How to Travel Between Tashkent and Samarkand

Hazrat Khizr Mosque, Samarkand

If you’re hoping to visit Samarkand from Tashkent or vice versa then you’re in the right place. Between us we have done this journey over 10 times!

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

Quick Answer:

For a day trip to Samarkand from Tashkent, the best way is to book an official tour which includes high speed train tickets, door-to-door transfers, and a full guided tour plus lunch with an expert local guide.

If doing it alone, the best way to travel between Tashkent and Samarkand is by speed train. You can book on the official website here.

If the tickets are sold out or the website has issues, you can book a guaranteed hassle-free ticket here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How far is Samarkand from Tashkent?

The distance between Tashkent and Samarkand is roughly 167 miles or 268km as the crow flies. In terms of driving, the shortest route between the two cities is 193 miles or 310km or roughly a 4 to 5 hour drive depending on conditions.

How long does it take to get from Tashkent to Samarkand?

The fastest way to travel between Tashkent and Samarkand is by plane which takes roughly 1 hour. However when considering the extra distance to both airports plus longer waiting time, the quickest door-to-door travel method is the Uzbek speed train Afrosiyob (2 hours, 8 minutes).

What’s the Best Way to Get to Samarkand from Tashkent?

The most convenient way to travel between Tashkent and Samarkand is undoubtedly by speed train. It’s quick, comfortable and easy to book and you can relax with a tea or coffee whilst enjoying the countryside views.

Since the speed train is such a popular option for both tourists and locals it often sells out in advance.  The best alternative method would be to go by plane or take one of the slower Uzbek trains which take 3 to 4 hours. The total travel time for flying or traveling by slow train will be similar.

You can order guaranteed speed train tickets here.

Alternatively, try here for a one day trip from Tashkent including hotel pickup, train tickets, plus a guided tour.

Most Comfortable Option: Samarkand One Day Tour Departing From Tashkent

This is the perfect option for those on a short trip or those who want all of the hassle taken out of their holiday so that they can relax and enjoy the experience.

Everything from booking train tickets, traveling between tourist attractions and making sure you’re in the right place at the right time is taken care of allowing you to travel worry-free.

The guided tour includes all of the city’s main Silk Road tourist attractions such as the Registan, Bibi Khanum Mosque, and Gur-Emir Mausoleum with enough time to enjoy an all-inclusive lunch.

With a maximum group size of 10, you’ll feel comfortable and have the freedom to take your time savoring the city’s unique architecture without any sense of being rushed.

What’s included?

  • Hotel pickup from Tashkent
  • Return high speed train tickets to Samarkand
  • Samarkand tourist attraction guided tour
  • All-inclusive lunch

How to Travel by Train Between Tashkent and Samarkand

Samarkand Train Station
Samarkand Train Station

The cheapest way to book the train between Tashkent and Samarkand is to do it online on the official website here. 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.

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.

Afrosiyob Train
Afrosiyob Train Comfort

You can choose your own seat and there are different classes of cabin to choose from. Tickets start from 105,000 Som for a basic ticket up to 204,000 Som for a first class ticket.

You can also buy a ticket at the train stations although you may struggle to do this without an Uzbek or Russian speaker. Bring cash and the passports of all travelers as you need ID to ride the trains in Uzbekistan.

Often the train is booked up for days or even weeks in advance. If this happens don’t panic as it still may be possible to buy a ticket indirectly.

If the official website often runs out of tickets, you can still buy one from another vendor. Getyourguide offers guaranteed last minute tickets between Tashkent and Samarkand.

They will send you an e-ticket or deliver a physical ticket to your hotel and you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance.

Book a guaranteed train ticket to eliminate any travel worries and enjoy a hassle-free trip.

We highly recommend this over taking the slower trains, especially if your time in Uzbekistan is limited as you’ll gain an extra 2 to 4 hours of your total trip. An extra 2 hours is enough time to visit St. Daniel Mausoleum or get light headed at the Wine Tasting Museum and Factory.

Important Things to Know

  • Traveling by train in Uzbekistan is much more official than you may be used to and its security is more like an airport.
  • 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!
Afrosiyob Train Restaurant
Afrosiyob Train Restaurant

RELATED POST: Best Areas to Stay in Samarkand

Getting to Tashkent Train Station (North)

There are two train stations in the city: Tashkent North and Tashkent South. Confusingly, both of these two stations are located South of the city.

The main train station is Tashkent North and the majority of trains to Samarkand leave from here. If you’re traveling on the Afrosiyob train then you’ll be traveling from Tashkent North train station.

You can travel to Tashkent train station by metro and the name of the metro is simply Tashkent or Toshkent Station. Alternatively if getting a taxi they will drop you off outside of the station, just a couple of minutes walk from the entrance.

RELATED POST: Top things to do in Tashkent

Tashkent – Samarkand By Car

Traveling between Tashkent and Samarkand by car will give you a very different experience. Driving in and out of Tashkent and Samarkand cities you’ll notice the landscape change from green to stony and mountainous as much of the land between the cities is arid.

At around 4 hours, it’s not the fastest way to travel but makes for a more intimate experience. The city of Jizzakh lies in between Tashkent and Samarkand and is a convenient location to stop off for a break.

One important downside to this is that roads in Uzbekistan are not known to be the safest in the world so make sure you book with a trusted and experienced driver.

The cheapest way to find a driver is to head to the Kulyuk area just South of Tashkent International Airport. This option is for the savviest travelers as you’ll have to negotiate a price with the driver who is unlikely to speak any English. For a shared taxi you might be able to negotiate $10 per passenger.

Alternatively you can book a private car between Tashkent and Samarkand online here.

Tashkent – Samarkand by Plane

There are flights between Tashkent and Samarkand available almost every day and if you book in advance it can be incredibly cheap. One way ticket prices start from around $15 and go up to $60+ depending on time of year and extra baggage.

Official flight times are 1 hour 25 minutes although you’ll likely be in the air for only about an hour.

You can book via a site like Skyscanner but going directly to the Uzbekistan Airways website will generally yield better and cheaper results.

For domestic flights you’ll need to make sure you’re at the airport at least 1 hour in advance.

RELATED POST: Ultimate Guide to Travel in Uzbekistan

Tashkent – Samarkand By Bus

Traveling between Tashkent and Samarkand by bus is the cheapest way. At roughly $4, this is certainly a cheap albeit uncomfortable way to make this journey. The trip will take between 4 to 5 hours but due to the timing and inconvenience, we don’t recommend this method.

To travel between Tashkent and Samarkand by bus you’ll need to buy the tickets at the bus stations. Tashkent bus terminal is in the South West of the city and Samarkand Central Bus Station is North of Samarkand just outside Samarkand International Airport.

Bus station staff are unlikely to speak English, so it’s advisable to either have someone who can speak Uzbek or Russian accompany you or use a translation app. Based on our experience, they might not always be the most helpful, so it’s essential to be prepared for potential frustration.

Traveling Between Tashkent and Samarkand Summary

  1. Samarkand Guided Tour Day Trip: If you want an expert-led journey with insider insights, this is the way to go! Join a guided tour departing from Tashkent, and let the seasoned professionals take care of everything while you soak in the wonders of Samarkand.
  2. High-Speed Afrosiab Train: Need a quick and comfortable ride? Hop aboard the Afrosiab train! You’ll reach Samarkand in no time, enjoying the scenic views and a smooth journey on this high-speed train. Alternatively click here for guaranteed train tickets.
  3. Take to the Skies: Short on time? Consider catching a flight between the cities. Flying gives you the convenience of reaching your destination swiftly, allowing more time for exploration.
  4. Private Car: For a longer but novel journey across the Uzbek landscape try negotiating with a local driver or booking a private driver here.
  5. Budget-Friendly Bus Adventure: Traveling on a serious budget? The bus route offers a more economical option. It’s not the easiest way to travel but you’ll get to enjoy the scenic beauty of Uzbekistan along the way.

Whichever method of travel you decide upon make sure you make the most of the beautiful city of Samarkand with its unique history and architecture.

Read our guide to Tashkent travel.

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