Uzbek Money Matters

Uzbek SomIt’s a good idea to bring hard currency, preferrably U.S. dollars, with you to Uzbekistan as well as a very large wallet to hold your wads of Uzbek som.

The highest bill is only worth about $0.75 U.S. so your pockets will always be well padded. Euros are accepted but less well known than the greenback.

Exchange facilities are everywhere in hotels and on the street and some vendors will accept payment in U.S. dollars for large purchases or hotel rooms.

Exchange rates aren’t kept artifically low anymore so there’s no need to swap money on the black market. You’ll certainly encounter at least a couple unofficial money changers at the border but watch the rate carefully. We found it was about 10 percent lower than what was being offered in cities.

Once in Uzbekistan, you can withdraw cash using a credit card at some banks and many luxury hotels. You’re most likely to find a machine that will dispense U.S. dollars as the ones that give out Uzbek Som are chronically out of cash. Machines accepting Visa creditcards are more widepread than ones that accept Mastercard.

1.00 £ Som
1.00 CA$ Som
1.00 € Som
1.00 US$ Som

Currency data courtesy

In Bukhara and Samarqand you can find cash machines in the most expensive hotels (try the Asia Hotel in Bukhara, opposite the Maghoki-Attar mosque). The same holds true for Tashkent and you could also try the machines in Asaka Bank (on Nukus Street, not far from the Russian embassy). It’s said to be always well stocked with U.S. currency and doesn’t charge a fee for Mastercard holders.

If you withdraw a large amount of U.S. currency in Uzbekistan to take with you to a neighbouring country, make sure you either get a receipt from the bank or be wary when you leave the country. If you declare more money leaving Uzbekistan than when you entered, without proof that you withdrew the money from a bank and didn’t sell something in Uzbekistan, officials can confiscate the difference.