The Chorsu Bazaar is not far from the centre of Tashkent and can easily be accessed on the Tashkent Metro (worth a visit in its own right) - the closest stop, just a few meters from the bazaar is "Chorsu". Half of the bazaar is underneath a huge dome tent, the rest of it circles around the dome. You will find all sorts here, the freshest bread, sweets, seasonal fruits, brightly coloured spices, pickles and fish, but what you find much of is foreigners.
The Uzbekistani Currency (the "Sum") and Inflation
When I first visited Uzbekistan back in 2011, the largest note in circulation was the "500 Sum" (worth US$0.30), the official exchange rate was about 1,800 Uzbek Sum to one US Dollar (more like 2,500 Sum on the black market), banks did not exchange money and ATMs would definitely not accept foreign cards. I clearly remember the day when I first arrived in Uzbekistan and handed over a US$100 note (at a butchers store in a busy bazaar) and in exchange I was given a suitcase sized pile of Uzbek notes - there must have been about 5,000 "500 Sum" notes. And yes, I tried to count them although by the time I had finished I think the butcher had gone home for the night!!!
Fast Forward to October 2018, the largest note now in circulation was the "50,000 Sum" (worth US$6), the official exchange rate was about 8,200 Uzbek Sum to one US Dollar, the black market no longer existed, banks did exchange money and a handful of ATMs accepted foreign cards. If you did find an ATM that accepted foreign cards, the chances were that it would only dispense around US$25 per transaction - probably because the ATM needed to spit out about 40 "5,000 Sum" notes and the little money hole couldn't handle more notes!!! The 10,000 and 50,000 Sum notes introduced in 2017 were rare - you were much more likely to have a handful of 5,000 Sum notes in your hand (worth US$0.60 each).
Inflation in Uzbekistan has averaged at 4.78% between 2006 and 2017, reaching a record high in 2017 of 14.4%. The staple currency of Uzbekistan is the US$ (so bring plenty of them with you as credit / debit cards are not widely accepted outside of major tourist hotels) although Euros and British Pounds are now becoming more widely exchangeable. When you do exchange money, it'll probably take you 100 times longer to count what you have been given compared to the locals - they have certainly developed a certain knack to counting fast.
Getting to and from the Airport
Getting to and from the Railway 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 “Kazakhstan-2018” album.
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