Known as the "SHARQ", this is Uzbekistan's next best train after the "Afrosiyab". It travels the same route as the "Afrosiyab" (from Tashkent to Samarkand and Bukhara) but takes a few hours longer. On the plus side though, ticket availability is much better and you may even get one on the day of travel. There are three classes of travel: First Sleeping, First Sitting and Second Sitting - either of the latter two are perfectly fine for this day train unless you really must either travel privately (as a pair/couple) or have a bed during the day.
Destination board: Toshkent - Buxoro
Departing Samarkand Station
You can reach Samarkand station by bus or taxi. If opting for a taxi, ask your hotel to book it for you to get the best rates unless you are very good at bargaining. If going for the bus option, both bus numbers 3 and 73 will take you to the train station from the main road alongside the Registan Ensemble (Registan Street). The bus fare is 1,200 Uzbek Sum (US$0.15) and takes around 30-40 minutes. At the station you will need to go through various stages of security and show both your passport and train ticket quite a few times - all normal in Uzbekistan!
We travelled in the 'First Class Sitting Carriage' and had all six seats to ourselves in the compartment. In general First Class Sitting was relatively empty, whereas Second Class Sitting and First Class Sleeping were full. The journey was pretty non-descript, with the Uzbekistani desert just rolling past the windows for the whole journey. Tea was free in First Class Sitting but I can't say much about the taste!! It was like drinking hot water.
An Uzbekistan Railways locomotive heads up Train No. 010Ф "SHARQ" from Samarkand (top) to Bukhara 1 (bottom)
Arriving at Bukhara 1 railway station
Bukhara 1 railway station is not in Bukhara itself. It is in a town called Kogon, 12.5 km away from the main street in Bukhara (consider the centre of Bukhara as "Lyab-i Hauz" pond). There used to be a Bukhara 2 station in Bukhara itself but that was many years ago. Now you will have to travel the last 12 km either by bus or taxi.
On the return journey from Bukhara to Kogon we used a taxi organised by our hotel - they charged us 65,000 Uzbek Sum (US$8) which seemed a bit on the expensive side but as we needed to leave our hotel in Bukhara at 3 am we couldn't really argue. If you do wish to use a taxi to get you to Bukhara, you will certainly be met by plenty of taxi drivers on arrival at Bukhara 1 railway station (or ask your hotel to pre-arrange one for you).
We opted for a bus into the city when we arrived at Bukhara 1 railway station as we had no rush, it was daylight and we could not be bothered bargaining with the drivers. Each taxi driver we escaped from said there was no bus (or you would have to change) - in hindsight they were kind of right but also kind of wrong. There is a bus and it costs just 1,000 Uzbek Sum (US$0.12) but the bus driver will however drop you off 1 km away from "Lyab-i Hauz" pond from where you'll need to walk the rest of the way.
"ТАШКЕНТ (УТИ)” Tashkent (Depart) 09:13
“САМАРКАНД (УТИ)” Samarkand (Arrive) 12:29 – (Depart) 12:44
“БУХАРА 1 (УТИ)” Bukhara (Arrive) 15:09
Train Numbers 009Ф is also operated by the “SHARQ” train. This train departs daily as follows:
Train No. 009Ф Bukhara 16:03 - Samarkand 18:27/18:39 - Tashkent 22:06
Note: Other trains also operate between Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara such as Train No. 056Ч and the "Afrosiyab" Train No. 762Ф.
Tickets can technically be purchased online from the Uzbekistan Railways website, however I was unable to purchase tickets through this site as on each occasion after I had entered my credit card details in and pressed ‘next’, the website defaulted back to the journey planner page. Alternative options include buying them at any railway station in Uzbekistan or using an Uzbekistan based travel agency.
As I was beginning my journey in Kazakhstan, I used "TicketsKz" which is a basically an online travel agency. It is very important to point out that tickets purchased through this website must be collected in Kazakhstan. Ticket prices are marked up by approximately 50% if using this website.
My Samarkand to Bukhara ticket collected in Kazakhstan
What was the train like (including ticket prices)?
Coach 4 – First Class Sleeping Carriage
Class Люкс (1У) – 135,727 Uzbek Soum (approx US$17.50) – prices obtained from www.railway.uz/en/
The seating plan layout (for pictures of a First Class Sleeping Carriage see my travel journal for Train No. 056Ч)
Coach 01/02/03 – First Class Sitting Carriage
Class Сидячий (1С) – 53,302 Uzbek Soum (approx US$7) – prices obtained from www.railway.uz/en/
Exterior and Interior views of Coach 3 (First Class) and the seating plan
Coach 06/07/09/10 – Standard Class Sitting Carriage
Class Сидячий (2B) – 32,777 Uzbek Soum (approx US$4.50) – prices obtained from www.railway.uz/en/
Exterior and Interior views of Standard Class carriages and the seating plan
The Bar Coach
A very limited selection of snacks are available from the bar carriage, although it was closed for a fair amount of time during my journey from Samarkand to Bukhara. Probably best to bring your own snacks!
Interior view of the (closed) Bar Carriage
The official Uzbekistan Railways website is very useful for journey planning, timetables (use the Cyrillic station names I have written in the "timetable" section) and seating layouts. Booking the train tickets however, proved impossible for me personally.
I used "TicketsKz" to purchase all my Uzbekistan train tickets which is a Kazakhstan based online agency. If using this site, you must pick up your tickets in Kazakhstan and expect ticket prices to be marked up by approximately 50%. The train carriage seating plans on this site are not useful and are actually highly misleading in some cases, so it is best to use the official Uzbekistan Railways website above to choose the carriage and seat you want, and then to just select that exact carriage number and seat number on this website.
Train 010Ф at Bukhara 1 station
Looking out over the Uzbekistani desert
Train No. 010Ф at Samarkand station
There are always more photos to be shared but sharing them all on this journal page will just make it look cluttered so if you want to see more photos for inspiration, check out my Flickr “Uzbekistan-2018” album.
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