Whatever the yardstick – geographic, linguistic, cultural, historical, economic – Tajikistan’s a country that revels in the obscure. 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.

Tajikistan Tours & Travel

All our Tajikistan trips

USD $2,705
CAD $3,280
AUD $3,465
EUR €2,250
GBP £1,775
NZD $3,725
ZAR R39,760
CHF FR2,490
Discover a true adventure on the roads of rugged and remote Tajikistan. Visit the unique cities of Bishkek, Osh,...

Tajikistan trip reviews

Our Tajikistan trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Tajikistan Discovery , September 2015

Gethin Elias

Tajikistan Discovery , September 2015

Rosemarie Read

Articles on Tajikistan

11 things to wear on your head in Central Asia

Posted on Sun, 8 Jun 2014

If I was to give you one tip about travelling in Central Asia, it would be expect the unexpected. Everything about the region is surprising; the extraordinary landscapes, fascinating history, […]

Read more

About Tajikistan

At a glance

Capital city: Dushanbe
Population: 7,900,000
Language: Tajik, Russian
Time zone:
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin)
Dialing code:

Best time to visit Tajikistan

With more than fifty per cent of the country sitting at over 3,000 metres above sea level, Tajikistan’s weather wavers between extremes. Pay a visit in winter (November–February) and you’ll be greeted by daytime temperatures that can dip below freezing, particularly along the Pamir Highway. Rock up during summer (June–September) and temperatures will likely climb to over 40°C (and be accompanied by dust storms) – though this is the best time for a trip into the mountains. Otherwise spring (March–May) or autumn (September–November) is the most pleasant times to travel. Light rains may still fall on occasion, but the days are sunny and warm, and the skies clear.

Geography and environment

While evidence of human habitation has been found in the region dating back as far as 4,000 BC, Tajikistan as we now know it only came into formation with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Prior to this, the region – defined by extreme isolation and testing climes – principally existed as one sprawling swathe of independent tribal lands and villages, regularly getting overrun and ruled by a series of empires, Achaemenid, Kushan, Arab, Tibetan and Mongolian, until Imperial Russia moved in.

With the 1917 overthrow of Tsarist autocracy, a Central Asian independence movement called the basmachi sought to make the most of the disarray by waging war against the Bolsheviks to no avail – in 1924 the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created as a part of Uzbekistan and the collectivisation of agriculture and implementation of other communist policies soon followed. The Tajiks suffered greatly under Soviet rule in the following decades, being targeted in purges, conscripted into the Soviet Army in World War II and lagging behind the other Soviet Republics in terms of industry and education. So when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it looked like happy days were afoot.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Split by various clan loyalties into numerous fighting factions, the country very soon plunged into civil war. By the time Emomalii Rahmon came to power in 1994, the number killed was estimated at over 100,000 and refugees numbered around 1.2 million. While his prime ministership and his party’s handling of democratic elections have not been without criticism, Rahmon has retained power through two successive elections.

Top Picks

Top 5 Traditional Tajikistani Fashions

1. Traditional Dress

Having been segregated from the rest of Tajik society by bad weather and roads for much of their history, the people of the Pamir Mountains have developed a certain style of dress that can still be seen in the region. Among Pamiri women, this amounts to a flowing kaftan-like costume, usually white and narrowing at the waste, with sleeves closely fitted to the wrist. A red skullcap, called a toki, typically completes the ensemble.

2. Russian Dress

When the Soviets came to town, elements of Russian fashion were gradually adopted and incorporated into Tajikistani culture. Western-style dress is now fairly common among the younger generations in urban areas, but you’re bound to spot plenty of women garbed in colourful loose-fitting dresses highly decorated and elaborately embroidered. A kerchief or shawl usually goes on the head.

3. The Monobrow

Get ready, you might need to read this one again: monobrows are in. Yep, that’s right: monobrows. And not just among the men either. An emblem of prestige and beauty, they’re upheld as a sign of feminine purity, and women not fortunate enough to sprout one naturally will sometimes resort to daubing the space between their eyes with a local herb called usma. So don’t stress if you forget to pack the tweezers.

4. The Toki

Tajik men and women alike are big fans of the toki: a type of cap that varies in design between genders and regions. Among northern Tajiks, the crown of the cap can be flat, boxed or conical, whereas that of mountain dwellers and plainsmen more closely resembles a skullcap.

5. The Calf Cotton

Head into the Pamir Mountains and you’ll probably spot a few insanely fit-looking old dudes with long strips of cotton wound around their calves. This isn’t so much a fashion statement as a practical measure: tightly bound calves adds extra muscle support when traipsing up and down mountains. Give them a nod of respect. They’ve probably ambled in this morning from that distant peak way over yonder.

FAQs on Tajikistan

TAJIKISTAN - Intrepid Travel - The Visa Machine

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your
intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

Intrepid Travel have partnered with The Visa Machine in order to provide the supporting documents (Letters of Invitation, Hotel Confirmations etc.) required for visas in this region to our travellers.

By logging onto The Visa Machine website via the links below you will be able to access checklists of what information and documents you will need to prepare as well as apply for the visa support documents you will need. More specific information is provided below for your trip, however for all countries we advise that you start your visa support application with The Visa Machine no later than 3 months before your trip is scheduled to enter each country in order to allow for the lengthy process, and where applicable, to apply for your visa in advance.

If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend submitting a single application to The Visa Machine which contains all the information necessary for visiting each country. This will allow The Visa Machine to provide you with the most efficient customer service.

Please remember that applying for the necessary supporting documents as well as the visas is the responsibility of the traveller. Once you have submitted your application to The Visa Machine you will be contacted by their customer service team along with any further instructions.

The following country specific visa information was current at the time of writing. Please check with your local Embassy/Consulate for the most up to date information and requirements before applying for your visas.
Instructions and Information:

** All visitors to Tajikistan require a visa **

Please note our Local Operator will organise the Tajikistan Visa’s on your behalf. A scanned copy of your passport should be sent to The Visa Machine, by following the below instructions.
A Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast Permit (GBAO Permit) is necessary for any travel to the Pamir’s and will be applied for en-route for the entire group.
Please make sure that you have up to $200 USD in cash for the Tajikistan visa fee and 4 extra passport size photos, to give to your leader on Day 1 of the trip.

In order to obtain the documents required for your Tajikistan visa you will need to click on the below link to start the process with The Visa Machine:


Firstly please look at the Central Asia ‘CHECK LIST’ and make sure you have everything you need with you so you can start the process. The system doesn’t let you save your progress for later, so you must finish the entire application at the one time. If you are visiting multiple countries on your trip, the same information and documents may be required for different visas. Please make sure you carefully read the check list in order to eliminate any double up.

The Visa Machine will forward all required documents to our Local Operator and liaise with them to make sure they have everything they need to be able to successfully obtain a Tajikistan Visa on Day 1 of your trip . Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for you visa support, click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.


If you have any trouble with the online form or want to chase up the status of your application for Visa Support Documents please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.
The Australian Visa Machine office can be contacted about actual Visa Applications (not Visa supporting documents) on gday@thevisamachine.com or on +61 (2) 61 452 265.

Please note the Australian office cannot assist with Visa Supporting Documents and or chasers. These must be directed to the UK office.
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.
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Mar 8 – International Women’s Day
Mar 21 – Nowruz (Persian New Year)
May 1 – Labour Day
May 9 – Victory Day
Jun 27 – National Unity Day
Jul 18 – Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Sep 9 – Independence Day
Sep 23 – Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
Dec 25 – Constitution Day

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Tajikistan Travel Tips

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.

Top responsible travel tips for Tajikistan

1. Be considerate of Tajik customs, traditions, religion and culture

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered and shoes removed when entering places of worship

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts

5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice

7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive and supports the local community

8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals

9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children

10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Tajikistan’s Difficult Development Path Martha Brill Olcott
Social and Economic Change in the Pamirs (Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan) Frank Bliss
Land Beyond the River: The Untold Story of Central Asia Monica Whitlock