Thursday, May 24, 2012

From Bukhara to Samarkand by SHARQ Train

Recently I had the experience of riding a train from Bukhara to Samarkand in Uzbekistan. The train called Sharq (means East). It took 3 hours to reach Samarkand. The train fare is around USD55 (SV), USD35 (1 class) and USD25 (2nd class).

Going through the Bukhara Station, you must go through 3 screenings. First at the gate to the building,next when you enter the terminal and third when you go into the waiting hall. This indicates the level of security and the need to step up security.

The train comes with 10 coaches and each coach has 56 seats. Each coach has a canteen where you can order drinks. Its turquoise color on the exterior looks pleasant while the metal seat with soft cushion in grey provides some comfort. Each coach has a mini television hang over the ceiling where over 3 hour period, passengers are fed with film shows.
The train "SHARQ" at the Bukhara Station platform

View from the train.

Inside the friends are at the back..

We started our journey at 8.05 am. My group was scattered in three different coaches. However, majority of us is the coach no.2. Travelling by train gives us some flexibility in our movement. We can move around the coach and speak to other fellow travelers. I found many businessman travel in this train.They are going to Tashkent.

For us, it is an excitement as we see the outside panorama looks picturesque: the barren landscape, the green agriculture area, desert plants, barren mountain, industrial area, farmers toiling the land in the hot sun, rural houses, grazing land with herds of cattle, goats and sheep, barrier trees, cotton trees, olive trees etc. All these are rural landscape of Uzbekistan.

On the train, we occupy our time with reading, talking, sleeping, watching films on TV, drinking lemon tea (buy from the canteen) and eating.
Afrosiyob Fast Train at Samarkand Station.
We reached Samarkand Station at 11.10am. Once on the platform, some of us were busy taking pictures. I saw Afrosiyob train at the station.It looks like the bullet trains in Tokyo.....

The next time you are in Uzbekistan, try taking the train instead of the shared taxi....

Happy travelling.

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