Basically local people never tip, except very special cases, like big celebrations. However now with increase of foreign tourists coming to Uzbekistan, tipping is becoming more common. Although all the restaurants include 10-15% services charge in the price, in fancy restaurants tips are expected but not necessary.
If local tour operator organizes your trip and you travel with the guide, usually the guide pays all the tips at the hotel. If you travel independently, you may tip porters (US$1-2) and waiters at the restaurant (10-15% from meals cost).
Guides and drivers
All guides and drivers expect tips at the end of the trip. Appropriate tips to guides would be US$ 15-20 p/day, to driver – US$ 10 p/day.
Uzbekistan offers wide choice of ceramic, silk and wooden carpets, “suzane” (wall hangings) and other items. Here we will try to prepare you for shopping in Uzbekistan.
- There is ancient proverb: “There are two fools on the market: one is a seller, the other one is a buyer”. It describes ancient tradition, that communication is an essential part of shopping. Sometimes simple shopping can turn to long conversation between seller and buyer. And as a result it may happen that either seller will give the goods for free or buyer will pay more.
- Bargain. Bargaining is an essential part of shopping in Asia. “When in Rome, act like Romans” and local people always bargain. Bargain politely and with smile and you may reduce the price up to a half of the original.
- Where to buy
§ Carpets – Silk carpets you can buy in Samarkand at Registan square. The best wooden carpets you can buy in Bukhara. The price varies from US$ 100 to US$ 500.
§ “Suzane” - one can find wide choice of “Suzane” in Samarkand and Bukhara, especially in Bukhara. Most of them are 5-10 years old, but sometimes really old one can be found. Note that suzane, which is more then 50 years old considered as antique and to take it abroad you need special receipt, otherwise you may have problems at the Customs. Ask seller to give you the receipt. The price for 5-10 years old suzane varies from 15 to 100 USD, old ones costs much more, starting from 200-300 USD up to 1500-2000 USD.
§ Ceramic - there are several ceramic schools in Uzbekistan, located in different regions. The most famous are Gijduvan School and Rishtan School. The first one is from Gijduvan, 40 km from Bukhara on the road to Samarkand. The second one is from Rishtan, 20 km from Fergana. It is not necessary to visit these town to buy theirs ceramic. Almost every souvenir shop offers plenty of ceramic plates, toys and other items of different schools. But if you look for exclusivity you should visit these towns and visit local craftsmen shops. The price for small items is from US$ 5 to US$ 20, for bigger from 25 to 50.
§ Silk – besides homemade silk, there is only one factory producing good quality silk. It is in Marghilan, 15 km from Fergana. At the factory there is show room where you can buy good and inexpensive silk and silk goods. But Marghilan is not the only place to buy silk. Shop in Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva offer you both homemade and Marghilan silk. The prices are little bit higher then in Marghilan, but still it is cheap. The price for silk varies from season to season but for US$ 15-20 you can buy good silk scarf and for US$ 40-50 silk vast.
Communication: For international calls to Uzbekistan dial Uzbekistan’s country code (998), the city code (see below) and the local number. To phone home, major hotels offer the most convenient service for a dollar surcharge and main city post offices offer a slower but cheaper service at local rates. To dial home direct use 8-10 followed by your country code.
Local codes include Tashkent (71 for 7-digit numbers and 712 for 6-digit numbers), Samarkand (622), Bukhara (6522), Urgench (6222) Khiva (6237) and Shakhrisabz (7522).
Photography: Sufficient films and batteries are available in Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. If developing cannot await your return home, Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara offer you some shops with developing and printing facilities. In most of the monuments taking pictures is subject to charge. Fees vary from 300 sum to 1500 sum.