Most locals speak Tajik, a modern Persian dialect in a region overwhelmingly Turkic; the landscape is absurdly altitudinous, its borders a result of arbitrary Soviet demarcations; the economy is propped up by overseas migrant remittances and illicit drug trafficking; and archaeological attractions run the gauntlet of Buddhist stupas, Silk Road bazaars and Zoroastrian ruins... What’s not to intrigue? Culturally captivating and naturally arresting, Tajikistan – arguably the Stans’ least developed land – is as enigmatic as countries come.
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Our Tajikistan trips score an average of 3 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.
If remote places fascinate you, check this tour out. Bureaucracy: Kyrgyzstan - no visa; Tajikistan - on line within 24 hours in my case. Bishkek and Dushanbe are modernising capital cities with new public buildings and quite good restaurants. Osh is a pleasant market town. The Pamirs are starkly desolate. The Panj River marking the border of Tajikistan with Afghanistan varies from broad and braided to rapids in steep narrow gorges flanked by high mountains. The road is an adventure in itself at times. We stayed in guesthouses run by the hospitable people making a living in this extreme region. Our Tajik guide, Jamshed helped us interact with local people and learn about their lives. There is some history with the odd fort and temple too. The conditions are sometimes challenging (See the Trip Notes) but I pleased to have done this journey.
Review submitted 23 Jul 2017
Discover Tajikistan's diverse pre-Islamic cultural heritage in the National Museum
Take in amazing views of the Pamirs and the Hindu Kush while traversing the corridor
Sit alongside glacial Karakul Lake, appearing oasis-like out of the dust of the Karakoram Highway
All visitors to Tajikistan require a visa. You will need to obtain your visa & Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) permit online at the following link: https://www.evisa.tj/
Below is the information required for filling out the application form:
GBAO Permit - Yes
Purpose of visit type - Tourism
Purpose of visit - Tourism sightseeing or Tourism vacation
Group identifier - leave blank
Date of arrival - Day 5 of your trip
Address in Tajikistan - This will be supplied at time of booking
Upload your scanned, colour passport copy (no other documents are required) and submit the form for payment. You will then receive a link to download your e-visa. Please ensure you print a copy to bring with you on your trip.
In restaurants and eateries, yes. A 10 per cent gratuity is the standard for a decent meal and adequate service.
Internet cafes exist in the bigger cities, though don’t expect wireless connections available in hotels or cafes.
Roaming agreements are in place with most major international phone carriers, though coverage is mostly limited to urban areas.
Toilets in Tajikistan run the gamut of not-too-bad-at-all western-style toilets in plusher hotels and restaurants, very minimalist drop toilets everywhere else and ‘jeepers-creepers!’ in rural areas. Have emergency loo-paper with you wherever you go.
domestic 0.5 litre beer from a supermarket – 4.50 SM
cappuccino in a restaurant – 5.75 SM
three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant – 60 SM
No, Tajikistan’s tap water is non-purified and untreated. Stick to bottled water or fill a reusable canteen with the filtered water that will be available at some hotels. Also steer clear of ice in drinks and only eat fruit that can be peeled or vegetables that have been well cooked.
No. Don’t bank on being able to use your credit cards for any transactions. Tajikistan is overwhelmingly a cash-based economy.
ATMs – accepting Visa, Mastercard and Maestro – can be found in the major cities of Dushanbe, Penjikent, Khujand, Khorog, Isfara, Istaravshan and Qurghon-Teppa, plus a few smaller places besides. Some dispense US dollars, which (along with euros) are widely accepted. Try to carry with you small denominations, as small change for small purchases is in short supply.
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Tajikistan go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/tajikistan/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.