Khiva: The most beautiful place in Uzbekistan
Khiva was one of those cities that took me by surprise. I have no idea why I liked it most out of all places I visited in Uzbekistan, including the famous Samarkand and Bukhara. But Khiva just felt more authentic, the atmosphere felt more relaxing and you don’t have the pressure of walking the entire day because you can see everything within a few hours. The walled city in Khiva, which is the reason most people come here for, is really small. But perhaps that’s the charm of it- there’s no need to rush here. Samarkand might be bigger and there’s a lot more to see such as the impressive Registan square, but it also means more tourists. If you prefer more quiet and smaller places, Khiva is where you should go.
Best time to visit Khiva
The best times to visit Uzbekistan in general is either during spring or autumn. Summers in Uzbekistan gets hot. Real hot. Especially in Khiva. But if you go during spring or autumn, the heat is more dry and warm, but not so hot like in summer time, when you’re just walking around wishing you could hop in a pool.
What to do in Khiva
As was stated, the walled city in Khiva is generally what most people come here for and where all the attractions are. It’s here where you can visit the Pahlavon Mahmoud mausoleum, walk around the central bazaar to look for souvenirs, take in the view from the Islom-Hoja Minaret, get lost in the backstreets and eat in some of Uzbekistan’s best restaurants. The Kalta Minor Minaret was my favourite and you can easily spot it at the entrance to the walled city.
Where to eat
There’s a limited amount of restaurants in Khiva, but the ones that exists are great. My personal favorite was Khorezm Art Restaurant. Not only was the food great, the prices are fair as well and the outdoor terrace is delightful to sit in. The location itself makes it worth visiting this lovely restaurant, so even if you’re not hungry, come here for a drink. Otherwise, you have the popular Terassa Cafe & Restaurant, which caters mostly to westerners. They have some vegetarian options though, which isn’t the easiest to find in Uzbekistan.
How to get to Khiva
If you’re coming from Bukhara, you can take the train. It only departs 4 hours per week though, so plan well, otherwise you might find yourself stuck in Bukhara for an extra day. You can also take shared taxis, also known as marshrutkas. Go to the bus station in Bukhara, tell them you want to go to Khiva and wait for the taxi to fill up. One way ride to Khiva should cost about 120,000 som. If you arrive to Urgentj by plane, you can take a taxi to Khiva. It’s cheap and it’s very easy.