- Written by Dan
Outpost Travel Planner: Tajikistan
By Sam Tranum / Photo by Paul
The Outpost travel planner with the what, where, when, why and how of all things travel to Tajikistan
When To Go
For the best trekking, visit north and central Tajikistan around september, when the scorching heat isn’t as oppressive as in August and the roads won’t be closed because of excess meltwater. April is also a good time to see the southern regions, since they’ll be in bloom after heavy spring rains. Winters can be bitterly cold, and summers brutally hot, so avoid going between November and February and June to July.
There are no direct flights to the capital of Dushanbe from Canada. Daily flights from Toronto and Vancouver will get you to Istanbul, where you can connect to Dushanbe, though flights don’t run daily. Note that the Tajik-uzbek border is currently in a hostile situation.
Buses are limited to towns in and around Dushanbe as well as in the south, but you’ll have to rely on shared taxis, 4wDs and minibuses to get you from Dushanbe to Panjakent, Khujand and Khorugh. outside of these, you may need to hitch or hire a vehicle. Some roads, such as the Pamir Highway, are in poor condition, so expect long drives and plan for a flat tire or two. some roads are impassable in winter. Tajikistan Airlines can get you between Dushanbe, Khorugh and Khujand, Tajikistan’s largest cities, but schedules are unreliable.
What to See and Do
Tajikistan and the Pamir mountains are known as some of the most difficult and starkly beautiful trekking destinations in Central Asia. Looking for something a little more accessible? Consider the Fann Mountains. They’re dotted with azure lakes and don’t reach the lung-stinging altitudes of the Pamirs. Lodge at a homestay with Tajik shepherds or camp out along the roads. Be sure to stop at the glacial Iskander-Kul lake, sitting at an altitude of 2,000 metres. for a challenging trek, guided hikes around the Pamir Highway offer a range of views, terrains and climates. from the rolling green Vanj Valley to the fedchenko glacier, you’ll be stunned by the views.
Guided mountain tours can sometimes be safer than travelling alone, and most start or finish in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, so have your travelling papers ready. In and around Dushanbe there is plenty to discover, from the city museums featuring stuffed snow leopards to the citadel ruins and mausoleum just west of the city. Also worth a visit, just 30 kilometres outside Dushanbe, is the Hissar Historic and Cultural reserve, where you’ll see remains from civilizations as old as the stone Age. Check out the bazaar near Ishkashim, on an island at the Tajik- Afghan border. In Ishkashim, you’ll also see the ruins of many castles.
A great way to see the country is to organize a trip through the murghob ecotourism Association. It can help organize your trip, whether you want to travel by jeep or camel, stay in a yurt or homestay, design your own tour with their help or have them organize a journey for you. A majority of the fees go directly to the service providers like families and drivers. Check out meta.tj for more information.