Insights into Uzbekistan Tahir Sadullaev
Katie Parsons interviews Tahir Sadullaev, guide on Cox & Kings’ Uzbekistan: Heart of Central Asia tour.
What is your favourite place to visit in your country?
It’s too difficult to choose only one city so I’m going to say Khiva and Bukhara.
What should people know about your country before they visit?
Nowadays, with the internet, it’s easy to find out things in advance. It’s vital that tourists come with plenty of cash and not rely on plastic. Dollars are best but you can change other currencies. I don’t think people take the advice seriously that ATMs are not common, especially outside of Tashkent.
What food do you think every visitor should try?
Plov of course. [Plov is a rice based dish, served with beef or lamb and carrots. Some varieties include raisins, quince or apricots.] We have many types of plov in Uzbekistan – some people say we have over 200varieties. In every province, town or city, there is a different variety. Even different families can have their own recipes. The best plov is in Bukhara. Apart from my wife’s!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
When I first graduated from university I was a teacher. I loved being with people. I wanted to travel and meet different people but I thought I would become an interpreter. Being a tour guide hadn’t crossed my mind. In 1996, a friend asked me to come and take a small group of tourists around Tashkent, and to Samarkand and I realised I could meet so many foreign visitors by becoming a guide. So from then, my mind was changed and I became a tour guide. I have made friends with my guests and still keep in touch with plenty of them. Travelling is my hobby so I have a perfect job.
What part of your work gives you the most pleasure?
Answering people’s questions. The more questions the better! If I don’t know the answer I will try my best to find out – either from a book, on the internet, or by asking other guides. It’s important to keep learning. Every two years, tour guides in Uzbekistan have to take an exam to renew our guiding qualification and each year, the tourism ministry organise a day where we can go to listen to lectures from archaeologists, historians and architects about their research in Uzbekistan.
View all of Cox & Kings’ Uzbekistan tours.