Nowhere does Silk Road splendour quite like Uzbekistan. Immerse yourself in ancient and present life, shop in bustling bazaars, and explore heritage sights draped in gold and turquoise that glisten under a dusty desert sun. The country's four major cities, the capital of Tashkent, and three of the most significant Silk Route cities - Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand - are connected by an excellent high-speed train network that makes train travel in Uzbekistan easy and comfortable.
During your time on board there’s a great opportunity to pass the time getting to know some of the Uzbek passengers. Discover your next destination`s must-see sights and bites, share stories and food; and in return you might receive some delicious local delicacies whilst passing through scenic landscapes. Just like the locals, we do not plan tight connection times as the trains are not immune to being delayed for an hour or two.
Most trains have a restaurant car that serves food and drinks customary to the region. Each train wagon also has a water dispenser with both cold water and boiled water for making tea, noodles or instant soup. The restaurant car is a great place to have a chat with other passengers and charge your phone on some of the older Soviet trains that do not have that many charging points.
Each carriage has an attendant who checks your ticket and passport when boarding the train. On overnight journeys they will provide you with clean sheets, a pillow and a blanket, allowing you to convert your compartment for sleeping in the evening. On the Afrosiyob trains the attendants also sell tea and snacks. At the end of each wagon is a toilet with water basin. Hygiene conditions vary per train but generally we would recommend you to use the toilets early, as they get more dirty as the journey progresses. Bring toilet paper and wet wipes.
Travel on the popular Afrosiyob, the first high-speed train in Central Asia and the fasted one in Uzbekistan, between the Uzbek capital of Tashkent and major cities like Samarkand, Bukhara and Shakrisabz. With speeds reaching up to 250 kph, this Spanish-designed Talgo train with spacious carriages equal to those in Spain, reduces train travel between Tashkent and Samarkand to only 2hrs 10 min and between Tashkent and Bukhara to 3hrs 20 min.
The fast Sharq trains also run daily on the routes between Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. They are a bit older and slower - the maximum speed is 140 kph - than the Afrosiyob trains, carrying travellers between Tashkent and Samarkand in 3 hrs and Tashkent and Bukhara in 6 hrs time.
A number of night trains connect the capital city of Tashkent with more remote cities such as Urgench, Bukhara, Khiva, Termez and Nukus. From Tashkent to Khiva it takes about 13 hours and to Nukus 16 hours. Those trains, as well as trains to the Fergana Valley, provide most likely an authentic Soviet experience.
This new high-speed train runs daily between Tashkent, the Uzbek capital and the Fergana Valley. En route it stops at the towns of Kokand, Margilon, Fargona and Andijan.
Since the extension of the Uzbek railway to Khiva in 2018, travelling between Khiva and Bukhara has become much more comfortable. Now, a direct train runs through the desert, connecting both cities. The journey takes about 5 hours.
From Uzbekistan, trains run to Kazakhstan, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. A direct 16hr Talgo-train, operates between Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Almaty (Kazakhstan); and the Uzbekistan Talgo-train between Tashkent and Moscow in Russia. In summer you can travel the Samarkand-Tashkent-Astana (Kazakhstan) route, and Tashkent - Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) with a final stop at lake Issyk-Kul. There are no trains between Uzbekistan and neighboring Turkmenistan but Uzbekistan has begun to rebuild the railway to Tajikistan.