How to Travel Between Samarkand and Bukhara: 5 Ways

Samarkand to Bukhara

If you’re wanting to travel from Samarkand to Bukhara or from Bukhara to Samarkand then you’re in the right place. We’ve done this journey plenty of times.

In this post we will share with you 5 ways to travel between Samarkand and Bukhara.

Samarkand To Bukhara: Quick Answer

By speed train: The best way to travel between Samarkand and Bukhara is by Uzbekistan’s speed train the Afrosiyob. The journey takes around 1 hour, 45 minutes and a one way ticket can be bought from 150,000 Som (around $12).

You can buy your tickets online at the official site here (Uzbek card only) or at 12Go ticket portal here (accepts international payment).

By slow train: If tickets are sold out then you can travel by slower train such as the Sharq train. These trains are older and less comfortable but still reliable. The journey takes between 2 hours, 40 mins and 3 hours, 40 mins depending on the type of train. Tickets for the slow train can be bought here.

Buses: There are several buses every day and the trip should take around 4 hours, 30 mins to 5 hours. The only way to buy tickets is to do it at the bus station so they’re difficult to buy in advance.

You can buy tickets online here but unfortunately you can only pay with local Uzbek cards. Additionally, you can only book tickets from Bukhara to Samarkand and not from Samarkand to Bukhara.

Flights: Both Samarkand and Bukhara have airports but unfortunately direct flights between them are virtually non-existent. To fly between these two cities you have to fly via Tashkent which will take at least 7 hours so we don’t recommend doing this.

Private transfer: If you don’t mind paying a little extra, then booking a private taxi might be a better option. The drivers are flexible and can pick you up from your hotel, train station, or airport and drop you off wherever you need to be. You can check prices for a private car here.

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Samarkand – Bukhara by Train

Fountains outside Bukhara station
Bukhara Station

Traveling between Samarkand and Bukhara by train is by far the best option as it’s comfortable and relatively fast.

The cheapest way to book the train between Samarkand and Bukhara is to do it on the official website here. Frustratingly you can only pay by local Uzbek card which makes it useless to most tourists.

You’ll need to sign up to the official website in order to use it for which you’ll need an Uzbek SIM card. Alternatively you can log in via a Google, Facebook or Telegram account.

It’s not the slickest website in the world so if you have issues signing up or paying then 12Go is the better option. It’s slightly more expensive but is much easier to use.

They also offer 1st class tickets when the official website appears to have sold out.

You can book with 12go here.

Afrasiyab Train First Class
Afrasiyab First Class Cabin

There are different types of train, the fastest being Uzbekistan’s ‘bullet train’ the Afrosiyob. Other trains include the slower Sharq and Nasaf trains as well as the overnight long haul cross-country trains known as ‘passenger’ trains (Пассажирский in Russian).

If you have the option then we definitely recommend taking the modern and faster Afrosiyob trains as the other trains will take 3 to 4 hours or longer.

Important Things to Know

  • Traveling by train in Uzbekistan is a formal affair and the security is like an airport’s.
  • Make sure to bring your passport as you will not be able to enter the train station without it.
  • You will need to go through body scanners and also have your luggage scanned before you can enter the train station. Leave your wallet and phone on the table as you pass through the body scanner.
  • Afrosiyob tickets come with snacks and a free coffee or tea. There’s also an on-board restaurant.
  • Don’t forget your ticket!

Samarkand – Bukhara By Bus

If you can’t get a train ticket then traveling by bus is also a cheap option.

You can book a bus ticket from Bukhara to Samarkand here but unfortunately you can’t book a ticket from Samarkand to Bukhara this way.

Tickets start from 90,000 Som (around $7) which offer great value. Traveling by bus is much slower than by train and although we’ve never traveled this way, we think the journey will take up to 5 hours.

If booking online you can choose your own seat but you’ll need to have an Uzbek sim card in order to buy online.

Samarkand – Bukhara By Private Transfer

Traveling by car is also possible and although more expensive, is relatively cheap considering the 275km distance. You can negotiate a price with a taxi driver or ask at your hotel if they can find a driver for you.

Alternatively, you can book a taxi in advance here. If booking online in advance you can specify whether you want to be picked up and dropped off at your hotel, the train station or the airport.

Samarkand – Bukhara Tour

For a more comfortable and convenient experience in Uzbekistan, consider a private tour. All of your transport will be taken care of, allowing you to relax and enjoy your trip.

Exploring Bukhara at sunset

This 2 day guided tour of Uzbekistan by train starts from Tashkent and stops off at both Samarkand and Bukhara, allowing you to explore these majestic cities at your own pace with an experienced local guide.

Discover the centuries old mausoleums and madrasas and let your tour operator do the rest.

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