there’s a global threat for terrorism, which means you can’t easily let your guard down just like that. Always stay vigilant, and take care at everything and everyone surrounding you. If attacks happen, they will most likely be indiscriminate, and you don’t want to be caught in them.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Uzbekistan: MEDIUM
Sometimes, being a solo female traveler is not easy. So, if Uzbekistan is the next destination on your list, you can’t help but wonder ”Is Uzbekistan safe for solo women travelers?.
Well, there are some risks that women should be aware of, but the country is not the most dangerous one either. That being said, some safety measures are those that you’ve heard a thousand times when you were younger.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Uzbekistan?
For example, you shouldn’t walk alone on the streets of the major cities, especially at night. Perpetrators could see you as a target, and being a woman in such situations is difficult, because you never know what intentions some have. Avoid remote streets during the night as well as during the day, and do not flash your belongings. Furthermore, do not handle money in public – you’d be surprised at how quick some react to seeing some cash.
Always stay vigilant, don’t trust strangers, and be careful at your surroundings every time.
Rape Risk in Uzbekistan: LOW
There have been no recent reports of such incidents – in short, there have been little to no reports that refer to rape in the past years, as the rate of violent crime seems to be continuously decreasing in this country.
However, you should still pay attention to your surroundings and, as people say, expect the unexpected. You cannot always rely on the statistics you come across while browsing the internet – in this respect, you should take at least some basic precautionary measures when it comes to your safety.
- How to avoid getting raped in Uzbekistan?
Most rape cases throughout the world are usually the result of a mugging – basically, if you are found alone on a dark alley, it’s quite likely that someone might try to take advantage of this and try to mug you.
This can easily escalate into much more, especially if you are not dressed appropriately, so to say – therefore, make sure that you don’t display any valuables, such as jewelry, gadgets, and such while traveling, and that you do your best to avoid any remote areas.
These so-called remote areas do include shady alleys, the city slums, poor lit roads, and such. You should avoid them completely and also try to stick to the areas that are frequented by tourists and locals.
Risks for People Traveling With Children in Uzbekistan: MEDIUM
As you may have noticed so far, there are a lot of things that you have to keep an eye on while visiting Uzbekistan – muggers, scammers, and such. This will leave you with little to no time when it comes to paying attention to your children.
While the kidnapping risk is low, there’s still the chance that your children get lost in a large crowd of tourists or in a market – then, instead of enjoying your trip with your children, you’ll have to alert the authorities and start looking for them.
Moreover, there’s also the chance that muggers/ thieves might grab your children and use them to minimize your resistance in a robbery attempt. These being said, you really have to keep an eye on your children.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
As mentioned before, you should always have your children in sight – have a friend, relative, or a trustworthy guide accompany you in your trip. If you still want to travel alone – as in only you and your children -, don’t let them wander around and, naturally, don’t leave them alone.
It might seem more than tedious, but doing so will ensure their safety – in short, they should be under surveillance at all times.
Natural Disasters Risks in Uzbekistan: MEDIUM
Uzbekistan is an active seismic zone. Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised if there are earth tremors from time to time. Although the whole country is at general risk of natural disasters, eastern areas such as Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent are at constant risk of strong earthquakes. The last earthquake to cause significant damage was back in 1966, but that doesn’t mean the risk is still not there.
Transportation Risks in Uzbekistan: MEDIUM
In terms of road travel, the situation is relatively good, but there are still some risks here and there. What poses a risk is public transport in certain instances, such as taxis and buses. They sometimes don’t follow the safety regulations, which makes it hard for you to travel locally. This is why it’s better to opt for vehicles that are modern and properly maintained.
If you prefer taking taxis, you shouldn’t hail one on the street. Only use taxis from reputable companies. If you don’t know how to find these reliable companies, try asking the hotel staff, as they should be able to give you a phone number.
It is recommended to always wear seatbelts, and you should be careful if you drive during the night, because some roads are poorly-lit and the surface is bad.
You are not allowed to use mobile phones while driving, so refrain from doing so.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Uzbekistan: MEDIUM
While in a night-club, pub, or bar, the usual safety measures should be applied – namely, don’t accept drinks from stranger and keep an eye on your drink at all times.
However, when it comes to Uzbekistan, you should pay attention to much more, as there have been a number of reports that tell of raids on local establishments – usually restaurants, but bars and similar facilities cannot be excluded.
These raids weren’t targeting tourists/ travelers, but all of the people inside – both staff and guests are reported to have been exposed to violent acts during such raids.
In the case of such an event, it is recommended that you remain calm and follow the instructions you are given – naturally, you should leave the area as soon as possible, when you are permitted to do so and you consider it is safe enough to do this.
Health Risks in Uzbekistan
When it comes to health, you should know that most of Uzbekistan’s medical facilities are in a poor condition – the hospitals are usually unhygienic, badly-equipped, and have a limited supply of drugs.
In this respect, any traveler/ tourist is advised to rely on treatment within a hospital only in the case of minor injuries. Moreover, in the event of an emergency you should only agree to essential treatment – as there is no guarantee that any of the equipment used to treat you will be properly sterilized.
Due to storms that have occurred over the Aral Sea, pollutants, dust, and salt have been brought into the country’s air – this has resulted in a decrease of the air’s quality.
It is recommended that you wash all of the fruits and vegetables that you buy and also wash your hands after your damp dust your room – the latter should be done regularly.
List of Vaccines You May Need Before Visiting Uzbekistan
You are very much recommended to visit your doctor at least 4 weeks before your trip, because he could determine if you need the following vaccines:
- Routine vaccines
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Most Dangerous Areas in Uzbekistan
- Border Areas – Tajik, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz, Kyrgyzstan
- Province of Osh
Conclusion: Is Uzbekistan Safe to Visit?
You have finished reading these Uzbekistan safety travel tips, which means you should have a general idea about how safe the country is. There are surely some things to consider, such as the scams, natural disasters and crimes, but with some care you will have a beautiful vacation. After all, Uzbekistan holds the Silk Road, which is a wonderful thing to see.
Hopefully, this Uzbekistan safety guide has served its purpose.