If you’re planning a trip to Uzbekistan you probably don’t know so much about the place. One of the most common questions people have before visiting Uzbekistan is “Is Uzbekistan safe?“.
Given its border with Afghanistan, this question is entirely valid. In this post, we aim to reassure you that Uzbekistan is indeed a safe country to visit.
Anecdotally, we feel very safe living in Uzbekistan. With a combined 34 total of 34 years spent here, we’ve rarely felt unsafe. But don’t just take our word for it!
In order to find out how safe Uzbekistan really is, we did a deep dive into crime and safety data in Uzbekistan including:
- Collating government travel advice from 11 different countries
- Analyzing official crime and safety statistics
- Listing all of the travel advice we could find, including our own
Our findings show that yes, Uzbekistan is generally a very safe country but that there are some things you should be aware of. Crime against foreigners is very low in Uzbekistan but tourists should be aware of other issues such as road safety and the potential for terrorism in specific regions.
- Is Uzbekistan Safe For Tourists?
- Government Advice
- Is Uzbekistan Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
- Is Uzbekistan Safe for US Citizens?
- Safety Tips
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Is Uzbekistan safe for tourists?
Uzbekistan is actually a very safe place for tourists. In 2019 Uzbekistan ranked 5th safest country in the world for solo travellers in the Wegoplaces ‘Solo Travel Safety Report’.
Uzbekistan takes its security very seriously and has a large military police presence both in its cities and on its borders. In a 2020 global poll by US Gallup Institute Uzbekistan came in 9th place in its Law and Order Index, just behind Switzerland and Austria.
The poll, summarized here, asked questions relating to safety, confidence in police and incidences of theft, assault and mugging to the citizens of each country.
Walk around the streets or parks during the day time or the evening and you’ll see plenty of people, young and old relaxing without much of a care in the world!
Low level crime does exist of course but it is rare, especially these days. Take all the normal precautions that you would in your own country and you’ll be very safe in Uzbekistan.
For medical and travel insurance needs in Uzbekistan we recommend using SafetyWing, especially for long term travelers. Their insurance policies start from just $45.08 per month!
Government Travel Advice from 11 Different Countries
|Level 1 (highest safety level)
|“Exercise normal precaution levels“
|Foreign Travel Advice
|Advises against travel to Afghanistan border and the Termez region
|“Avoid non-essential travel near the border“
|“Travel to areas close to the border with Afghanistan is not recommended“
|Yellow (increased vigilance)
|“It is strictly not recommended to travel to Afghanistan“
|“Crossing the border with Afghanistan is inadvisable under any circumstances“
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs
|“Regions bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic may not be safe“
|“Exercise a high degree of caution. Do not travel to the border region with Afghanistan“
|“Take normal security precautions. Areas bordering Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – Avoid non-essential travel“
|“The color code of the travel advice for the Termez region and the Uzbek-Afghan border is orange.“
|Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
|“Avoid border areas with Afghanistan“
As you can see the general consensus from government travel advice agencies is that Uzbekistan is either safe to visit or that there is no particular safety warning on the country as a whole.
Australia, France, and the Netherlands all categorize Uzbekistan as a “yellow level” destination, indicating that travelers should exercise heightened caution during their visits.
Every government advises avoiding specific regions, particularly the border areas with Afghanistan (the Termez region), Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Is Uzbekistan safe for solo female Travelers?
I’ll hand over this question to Nilufar, my co-blogger. Being a female from Uzbekistan she’s in somewhat of a better position to answer…
Uzbekistan is very safe for solo female travelers. Whilst the country has different social and cultural attitudes to the West, the country as a whole is safe for women and Uzbek people will be very welcoming.
It’s important to stay safe in any country so here I’ll give you some advice for travelling to Uzbekistan as a solo traveler.
Don’t overthink the dress code but think (and dress) smart.
If you are a tourist in Uzbekistan you’ll actually be given a wide berth in terms of dress code. It’s nowhere near as strict as other countries in this region but be sensible and at least dress conservatively at the start of your trip as you get to know the place.
Attitudes vary across the city but be more mindful in the Old Town of Tashkent which roughly equates to anything West of the river (Anhor canal), including Chorsu Bazaar. In order to avoid raising eyebrows cover your legs down to your knees and don’t show cleavage.
Spend a couple of days in the city and you’ll understand.
Hitchhiking is not normal in Uzbekistan and so it’s best avoided for everybody, especially women. You don’t want to attract unwanted attention so if travelling long distances take a train or hire a private car. Hiring a driver for the day is actually quite cheap and you have the reassurance of knowing the identity of your driver.
Don’t go to a bar or club alone.
Uzbekistan is not really a country where women go to bars alone. Doing this in Uzbekistan will give the impression that you are there for ‘work’.
In order to avoid any unwanted attention, go with at least one other friend and you’ll be quite alright.
Don’t be offended by very direct questions from men.
It’s common for Uzbek women to marry young and attitudes to family and marriage are very ‘traditional’.
If you’re travelling alone don’t be surprised to be asked where your husband is or why you’re unmarried at 25 years of age!
Male and female travelers alike should expect to be asked quite personal questions like your occupation, salary and marital status (taxi drivers are the main culprits for this).
For women in particular the conversation can focus on appearance, age and “why you’re not married“. Although not appropriate in a Western setting, they’re generally based on genuine curiosity.
These kinds of conversation are actually quite superficial. Although it might feel intrusive and even offensive, it comes from a place of sincerity, however misplaced it might be.
If you’re a female travelling alone you might want to have a back story ready to evade any awkward conversations.
The questions won’t delve as deep as to why you don’t have a wedding ring on your finger, don’t worry!
Is Uzbekistan safe for US citizens?
Uzbekistan is considered very safe for US tourists. According to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, Uzbekistan is ranked at the highest level of safety. The department advises US citizens to “Exercise normal precautions in Uzbekistan“. This level of safety is on par with countries like Norway and New Zealand.
Unlike its neighbor Afghanistan, there is no animosity towards American tourists in Uzbekistan.
US citizens are advised to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and to be easily located in an emergency.
They are also advised to go through this checklist, which includes getting insurance before your trip.
Uzbekistan Travel Safety Tips
Many countries state that crime against foreign nationals in Uzbekistan is rare but still possible and urge travelers to exercise normal precautions such as keeping valuables in a safe place and being extra vigilant at night.
Avoid political events (and opinions) in Uzbekistan
The US, UK and Australian governments also mention demonstrations as a potential risk to tourists.
Although the country is usually very peaceful, there was recently there was a political protest that turned violent in the autonomous region Karakalpakstan. This kind of violence is unusual but just make sure to stay well clear of any planned protests.
Human rights in Uzbekistan are not the same as you might have back at home and it’s not advisable to criticize the government openly. As a tourist, you’re unlikely to get into trouble for having conversations but be sensible about broadcasting any opinions you might have of the government.
Interacting With the Police
As a former Soviet state, there is a heavy police presence and you may be asked to show your passport at any time and without reason.
These days it’s not that common but just be aware that you could be asked to produce it out of the blue.
There have been reported cases of criminals posing as police officers to steal from tourists. If in doubt, the Canadian government advises to ask to see credentials or offer to go to the police station.
Take guided tours in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is generally very safe across the whole country but if you want reassurance then we advise to take a guided tour. Guided tours in Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand and Xhiva are all quite cheap and you’ll learn a lot about the country and its history.
One important thing to know is to stay away from any prohibited areas and to not to take any photos of government or military areas.
During the Soviet era there were many bunkers and laboratories used for experiments and these can still be restricted areas.
These places are quite remote so it’s unlikely you’ll just bump into them if you’re strolling around the cities.
A good tour guide will know exactly where you can safely go.
If you’re looking to have a fantastic time in Uzbekistan without the worries of traveling in a new and unknown country then we recommend SafetyWing for medical insurance.
Core plans include coverage for travel emergencies and essential medical expenses while you’re in Uzbekistan, allowing you to travel with confidence without breaking the bank.
We hope this post provided you with valuable insights into safety in Uzbekistan, along with some helpful tips on staying secure during your visit.
If you’re looking for the very best list of things to do in Uzbekistan read our full guide.