All tourists have to play a special game in Uzbekistan. Want it or not, you have to. It’s called registration slips collection. More you have, better you are. Are you missing some of them?? You might have a (big) problem! You are required to provide a registration slip from your hostel/hotel for at least every 3rd day of your stay, with exception of Fergona valley and Tashkent where you have to collect all of them.

I heard horror stories of crossing border to Uzbekistan. All your stuff checked (including you), every single item. All your pictures (phone, camera, laptop) deserve special attention. Every single page of Lonely Planet on your phone. Are you in a hurry? We are not. Your battery is dying? This is your problem. Met some people who spent 5 or 6 hours on the border – they took a good care to check every single photo of their xy-month trip. Count every single coin you are bringing into country. You can bring as much money as you want, but you can’t leave with more money you brought.

Where is that? OK. Who is this? And who is this? What is this? Who is this? When were you there? (Going on for hours.)

If Europe would ask Uzbeks to guard the Schengen border … All problems are solved! Guaranteed! They make sure to check every single person and everything what they carry. I don’t know how many doors opened to cross from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan, ready for the worse – managed to get thru within few hours. No “special taxes” paid.

You are going to have a problem if they find any naked pictures, any religious books or stuff or (too) strong medications. Uzbekistan has the highest percentage of muslim people in Central Asia, but bringing any religious stuff with you is apparently a really big deal.

I declared all my forgotten coins and money “souvenirs”; from the lucky malaysian ringgit, to 20K vietnamese moneys, 1 norwegian and swedish krona, 5 chinese wu (not even a yuan …), few euro coins, SG$ 0.50, 100 kyrgyz som and millions of US dollars of course. I have no problems with it, you asked for, this is my list!

Apparently every person in this country is treated and considered as a criminal and you should prove you are not. Yes, we were all born as sinners. To use metro in Tashkent – show your passport and registration slip! You might be denied entering a bank just because the guard in front of it feels so.

Buying a sim card is impossible challenge in Fergana valley (yes, we are all religious extremists and terrorists there). In Taskent is something like buying a gun in Europe! Is possible, but … I got mine in the end!

Your wallet is not big enough for Uzbek money!

I’m not joking, everyone carries money around in a trash bag. Exchanging $100 at (black) market usually gives you 600 something banknotes. You have to be damn lucky to get a (single) 5000 banknote, usually you will get everything in 1000 som notes – step to the first butcher to put them in a counting machine, if you are paranoid. Yes, it definitely feels special to carry so much money around!


Photos are from Fergana, Margilon (silk factory) and Tashkent