My Uzbekistan adventure continued and I tried to make the most of the limited visa time I had in the country. Two quick nights in Bukhara were in store, one of them I had to be up early the next day to head on the wacaday journey to Karakalpakstan. This time I went for a very cosy and friendly family run guesthouse – Madina and Ali’s Guesthouse which is situated bang in the middle of a load of main sights in Bukhara, so easy access. I had already toured Samarkand and stayed in the Jahongir B and B.
Bukhara is yet another gem of a city. A quick warning though – to tour Uzbekistan is frustrating, time consuming and difficult, it has to be noted that you need a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of nerve. The police checks, the bag checks, the constant passport checks, registration slips, the lazy time wasting taxi and marshrutka drivers – the whole experience digs into your time and the limited time you get to yourself will be spent planning.
People in this country love to waste your time in it so be ready that a 2 hour taxi journey will almost always turn into a 4 hour one. People hang around standing talking for no reason. On the positive side, guesthouses and the places you stay in Uzbekistan are awesome. It’s a real contrast and the hospitality at Madina and Ali’s was superb.
1.Cosy, Traditional Rooms
There is an authentic Central Asia feel to the cosy, traditional rooms here at Madina and Ali’s Guesthouse in Bukhara. Fancy carpets, silk bed linen, every nook and cranny optimised for art. I was sleeping in a double/twin room but as it was winter, I was on my own and I got an ensuite room too. If you ever want to visit Uzbekistan, do it in winter – it’s really quiet and easier to see the sights. I would hate to see the border queues and police checks in the summer!
2.Hospitality from Madina and Ali
Madina and Ali run this Guesthouse as the title suggests and they know a lot about hospitality. You are made to feel welcome from the moment you walk in here. I was actually welcomed at first by Julia, their daughter who showed me to my room.
3.Collection and Drop Off
Madina and Ali’s Guesthouse is notoriously hard to find. It’s down a side alley at number 18 Mehtar Ambar but if you’re arriving by train or air, they will pick you up. When I was leaving, Madina also accompanied me to the Avtovagzal and Shared Taxi depot to make sure I got the correct connection and price from the driver. Again, superb hospitality.
I’ve stressed before that Central Asia is horrendous for WiFi. At least Madina and Ali’s has WiFi in the rooms! I was able to get a bit of work done, though my Uzbekistan schedule was very busy.
Despite being initially hard to find, once you know where it is, this place is so handy. Five minutes walk behind you on one side is the Arc and Ali Baba’s restaurant. To the other side, walk for 10 minutes and you are at the famous Lyabi Hauz and Pond area. Bukhara is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s easy to see why. Being based at Madina and Ali’s meant I could see all the main sights easily and quickly before heading onward on my tight 11 day schedule in Uzbekistan.
Breakfast here was again a real treat. I had eggs, chips, bread, juice, fruit, yoghurts. It was fantastic. I loved the wacky Uzbek bread and with tea and coffee in my room (I think this was winter only for me), I loved the food and drink in my room option here. Please note though that in the summer, breakfast may be lighter and different. This was a huge treat for me, Madina saw how tired I was from my ongoing backpacking stints to Afghanistan and Karakalpakstan and prepared a mighty feed!
Here are the details for booking Madina and Ali’s Guesthouse:
Mehtar Ambar 18, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 705018
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Phone: (+99865) 224 61 62, (+99890) 512 58 20
Here are some videos I made at Madina and Ali’s Guesthouse:
5 thoughts on “Backpacking in Uzbekistan: Staying at Madina and Ali’s Guesthouse in Bukhara”
Sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve been having travelling around Uzbekistan. I always thought it was the most “tourist friendly” of all the Central Asian countries. But, this guesthouse blows my expectation away from what I would have expected in terms of rooms. Nice digs you got for yourself there!
Hi Ray, thanks for the comment. Uzbekistan is a weird one. Because it has some great sights to see and a really unusual deserted republic called Karakalpakstan. That was all brilliant!!! However it will always be overshadowed by the police checkpoints, the over bearing government, the lack of common sense, the sexism, the lack of knowledge of the locals and all that tends to an outrageous military dictatorship. The hostels and guesthouses were brilliant by the way, shame the government and people of the country ruin it for tourists. Safe travels. Jonny
I would like to use this tool to tell people who read this detailed report that a lot has changed since it was written:
1. New president and new policy for tourism
2. Police checkpoints removed
3. Currency exchange black market removed
4. Wifi is almost everywhere
5. “dictatorship” is not the word. I would use “strong ruler”.
6. Overall atmosphere is rather optimistic, people start to believe in better future.
Hi Ed Mart 80, Thanks for the update. Are the police checkpoints removed?? I won’t believe that – one of the strictest countries I have seen! Safe travels. Jonny