Flying is the easiest way to reach Uzbekistan. The main international airport is in Tashkent (TAS), but there’s also one in Samarkand (SKD).
It is definitely possible to do a roadtrip around Central Asia, covering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan as well. Taxis and buses are also available to help you cross the borders into Uzbekistan.
There are three main border crossings between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the cities of Gisht Kuprik, Chinaz, and Kungrad. From Kyrgyzstan, the main border crossings are at Gisht Kuprik, Khanabad, and Andijan. In Tajikistan, Dushanbe (its capital) is about 55 km from the border of Uzbekistan in Denau.
Some borders do have opening hours. For example, if you’re planning to enter through Gisht Kuprik, be sure to do so between 7am–9pm (Tashkent time).
Usable passenger services only exist to Kazakhstan and via Kazakhstan to Russia and Ukraine. These include the following trains:
There are multiple daily trains connecting Samarkand, Bukhara, and Tashkent. Most of them are high-speed, – this means a journey between Samarkand and Tashkent or Samarkand and Bukhara would take only 1-2 hours. The trains are punctual, clean and equipped with AC which provides a very comfortable experience for the travellers. There are no websites from which you can directly buy these train tickets. If you’d like to reserve them in advance, the only way is to go through Uzbek travel agencies, which will buy and email them to you.
There are airports in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Urgench (which is about a 30-minute drive from Khiva). Flights between these cities typically range from $25 – $50 one way. Because trains are much more affordable and not that different in their length of the journey, it’s almost illogical to fly between Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand.
Flying does become a convenient option, however, when going to Khiva. This ancient town is quite remote and a bit harder to reach. A flight from Tashkent to Urgench is the fastest way to get there and it takes about 1.5 hours, costing $50 one way.
Taking a taxi between the main cities is not recommended unless you’re going to Khiva. Aside from flying into Urgench, a very common way of reaching this remote town is via a private or shared taxi from Bukhara.
The journey is around 7 hours (with breaks in between) and costs $50 for a private ride and $20 for a shared ride. An advantage of choosing to go to Khiva by car (rather than by air) is that you can take a little detour along the road trip to visit some ancient fortresses, such as the one in Tuprakkala. It will prolong your trip by two hours and cost an extra $10, but getting to explore exotic ruins in the middle of a desert is not an experience you get every day.
Within Uzbekistan cities, taxis are very cheap. They usually cost $1.25 for a 10-15 minute ride. With that said, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva are walkable cities for the most part. So you’d only need taxis when going to the train station/airport, or when visiting a few remote attractions away from the historic centers.